I was watching an old James Bond movie on TV called the Living Daylights, starring Timothy Dalton; for some reason there seem to be a number of old Bond movies on television lately. Now I know that movies have classic illogical or annoying elements; a common one is the way they portray the view though a pair of binoculars, and someday I’ll find a pair that actually shows this view! Then there are the sounds and images of spacecraft banking though a vacuum, and some of them seem to use aerodynamic wings in a vacuum (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, etc). But here is one I hadn’t really thought about before.
There was a bad guy in this movie who could talk English with a cultured British accent, a Cockney accent, and a flawless mid-American accent. He even spoke with a Russian accent when he wanted some British agents to think he was a Russian agent. But when he was back at his home base speaking English he used a Russian accent. Why would a person who could speak English flawlessly and with great ease use a Russian accent? Especially an agent, who supposedly would have been trained to speak it without an accent, and for whom unconsciously using a Russian accent might be considered a fatal flaw.
I remember something similar in The Pelican Brief. There was a professional assassin who was a polyglot, and who could speak American English with a number of accents and dialects. But when he was talking business with his employers he used a Middle-Eastern accent (since he came from the Middle East)? The same arguments would apply to this person as to professional agents; if you lapse into the wrong accent you compromise yourself.
Then there are the war movies, where people playing Germans and Russians, when not using sub-titles, speak with cultured BBC British accents. I particularly remember William Hurt, an American, trying to speak with a British accent in Gorky Park. I guess American directors suppose that it is more Kulturny than an American or Canadian or Australian accent?
I guess the next thing will be French Canadian movies about Quebec, where the actors use Parisian French or, if speaking English, British English rather than their usual accents.
Then there are Science Fiction shows where characters are “phase-shifted” or something so that they can go through walls, desks, and other people, but never seem to go through the floor…