How to Speak Like a Classic Film Star

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I wrote about the funny phrase from a 30’s movie that found it’s way into Erik’s brain and out his mouth when he was a younger lad, and thought that you might want to adopt some of these phrases into your everyday vocabulary. Tell me if I’m wrong, but you look exactly like the sort of lady that would be proud to spew out a few of these words to the delight of everyone around you.

Please first watch the following clip from the 1931 film, “Little Caesar” so you can get a good feel for the, um, dialect.

Next, study the following phrases thoroughly, then try them out in the mirror a few times. They have to flow quickly and effortlessly from your face. These are perfect starter phrases from which to build your collection.

Examples:

Hey, hey, wait a minute, Junior, where ya goin’?

It’s grand!

It splits more eardrums than a mule’s hee-haw.

Aw, hot dog!

I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet.

He’s off his nut about a mile and a half.

Hey, bo, why’d ya have ta go and fog the elbow? You’re headed straight for the cooler, flat.

Bonus Tips:

  • Always wear a fedora and carry a gun in your newspaper.
  • An easy technique to adopt while you’re still mastering this art form is to just talk outta the corner of your mouth, see? And tack on the word see to the end of every sentence to make it a question, see?

 

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Once those are firmly in place, you can sit back and watch some fantastic old movies. I would focus on 30’s gangster films and Film Noir from the 40’s, that way you can mix and match some gangster speak with that of a gum-heel. Keep a pencil and paper close at hand for note-taking, and the people watching with you won’t mind a lick if you keep rewinding to particularly good phrases.

Extra Resources:

Here are links to 50 free Film Noir movies, so grab your double whiskey and get to it, see?

Don’t miss this fantastic glossary of phrases that I will be utilizing often in my posts here on out.

8 Comments

  1. 09/24/2014 / 8:38 pm

    “I went to the shore last weekend, see? I went there to see the sea, see?”

    An entertaining and informative article!
    I’m a huge fan of film noir and truly enjoyed this read, thank you!

  2. 09/25/2014 / 9:23 am

    So much better than talking like a pirate!

    • 09/25/2014 / 2:11 pm

      Oh my. I think you’re totally right. And Fen wants to be a pirate for Halloween, so I may have to teach her to be a 30’s gangster pirate.

  3. 09/26/2014 / 9:21 am

    This made me laugh aloud! There is an older lady in my life who really does speak like this and I often wish I could take lessons in my diction and speech to cultivate that sense of glamour. Well, here you go! <3

    • 09/27/2014 / 2:44 pm

      Wow, so you have a real, live speaking coach! And she doesn’t even know it. How lucky is that? I just can’t get over how cool it sounds…

  4. 09/27/2015 / 12:42 pm

    So funny, see? I gotta go get a fedora now. And a newspaper.

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