“The Germans Wore Gray, you wore blue.”

casablancaHow do you get to be a genius and write lines like these? –

Rick: “Not an easy day to forget. I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.”

Ilsa: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’. “

Rick: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

There’s a fair amount of dispute about who actually wrote what for Casablanca. It seems that Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein, Howard Koch and Casey Robinson were all involved. Even Humphrey Bogart is given the credit for  “Here’s looking at you, kid”. But how do you produce these genius perfect lines? I could never do it in a month of Sundays. Possibly because I use phrases like ‘a month of Sundays’.

How do you produce similes like –

“By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.” Cormac McCarthy

“I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars.” Raymond Chandler

What about this one, by me – “He was tiny. As small as an underdeveloped baby dwarf ant who had been off his food for a week.”

Maybe not.

It’s context as well. Casablanca is set in …. well Casablanca. Transfer this to Risca and –

Ilsa says, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By'” would change to –

Blodwen says, “Play it, Dai. Play ‘Guns Don’t Kill People Rappers Do'”.

Local Welsh similes and idioms are often quite harsh or simply baffling –

“She had a face like a robber’s horse.”

“He was as angry as ten bears.”

And some of the idioms are particularly strange –

“It’s raining old ladies and sticks.” (“Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn”)

“Don’t lift a petticoat after peeing.” (“Paid â chodi pais ar ôl piso” )

The English equivalent of “Don’t lift a petticoat…” is ” Don’t cry over spilt milk.” It does seem to lack the Welsh charm, though. Don’t you think?

 

  

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