Dialog in old movies they 'got away with'

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by arley, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. arley

    arley Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Now that scriptwriters pepper dialog with indiscriminate f-bombs, it's hard to believe that once upon a time movies had to watch what the characters said; when Rhett tells Scarlett, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!" it was denounced from pulpits across the nation.

    So it's interesting to see some of the older movies which depended on wit and artifice to communicate something in a way which could sneak by the censors. One of the more famous ones was in The Maltese Falcon when Bogie refers to the Elijah Cook, Jr. character as a gunsel. That sort of sounds like a gunman (and Dashiell Hammett depended on that ambiguity to sneak it by the censors) but the word refers to a young man kept by an older man for sexual purposes.

    And sometimes they depended just on juxtaposition of phrases which created a double-entendre. My favorite one of this genre is Groucho in Animal Crackers introducing a song by Chico: "Signor Ravelli's first selection will be 'Somewhere My Love Lies Sleeping' with a male chorus."

    What are your favorites?
  2. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    There's an early Raoul Walsh talkie where a guy enters a room with a whore and holding a map, then says "I want to show you the lay of the land."
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  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I went for 25 years without understanding the joke in Blazing Saddles where the giant thug Mongo walks into town, and a Mexican person sees him and says "Mongo! <makes sign of the cross> Santa maria!"


    And the joke that was lost on me was that Mongo Santamaria was a famous jazz musician of the 1950s and 1960s ("Watermelon Man").

    I will not, however, explain the line "baby, please! I am not from Havana!"
  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    If that's what we're discussing, I went about 40 years without getting the reference in Kind Hearts and Coronets where we hear an aria from Don Giovanni under the credits, and later sung (in Italian) in a parlor.

    The aria concerns a character who swears revenge against Don G for seducing his sister. The theme of KH&C is revenge, of a man who believes his mother was robbed of her birthright by her noble family.
  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

  6. Slackhurst Broadcasting

    Slackhurst Broadcasting Forum Resident

    In Hitchcock's Rope one of the two young murderers accuses the other of having once choked a chicken.

    In the British film Piccadilly Third Stop (1957) there's a scene where two crooks are fighting over their loot, and the one who takes it quite clearly says "Give me that ****ing bag."
  7. WLL

    WLL Popery Of Mopery

    ...Yhe "naughty " pseudo -Shakespearean stuff in KISS ME, KATE!
    It got by " because it's (pseudo-) Shakespeare "?!?:confused::cool:
  8. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Laurence Harvey in the classic AHP episode "Arthur", directed by AH himself.


    FWIW a chicken does get choked,
    as does a lady.
  9. Jazzmonkie

    Jazzmonkie Forum Resident

    Tempe, AZ
    Hell's Angels (1930) has some pre-code cursing during the air battles.
  10. raveoned

    raveoned Forum Resident

    Ambler, PA
    One that always stuck in my head was the movie In Harm's Way with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. When Douglas' character Eddington confronts Wayne's son about an officer Eddington doesn't like, the son says he can't accept Eddington's opinion. When Eddington responds, he says he can't accept that Wayne's son is his son, saying, "I think somebody got in there ahead of him."

    Only once did I see that line cut on TV. Any other time it's gone through with no issue. My dad always brought it up as well as one of his favorite movie insults.
  11. Sterling Cooper

    Sterling Cooper Well-Known Member

    Fort Myers, FL
    Charlie Chaplin’s last lead role was for “A King In New York”. It had a UK release in 1957, but didn’t come to the states until 1972. He looked quite respectable at age 68. Just over 27 minutes into the film, Charlie and the beautiful Dawn Addams flirt over dinner; ostensibly discussing his acting abilities:

    Dawn: “I know...you have played Hamlet”

    CC: “Oh, I’ve dabbled in private theatricals”

    Dawn: “I’d give anything to see your Hamlet”

    CC: “Maybe you will one night”

    Dawn: “Why not tonight?”

