better with each passing day

Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Tue Sep 14 11:44:17 UTC 2010

There's a popular Latin American saying about Carlos Gardel, who died
in 1935: "Cada dia canta mejor." It means, as this
<> NPR
piece reminds us, that Gardel sings better with each passing day, that
his music ages like a fine wine. As a native speaker of Spanish, I can
only agree.

I saw Casablanca the other day, for the first time in years. And I was
blown away, again, and for the umpteenth time. Every line gets better
every time I hear it. Even the lines that aren't in the movie, like
"play it again, Sam." Has any movie shaped the language more than
Casablanca? When was the last time that a classic movie, the locus
classicus of dozens of phrases and idioms, was made? Is it because
movies have been superseded by TV series in the American cultural
repertoire , as A.O. Scott suggested in the Times the other day:


Or because adult movies (no, not that kind) are a thing of the past
(or almost), as Matt Zoller Zeits argues in Salon,



Paul Frank
German, French, Italian > English
paulfrank at
paul.frank at

The American Dialect Society -

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