The lovable rogue is a cultural fixture. In his more thieving modes (he’s canonically male, usually stealing hearts along the way), he steals and redistributes or returns the goods for safekeeping (Robin Hood, Indiana Jones); steals because he operates best on the margins and needs to outrun an already dodgy past (Han Solo, Mal Reynolds, Jack Colton); or simply steals because it’s fun, he’s good at it, and it beats working for a living, like Monsieur Leval or, well, Mr.
Saturday night marked the return of the annual A Day of Silents program at the Castro, one of the many events the San Francisco Silent Film Festival hosts outside of its weeklong extravaganza in the spring. I was only able to catch the evening double bill – missing out on the very silly-looking The Last Man on Earth, Henry King’s dark pastoral Tol’Able David, the Ivor Novello-starring The Rat, and, saddest of all, Reiniger’s Prince Achmed, one of the earliest entries in the Counter-Programming series — but it was, as usual, delightful.
Nominating the bawdiest dialog from a pre-Code film is a fool’s errand — it’s a crowded field — but this exchange, from Ernst Lubitsch‘s sparkling, smirkingly amoral Trouble In Paradise, has got to be a contender:
If I were your father, which fortunately I am not, and you made any attempt to handle your own business affairs, I would give you a good spanking – in a business way, of course.