It all started with the T-shirt below, which exhibits a feminist appropriation of an Ayn Rand quote. Big news! Détournement! Or is it? It seems that the original phrasing was twisted a little — edited, if you will — into the form you see on the shirt. The words on the shirt, in other words, are not the words in the book. The quotation on the T-shirt is a misquotation.
But any curmudgeon can hurl a list of misquotations at the reading public. Instead, we’ve decided to gather a list of items featuring misquotations that you can buy right now, just in time to round out your misquotation wardrobe or library this holiday season.
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Last week, my heroes at Shout Factory unleashed The Marx Brothers TV Collection, a comprehensive, three-disc set that’s like Christmas come early for us “Marxists.” Among its many pleasures — variety show guest shots, dramatic turns on anthology series, appearances on celebrity golf and poker shows (yes, they had those back then) — is the set’s crown jewel: the obscure, final appearance of the three brothers together, on an episode of The General Electric Theater. Inspired by this find, we take a look at some of the other long-lost or long-forgotten television turns by Hollywood legends.
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Hollywood lost one of its last lions yesterday, as the legendary Lauren Bacall died at 89. She had a long and storied career, performing on film, radio, stage, and television, but America first knew her as the whisky-voiced marvel who taught Humphrey Bogart how to whistle. Bacall and Bogart were just one of the many Hollywood couples whose onscreen relationship became an off-screen one; let’s take a look at their famous pairing, and those of a few more great movie couples who kept their chemistry going off the set.
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Lauren Bacall, the legendary actress and one of the last living icons from Hollywood’s classic era, died yesterday in… Read More
Forty years ago this week, Jack Nicholson redefined cool, Faye Dunaway redefined icy, and director Roman Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne redefined film noir with the masterful detective thriller Chinatown. It isn’t just that the period drama boasts terrific performances, crackerjack cinematography, and all the period bells and whistles; it’s also a mighty good mystery, offering twists and turns that blindside the first-time viewer. And isn’t that what really great mystery movies are all… Read More
In 1991, following his brilliant The Thin Blue Line, director Errol Morris attempted something even harder than getting an innocent man off Death Row: making Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time into an accessible, audience-friendly, major motion picture. The resulting film is, at long last, available on DVD and Blu-ray via Criterion. It’s awfully good — though its in-depth discussions of quantum mechanics and black holes and the Big Bang are bound to make those of us who nodded off in science class feel a bit out of our element. Then again, some movies, with their convoluted storylines or surrealistic imagery or intellectual subject matter, have the unintended side effect of merely spotlighting our intellectual shortcomings. Here are a few others that made us feel just a little… Read More
Last month, this site took a look at the entirety of cinematic history and cooked up a ranking of the 50 best villains of all time. In honor of this week’s release of Man of Steel, the natural follow-up would seem to be a list of the best heroes — except, ugh, how boring are heroes? They can’t hold a candle to the villains, the supporting goons, or (especially) the antiheroes. The latter is usually defined as a protagonist with no heroic virtues or qualities, but that definition can get a little blurry; some would consider characters that are treated as heroes but have a few unlikable or unpopular qualities (like Han Solo, Dirty Harry Callahan, or Snake Plissken). But a true antihero is made of darker stuff than that. Here are a few examples — well, 50, to be… Read More
Later this month, Warner Brothers is releasing The Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics, which gathers four of the finest films from the Golden Age of the Gangster movie in crisp, new Blu-ray editions. These days, when we think of the gangster picture, we tend to focus on modern favorites like The Godfather and GoodFellas, but those films are descended from a rich heritage of tough, smart, timely pictures from the 1930s and 1940s. As you can see from this month’s ever so helpful Beginner’s Guide, the influence of those films has resonated for decades, from Cagney and Bogart to DeNiro and Pacino.
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