No Time For Comedy (1940) Movie Script

How long did Carrell say?
- 15 minutes.
Then we run through the second act.
- Just time for a drink. How about it?
No thanks, Frank. I think
I'll stay here for a smoke.
Good morning, Jim.
- Hello Frank.
Double Scotch and plain water. No ice.
Sorry Frank. No more credit.
Oh Jim.
Is that a nice way for one
trouper to treat another?
I can't help it.
This is your seventh day of rehearsal.
And according to Equity, they can let
you out without paying you a cent.
And you're into me for a week's tabs.
They won't let me out, Jim.
I'm just made for this part.
A visiting Duke from Arabia.
- Thanks.
Now if you're so confident, how come you
need a drink so early in the morning?
You know, talk on the street is
the play don't look so good.
That Benson is going to call
the whole thing off today.
So he doesn't have to pay anybody.
- Oh.
They're a little uncertain...
Because the play needs some rewriting
and the author hasn't shown up yet.
Good morning, Mr Benson.
How are you Carrell?
Hello Frank.
- How do you do, Miss Paige.
Say, she called you Frank.
Maybe they won't let you out.
Maybe the show is going on.
Here. Help yourself.
What will it be, folks?
- Bicarbonate.
Excuse me.
Now look, boys. The author will show up.
He'll do the rewriting. It's all going
to be alright. It's still a witty play.
I don't know. Maybe there's no such
person as Gaylord Esterbrook.
It sounds like a phony
name to me anyway.
It is not. I phoned Redfield Minnesota.
His landlady said he left two weeks ago.
Anyhow I'm glad to know there
is such a place as Redfield.
I was doubtful about that too.
I'm still not convinced about Minnesota.
Well, I brought you three Scotches.
Where's the aspirin?
- In the Scotch.
You know, I didn't take
you folks seriously.
You didn't read that third act.
[ Door knocks ]
[ Door knocks ]
You has positively left town.
And have you the menu well in
mind for tonight, Rosalie?
I certainly have. Plumber's eggs and...
That is 'plovers' eggs.
Not 'plumbers' eggs.
Plover's eggs and partridge.
Why can't you remember a simple line?
I can't keep that fancy food in my head.
You change it to pork chops
and beans. I'll remember that.
And suppose we change the locale of
this play from Park Avenue to Harlem?
How would that suit you?
That would suit me fine.
And have you the menu well in
mind for tonight, Rosalie?
I certainly have.
Rover's eggs and cockroaches.
Pipe down. There's a rehearsal going on.
- Yeah. My play.
Listen, I've been in
show business 48 years.
You're either here to serve a summons
or you're an actor looking for a job.
One thing I'm sure of.
You're not the author of that play.
All I can do is tell you again that
my name is Gaylord Esterbrook.
I admit I don't know anybody that looks
like the name Gaylord Esterbrook.
Including myself, but believe me.
It may be your name alright, but you
can't say you wrote that play in there.
Why, it's about Park Avenue.
There's even a Duke and a Duchess in it.
- I know. I put them in.
That's a scene in Miss Gardner's
apartment with the Duke.
She's just offering him a cigarette.
I must say Ronald that you
are beautifully charming.
And you Miss Gardner
are charmingly beautiful.
I'm very much afraid you
have a flair for flattery.
Rather an understatement.
Do sit down.
Now do you believe it?
I'll never believe it.
But I'll tell them you're here.
I beg your pardon, Mr Benson.
There's a young fellow at the stage door
that claims he's Gaylord Esterbrook.
Esterbrook? Where is he? About time.
Benny. That third act.
I didn't know whether to
believe him or throw him out.
Throw him out.
I must ask you again.
Ronald, are you going to leave
or must I telephone the police?
I'm not leaving, but if you
think it will be amusing...
Telephone the police by all means.
No, I've a better idea. Here.
Here's my railroad ticket.
My name is right on there.
And here's my name on the
lining of the suit there.
The lining of the hat has 'G.E'.
Gaylord Esterbrook.
Here is a card I have.
My name is on that.
'Redfield Volunteer Fire Department'.
I'll get in touch with
Ripley right away.
I am convinced.
I'm glad to see you
with us, Mr Esterbrook.
I'm Richard Benson, your producer.
- Well, I'm glad to know you, sir.
You're just as I pictured you.
- Thanks.
This is Morgan Carrell.
He's directing the play.
Glad to know you, sir.
How do you do. I hope I live
up to your dream of me.
I never gave him much thought.
I hope you've given a little
thought to that third act of yours.
There's time enough for that later.
Mr Esterbrook must be very anxious to
see how his play looks from the stage.
I certainly am.
Joe, show Mr Esterbrook out
to the front of the house.
Yes, sir. Right this way, Mr Esterbrook.
Carrell and I will arrange
things on the stage.
Alright. Where shall I sit out there?
Right in the center. I want the
actors to have a look at you too.
What writers can move from
Redfield to write high comedy?
What does he know about Park Avenue?
Don't mean a thing.
I don't know anything about Park Avenue
either and I live on the darned street.
Right everyone, from the beginning.
Set them up for Act 1, Max.
Yes, sir.
Go to the auditorium. I've a surprise
for you. Now don't ask questions.
We got all new seats here, huh.
Would you mind running out to
get me a pack of cigarettes please?
Wait a minute.
I'll give you the 15 cents.
That's alright.
- Take a quarter.
No. I have a...
- It's alright. You keep the change.
I kinda feel I should be
here when the play starts.
I'll tell you all about it.
I want you to meet our
author: Gaylord Esterbrook.
Give me my quarter back.
- Sure.
How do you do.
- How do you do.
Well, you have a part
in my play Miss...?
She's only the star, that's all.
Linda Paige.
Oh, Linda Paige. Oh.
Then I insist on getting the cigarettes.
No. I think you had better sit down.
We are going to start right away.
Excuse me.
You'd better sit next to Carrell.
You may want to compare notes.
Hurry up, up there.
Have you got a cigarette?
I don't smoke.
Here you are, Linda.
Is that really Linda Paige?
Cross my heart.
For my money she's a
little skinny to be a star.
Well, it's Benson's money
so you can stop worrying.
By the way, why did it take
you two weeks to get here?
I just didn't come right
straight here. You see...
The railroad had an excursion to Grand
I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
- You only live once.
How did you like the canyon?
- Oh, that place...
That's what everybody says.
You know how wide it is at one point?
- 27 miles.
Then from the canyon we went
south to Santa Fe and El Paso.
Then went over to New Orleans, had
dinner there and headed up for New York.
That was your mistake.
On the way back, we take in
the Indian festival at Gallup.
That's always interesting.
Then we go north to
Cheyenne for the rodeo.
Let's watch the rehearsal from
the back. I'm getting train sick.
Ever been to the Grand Canyon?
- No, I haven't.
Have you, Dick?
- No, I haven't.
Have you, Carrell?
- No.
So how do you know it's 27 miles wide?
What a relief that nobody
got their notice, huh?
Don't celebrate yet.
They've until midnight to notify us.
We'd better keep our
phones off the hook.
I heard them talking. They're meeting at
Benson's apartment for dinner tonight.
They will decide things there.
- I hope it's a good dinner.
Say, I'm having a little
trouble figuring out this map.
What subway do I take to get up to
72nd Street and Lexington Avenue?
I ain't giving no
information on subways.
We are competitors.
- Oh.
I'm sort-of new here, you see.
I got in from Minnesota this morning.
A refugee, huh?
Look Buddy, why not
forget about the subways.
Firstly, you take the shuttle.
Then you take an express
and then you to take a local.
The chances are still 3-1
you wind up in Brooklyn.
You're too nice a guy
to end up like that.
Why not just jump in the cab here
and leave the details to me?
I would sorta like to take the subway.
- Goodnight, Miss Paige.
Good evening, Miss Paige.
- Hello, George.
Mr Esterbrook, can I
drop you off someplace?
Well, no. I was just
getting a little information.
1150, Park Avenue.
- Yes, sir.
Remember, 7:30 sharp.
- Goodnight.
I'll tell La Guardia you're in town.
Which way you going?
I'm going up to 72nd
and Lexington Avenue.
I don't know. This map seems
to go to the 65th and stops.
Well, I can take you.
I'm going up town.
Oh. Well...
Thanks very much.
But you know, I've read so much about
it I'd sorta like to take the subway.
At this time of day?
The subway during rush
hour is just undeclared war.
Well, that's more or less part
of New York don't you think?
Millions of people going home
and pushing and shoving.
But you have to have years of experience
to know how to push and shove back.
They'll know you're a stranger
and gang up on you.
I would still sorta like to try it.
I'll go with you. Somebody has
to be there to identify the body.
George, you take the car home.
I'd like it really. So if you...
72nd and Lexington, eh? That's right
around the corner from Benson.
He's at 73rd and Park.
Are you staying in a
hotel or with friends?
No. The Lexington YMCA.
Oh, I see. With friends.
It's a great place they have up there.
I don't know.
They never asked me over.
That's my idea of big-city
stuff, that place.
Do you find it cosmopolitan?
- They've got everything up there.
They got eleven billiard tables.
They got a swimming pool 80 feet
long and tiled right up to the ceiling.
They got ping-pong. At night you
have lectures, educational movies.
A new movie every night.
They even have a class on
playwriting once every two weeks.
I wouldn't mention that to Carrell if I
were you. He may insist you take it.
Foreigners, eh?
Beg your pardon.
- Pardon me.
Could you tell me how
to get to 125th Street?
No, not right offhand.
I've a map here but it just
goes as far as 65th Street.
65th. That's far enough.
Where's the subway?
Right there.
- Thank you.
I got it.
Boy, that's great.
Oh, there you are.
I'm sorry to be so late.
I left some notes at the 'Y'.
I'll be right back.
I say it's wordy, unwieldy.
Morgan, I think it has
a charm all its own.
I must say I agree with
Morgan wholeheartedly.
But I do see Linda's
point of view clearly.
Perhaps it helps if I read the notes
I took at the afternoon rehearsal.
Yes, by all means.
Let's get everybody's point of view.
I think you'll find these
notes pretty unbiased.
First scene. First act.
Interesting introduction of characters.
Abundance of laughs.
Second scene.
The story starts unfolding in...
A masterful manner.
Second act.
This act has too many laughs.
That's possible.
Third act.
This act holds up nicely.
The dialog here.
Most brilliant.
I feel very optimistic
about the whole thing.
If you have finished with that document.
I'd like to frame it.
On the way home this afternoon.
I took the trouble to stop in at the
public library and look up Redfield.
It has a population of 786.
Including livestock.
It has one movie house.
Which shows triple features.
All of them westerns.
The nearest any self-respecting railroad
will come to Redfield is thirty miles.
Its cultural center.
Is the hot stove in the grocery store.
The main industry is whittling.
And you have the audacity
to write about high society.
No wonder your play is...
Awkward, graceless, inept,
clumsy, artificial and hopeless.
Now, this is my last word on
this piece of pretentious tripe.
Nothing personal in this you understand.
Oh no. No.
I'm sorry, folks. But when I get
excited I just can't sit still.
At home I usually go for
a long walk in the woods.
The best we can offer
you in the way of woods.
Is a sprig of fern.
Look. I've taken about all I'm gonna
take from you. You've said enough.
Are you threatening me?
- Yeah. That's right.
In that case it's possible
I've said enough.
Now Morgan, you're judging this play not
by what it is but by where it came from.
What's wrong with coming
from the provinces?
Many New York sophisticates
are from the sticks.
Where are you from by the way?
- We won't go into that.
Now Benny, I've made
money for you, haven't I?
I know this play isn't perfect
but I've got a hunch about it.
It's one of those that gets across.
At least it deserves a chance.
And what if you do lose
a little money, Benny.
It will remind you of '29.
You'll feel young again.
Please do it. Please, Benny. For me.
I will do it and you know me
once my mind is made up.
Thank you, Benny.
You can come out of the woods now.
No. I'm too excited.
I think I need some air.
There's a terrace out there I never use.
Thanks very much. Excuse me please.
Have you finished it, Robert?
Not quite yet, sir.
But so far it's rather good.
As upset as you are, I thought you
might like to eat your dessert.
Eat it? I don't even know what it is.
Well, you mention this
three times in your play.
It's chocolate mousse.
Is that what it is?
- Hmm.
I guess I read about it someplace.
I thought it was smart.
And never came face to face with one.
- Let me introduce you to it.
I don't know.
I pictured it as a sort of a...
Cake-like thing.
Oh, doggone it.
Don't worry about it.
Manna is the only thing people
are taught to fall from heaven.
But on Park Avenue they will
take chocolate mousse to try.
Thanks, anyway.
- That's alright.
Look. Thanks for...
Getting Benson to put on my play.
Don't be silly. You wrote me
a good part. I was protecting it.
Tell me something. How did you
happen to write a play like this?
Well, the...
The drama society back home wanted to
put on a play so I wrote one for them.
It was all about Redfield and
people I know back there.
Yes, I see. But I mean about this play.
'Dilemma at dinner'.
- It's the same one.
I changed it around a little bit.
Made the local folks
Dukes and Duchesses.
Wasn't that a little difficult? I mean
writing about people you don't know?
I always figured people are pretty
much the same everywhere.
After all, how many Dukes and
Duchesses are there to know?
Do you know any?
Uhuh. One.
The doorman at The Versailles.
Where's that?
- It's a restaurant.
Tell me, do you do anything
else besides write plays?
Well, I'm editor of the
Redfield Daily Reporter.
A town of seven hundred...
- Look out.
That's alright. A town of seven
hundred people has a Daily Reporter?
Seven hundred and eighty-six.
Well, we call it the Daily Reporter.
It comes out twice a month.
Isn't that confusing for your readers?
I never thought of that,
but I guess it is.
Don't mind my asking so many questions.
It's an Irish characteristic.
Irish? You are Irish?
- Uhuh.
But Paige?
We call it Paige. It's really Haggerty.
I'm a melting pot. I'm a hundred
percent American on my father's side.
On my mother's side there's a dozen
nationalities fighting it out.
Mostly minority races.
I like that.
You know, people with many races
in their family make-up are always...
The most fascinating person
I ever met is just...
Plain Irish.
[ Fire engine siren ]
Hey, that sounds like a fire.
Doesn't it?
Yeah, look. Look, there are the engines.
Boy, look at the length
of that hook and ladder.
Do you like to go to fires?
I can take 'em or leave 'em.
I've never missed one in my life.
I will see you tomorrow. Goodbye.
Hey there.
- Oh.
Thanks for your hospitality.
A wonderful dinner. Goodbye.
What's the matter with him?
- He's gone to a fire.
He never misses one.
You know, he's an eccentric
man even for a playwright.
I cannot argue with you there.
No, sir.
You read it carefully?
- Yes, sir.
No, sir.
Robert has an infallible instinct.
- You just said you'd made up your mind.
I have. We're not going to do this play.
Sorry I am late but the subway was
crowded and I missed my train.
Is everybody here now? May I have your
attention for a few minutes please?
I will be as brief as possible. I want
to finish before Mr Esterbrook arrives.
I know you were notified by Mr Benson
last night that he'll cancel the play.
But I got you here today because I
have great faith in Dilemma At Dinner.
It just doesn't seem right to me
that it shouldn't have its chance.
Now, Mr Benson.
Has contracted this theater for at
least two weeks. It's all paid for.
There's no reason why we can't use it.
Also, the scenery is ordered and being
built. We may just as well use that.
Now of course, there's
the question of salaries.
If we waived our salaries...
And went on a purely
cooperative basis...
And shared the profits, providing
of course there are any profits.
We all might make a lot of money.
Now I'm willing to do it. How about you?
It will mean risking a lot of our time.
I've an offer from Hollywood.
So have I.
- Frankly, I...
I don't think I can wait until the play
has started and some money came in.
Well, I could advance you some and
take it out of your percentage later.
What about our director?
What about Carrell?
Morgan may be a little tough.
I think I can get around him.
How about it?
If you're willing to take a chance...
- Every play is a gamble.
You can count me in, Miss Paige.
- Thank you.
It's marvellous.
This is the mind of spirit I like.
You can count me in.
Not only that, but to cut
down on expenses...
I'll not only play my part but
I'll understudy for you too.
Now hold your breath, Miss Paige.
Thanks, Clementine. It's so sweet
of you to help me out like this.
It seems as though my maid is always
getting sick on opening nights.
I don't mind. I was a personal
maid before I became an actress.
And I suppose I'll go back to it
when the public gets tired of me.
Are you nervous, Clementine?
- Now you mention it, I am.
I'm never nervous before
that curtain goes up.
But once it does somebody has
to stand there and push me on.
I'll tell you.
As long as we is cooperating.
You push me on and I'll push you on.
[ Door knocks ]
Come in.
I just thought I'd drop by
and wish you good luck.
You said everything in your telegram.
It was a very nice one. Thank you.
Well, it was just ten words.
Mr Esterbrook.
- What?
I know it's kind of late to bring it up.
But what's underneath my part?
Why do I do the things I do?
What's the motivation?
Who am I? Etcetera.
Look, just keep answering phones and
opening doors the way you've been doing.
That will be alright.
Where will you be?
In the wings or out front?
As drama critic for the
Redfield Daily Reporter...
I should be out front but I'm so nervous
I'll just pick out a corner someplace.
Five minutes to curtain.
- Let's start pushing.
You've a return ticket to Redfield,
I suppose? Hang on to it.
I'm here for the first two acts.
Nobody knows where I will
be for the third, anyway.
Good luck, Linda.
Thank you, Morgan.
Good luck.
Thank you.
That boy hasn't been
round very much, has he.
Good luck, Clementine.
But he's learning.
Better hurry up, folks,
The curtain is going up.
I hope you like the show.
[ Laughter ]
So far, it's not so bad.
- Linda Paige is simply swell.
Loaded with laughs, isn't it.
- I've never heard such witty dialogue.
I told Mabel if she wanted to wreck her
life with two such lovely children...
Then go right ahead I said and...
You know as well as I do.
The man is absolutely no beauty.
I don't know what it was about.
- I know it didn't make me laugh.
It's written by an amateur.
Even I could tell that.
It's confused and complicated.
What's so complicated about it?
It is very simple.
A man loves a woman...
- Simple? If you can tell me who's...
I beg your pardon.
- Okay.
I'm sure the second act
will clear things up for you.
I got them all lined up
and waiting, Mr Carrell.
I want a drink.
- Yes.
Third acts give me a lot of trouble too.
Stay away from me.
I am praying.
Do you want a drink, Mr Esterbrook?
What's Mr Carrell having?
- Six Scotches.
Well, I'll have six champagnes.
Six champagnes?
What kind of champagne would
you like, Mr Esterbrook?
What was that?
- What kind of champagne do you like?
The type with bubbles.
- Bubbles.
I guess all us playwrights are crazy.
Hey, there's no laughs. There should be
more laughs in this act than any other.
[ Gunshot! ]
[ Gunshot! ]
[ Female scream! ]
[ Gunshot! ]
I killed him. Sure I killed him.
The rat. He had it coming.
I'll go to the penitentiary for it.
I don't care.
I'm glad he's dead. Do you hear? Glad.
What have they done to my third act?
You changed my whole third act.
No, I didn't. I couldn't.
It was too awful.
I was standing there
smoking a cigarette.
All of a sudden a form
hurtles towards me.
What happened to you two?
- How did it go over?
Very nicely, Seven curtain calls.
- Seven?
This is a police station.
Reporters came in without knocking.
Did anybody yell: 'author, author'?
That scene on the staircase.
Did it get laughs?
Half laughs, half corpses.
Where did you get that there eye?
This is a police station.
We can talk a little shop too.
Do we have to stay here?
Let's go someplace else.
Good idea. Come on.
Where do you think you're going?
I beg your pardon.
Now how about it?
Would you like to prefer charges?
- Forget the whole thing.
And how about you.
Any charges against him?
Then get the heck out of
here the three of you.
We'd be glad to buy tickets
for the policeman's ball.
Get out of here.
We don't want you at our affairs.
I'm sorry we caused you
all this trouble, Sheriff.
You see, I had champagne for
the first six times in my life and...
The street was lined with theaters...
I walked in the wrong lobby to
listen to the wrong third act.
I'm sorry, Carrell.
- It's alright. I need the exercise.
The reviews will be out in a few
hours. We can wait up for them.
Let's go to a bar and sit around.
No. In my state I can't
sit down any place.
Don't you remember, Linda?
He usually takes a walk in the woods.
There's Central Park practically
round the corner.
It is?
That's not the real thing
but I'll make it do.
You know, we really should have
opened this play in the Catskills.
Well, goodnight and good luck.
Gaylord, you will find
Linda and me at the 87 Club.
Central Park is a good idea.
I can use a little air I think.
I think you could use a chaperone.
Won't you come along, Morgan?
You can read less enthusiasm into an
invitation than any actress I know.
No thanks. I'll go home to bed.
If the reviews are good,
don't ever wake me up.
What time did I ask for the car?
Five o'clock.
What time is it now?
You still have a few minutes.
You had better go to sleep
on my shoulder now.
While I keep watch.
- Oh no.
You don't look bad at all for a girl
who's just getting up in the morning.
For a man who's been up
all night you look great.
Don't get the idea that I'm an authority
on girls getting up in the morning.
I'm not the last word on men
staying up all night either.
A bit cold?
Not really. It's my teeth chattering
that give you that impression.
Well, I'll put my coat around you.
Alright, as long as your arm is in it.
Don't attach any special
significance to that.
It's just that I can keep warm
without you catching cold.
You forget I come from that
cold country up around Minne...
God bless you.
Maybe that's a pretty
good idea of yours.
There we are.
- Yes.
Were you ever married?
Me? No.
That's pretty hard to believe.
A beautiful girl like you.
You ever been in love?
At regular intervals.
Well then, why do you...
The first two times we
were both too young.
Then in some cases his people objected.
And in other cases my folks objected.
A few years ago there was an actor.
Then he went with a road company
and that was the last of him.
And you know how it's been the
last few years. Slow and everything.
How about you? You ever marry?
- No. Never.
Well, you needn't be
so vehement about it.
Didn't you ever propose to a girl?
No. Not right out.
Oh. I see.
Someday no doubt, you'll meet a sweet
lovely mind-reader and she'll walk...
A paper, sir?
Paper, sir?
Morning paper, sir?
Want a paper, sir?
