Object Of Desire

Grand Old Movies


Shall I tell you my favorite line from The Oscar, that 1966 cinematic hotbed of infamously favorite lines? It’s not the obvious, well-known bits. Like “honey-drippers” or “thrombos” or the frequent, euphemistic exclamations of “Birdseed!” Nor is it the with-it ‘60s slang (“Swinging party”; “Man, what a scene”; “I’m splitting”) that now makes the film sound as archaic as a Jacobean tragedy. Nor such stand-outs as the bereft wife ungrammatically moaning, “My bed is empty of husband”; or the astonishingly cryptic, “I’m from Ohio; how many green stamps is that?” (I’ll bite: how many?)

Damn, no. It’s Elke Sommer’s sarcastic response to philandering movie-star husband Stephen Boyd’s return from a night out tom-catting: “I’m sorry, sir, but you have to go. My husband is expected back from the Punic Wars any moment now, and he’s insanely jealous.”

Whoa, I thought. Dig that: a reference to the Punic Wars. Heavy…

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