Speaking Words of Wisdom; Cassell's Movie Quotation. by Nigel Rees (Cassell, Pounds 20). Encarta Book of Quotations. Editor Bill Swainson (Bloomsbury Pounds 30).the Last Word. by Donald Sinden (Robson Books, Pounds 6.99). Reviewed by Ross Reyburn
Byline: Ross Reyburn
'We live in the shadowlands. The sun is always shining, somewhere else, round a bend in the road, over the brow of a hill.'
This sad remark from a terribly sad film comes from Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins playing the writer C. S. Lewis in the film Shadowlands (1993) and surfaces in Cassell's Movie Quotations, a marvellous addition to a considerable list of quotation reference books.
Author Arthur Rees, deviser and presenter of BBC Radio 4's Quote . . . Unquote programme, has assembled an impressive collection of quotations connected with the film world in this superbly presented publication. His material is listed under both the names of famous actors and producers while under the titles of films themselves you can find examples of scriptwriting at its most memorable.
Unsurprisingly with the success of Hollywood, humour dominates much of the book. Virginia Mayo may not rank high on the list of Hollywood stars but in the 1954 movie King Richard and the Crusaders, she was given the privilege of handling one of the great moments in Hollywood scriptwriting history when in the role of Lady Edith she told Richard the Lionheart: 'Fight, fight, fight! That's all you think of, Dick Plantaganet .'
The same year the young American actor Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront summed up his unhappy future prospects with the classic American wisecrack: 'And wadda I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville.'
The other side of the Atlantic, the Ealing Studio comedies were also a rich source of the amusing. The memorable catchphrase of that marvellous comedian Terry Thomas is found among the quotations taken from the wonderful Ealing comedy I'm All Right Jack (1959).
Playing the exasperated Major Hitchcock, he says of his factory workers: 'I can tell you, they're an absolute shower - a positive shower.'
In the same film, Peter Sellers as trade union leader Fred Kite also offered an interesting insight into the intellectual capabilities of the British working man when his thoughts turn to the Soviet Union and he says: 'It's the one place I'd like to go to, though - all them cornfields, and ballet in the evening.'
Fast-forwarding to 1998 from Shakespeare in Love (1998), Rees includes the boatman's remark: ' I had that Christopher Marlowe in my boat once.'
Quotations can offer an interesting insight into a person's faults. American actress Gwyneth Paltrow offers a fine illustration of why she should keep her trap shut off screen with her inelegantly expressed observation: 'Fortunately, I was raised in such a way that I know that family and friends and dogs and flowers and walks are what's important in life, not movies and fame.'
Paltrow's insincere sincerity is best summed up English actor Michael Wilding's remark: 'You can pick out actors by the glazed look that comes into their eyes when the conversation wanders away from themselves.'
It is good to see justice done to one with 29 quotations involving one of the 20th century's most amusing figures, Sam 'Include Me Out' Goldwyn (1882-1974), the Polish-born American producer whose early career included a spell in Birmingham.
The Encarta Book of Quotations edited by Bill Swainson with 25,000 quotations by more than 6,200 authors is another impressive addition to the field. These include 28 Goldwyn quotes while Shakespeare predictably heads the quote count with 713. …