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The RM Guide to Movies - v1.0


PAUL DULLER <[log in to unmask]>


PAUL DULLER <[log in to unmask]>


Wed, 2 Feb 2005 23:58:58 -0000





text/plain (508 lines)

Dear All,

We have had a fantastic response and it has certainly opened up my eyes to
just how important RM has been to Hollywood!
Many thanks to everyone who have contributed so far. Here is the list as it
stands today, but keep the movie clips coming,

Best wishes,

The Orwellian classic

A Civil Action
A John Travolta film where the records from his case are handed over to the
Environmental Protection Agency. I believe they use a forklift to move the
records in a warehouse full of such documents.

A Few Good Men
The tower chiefs logs for Guantanamo Bay and Andrew Airforce base are used
as evidence.  These should log a flight that took place at a certain but
Colonel Jessup has somehow has them unauthorizedly amended to save him from
getting into trouble.

Alien 3(?)
The plots centre around the mining companies secret defence contract agenda,
which Ripley accesses electronically from the ship's records system. She
also accesses the company personnel files.

All the Presidents' Men
This film from 1976 stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, as reporters
from the Washington Post who discover a link between the Whitehouse and the
break-in at the Watergate building, leading to the downfall of Nixon. They
investigate the destruction of official records being destroyed without
authorisation to cover up the conspiracy. Cringe as Dustin Hoffman goes into
a government record office and is brought some volumes by a very nerdy
searchroom assistant.  He then tears out the pages he needs as evidence,
when the assistant isn't looking.

American Splendour
A recent and quirky film, where the main character, Harvey Pekar, is a
hospital Records Manager and part-time comic script writer. Many of the
scenes are set in his *tidy* file room. It won the Grand Jury Prize,
Sundance Film Festival 2003; and the Critics Prize, Cannes Film Festival

Being John Malkovich
This included a records centre with an unusually low ceiling height (cheap
rental value), where you could access the brain of JM via a portal hidden
behind a filing cabinet.

Black Adder
The records related episode

Are we human because we keep records?  Will we have biometric records to
prove that we are human?

Blue Collar
Paul Shrader's film where factory workers Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Koto and
Richard Pryor raid their trade union office for money and find records
relating to the unions involvement with the mafia. A great blues sound track
follows this film and it is supposed to represent the disenchantment many
Americans felt in Post Nixon America.

Bruce Almighty
Jim Carey demonstrates just how much you can fit into a filing cabinet. He
also has a records problem in managing prayer requests. The prayers have
built up and he needs a system to manage them. First he tries stick-it
notes, then filing cabinets, and finally opts for an email system on a
computer called Yahweh.

Carlton Brown of the FO
Classic 1950's comedy featuring Terry Thomas and Peter Sellers. The Foreign
Office receives a letter from a colony they had completely forgotten about
and have to ring down to Archives to retrieve its papers. The Archives/RM
unit consists of cobweb encrusted cupboards with mice (located in, you
guessed it, the basement) looked after by an ancient, shuffling records
manager/Archivist - how not to keep your semi-current records!

Jack Nicholson goes to the records office, borrows a ruler from the records
clerk, and tears off a property deed while the clerk is not looking.

Class Action
This 1990 movie class features Gene Hackman. The film centres around
evidence for a court case against a motor firm.  Many scenes in a Record
Centre & lots of records being dumped on solicitors to mask "the truth"!It
includes a strong document production/litigation theme with tons of Iron
Mountain boxes and the line by an elderly witness who said that he didn't
have the document -- to get it you have to go to the mountain  -- Iron

Clear and Present Danger
Demonstrates the difference between computerized research into records
versus paper records and how a destruction schedule is not always respected.

Cold Case
New TV series pulling out old case files and not using "Out Cards"!

Desk Set
A classic Spencer Tracy/ Kate Hepburn movie

Die Hard 2
Bruce Willis is looking for the plans for the airport cable raceways to get
under the runway and he encounters the "file room" with the drawings in
rolls "filed" in garbage cans...

The film version of  Michael Crichton's novel in which the electronic
records of the computer company in which the action is set are visualised in
their experimental virtual reality environment as a series of folders in
vertical filing cabinets, the drawers of which are marked with topic labels
and open on voice command.  When the hero (Michael Douglas) enters the
virtual reality space looking for 'files' he watches them physically
disappear as the evil hard woman who is trying to destroy his career (Demi
Moore) sits at her computer in real time and deletes them. He is able to
recover the crucial deleted e-mails and other documents he needs by having
them faxed to him by the recipient in the firm's Asian manufacturing plant.
This gives him a hardcopy product and by passes the firm's e-mail system
from which he has been maliciously excluded.