Take those. I'll take the tabloids.
Here. Keep the change.
They don't use this big type on
the Redfield Daily Reporter.
'Dilemma at Dinner.
A refreshing comedy'.
Give it to me.
Right there.
'Last night at the Garrick Theater a new
play by a new author came to New York'.
'Dilemma at Dinner
by Gaylord Esterbrook'.
'It stumbles through an uncertain first
act, gains momentum in the second...'
'But is saved completely by a
brilliantly sustained third act'.
There it is. Right in black and white.
Better not smile too much.
It's only one paper.
Let's see what the others have to say.
There it is.
You're ripping the middle of the review.
Hold up your side there.
'A pleasant comedy made pleasanter
by a cracking good third act'.
'A matchless performance by
a matchless Linda Paige'.
'Comedy writing at its best'.
'Never once does she let go
of her hold on the audience'.
Let's see what the others have to say.
That's good, huh?
Yes, so far.
You are a hit.
You're a success.
Do you know what that means?
I'll be able to have a whole suite
of rooms at the 'Y' now, huh?
Perhaps you'll be able to realise things
more clearly from a sitting position.
I'm sitting down but
I still can't believe it.
Let me see that other paper.
- Give me this one.
Here it is.
'More impressive due to the circumstance
under which the play was produced'.
'Early during the rehearsal period'.
'The play found itself
without a producer'.
'Richard Benson had lost faith
in the play but not Linda Paige'.
'Who persuaded the cast to
continue on a cooperative footing'.
'It was on this basis that this new hit
was presented to the public last night'.
'Perhaps such tribulations would
benefit many other Broadway...'
Of course, that's not much
thanks for what you've done.
Oh. Don't bother to apologise.
I know when I've been attacked.
It came none too soon. I was
just on the point of attacking you.
I don't quite understand.
Now look. Are you sure you
never proposed to anyone?
And are you sure no-one
ever proposed to you?
Well, I... let me think.
Evidently, no-one did.
That's going to make it a bit tougher.
You know, I meant to speak to
you about this for weeks, but...
I thought I'd wait to see if
you were a success first.
You know, a woman has
to think of those things.
Well, this is the situation.
In a few months' time I suppose I
could manoeuvre you to the point...
Where you'd think you were
proposing to me. But...
I am 27, and time is of the essence.
- Wait a minute.
You're a man.
- Wait a minute.
And I'm a woman and I...
- Wait a minute now.
You're proposing to me?
- Certainly.
I had better stand up. This isn't the
sort of thing you can take sitting down.
Oh. I hope this doesn't mean
another walk in the woods.
This is a very interesting situation.
But if you marry me you'd have
to give up your room at the 'Y'.
Maybe you don't love me
enough to make that sacrifice.
Maybe you don't love me at all.
- Love you?
Linda, from the first moment I saw you.
But I never hoped. I never dared dream.
After all, I'm from Redfield Minnesota
and you're from Park Avenue New York.
They're so far apart.
- It's not a matter of mileage.
Holy mackerel. My play opens.
I have my fingerprints taken.
My hand is asked in marriage.
Things happened to me tonight.
Before you change your mind.
Sure, I'll marry you.
Well, for heaven's sakes do
something concrete about it.
I don't know whatever gave
me the idea you were skinny.
Hello, Mr Carrell.
- Hello Clementine.
I thought you was in Hollywood.
I'm out on parole.
I saw your last picture, Mr Carrell.
- Yes.
What did you think?
- Yeah.
Going to the Wylers' dinner
party with the folks?
Miss Linda will be right out.
Pour yourself a drink.
- How about you, Clementine?
Not me. I'm a solitary drinker.
Morgan, darling.
You look colossal.
- What a tan.
We'll soon get the pallor back in your
cheeks. Why did you leave Hollywood?
I came back to ask you to marry me.
All of this is going to make
mighty good testifying later on.
You didn't need to take a long trip to
propose. You could've written a letter.
I'm too smart to put
those things in writing.
Besides, I figured your husband
might come up with a new play.
He hasn't a thing on paper.
He is between ideas.
Does that mean he's on his
usual between-ideas binge?
We had quite a time with him.
Did you call the bars at the Radford,
the Regent and the Rex?
Yes, ma'am. He's been at all three
of them and headed for the exits.
Four years ago Gay didn't
know the names of two drinks.
Now he's an authority of Slivovitz.
He's used the same story in the last
four plays. Why not use it again?
I suppose he'll get round
to it in a week or so.
It's a funny feeling
pacing the corridor...
Waiting for your husband
to give birth to a play.
There's Gay now. Excuse me please.
Hello darling.
Hello dear.
Morgan is here.
He can go right back to the coast.
I'm not writing another play.
Hello Carrell. How are you?
- How are you, Gay?
I... saw your last picture.
I told him what I thought too.
Well Linda, I've made up my mind.
No more of this hanging around
here waiting to get an idea.
We take an excursion to Yellowstone.
You still take excursions?
Alright, dear. But first we go
to the Wylers' dinner party.
Dearest, is that thing tonight?
Hmm. You'd better hurry and
jump into a dinner jacket.
No. I've shaved.
That's enough concession.
Alright. Just as long as
I get you to the Wylers.
You're going against my advice.
They're awful dull people.
Now Clementine, they're nice people.
Besides, the food is excellent.
You can go there if you want
but don't invite them here.
They bores me stiff.
Don't you worry, Clementine.
Just sit down and relax.
We'll take care of everything.
- Thank you.
They expect you to make
wisecracks all evening.
And you won't be
able to think of a thing.
You'd better take this with you.
No. If I get stuck for an
answer I'll call you up.
Clementine, are you sitting on my hat?
So I am.
I completely crumpled it.
Well, it's a small hat.
A sombrero would have
met with the same fate.
Gay, this is Philo Swift.
Gaylord Esterbrook.
How are you.
- How do you do.
Gaylord Esterbrook.
It seems to me I've heard or
read that name someplace.
What do you do?
I write plays.
Yes. I have a hobby too.
What I meant was, what
do you do for a living?
I write plays.
Anything wrong?
No, no. Nothing, nothing.
If you'll pardon me, it does seem
a little trivial for a grown man.
Well, perhaps I will grow out of it.
What do you do?
- I am in Wall Street.
Where's that?
I don't know but my chauffeur
finds it every morning.
After you get there, what do you do?
Buy and sell stocks and bonds.
Surely not for a living?
And not a bad one.
When stocks go up I make a little money.
When they go down, I make even more.
Is that all you do?
Who knows, perhaps you
will grow out of it too.
Here is hoping.
What's the matter?
That woman over there who just
came in the door. Did you see her?
I don't know who she is but she's
been giving me the eye all evening.
Have you ever been given the eye?
That particular eye, yes.
You two men didn't look as if you were
enjoying each other's company so much.
So I have come over.
May I have the rest of your drink?
My name is Amanda Swift.
- I'm Gaylord Esterbrook.
Of course. I know that.
This is Mr Philo Swift.
Swift - Swift.
You two aren't related by any chance?
Philo and I have been married for...
How long is it now, dear?
They know at City Hall.
So am I.
Pardon me, Mr Swift.
But you're wanted on the telephone, sir.
Is this a legitimate call or did you
arrange it to get me out of the way?
I arranged it to get you out of the way.
Alright. I prefer talking
to a dead wire.
I didn't like the tone of that pat.
Oh, believe me.
It's because he couldn't
think of a thing to say.
Well, I will...
Look around and see if I can find you a
place where I can ask you to sit down.
I have... I have arranged that too.
Do you know why I brought you out here?
Well... no.
