Classic Film 101, Lesson 2

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

This one courtesy of Blue Hawaii: “Stoned” means “drunk.” For that matter, so does “high.” If Bing Crosby tells you he got so high last night he couldn’t feel his feet, he’s not telling you he spent it chilling out on his couch Snoop Dogg-style. (In the movies, at least. Real life was a different story.) Pretty much all the euphemisms we currently use for smoking pot were, during Hollywood’s golden era, applied to drunkenness.

This one can be a little tricky because, in context, either usage generally makes sense. In Blue Hawaii, Angela Lansbury as Elvis’s high-strung, uber-Southern mama laments the fact that Elvis is out spending all his time on the beach with his Hawaiian musician buddies, who “get stoned” all day long. The modern use of the word was probably just as applicable as the classic one–but this being the era of the production code, unless the word “reefer” is actually uttered, then you can bet they’re just talking about liquor.

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