How 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.”
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?