To tell you how sorry I am for you.
Is there something about
myself I should know?
The curtain hadn't been up
ten minutes on your first play.
Before I realized that you
had latent possibilities.
But they've never been realized.
Why have you never won a Pulitzer prize?
I often wondered about that myself.
Were you ever once called
upon to make a curtain speech?
No, I've never been called upon.
I always had one ready though.
Yes, for years I've had a curtain speech
prepared for just such an occasion.
Never had a chance to use it.
That's why when I sit at your plays
and you make the people laugh...
I feel like weeping.
As a matter of fact you may be right.
Maybe the reason why I'm having
such a hard time getting an idea...
Is maybe because I haven't
anything to say.
You know, Miss Swift.
What is your first name again?
And I'm never called Mandy.
You know Mandy,
you're the first woman...
I've been looking all over for you.
We had a phone call. We have to go home.
Clementine is lonely.
I don't want to go home.
I'm having a wonderful time.
So am I, but you know Clementine.
Oh my...
- What's the matter?
I thought perhaps that
man was coming out.
He's been very polite about it but
he's been on my tree all evening.
What man?
- Right there.
That is my husband.
Darling, do you know Amanda Swift?
This is my wife, Linda.
How do you do.
- I've seen you on the stage for years.
Oh dear.
- What's the matter?
I understood him to say
his name was 'Smith'.
Naturally, I didn't believe him
so I said my name was Brown.
I've got to go right back up.
Luxury Turkish baths?
Connect me with the department for
taking care of gentlemen on the loose.
Line busy?
I'll wait.
[ Buzzer ]
Mr Swift?
- That's right.
Miss Paige will be right in.
- Thank you.
Excuse me while I finish a phone call.
Just make yourself at home.
Has Mr Esterbrook been there today?
If he should be carried in ask
him to call his apartment.
If he can talk.
How do you do? Very glad to see you.
Thank you.
- He ain't at the Turkish bath.
Alright, Clementine.
There's a matinee at Biskeys.
Shall we try him there?
No thank you, Clementine.
- Why not?
It ain't unlikely.
No thank you, Clementine.
You men.
- Yes, yes.
Scotch or Rye?
- Scotch.
Soda please.
You must be surprised at my visit.
A little.
After all, it's 4 months
since the Wylers.
I haven't seen you. You haven't called.
I haven't even read
about you in the papers.
Unlike you theatre people I pay a man a
big salary to keep me out of the papers.
Well, I'm very glad you dropped by.
I'm in a wretched mood.
I always am when I am between plays.
What does an actress do between plays?
Worries about her next part.
Gets depressed. Thinks she's through.
Looks in the mirror. Thinks she'd better
get on with it. Have a good time.
Has a good time.
The mirror should reassure you.
That's very nice of you.
But you don't see what the mirror sees.
Art has intervened.
You told me at the Wylers you
rely very little on cosmetics.
What a memory you have.
- I have an infallible memory.
Some time ago in Washington my firm
had to submit to an investigation.
I was on the stand being questioned by
an eager but badly informed new-dealer.
It caused a sensation as I happened
to know the cost of steel rails in 1877.
Would you like to telephone?
I have an errant husband.
He's between ideas.
Between ideas he makes an
alcoholic tour of the town.
Just to forget he's between ideas.
This is a list of his haunts.
It's rather a game to track him down.
I was just thinking.
How would it be to call some of
the better class police stations?
No, Clementine. If he were in a
police station we'd hear from them.
I'm going to give him a half hour more.
And then I'm going to
start calling the hospitals.
I wonder. Maybe I should
call the 47th Street Station.
I can save you the call.
He's not at the 47th Street Station.
Why do you say that?
You might try Regent 3-9-7-7-7.
What place is that?
It's my house.
I don't see what that has to do with...
- You guess my visit was not impromptu?
I didn't know that Gay and your wife...
I'm not suggesting they are.
Thank you very much.
You have relieved me greatly.
I'm delighted to know
he's not on a binge.
You're very much in love with him.
How did you know?
That evening at the
Wylers you let it drop.
I talk too much.
- Not for me you don't.
Well, Gay hasn't seen your wife since
that dinner party at the Wylers, has he?
He's been seeing her ever since.
It's stupid of him not to tell me.
Why ever didn't he tell me?
Your wife is very attractive.
And are you very much in love?
I've been married before.
I shouldn't like to be divorced a
second time. It gets to be undignified.
This is a curious interview.
- Why?
If you don't mind my
saying so, Mr Swift...
It would be seemlier if it had taken
place with your wife than with me.
I don't discuss things with my wife.
We are beyond that stage.
Did you come here to tell me that
my husband and your wife are...
Not at all.
In the first place, that is unimportant.
In the second place, though.
Perhaps my wife...
Still suspects it and I'm
sure your husband doesn't.
The situation is far more
dangerous than that.
Really, I've come here not to warn you.
But through you, your husband.
Of what?
- Of being discovered.
I beg your pardon?
When she said of your husband...
That he possessed latent
possibilities as yet unrealised.
I knew then his position was perilous.
You see, my wife has a passion
for developing latent powers.
When they're not there she invents them.
I can't somehow,
if you will forgive me...
Take your wife seriously as a rival.
She's very pretty.
Very attractive and I'm sure very gay.
She's not gay.
She's serious.
She looks so... forgive me...
A bit fluffy.
She's a Lorelei with
an intellectual patter.
I'm afraid I take up a great
deal of your time, Miss Paige.
Not at all, Mr Swift.
It's been extremely provocative.
You will come again I hope.
- Thank you.
I hope you will soon be doing
a play. I shall come to see it.
I hope so too. A play is
what I need most in life.
I hope your wife will inspire
my husband to write one.
It is quite possible.
She adores to inspire.
If my husband is still at your
house when you get home.
Please don't give him my regards.
I don't care to intrude
upon his personal life...
Unless he wishes to share
it with me voluntarily.
On the other hand, perhaps
you'd better not go home.
I don't like the idea of Gay suddenly
having to duck out the back door.
Spiritually, he won't be alone.
He'll be surrounded by the
ghosts of dozens of others...
In whom my wife has
seen latent possibilities.
Good evening.
- Good evening.
Has that bad boy called up yet?
Not yet.
He will sure be fried.
I wonder where that
travelling man can be.
He must have found a new place.
I believe he has.
I'd better get dressed for dinner.
I'm going out with Mr Carrell.
Well, we live in a democracy and
everyone's entitled to their own taste.
Why, boss.
How come you opened
the door by yourself?
I've been practising, tulip.
Hello darling.
- Hello, dear.
And you is cold sober too.
He's cold sober, Miss Linda.
If you will overlook it this time, pet.
I won't let it happen again.
Don't worry about it, Clementine.
He's deceptive and may collapse anytime.
Yeah. That's a good idea.
I will collapse right now.
A spiritual collapse, hyacinth.
It ain't spiritual. I don't
smell it on your breath.
I've been calling you everywhere.
You worked today?
- No.
You tried?
I'm tired.
Never mind. You will tomorrow.
Not tomorrow.
What's the use?
I'm fooling myself.
I've got nothing to say.
You say it so charmingly.
Oh charm.
Look at the world. Full of wars
and destruction and upheaval.
And you expect me to go on babbling
in some never-never land. No, sir.
If I can't write anything important
I'll not write anything at all.
Darling, the world is depressed.
Now is the moment to be gay if possible.
It's like calling for a
minuet in a plague town.
Oh, darling. I must be such a bore.
Why do you put up with me?
No choice.
- There are any number of...
For instance?
- Well, anybody.
I don't like them.
- You're a fool.