Dodge Ball
A brief mention of Freedom of Information

Erin Brokovitch
Julia Roberts stars as Erin Brokovitch as the heroine of the movie pitched
into battle against. Pacific Gas & Electric. The story is littered with
references to the use and abuse of records (and very disorganised file
rooms).and provides a very useful (negative) illustration of the issues
around disclosure and retrieval of relevant records:

1. The water testing board retained all their water testing records in a
back of beyond office - despite being retained in a haphazard format (not
sure if it would be classed as a relevant filing system, and after an
extensive search, key records are found in paper format providing valuable
evidence against a corporation's chemical disposal procedures, controls and
damage mitigation activity.

2. A worker for the manufacturer recalled being asked to shred a substantial
amount of paper records in dubious circumstances and was able to recall the
nature of the content and timing of the request to dispose. Again, the
nature of the disposal of the records was held against the firm.

3. Documents from the manufacturer to householders residing near the plant
confirmed offers to purchase their property for minimum sums and again
provided key evidence as 'records of activity' by the manufacturer to enter
into damage mitigation activity.

...and as everyone knows, substantial payouts ensued thanks to the records!

Enemy of the State
This film featuring Gene Hackman and Denzil Washington included the capture
of a murder scene on a video used to record bird activity - demonstrating
that over the lifecycle of the record, the content may have more value than
that of original intent! Stolen identities and lots of Data Protection type
issues - a good illustration of how records can be manipulated.

Record access issues and secrets abound.

Fahrenheit 451
A bookless society where all books are burned (FH 451 being the temperature
at which they catch fire)

Old Nazi records are key to the story.

Fellowship of the Ring
Gandalf goes to search some old documents in the Minas Tirith archives,
where he sits in a gloomy, dank room (a basement probably!), surrounded by
piles of dust and thousands of lit candles.

The library scene.

James Bond runs amok in a Russian filing room and the unsecured shelves and
their contents go flying in particularly spectacular fashion. Case files
associated with all other movies.

Glengarry Glen Ross
Having your records stolen by a member of your own workforce is quite a
trying experience. The acting by Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey and
Alec Baldwin is a masterclass. You also get the atmosphere of a high tension
office at work or ordinary people under extraordinary pressure.

Patients files have been dumped in a filing cabinet in the old, abandoned
hospital, providing Barney with an opportunity to sell Hannibal Lecter's
medical files on the internet.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Always a good idea to check with planning. Is there an intergalactic EIR

Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson.  Walter = a retiring CIA/FBI (one of
them) agent who successfully manages to shred his file while the records
manager distracted with talk of baseball.  No formal tracking of files going
out there either!

In The Name of  The Father
A records clerk inadvertently gives the barrister (Emma Thomson) the wrong
file, the one that reveals the suppression of evidence that resulted in a
miscarriage of justice.

In Michael Mann's excellent where Russell Crowe walks out of his office with
confidential information relating to the addictiveness of cigarettes. This
story is loosely based on real events, but the film again shows ordinary
people working under extraordinary circumstances. The fax machine plays a
vital role in this film as does email and the tension generated around
waiting for information to come through is palpable. I also liked Michael
Gambons gold desk pen set.

Jurassic Park
A library of  Dinosaur DNA classified by type.

LA Confidential
Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce destroy a records store by fighting after one
of them has accessed some of the records.Guy Pearce also manages to find
lots of information from files languishing in the basement.

Minority Report
A RM system of the future.

Kevin Brownlows restoration of this silent film classic has a scene where
the dramatic destruction of the state records is symbolic of the fall of the
old regime.

National Treasure
A recent addition to the collection, featuring the US national archive and
the Declaration of Independence.

Office Space
One of the minor characters is a records clerk responsible for collation and
distribution of reports. During a reorganization, consultants discover that
he was actually laid off, never told, and continued to be paid for 3 years.
Rather than inform the poor records clerk that he has been sacked, the
consultants just remove him from the payroll. To add insult to injury, the
records clerk's office is moved 3 times finally resulting in him being
relocated to the basement with no lights & a can of bug spray to control the

One Foot in the Grave
Classic British TV sitcom - Pippa sends Mr Meldrew a copy of Patrick's
"Diary", instead of a copy of the letter to the "Dairy", revealing
unfortunate confidential information and demonstrating the need for accurate
data entry and security checks. In another episode, Victor fills out an
order form incorrectly and ends up with 263 garden gnomes!

