Finding a New Language at the Movies

By Mark Skoultchi

December 9, 2010

A hat in the woods. And trouble in town.

In a world that too often devolves into F-bombs and other woof moments preceding a bar fight, Catchword yearns for language that is sophisticated and nuanced. A new language, even if it’s merely more appropriate and expressive words. Or else the hardboiled dialogue from Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Regardless of the venue, at Catchword, we salute the richness and power of carefully chosen words and names.

We wish the common vernacular could be more elevated, just like the language from our favorite movies.

This crosses our mind when down at the office we are playing Danny Boy at aircraft volume, and wearing our fedoras pulled low and smart. Yes sir, we are talking about Miller’s Crossing, that Coen Brothers mob movie.

This gem strung together such lingo as:
“…don’t smart me…”

“…I’m sick a the high hat…”

“…our chins hangin’ out…”

“…takin’ the scrap from you…”

“…take your flunky and dangle…”

“…squirting a few…”

“…what’s all the rumpus?”

And the movie also revived moribund terms:
“yegg” (itinerant burglar)

“twist” (woman)

These expressions are rich, expressive and a lot more fun than the abbreviated chatter we endure every day (yes, Twitter, we’re looking at you).

The language creates a world. A world we’d like to live in. A tip o’ the hat and a amber colored toast to you, Tom Reagan and Leo O’Bannon, even you Verna Bernbaum. But Johnny Caspar, you still get the high hat.

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