    CC: “Okay, a private performance... to be or not to be”

    Dawn “Now!”

    CC: “You mean, here?”

    The complete film can be found on the internet.
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  12. inperson

    inperson Forum Resident


    47:25 to 47:32
  13. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    Brilliant witty writing & execution of those lines. Almost absent from most Hollywood movies today.
    Michael likes this.
  14. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    things were different back then..so much different it's like it never existed...ppl believe it or not, had a sense of humor...yes, really. ; )
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  15. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    exactly...they have an agenda with nothing going to stop it other than poor movie sales...
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  16. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    Absolutely! I always giggle now when I read reviews of a movie, obviously from a young “critic”, saying it’s so much better than the last “Marvel”, etc. film.
    No friggin’ idea what a good movie is.
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  17. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    A more sophisticated & sly sense of humor; wrapped in brilliant dialog & performance.
    Michael likes this.
  18. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    you got it! that's why it's still great today...greatness stays.
    audiomixer likes this.
  19. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    ...and why DVDs/Blu Rays are so important in keeping these films alive. Thank God for TCM!!!
  20. Jazzmonkie

    Jazzmonkie Forum Resident

    Tempe, AZ
    The Thin Man (1934)

    Nick Charles: I'm a hero. I was shot twice in the Tribune.

    Nora Charles: I read where you were shot 5 times in the tabloids.

    Nick Charles: It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids.
  21. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    and they do not care to as well...they just like the "critic" power! LOL...that's funny. They wouldn't know a great movie if it came with instructions...now get off my lawn whippersnapper! I figure I'll say it before the others do...; )
  22. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    INDEED! and a massive home video collection...depending on no one but ourselves to feed our enjoyment of great movies that we love and do not care what others think of our choices!...period.
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  23. VU Master

    VU Master Forum Resident

    Kubrick’s Lolita (1962), though heavily censored, was full of them. I think it's the record holder in this category.

    Lolita’s lonely mother, trying to convince Humbert, who's British, to rent a room in her house, showing him the upstairs bathroom and demonstrating how the toilet flushes: "Well, we still have that good, old-fashioned quaint plumbing...should appeal to Euro-pean. (Adding under her breath) Excuse the soiled sock.”

    After he says he's looking for peace and quiet, she tells him "I can assure you, you couldn't get more peace anywhere!” And adds “You really must see...the collection of reproductions I have in my bedroom.” "I can offer you a comfortable home...a sunny garden...a congenial atmosphere...my cherry pies.” "let's say...$200 a month...including meals and late snacks…et cetera?"

    Humbert replies "You're a very persuasive saleswoman.” “Thank you. What was the decisive factor -- my garden?” "I think it was your cherry pies!"

    At at party" "Mind if I dance with your girl? We could sort of swap partners.” And there’s talk of an after-party that may actually be an orgy: "Later on at our house, and she and Freddy Beale and some others are having a jam session, or whatever it's called.”

    Later at the party, an attractive young woman meets Humbert: "Humbert, when you get to know me better, you'll find I'm extremely broad-minded. In fact, John and I, we're both broad-minded."

    And, "Jean, your Mona looks simply enchanting in that cloud of pink. She's certainly becoming a mature young lady, isn't she? Are you sending her to that Camp Climax again?” "Of course. We've done it every summer, since she was ten.”

    Later on at the house, when Lolita comes back and sees Humbert with her mother, he remarks: "We had a wonderful evening. Your mother created a magnificent spread.” Humbert makes Lolita a sandwich “Loaded with mayonnaise, just the way you like it.”

    They go on and on. What an outrageous film, and way under-rated IMO.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  24. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    You know how to whistle, don't you? ...
  25. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    From "Jaws" -- "Hooper, you may be a big stick back home, but out here your just superc**k, if you don't want to backstroke home.... you're going to have to earn your weight," or something like like for the last part. Apparently early on Quint did a lot of cussing, but they cut back on it.

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