Well, Something Along Those Lines: “Movie Misquotations”

20 January 2010

Also in this past Sunday’s New York Times,  the On Language column this week (by Fred R. Shapiro, editor of The Yale Book of Quotations) considered “Movie Misquotations”. Some highlights:

Alfonso Bedoya in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"

“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”

From The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
In the film, “Alfonso Bedoya declared, ‘I don’t have to show
you any stinking badges!'”This phrase changed
(and that Spanish double negative added)
when the line was paraphrased in a television episode of
The Monkees (1967) and the movie Blazing Saddles (1974).

“The natives are restless.”

From the film Island of Lost Souls (1932). Charles Laughton’s character  (Doctor Moreau) commented, “They are restless tonight.”
This is an example of a line changed to
“stand alone, without the cinematic context.”

“Greed is good.”

From Wall Street (1987). Michael Douglas’
Gordon Gekko (not to put too fine a point on it) actually said:
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” One of the many
examples cited of the original phrases being streamlined.

“Come with me to the Casbah.”

Attributed to Charles Boyer’s character in Algiers (1938),
but not in the movie, the phrase probably “was the creation
of Boyer impersonators who used it to mock the film.”

“Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

Often identified with Mae West and her 1933 film
She Done Him Wrong, the line isn’t in there or
in any other West movie. The author cites this as an example
of a “quotation [that] captures the essence of a performer”‘
even though he feels it was “too risqué” to have been
made it into films of West’s era. (I’m not so sure about it
being too racy to have made in past the censors.)



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