I guess I am.
If I were you I'd quit.
Well I will think it over carefully.
Here you are my tired philosopher.
I'm not worth bothering
about or putting up with.
Well, I'm sure there's someone in the
world who'll disagree with you on that.
I don't know anything about anything.
I don't know anything about
anything either, but I get by.
Well, you're an actress.
You don't have to.
Besides, you're prettier than I am.
I don't know. You're not bad.
There are times when I
thought you were beautiful.
Oh... I'm blue... I'm low.
I am sunk. I'm bored with myself.
Maybe that just means
you're bored with me.
You're so wonderful.
I get lonely for you when
I'm walking along the street.
Do you get over it when you come home?
Come on, let's go out to dinner.
I... I have a dinner date
with Morgan Carrell.
You come along with us.
I'll stick around here with my thoughts.
Both of them.
I will come home early.
- No.
No reason for that.
But darling... are we washed up?
- Are we washed up?
Now Linda, please.
Let's not go into fundamentals tonight.
I'm in no mood for it.
Okay. No fundamentals.
After all, every marriage must go
through the doldrums sooner or later.
We're in for ours. We just have
to sit tight until we're through it.
You ought to know by this time.
Alright, dear.
I love you.
Thank you, dear.
You know, when I'm not working I...
I know. It's quite alright.
I will get out of your way.
Well, please don't be self-effacing.
That's not becoming to you.
What would you like me to be?
Oh, for Pete's sake.
- Well what?
Well... a little less...
All-seeing. A little less
all-wise. A little less...
I'm right then in assuming
we're washed up?
You know, lots of times by prophesying
the undesirable comes true you know.
Not quite.
I may need a little
help from the outside.
I imagine I am getting it.
Now just what's behind
that dark innuendo?
Ain't nothing behind...
You keep out of this.
I'm not talking to you.
With that attitude, I'll just deliver my
message and have no more truck with you.
Mr Carrell is waiting
in the lobby for you.
And he says he's hungry.
I'm sure sorry you're wearing
this coat tonight, Miss Linda.
I intended to wear it to the Savoy ball.
But never mind.
I'll make your silver-fox cape do.
And boss.
If you don't talk louder I'll just have
to give up listening at keyholes.
The domestic staff is
beginning to bore me.
You've done everything you can to spoil
her, if you don't mind me saying so.
Alright. Anyway, where were we
in our domestic relations now?
I was just beginning to wonder
if you coming home sober...
And your sudden concern over
the world might not mean...
Might not mean what?
Might not mean you're much concerned
for the world in general as...
With one woman of the
world in particular.
Well now, wait a minute.
What are you...?
Of all the...
- Now just a minute.
There's no reason to get
yourself all twisted up.
I'm sorry you're out of sorts.
I love you very much.
I can remember the boy from Redfield who
came to New York with a map in his hand.
And who waited up all night in
Central Park for the reviews with me.
Sometimes I wish those reviews
hadn't been quite so good.
Anyway, I still love you.
How did that number get on here?
- What number?
You know very well which
number: Regent 3-9-7-7-7.
What are you getting so hot about?
That ain't my writing.
That's Miss Linda's writing.
It's one of your new hideouts ain't it?
Spying on me. Well, I'll show her.
Morgan, how well do you
know the Philo Swifts?
Philo... vaguely.
Yes. In a way.
What I'd like to know is why you're
dragging me to their house like this.
Gay is there with Amanda.
It seems that is where he
spends most of his spare time.
Gay... and...?
Well, in that case I know Amanda well
enough to hope we're not too late.
Driver, give it the gun.
We're riding to the rescue.
What do you want?
- To get a book.
You can't come in here.
Gay is working.
I just want to pop in and
get my book and pop out.
On no account must he be disturbed.
- I won't disturb him.
I will skirt around him.
You don't seem to realize the
importance of what's going on in here.
Well, if it's become a shrine I'll
be glad to take my shoes off.
The fact is Gay isn't too wonderful.
Then why shouldn't he like me?
I let him have my wife for
inspirational purposes.
I even let him use my library.
Got it. Amanda, I've got it.
Come over here, I want to
tell it to you. Oh, hello Philo.
Go ahead Amanda. Don't keep him waiting.
We writers are very impatient people.
We writers? Do you write?
Not exactly, I compile.
I'm in the process of compiling a
history of the trade routes before 1700.
Sounds fascinating.
- It is, believe me.
An impossible man.
- Never mind. I have a solution.
Gay, how wonderful.
- Right. Now, this boy...
Who's come back from the war
and everyone thinks is dead.
His mother doesn't know him.
His father and sister don't know him.
He realizes it's best that
they do think he's dead.
I told you that before, didn't I?
Right, here's the punch.
Just as he's about to leave...
One person recognises him.
His sweetheart.
Alright. Now, she doesn't
say anything to anybody.
But that night.
At the railroad station.
She's waiting for him.
And she calls him by his real name.
And the curtain comes down.
Oh Gay, you made me cry.
I think it's good.
I think it will hold. What do you think?
- It's marvellous.
Mandy, I love you.
- Oh, Gay.
I do love you. You're so good for me.
You're so wonderful for me.
I'd never have had the idea but for you.
- Nonsense. Of course you would.
You got me started on this thing.
I'd have never tried it if not for you.
As you're so high on it, why not
put it down before you forget it?
Alright, darling.
I love you.
No you don't.
- I'm so grateful to you.
That's something quite different.
Besides, there's no reason for it.
My life is so empty.
This is all I have.
If I can help you to express yourself.
I've always felt such
profound things in you.
Unrealised potentialities.
You can be great, Gay.
That's all the reward I want.
That's the only relationship
between us two that I want.
Love can be a nuisance sometimes.
Some people find it entertaining.
- It's more trouble than it's worth.
We are above all that, thank heaven.
Our relationship has a sounder basis.
Unless of course, suddenly we should
find ourselves swept off our feet.
That does happen sometimes, I fear.
I beg your pardon, Madame.
They phoned from the lobby.
Mr Morgan Carrell and Mrs Esterbrook
are on their way up.
Yes, Pearson. I'll see them.
- Very well, madam.
She knew I was here.
She spies on me.
You want to leave?
- I should say not.
How does she know you're here?
- I don't know. She guesses.
She guesses about everything.
It's like living with a medium.
It's bad that this happened just now
when you're so excited about your idea.
You can stay in the library and work.
She needn't know you're here at all.
No thank you. I don't mind
hiding in a bedroom but...
Hiding in a library is a
little dry. I need a drink.
I hate to think of you
losing your enthusiasm.
You should put down these
ideas in a white heat.
Yeah. I'm as near white heat
right now as I'll ever get.
I'll see Linda.
You stay here and get to work.
What did I do with my pencil?
You're stirring your drink with it.
- Oh.
Mrs Swift will be out directly.
- Thank you.
How nice of you to come.
And I do appreciate you not standing
on ceremony and waiting to be asked.
I'm just Morgan's date tonight.
I go where he leads.
You see, my next play
deals with life in the slums.
And I thought I'd do a little research.
But I really am glad to see you.
You know Linda, you should do the
inspiring and she should do the acting.
The fact is Mandy, we
are on a treasure hunt.
Now, open the closet and let him out.
Oh dear, I did think we were going
to be much more polished than that.
It takes too much time. Where is he?
If it's Gay you refer to,
he's in the library.
Working? He hasn't worked in months.
He and I were sitting in the
library quietly after dinner.
Having coffee. Listening to Brahms.
When suddenly he got an idea.
- At last.
So, what he had to do was
set it down at once.
It sounds very rude.
