Giving--a *different* finger?

At the moment, my cable company is showing In Cold Blood free on demand, so I’ve been watching it. Robert Blake and Scott Wilson play two drifters on the run after murdering a Kansas family, and in one scene they’re driving along when Scott Wilson gives the finger to another driver. But he doesn’t give the finger; instead, he gives his index finger. You see his arm raised outside the window, just as if he were really giving the finger, but it’s is index finger. I had to rewind over that spot and watch it again, because I didn’t think such an old movie would show someone actually flipping the bird.

Turns out the movie wasn’t as old as I thought it was. It was made in 1967, by which time I thought a movie intended for adult audiences might well show someone flipping a genuine bird. So why was the index finger used? Was there ever a time or place where someone might use the index finger instead of the middle finger?

Great question, let us consult the ultimate authority. Big C if you are there enlighten us with your wisdom.

Big C…Or “Ed” for short? :slight_smile:

I forgot to mention in my OP, that I was wondering if the raised index finger was meant to be just a cinematic device to get past the censors; everyone would know that he was supposed to be flipping the bird but the censors couldn’t say he actually was doing so.

No, no, he was just conveying that “I’m Number One!” :slight_smile:

AKA The Big Pschit?

Try asking the Moive Answer Man, Roger Ebert.

No, he seems a bit uptight. I have a feeling this would be a “trivia” question, which he explicitly refuses to field.

I do remember a schoolyard joke of flipping a pinkie finger at someone and saying “You don’t deserve the best.”

When I was a teenager in Boston, it was okay to hold up the index, middle, and ring fingers and say “Read between the lines.” :smiley: