Monday, November 26, 2012

Hitchcock Slang

I've been reading Shirley MacLaine's autobiography this week, and it had this snippet in it that I found amusing. Early,  early in her career she was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie called, The Trouble with Harry, and she illustrates how confusing the movie set lingo can be for a beginner. 

     The crew on the set was in full cry.
     "Tilt the broad down a little."
     "And make her two points hotter."
     "Okay. Now screw her."
     "Hit your mark, schmuck, whaddaya think this is, a ball park?"
     "The light's gettin' yella--you want I should eighty-six the store and call it lunch for keeps?"
     Alfred Hitchcock came waddling toward me, eyes twinkling, his roly-poly stomach well out in the lead.
     "Pleasant period following death," he said.
     "Genuine chopper, old girl, genuine chopper."
     "Excuse me?"
     "And after your first line--dog's feet."

     When I finally had it all translated, it turned out that the lighting crew had said:
     Tilt the big light down a little.
     And make it brighter by two points on the light meter.
     Okay. Now secure it.
     Get in your light, you silly actor, we've only got so much equipment.
     You're taking too long, going too slow. You want me to fire all of you so you'll be out of work for good?
     And then Hitchcock had told me in his own version of cockney rhyming slang:
     Good mourning/morning (Pleasant period following death)
     Real-axe/relax (Genuine chopper)
     And after your first line, paws/pause (Dog's feet)

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