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Film and television have a huge influence our everyday actions and decisions. I am not talking about the adverts in the cinema that annoyingly make you really want a Coke just as the film is about to start. Instead I am talking about us: our language, mannerisms, clothes, fears and even what we drink on a night out. Have you ever stopped and realised that the sayings that we adapted to form our everyday language were originally bought to us via the screen? The same goes for our fashion and lifestyle choices. Perhaps not all of them – but many of us have Film fixed in our personalities. Do you have any Hollywood habits?
Possibly the most important influence the screen has had on us is the way in which language has influenced our lives and interactions with others. I can’t count the amount of times I have been about to leave my friend’s flat, then turned around and said “I’ll Be Back” – quoting, obviously, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from Terminator. There are so many phrases that we use in our everyday speech that we don’t relate link back to their debuts on the screen:
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” – Gone with the Wind
“Say hello to my Little Friend!” – Scarface
“I’m the king of the world!” – Titanic
“Well, nobody’s perfect.” – Some Like it Hot
“You talkin’ to me?” – Taxi Driver
These are some of my favourite lines but are by no means the end of the list. Thousands more examples can be found at the end of a quick Google search. Did the origin of some of these phrases surprise you? Ditto (which is, incidentally, from Ghost)!
It is said we are born with only two fears; falling and fear of loud noises. So why are so many people terrified of spiders, sharks and snakes? The film industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to our over-active morbid imaginations. I know it can’t just be me who expects to see a face appear at night when looking at a darkened window. A lot of people can put their fear of clowns down to movies such as Steven Spielberg’s ‘It’. Did ‘Jaws’ give you a fear of sharks? I often wonder to myself what I might actually be afraid of if it weren’t for horror films.
Remember those Charlie Chaplin facial expressions we see our friends pull to each other from across a seminar room when a tutor asks us to pair up or that eager student in the class who loves the sound of their own voice just won’t stop talking? We are always acting, imitating an actor’s performance – whether it is to save someone’s feelings, give a specific impression of yourself in an interview or perhaps because you are actually a theatre student. The rapid popularity of Film and Drama in the 1920s brought with it a wave of theatrical and larger than life characters who have never really left us. They are the kind who approach most situations in life with jazz hands at the ready as well as having prepared a catalogue of grand exits when leaving a room – I am sure you could identify a few of these characters on our Lancaster Campus.
Film and Fashion often go hand in hand. This can easily be seen reflected on high street and the catwalks – following the success of the ‘Avengers Assemble’ film in 2012, high street brands such as Topshop have incorporated comic book prints and designs of the avenging heroes in their range. James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ famously influenced Jean Paul Gaultier’s 2010 Spring Couture collection; after watching the film he openly admitted to having used the tropical, ecological and mythical elements of the film as the inspiration in his range.
Does this mean that we can expect a 1920s influence in the fashion world following the recent release of ‘The Great Gatsby’? Yes, according to the high street retailer Debenhams. They were recorded as saying that the “demand for feathered capes, headpieces and other accessories is up by over 250 per cent, while sales of costume jewellery such as sparkling diamante encrusted bracelets and dazzling strings of golden pearls are up by 200 per cent compared with this time last year” in the Daily Express. I look forward to seeing feathers this summer!
Alcohol and acting often go well together, and we can’t help but be influenced by what we see our idols drinking on the screen. Have the words “shaken, not stirred” ever slipped out when ordering a Martini? If you answered yes, I applaud you. However, the chances are most would not quote Bond if ordering a Martini as it is perhaps an unlikely beverage to order at the Sugarhouse with your mates in tow for a laugh. On the other hand, Lancaster’s bars have been quick to up the drinks offers on cocktails following the glamorous release of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’.
I think it is clear film and the screen have influenced us in many ways, more than I can comment on here – I’ll leave it up to you to decided whether it is a welcome addition to our culture or not!