Back in the old Blockbuster days, I used to rent a lot of movies. And back in the old VHS days, I used to watch the trailers on the tape before the actual movie.
Well, maybe ‘watch’ is too strong a word. Oftentimes, I’d be in the kitchen grabbing munchies. But the point is, in the time of fast-forwarding as opposed to skipping, it was easier just to let the trailers play.
That’s how a quote from a movie I’ve never seen, An Ideal Husband, ended up in the book.
I swear on my life never to keep my word.
I laughed hard when I heard it – possibly harder than it really deserved, but I may have been drunk. (Munchies weren’t always all I was getting in the kitchen.) Even so, it was enough to make it worth rewinding the tape to add it to the book.
Rewinding is a central part of my quote collecting process. I’m a detail-oriented person, and it’s important to to me the quotes be accurate. This often means rewinding multiple times as I transcribe, especially on longer quotes, and then a final read-and-listen through when I’m done to make sure I haven’t made any mistakes.
Which is why I was surprised, and more than a little disappointed, to discover the quote in my book isn’t right.
I’ve not been able to find the quote as it originally appears in my book, as none of the trailers I’ve found online contain it. It took a fair bit of digging to track it down at all, in fact, watching a bunch of clips from a movie I’ve never had any interest in seeing. And when I did finally locate it, there was an extra bit in the middle that changed the whole feel.
I swear on my life to be utterly trivial, and never to keep my word.
That quote would never have made it into the book. The addition of the ‘utterly trivial’ part ruins what I liked about it in the first place – the immediate, compact contradiction of swearing to never swear. Those extra words just get in the way.
Originally, I intended this article to be about marketing and how it doesn’t always work, since even a quote that I enjoy this much wasn’t enough to convince me to watch the damn film. Now my focus has shifted a bit, as I think about movie trailers and all the problems associated with them. There are tonnes of complaints out there, from how they contain all the best jokes, to how they give away the entire plot, to how they feature scenes that don’t appear in the final cut of the film.
I’m going to add a personal gripe to that list. I’ve noticed on occasion that dialogue differs between trailers and the actual movie, and would guess that’s what happened here. It was edited to make it snappier. Catchier.
So I guess you could say the marketing did work.
To see previous posts in my Quotes series, click here.