Faking It

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Members of an RAF bomber crew preparing to drop propaganda leaflets over enemy territory, early 1940s.
Members of an RAF bomber crew preparing to drop propaganda leaflets over enemy territory, early 1940s © Hulton Getty Images.

In Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the 2018 film of biographer-turned-forger Lee Israel, we see the subject, played by Melissa McCarthy, visiting a special collections library and carefully studying a letter. She returns the next day to substitute a forged copy of this letter for the original document, which she steals from the archive to sell. The film is set in the early 1990s and the security checks that Israel faces are considerably less strict than they would be today; she is able to consult documents with a bulging satchel lying open beside her on the desk, from which she stealthily removes the forged letter to insert in the file, stowing the real document in her sock. 

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