Passport to Pimlico
A deed (which has been misfiled and lost!) proves that Pimlico belongs to
the Duke of Burgundy rather than to the British Crown.

Presumed Innocent
Harrison Ford plays an attorney accused of murdering a colleague and is seen
packing files into an Iron Mountain box!

Raiders of the Lost Ark
The closing sequence demonstrating exactly how to hide valuable items in a

John Cusack traces Kate Beckinsale using the credit card records of a
department store.

Spy Game
Robert Redford uses information systems, maps, press leaks, knowledge of
records management, and amazing chutzpah to save Brad Pitt.

Star Wars
Darth Vader goes to extraordinary lengths (including the vaporisation of
Princess Leia's home planet), to retrieve the commercially sensitive and
copyrighted plans for the Death Star.

Star Wars Episode II - The Attack of the Clones
Obi Wan takes Luke Skywalker to try to find records of alien nations which
have already been making clones. The lady archivist has sleek silver hair
swept up into a bun and glasses on the end of her nose and is very wise and
serene!. Obi Wan Kenobi looks at the Jedi Archives for a star system
(Kamino) with no success and the archivist foolishly says to him something
along the lines of "If the system is not in the archives, it does not
exist".  We all know that no records system is perfect!   All the files were
glowing electronic thing's on shelves going miles high up into the ceiling.
There was some minor controversy about it being based on a famous Library in

The Anderson Tapes
Sean Connery in a film about a robbery that is being filmed and recorded by
FBI and persons unknown. At the end an unknown person erases all of the
tapes. So you are left to wonder what an earth the film was all about. Great
shots of old 70's tape machines and an early cameo from a certain
Christopher Walken.

The Client
The John Grisham movie with Susan Sarandon, who accesses her personal

The Spy who came in from the Cold (1966); The Little Drummer Girl (1984);
The Deadly Affair (1967)
John Le Carré's novels tend to include mention of a traditional file
registry, complete with obligatory middle-aged female dragon registry

The Firm
Tom Cruise gets the bad guy through his billing records.  Lots of lovely
photocopying of documents in the Caribbean that nails the baddies for money
(cf. any film about Al Capone of course...)

The Ipcress File
Michael Caine tracking down a missing scientist plus his file. Proper file
keeping in this film with lots of grey metal filing cabinets regularly
attended to by a chain smoking secretary. Lots of good hot tea, and classic
views of London with no congestion charging and plenty of parking spaces
around the Royal Albert Hall.

The Package
Major Sergeant Gene Hackman has to visit his ex-wife Col. Joanna Cassidy who
is in charge of military personal  records to track down the military files
on Tommy Lee Jones whom is he chasing.  The records management section is
very clean and efficient.

The Matrix  (1, 2, and 3)
Carrying information and records management issues to the nth degree.

The Rainmaker
Aside from the 'Stupid, Stupid, Stupid' letter, there is the missing annex
from the claim handling file that requires the denying of all insurance

The Pelican Brief
Considers what one can do with a little bit of research on Lexis Nexis (TM)
and illustrates the dangers of allowing documents to fall into the hands of
public officials

The Ring
Noah Clay gains access to a living person's medical files through deception

The Name of the Rose
The library is arranged in such a way as to make it near impossible (unless
you're the librarian) to get into, find your way around or any books or
information that you might want, and then get out of it.  The book's
description of the library is somewhat better than that in the film that was
made of the book, but even so, the film makes clear what a labyrinth it was.

Three Days of the Condor
Shows how the mosaic effect, in gathering information, can have dangerous

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Even though it is not a film, the television mini-series of John Le Carre's
has some tense scenes where someone goes into the archives to remove an
important dossier.

Many examples of case files. Also, the episode where the Smoking Man is
placing the implants in tubes in the little sectioned plastic container in
the unlabeled shelf box in the unlabeled room in the Pentagon..

Yes Minister (and Yes Prime Minister)
Various mentions in this classic British sitcom, for example episode 3.3 -
The Skeleton in the Cupboard: The 30-year-rule is about to reveal the name
of the young Civil Servant who made a complete mess of a defence contract.
For some reason Sir Humphrey seems nervous ....


Dr Paul Duller
Records Management Services Director
Instant Library Ltd
0771 3189384


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