Dialogue Clinkers

One other point about A Single Man.  The movie is set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the movie does a tremendous job, for the most part, in setting the mood and appearance of the early ’60s in terms of cars, clothing, music, locations, rotary telephones, stereo cabinets, and characters who seem to smoke all the time and drink like crazy.

The movie also demonstrated, however, that if you are going to evoke a period you can’t just focus on physical surroundings and character activity; you also have to pay attention to language.  In one scene the college professor talks earnestly to a student, and the student says that a particular concept “freaks me out.”  It may be that “freaks me out” was a common expression on California college campuses in 1962, but the phrase seemed very jarring to me.   That kind of apparent clinker can destroy all of the carefully constructed atmospherics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s