"Read My Lips"

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Fri Jan 4 12:57:03 UTC 2008

There is what claims to be a transcript of the Magnum Force script here
and there is no read-my-lips in it. However, in a 1988 column here
Safire says the "Dirty Harry" character says it, but doesn't specify a
movie. (He also cites a 1978 usage by Tim Curry).


In The Yale Book of Quotations I say that the expression "read my lips"
appears in the Clint Eastwood film, Magnum Force (1973) (and also earlier as
the title of a 1957 song by Joe Greene).  Now, however, I am wondering
whether "read my lips" does actually appear in Magnum Force; I am not sure
that my sources for that assertion were reliable.  Can anyone confirm or
disconfirm the Magnum Force usage?  Jesse, did the OED check this out for
its forthcoming entry on "read my lips"?  Also, did the OED accept the 1957
song usage?  Is there any still earlier usage that was found?

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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