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melmac4ou

affairs and lovers

5 posts in this topic

Allow me to be incredibly naive for a minute.

 

In movies in the thirties or forties, if a woman says a man was her "lover" does that mean what it would mean today? I mean does it mean that they have had sex? The same with saying "we had a love affair," does that mean "affair" like we mean it?

 

Is it possible that "lover" could simply mean a boyfriend or girlfriend in old movie lingo? Does "affair" simply mean they spent a lot of puritanical time together?

 

I only ask because I want to know how literal everything should be taken. Were the writers or these movies trying to explain a relationship that they couldn't portray on film? Or am I misinterpretting the former meanings of words?

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Good question! I'm not sure about 'lover' or 'affair' but it's interesting when a woman asks a man in the Golden Age movies: 'are you making love to me'? She was asking if he was 'coming on' to her. Or, as the rappers put it so charmingly: 'he was sexing her'.

 

Now that I recall, I think platonic time spent together was called 'courting', and that an 'affair' was still an 'affair' although there were a lot of waves crashing onto the shore in one's bedroom. :)

 

As to 'lover', still not sure.

 

Nobody did dancing around the facts better than Miracle Of Morgan's Creek. And remember, even Lucy didn't say 'pregnant'.

 

Ah, weren't things different then? 1935, where are you?

 

Why ask for the moon when we have the stars?

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> Allow me to be incredibly naive for a minute.

>

> In movies in the thirties or forties, if a woman says

> a man was her "lover" does that mean what it would

> mean today? I mean does it mean that they have had

> sex? The same with saying "we had a love affair,"

> does that mean "affair" like we mean it?

>

> Is it possible that "lover" could simply mean a

> boyfriend or girlfriend in old movie lingo? Does

> "affair" simply mean they spent a lot of puritanical

> time together?

>

> I only ask because I want to know how literal

> everything should be taken. Were the writers or these

> movies trying to explain a relationship that they

> couldn't portray on film? Or am I misinterpretting

> the former meanings of words?

___________________

 

In post-code 30s and 40s, a character would not describe anyone as a lover. The phrase "are you making love to me" meant flirting with not having sex. Not familiar with the usage of 'love affair' in post-code films although if it was used, it would have not meant sex. Contrary to what revisionists will claim, script writers were't slipping in inappropriate stuff into films of that era.

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I think the reason for your confusion is that the screenwriters were forced by The Code to leave the issue open to interpretation. Going by books written before and during the era, "affair" indeed could mean a sexual relationship (or not; think "affair of the heart"), and "lover" usually connoted one (though someone might playfully call someone that even if he were only a boyfriend not yet slept with). I don't actually hear these terms often in movies of the 1930s and '40s.

 

I had asked the Boards before about "making love;" it is heard frequently and, as Tacky says, I think it did mean "ardently courting" (as in the song "Night and Day") or "flirting with" until sometime in the 1950s. In the British film Genevieve (1953), Dinah Sheridan reclines seductively on a bed and entreats her husband, "Make love to me." There isn't much doubt that by that time it meant sex (at least in England!).

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