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cigarjoe

Archaic Expressions in Films

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I believe that to "finger" someone had a distinctly different meaning in the 1930s than it does today.

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5 hours ago, SansFin said:

Pencil leads are a mixture of graphite and a binder. The clay used as a binder in cheap pencils would dry when exposed to the air. This meant that the first line would be as if you are trying to write with a brick. It would not mark well or it would be crumbly and might fall off the paper. Licking the end caused the particles of clay to separate and go into suspension so that they would come off the point with ease and carry the graphite particles with them.

And now we know, thanks.

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22 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

And now we know, thanks.

I am sorry if that seemed very much like mansplaining. I know of no way to make it interesting to read.  

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1 hour ago, SansFin said:

I am sorry if that seemed very much like mansplaining. I know of no way to make it interesting to read.  

I appreciated the explanation, SansFin. I had wondered about the pencil-lickers in old films, and you educated me. So thanks.

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

"I never figured him for being a wrong guy."

WAIT! Lemme guess here, CJ.

THIS line was said (wait a minute here...it's comin' to me now) in the movie Another Thin Man, RIGHT?!

(...wow, ain't I good?!) ;)

LOL

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Not sure if this counts but...

From The Philadelphia Story (1940) when James Stewart gives a passionate, romantic speech to Katherine Hepburn:

"A magnificence that comes out of your eyes, in your voice, in the way you stand there, in the way you walk. You're lit from within, Tracy. You've got fires banked down in you, hearth-fires and holocausts. "  The meaning of holocaust obviously has taken a much different meaning since WWII.

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Gun Moll, Gangsters Moll, ever think about the term. In our Hollywood-ized accounts she, the moll, is invariably always depicted as the gal pal of the gang leader. This forms the basis of a lot of gangster pics, and some Noirs. 

"Moll" derives from "Molly", and was used as a euphemism for "****" or "prostitute." A moll is a hooker, think about it. A gang pulls a job they go on the run, what would keep everybody safer, happier and cozy... a tough hard a nails gang hooker who can take care of her self and service the needs of the gang to boot for a cut of the loot.

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7 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Gun Moll, Gangsters Moll, ever think about the term. In our Hollywood-ized accounts she, the moll, is invariably always depicted as the gal pal of the gang leader. This forms the basis of a lot of gangster pics, and some Noirs. 

"Moll" derives from "Molly", and was used as a euphemism for "****" or "prostitute." A moll is a hooker, think about it. A gang pulls a job they go on the run, what would keep everybody safer, happier and cozy... a tough hard a nails gang hooker who can take care of her self and service the needs of the gang to boot for a cut of the loot.

The Gun Moll was a dangerous item to have on hand;  she could be soft and thus an easy target for the cops to get at the inner workings of the gang.

Johnny Farrell was right; women gum up the works.    Better to have Fante and Mingo working for ya instead.

 

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Quote

???

"Pins"? 

It was in an earlier film today in fact, either Cagney said it to someone or someone said it to Cagney

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I was watching a cult classic from 1945, "Detour", recently.  There's a scene where Charles Haskell does a favor for Al Roberts.  Al replies, "Gee Mr. Haskell that's mighty white of you to do this."  "White" was a term from the 1940s which meant good, nice, or great.  The slang terminology for "white" has undergone a great change.  Today "white" means cocaine.

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What a lot of folks trying to use Prohibition-era metaphors to defend their embattled-substance problems fail to understand was that back in the 30's, it was considered normal to want a cold beer or glass of champagne.

It took some figuring out, but if somebody in a pre-code movie went to a speakeasy and friends laughed, "Hey, how 'bout that, he's a REGULAR guy after all!", to be "Regular" didn't just mean he was a nice everyday pal-about-town.

(Nor did it mean he'd gotten enough fiber in his diet.) 😁

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2 hours ago, thomasterryjr said:

I was watching a cult classic from 1945, "Detour", recently.  There's a scene where Charles Haskell does a favor for Al Roberts.  Al replies, "Gee Mr. Haskell that's mighty white of you to do this."  "White" was a term from the 1940s which meant good, nice, or great.  The slang terminology for "white" has undergone a great change.  Today "white" means cocaine.

I can't recall that scene, but one use of the phase back in the 40s, was as sarcasm;    as in "well,  thanks,,,, for not much".

So if in the scene Haskell does a favor that 99% of the general public would have done,,,,    Al was being sarcastic.   

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Just heard another example of an archaic expression. The voice over was talking about the places young people go to hang out where they can listen to the latest tunes on the .... Nickel Phonograph or Jukebox. 

Never heard that expression before glad to see Jukebox was the term that caught on.

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I remember in Hitchcock's Lifeboat there being a scene in which William Bendix's leg must be amputated because it had become gangrenous, however he resists the idea at first because he says he doesn't want to become a "gimp".

(...don't think that word is used much anymore)

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3 minutes ago, Dargo said:

I remember in Hitchcock's Lifeboat there being a scene in which William Bendix's leg must be amputated because it had become gangrenous, however he resists the idea at first because he says he doesn't want to become a "gimp".

(...don't think that word is used much anymore)

And it gained a different connotation with many viewers after Pulp Fiction.

 

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4 minutes ago, Dargo said:

I remember in Hitchcock's Lifeboat there being a scene in which William Bendix's leg must be amputated because it had become gangrenous, however he resists the idea at first because he says he doesn't want to become a "gimp".

(...don't think that word is used much anymore)

I actually heard that word used yesterday in conversation.  Its still used in alternative lifestyles. Probably not PC though.

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Just now, LawrenceA said:

And it gained a different connotation with many viewers after Pulp Fiction.

 

As it's been many years since I've watched that Tarantino film Lawrence, please refresh my memory and explain how this became so, if you would.

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1 minute ago, Dargo said:

As it's been many years since I've watched that Tarantino film Lawrence, please refresh my memory and explain how this became so, if you would.

Well, I can't get too detailed due to the subject matter, but it's during the scene when Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames are captured by the pair of unusual fellows who keep a guy in bondage gear whom they refer to as "The Gimp"  locked up in a trunk (I think), with the understanding that he may perform unspeakable acts on others, or maybe have said acts performed upon himself.

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On 3/12/2019 at 7:35 AM, DVDPhreak said:

I love hearing these expressions immortalized in movies that would otherwise be forgotten.  Two things:

Movie dialog didn't and doesn't necessary mirror real-life language.  If a line is used in a movie, that doesn't mean it came from real life.  It might have been invented, modified, or paraphrased by the screenwriters.  In short, people in the movies don't and didn't always talk like people in real life.

Another kind of expressions immortalized in movies are those involving contemporary topical subjects.  Some movie dialog may refer to news events that occurred around the time the movie was made.  If the news events are forgotten, then the meaning of the dialog is hard to understand for modern viewers.  This is akin to watching those old SNL skits, many of which lampooned events of the day that are now forgotten.  In A Night at the Opera (1935), when Harpo refers to those "five kids up in Canada," he refers to a set of Canadian quintuplets that were quite famous at the time, but are quite unknown to us today.

A great example of this is from A Hard Day's Night, when George Harrison calls something "grotty".  He's then asked to explain what "grotty" means and he says "grotesque."

So, all sorts of people in the US - and even in Britain - thought for years that "grotty" was a well-established Liverpool expression.  Except that, in reality, as explained on the Criterion DVD extras, screenwriter Alun Owen deliberately thought up a brand new catch expression.

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And it caught on too.  I remember several people, and still by the late '60's who regularly used it.   At the time, I barely recalled it from the movie. 

Sepiatone

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