If you’re a classic film fan, it’s almost a given that many people you greet in your daily life won’t know what you’re talking about. Topics like the cool pre-code you watched last night or how you’re still angry that Gloria Swanson didn’t win the Academy Award for “Sunset Boulevard” are most likely met with a blank stare.
Even still, classic films are so immersed into our daily life and thoughts, that it’s hard not to casually quote a film in your daily speak. I don’t mean outrageous and obvious quotes that would get you called into Human Resources. (See: Standing on your desk and shouting “Look at me, Ma! Top of the world!” or ending a meeting with “Frankly, my dear I don’t give a damn.”)
For me, there are simple, catchy film quotes that I slip into my conversations on the sly; fully knowing that no one around me will understand that I’m referring to a film.
Here are six examples of a few of the movies I quote regularly:
Plot: The 101st Airborne Division is fighting in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
The division is made up of various personalities from all over the United States. One of the soldiers, Abner Spudler (Jerome Courtland) is supposed to be a little more country than the rest and repeatedly says “That’s for sure, that’s for dang sure,” when he agrees with someone.
I often use this in my daily speech, since it’s my favorite film.
The division captures Germans who tell them that they should surrender, because the Allies are surrounded. Pvt. Jim Layton (Marshall Thompson) replies that the German can “go take a flying leap at a rolling doughnut.”
This phrase is similar to “They can take a hike,” “have a seat” meaning to leave or something won’t happen. This is also a phrase I occasionally use.
Plot: After a woman’s husband is killed, several men begin harassing her to find money that her husband had stolen.
After Herman Scobie (George Kennedy) unsuccessfully looks for the money, his cohort Leopold Gideon (Ned Glass) saying that it was a “Dumb move, Herman!”
While I don’t know anyone named Herman, I say this occasionally to myself as a personal joke if I feel I did something stupid.
Parent Trap (1961)
Plot: When twins (Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills) meet for the first time by accident at summer camp, they switch places to get their divorced parents back together.
In order to switch the daughters back, their mother Maggie (Maureen O’Hara) has to bring Sharon (Mills) back to California to her father’s home. Dad, Mitch (Brian Keith) is unaware but has a sense of foreboding that he shares with his hired hand and friend Hecky (Crahan Denton).
To be honest, this is more of a family joke we use when something bad may happen, it it’s quoted at least once a month by my parents.
Since You Went Away (1944)
Plot: Chronicling the life on the American home front of a mother and two daughters while their father fights overseas during World War II. This includes adjusting to father being away, taking in borders and rationing.
Rationing changed the way civilians cooked and ate during World War II. Items like eggs and sugar were hard to come by so baking a cake was a luxury. In this scene, it’s Col. Smollett (Monty Wooley) is having a birthday party with the family he is boarding with (Claudette Colbert, Hattie McDaniel, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple). The maid Fidelia (McDaniel) tells Col. Smollett that she tried something new with the cake.
This is a phrase my mother and I often imitate when trying something new with a recipe or buying a dessert. Since this is my favorite film, it was hard to pick out just one scene I reference the most, but I’m pretty sure this is up there.
The Trouble with Angels (1966)
Plot: Two trouble making teenagers attend an all girl’s Catholic school and wreak havoc.
Anytime Mary (Hayley Mills) has a great idea for a scheme for she and her best friend Rachel (June Harding), she says that it’s a “scathingly brilliant idea.” Trouble generally ensues.
I think anyone who has seen this movie tries hard to work it into their everyday talk. Why wouldn’t you? It’s a cool and clever sounding phrase. Admittedly, when I say the line, it generally is referring to ideas about food.