by Doug Schultz
1. Blackmail (1929)
The modern-day utterance "That's What She Said" has its roots in the British expression "Said the Actress to the Bishop," which dates back to the first decade of the 1900s (i.e., "Edwardian Times"). Obviously, we Americans aren't as erudite as our cousins across the pond, hence our use of the dumbed-down idiom. Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 film Blackmail was the first British "talkie," released less than two years after The Jazz Singer debuted in October 1927. Beginning production as another silent film, British International Pictures decided to film a portion of the movie in sound in order to cash in on the new "Talking Pictures" phenomenon. Unfortunately, the star of the film was Czech-born hottie Anny Ondra. Her thick accent was a problem. In what feels like a scene straight from Singing in the Rain, her dialogue was simultaneously recorded off-screen (while she lip-synched live) by actress Joan Barry. Crazy. Two disclaimers: 1.) the example I'm featuring here doesn't actually appear in the film; rather, it's Hitch himself who voices the phrase during a sound test to lead actress Ondra. And, 2.) he doesn't actually say "that's what she said"; rather, it's a variation on the British version -- only this time, the director states, "You must stand in your place, or it will not come out right: as the girl said to the soldier." As many of you film historians/buffs know, Hitchcock was a notorious prankster with a dirty, wry sense of humor, so it's no surprise that he chose to use a salacious double entendre (while also implying that Ondra sleeps with a lot of men). And, while not in the movie itself, I'd be remiss if I didn't include this historic sound test example on this list.
2. Wayne's World (1992)
3. Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)
Listen (LISTEN), we all love Chris Farley (RIP in peace), but this movie is maybe the worst. And I say this as someone who unironically loves Tommy Boy. In the above clip, Haru (Farley) utters "That's what she said" (twice) as the punchline to a joke we're not privy to. No matter -- the point is made. Haru is a loud-talking, joke-cracking wisenheimer. And, before you ask, no -- I have no idea why he's blindfolded in a van. I'm assuming ... ninja stuff? In ... Beverly Hills? Yes.
4. Without a Paddle (2004)
5. Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
I haven't seen this movie since I saw it (quote me on that), but I remember liking it. Something about fun and action and nostalgia and adventure. Probably because it's based on a 1965 film of the same name (which itself is based on a 1964 novel by Elleston Trevor). But I might be (could be [am]) wrong. Regardless, in this scene, A.J. (Tyrese Gibson), IMPERSONATING BILL COSBY, prepares for takeoff by reading through a preflight checklist. He states, as Cosby, "Water injection." To which Frank Towns (Dennis Quaid) IMPERSONATING BILL CLINTON, replies, "That's what she said." The filmmakers are SO PLEASED with this bit, that they give it a name. They call it "The Two Bills." And, NO, it totally isn't embarrassing and it doesn't date the movie and I don't want a refund 11 years later. All those things.
6. Big Stan (2007)
7. 30 Minutes or Less (2011)
Usually, Danny McBride can make any line work. Especially if it contains profanity (he's like Bob Odenkirk that way -- dude knows how to sell an expletive). Not so much here. The scene feels flat, is my point. But according to Nick Swardson, the line (and its repetition) wasn't scripted: "I started saying [that's what she said] in the scene at the pool -- that whole scene was really improvised -- and I threw it out there, and after that, I kept putting it in scenes. I just kept saying it. Then, when we had finished all our scenes, I said, 'Can I say it one more time? I think it would be really funny to tie up the whole movie.' When we test-screened the finished film, that final line played fucking huge, in that final scene, so we were really psyched about it. It paid to call it back!" He said it played huge. Hmmm. I might have to disagree with Mr. Swardson.
8. That's What She Said (2012)
I have not seen this movie. No one has seen this movie (although it does not look like the worst). But there it is -- BAM -- right there in the title. So include it I must.