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No need to read between these lines


Ah, love. If only we had scriptwriters dictating our lives, how easy it all would be.

You know, find an Ingrid Bergman lookalike, lift her chin gently toward you, whisper, "Here's looking at you, kid," and watch the sparks fly.

Sure would make Valentine's Day a lot easier to bear.

Or would it?

True, Hollywood has come up with some great pickup lines -- turns of phrase guaranteed to make even the most lovelorn among us a veritable Lothario-in-training. But even the best lines don't work for everybody. And some of the classics, phrases that have become part of the vernacular, nowadays may elicit nothing more than a perplexed stare or bemused chuckle.

The good folks at Turner Classic Movies and Chronicle Books recently compiled a list of 30 classic pickup lines and committed them to flashcards (the better to practice uttering them, one supposes). Some, no doubt, still work like a charm. Others ... well, you decide:

Clark Gable to Jean Harlow in Red Dust: "Mind if I get drunk with you?" (Hardly politically correct.)

John Gilbert to Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil: "You know, when you blow out the match, it's an invitation to kiss you." (And I just quit smoking ...)

Bette Davis to Leslie Howard in It's Love I'm After: "You're going to have love for breakfast, love for luncheon, and love for dinner." (Just when Americans are being urged to eat less.)

Robert Taylor to Lana Turner in Johnny Eager: "Oh, now don't get ordinary on me. I get tired of ordinary dames. And I don't want to get tired of you." (Outside of the U.K., when's the last time anyone got called a dame?)

Loretta Young to Lyle Talbot in She Had to Say Yes: "I hate being pawed." His reply? "Ah, but then maybe you've never been pawed properly." (Sounds like something Justin said to Janet just before that "wardrobe malfunction.")

Then again, some lines are truly timeless: Groucho Marx to Margaret Dumont in A Day at the Races: "Marry me, and I'll never look at another horse."

Ah, amore.

-- Chris Kaltenbach

("Famous Pick-Up Lines: 30 Movie Flashcards," is available at local bookstores.)

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