Now, I leave you two adorable creatures
together so you can tear your eyes out.
But you're not going are you?
You have just come.
I've just been struck by an idea.
And I have to go to a blonde's
library to put it down.
On the way over Linda made me promise to
leave you two alone as soon as possible.
Oh dear. I'm betrayed on all sides.
Goodnight, Linda.
- Goodnight.
Goodnight, Mandy.
I'd give a hundred bucks to
overhear your conversation.
I shall pray for you
Linda to be victorious.
What's he chattering about?
- I haven't the faintest idea.
In any event.
I shall marry the survivor.
If you both die in combat...
I shall retire to a nunnery.
Won't you sit down?
- Thank you.
[ Footsteps ]
That is Gay.
He always paces when he's working.
May I ask what he's working on?
His new play.
Really? I didn't know he had a new play.
Really. I'm so sorry.
I'm terribly sorry. I assumed...
That's quite alright. I'm delighted
naturally. What's the play about?
It's about immortality.
What on earth does Gay
know about immortality.
Why didn't he tell me, do you suppose?
I'm so afraid you'll
misunderstand my motive.
I assure you I won't.
I'll understand it perfectly.
There's no part in it for you.
But that's so silly.
May I have a cigarette?
Of course.
- I'll help myself.
If he's written a play and a
good one, I'll be delighted.
I can always get another play.
The important thing is for Gay to keep
working. He knows it and I know it.
Surely he understands...
- I'm sorry. Terribly sorry.
I shouldn't have...
- You're not sorry in the least.
Shall we be honest with each other?
It's enormously difficult, I know.
But shall we try?
What harm can it do you possibly?
You enjoy inspiring Gay.
That's to say, you enjoy
making love to Gay.
I understand that perfectly.
It's not true. I mean, we haven't...
It's not true.
If it's not true already it's imminent.
Love Gay if you must, but for
pity's sake don't ruin his style.
The truth is that you see yourself
as an influence with a capital 'I'.
What vanity.
We cannot really talk
because we have nothing.
Absolutely nothing in common.
We are at opposite poles.
Indeed we are.
I wish I were at yours.
You and Philo are so alike.
Are we?
Each of you isolated in your own
careers, your own strengths.
Your own egotism.
Why don't you inspire Philo?
Philo is beyond reach.
Tell me, why do you always
pick successes to inspire?
Your husband was a rich successful
man when you married him.
My husband is an established
playwright temporarily in the dumps.
Why don't you stimulate
someone obscure to greatness?
Wouldn't that be more exciting?
The artist who has arrived and
begins to doubt his talent.
There's no more poignant
tragedy than that.
Well if this play you're drawing
out of Gay like a bad tooth...
Turns out to be good I will
never forgive you, Mandy.
You're honest, at any rate.
- Yes.
I wish you could be.
Come on now, try it.
Just for the novelty.
You can't understand faith or hope.
You can't understand anything
but foolish empty laughter.
You're destructive. You're merciless.
If I have furnished him with an oasis.
Where he can escape to brood and
dream, I am happy. Do you hear?
Proud and happy.
Good heavens.
If she believes that I'm sunk.
But you can't possibly.
Now come clean, Mandy. It's all
in fun. Teach me the technique.
You know, how to get a man away
from his wife by massaging his ego.
Don't praise his profile. Admire
his adjectives and his adverbs.
Don't ask for kisses.
Ask for a more profound third act.
- How dare you.
How dare you.
It's inconceivable to you
that anyone can be sincere.
You can't believe the truth.
You attribute the most
sordid motives to...
To everything.
And besides all that, you can cry.
I'm certainly and completely sunk.
- You are horrid.
You're hateful and horrid.
I hate you.
Hello, Mrs Esterbrook.
Considering I've just put your wife into
hysterics, I feel you can call me Linda.
Yes, I heard the familiar notes.
That's why I came.
It sounds as if those sobs are being
muffled on somebody's shoulder.
I guess I must have done
a complete job on Mandy.
You needn't feel so proud.
I make her cry all the time.
It usually ends up with
me giving her a check.
I didn't give her a check.
I think I just gave her my husband.
In my office we would list
that transaction as petty cash.
What have you done to Mandy?
Disfigured her beyond recognition.
Scratched her eyes out. Did you notice?
What did you say to her?
- Don't recall.
She's sobbing.
- How nice for her, I wish I could.
I think it's up to me Esterbrook, rather
than you to speak in defense of my wife.
But at the moment I can't think of any.
- Alright. Now you keep out of this.
Certainly, I just thought I'd...
You spy on me.
You came here to spy on me.
You must have said something
unforgivable to Mandy.
And I understand your capacity for that.
She's devastated.
Not enough to lose a sense of direction.
She made straight for the library.
Alright. It's her library.
She can make for it if she likes.
I hear you're collaborating.
I can't work around here.
I can't think in this atmosphere.
I'm writing the most
important part of my play.
I go someplace where I can think.
Where's he going?
Central Park.
- I'm going with him.
Philo. I think you should ask this
woman to leave your house.
Leave my house.
You're my witness.
I did my duty.
I took him when he came from Redfield.
Amanda came from Posaic.
He didn't even know how to put
a nickel in a subway slot.
Amanda never had a nickel.
I told him what to eat.
I sent him to a tailor.
I sent Amanda to a tailor.
I haven't seen the tailor since.
I worked with him.
I ironed out a thousand
and one rough spots.
You made him what he is today.
I hope Amanda is satisfied.
I'm sorry, Philo.
I guess Amanda sets the style.
I could have cried all
over your nice living-room.
Here, come now. You mustn't.
He's here.
After all... please don't do that.
I don't want to lose him.
I don't want to lose Amanda either.
For a totally different reason.
I don't want my tombstone cluttered with
the names of my formerly beloved wives.
It would leave no room for
the more important data.
Please now, you mustn't.
Please don't do that.
I'd rather you wouldn't.
I beg your pardon, sir.
It is ten-thirty.
Here is your hot milk, sir.
Thank you.
Will you have a glass of hot milk?
- No.
There now. Please.
There now.
What are you giggling at?
I don't remember any funny lines.
That there one.
That's not supposed to be funny.
That's very serious.
It is?
It sounds awful funny to me.
Anything else seem funny
to you about this play?
There ain't no part in it for me.
How about me? The only part I can
play is the 85-year-old grandmother.
And that's only a bit part.
[ Telephone ]
Mr Esterbrook?
We ain't seen him.
We ain't seen him last night either.
He didn't come home.
That's right, Clementine.
Tell them what we had for dinner too.
Ha. You don't have to worry
about him. He ain't dead.
He couldn't be.
He sent us a play of his to read.
What did you say your name was?
Mrs Amanda Swift?
Alright. I'll tell him.
Who is that Mrs Swift?
Does she belong to that
Mr Swift that was here?
His wife.
It seems like we're getting
them Swifts in our hair.
Clementine, you're psychic.
What do you mean playing
around with that Mrs Swift?
I returned Rose-petal,
to perform one final rite.
She sounds so wispy, just like
she won't last out the winter.
One final rite Wisteria, which
will afford me intense pleasure.
She talks so gaspy.
What she got, the asthma?
You odious barbarian. One more word
out of you and I will annihilate you.
Don't make up to me. I am off of you.
You're fired.
You understand that?
Now get out of here right away.
My final act in this
trenchant establishment.
Now clear out.
This time you're fired for good.
Golly, boss.
The way Miss Linda feels about you
now, you is lucky you ain't fired.
I knows Miss Lindy.
And I is warning you, boss.
Her patience has just about run out.
It is, huh?
Yeah it is. And you had better take a
tip from me and make up to her pretty.
Alright. Now get out of here or
I'll hit you with this decanter.
- So help me.
Boss, you're such a lush.
You'd never throw that decanter.
Not as long as it's got liquor in it.
You're just naturally no good.
But I hate to see you go.
I'll see what I can do for
you with Miss Lindy.
Good morning, darling.
Your pyjamas need a little pressing.
Alright. No clowning if you don't mind.
Alright. No clowning.
Sorry you didn't sleep well. I did.
You're a wholesale liar. You stayed
up all night worrying about me.
Right, let's get it over with.
What's the idea of staying out
all night and so on and so on?
I didn't worry about you. What harm
can come to you in Central Park?
You're a law-abiding citizen.
No doubt you kept off the grass.
Are you through with
this thing, Miss Lindy?
Shall I give it back to the Indian?
No. Just leave it on the table there.
I could write better than that.
I could even spell better than that.
That's enough of that, Clementine.
Better get busy with housework.
That won't take long today.
I ain't got but one bed to make.
Alright, you've read it.
What do you think?
If you lie to me I'll break your neck.
This is the biggest moment in my life.
This is my first chance to do
something really worthwhile.
People have laughed at my comedies
and gotten up and gone home.
But they'll be stirred by this play.
And they'll stay in their
seats and yell 'Author'.
And don't think I haven't got a curtain
speech prepared because I have.
I can do all this with this play.
Linda, what do you think?
Gay, it isn't easy to say in a word.
Although I assure you I know the word.
For heaven's sake will you tell me?
Really want to know what I think?
Thanks at least for being honest.
Darling, why not let people who do know
something of immortality write about it?
Maybe they have inside information.
Gay, I beg of you. Don't throw away
your charming gift for comedy.
With the world upside down?
How can you hope to improve
matters by writing a bad play?
Why is it a bad play? Is it because
there isn't a good part in it for you?
Is that your standard?
Because you had nothing to do with it?
And it was Amanda's idea
as she helped me with it?
Well, I could see Amanda's
hand in the play.
I might add, Amanda's heavy hand.
I suppose you think Amanda
is a complete idiot.
I think she's a clever idiot.
But an idiot just the same.
I can't stand it any longer.
I can't stand you any longer.
You and your beautiful superiority.
You can't even be humanly jealous.
That's what you think.
Well, at least Mandy is human.
I'm going to marry Mandy.
With my blessings.
- You think I joke?
I think you're childish.
- I know you do.
It's your most endearing trait.
- I've always known it.
It has happened then, has it? With who?
I simply can't believe it somehow. Why?
You're not in love with her.
You can't be in love with her.
I simply can't believe
you're in love with her.
You can't?
Nevertheless, I'm in love with her.
Would you love me Gay
if I praised the play?
Would you love me if I could look you in
the eye and lie to you like Amanda does?
I will practice.
I'll tell you what you can do.
You can preen yourself.
You can revel in your own superiority.
And you can pity us for this childish
emotion in which it has involved us.
You don't need me.
You don't need anybody.
You're self-sufficient.
You need nobody but your press agent.
Please don't say those
things to me, Gay.
And then you can return and gaze at
yourself always in a full-length mirror.
Alright, Gay.
You can go to Amanda.
You have my permission.
I enjoyed being married
to that boy from Redfield.
But the successful writer who suddenly
becomes profound, I gladly relinquish.
Goodbye, Gay.
So we can part friends, I...
I give you into the
custody of Clementine.
What kind of talk is that?
He hasn't gone away has he, Miss Linda?
"In the audience will be Linda Paige."
"The actress wife of Esterbrook."
"Who will leave immediately after
the performance for Reno."
"Where she will free herself from the
playwright to marry banker Philo Swift."
Turn if off will you, Philo?
Did you send a telegram
to Gay wishing him luck?
Yes. I sent him a telegram but
I forget what I wished him.
I wonder how Gay is taking
the news that you and I are...
I'm interested from
a purely scientific view.
I don't know first-hand but I ran
into Morgan Carrell the other day.
He seemed to know.
- Really? What did he say?
Gay thought it would be a great marriage
for the two critics, the two sceptics.
He said we'd produce
a lot of question marks.
First act, please. First act.
Why don't you come and sit in a
corner with me and hold my hand.
Men find that soothing.
Amanda, will you please go away.
You can't be worried about the play?
- Yes, I can.
But Gay, it's such a wonderful play.
- What do you know about it?
Curtain going up.
Isn't it thrilling?
Sorry. I'm always this
way opening night.
Now, you watch the play from the wings.
After it's all over I have plans.
An excursion to Boulder Dam.
See you at the intermission.
It seems to be holding.
Well, nobody has walked out yet.
[ Audience laughter ]
[ Audience laughter ]
Do you hear that?
They shouldn't be laughing.
This is a serious play.
Maybe you should have put a note
in the program telling them that.
What happened to Esterbrook?
A serious play but I
can't take it seriously.
The second act was
no better than the first.
I didn't know when to
laugh and when not to.
I'm not taking any chances.
I am laughing.
Pretty awful, isn't it.
It wouldn't be so bad if people didn't
laugh so much. It keeps waking me up.
Poor Gay. He was so sure he had a hit.
He has a curtain speech prepared.
I never thought I'd see the day
when I felt sorry for a playwright.
Two acts is enough for me.
No need to stick around for a third.
The third might be a little better.
At least it's understandable.
It's a plea for the human
race against dictatorships.
That don't interest me either.
I feel Esterbrook sees the world not as
it is but as he wants it to be actually.
Gay's indignation is sentimental.
Romantic. Infantile.
Curtain going for the third act.
No time to argue now. I directed
this play and I must sit through it.
And the punishment fits the crime.
I'll call a cab, my dear.
- I'm staying, Philo.
Are you angry with me?
You are.
No. Only it has made me see.
I am afraid, Philo. It's made me see.
Well, I thought you and I...
You and I: never.
You're independent, secure.
Idle and content.
Gay, whatever his absurd
little faults may be.
Whatever he is.
He feels.
He bleeds.
You don't bleed, Philo.
Then you're angry at what I said.
- No.
No. Not angry.
You are logical. You're right.
I suppose Gay is all the things you say.
Sentimental. Romantic.
Even infantile.
But not all together.
I just can't believe it all together.
There must be millions in the past.
And now, millions of
anonymous people who...
Who are kind. Who ask only
to be permitted to live.
All those voices, those humble
voices unheard and unrecorded.
One must believe in them.
Or then one must do
illogical and quixotic things.
One must write plays
pointing out their plight.
Perhaps not Gay. It isn't his field.
But others should. Excuse me.
It's not your fault.
I thought it was a silly play.
Why on earth do you waste
your talent on stuff like this?
You know, I've a curious feeling
that you have latent powers.
Do you really think so?
- I certainly do.
And I should like nothing better
than to help you develop them.
Thank you.
Thank you very much for the
way you've received my...
My little offering.
The fact that there were laughs
where there should have been tears.
The fact the theater emptied in less
than 2 minutes with no mention of fire.
This, I attribute to the sunspots.
Which, of late have been
turning everything topsy-turvy.
I'd like to take this opportunity also
to thank the members of my cast.
Who by now...
Thanks to me.
Are safely lodged in the
ranks of the unemployed.
It reminds me of the old fable about a
frog who wanted to be as big as an ox.
So he...
Managed to swell himself up to
three times his normal size.
And he burst.
So that.
In this.
The hour of my...
Peculiar triumph.
Okay... after all...
Four hits.
Just one flop. To prove you're human.
That's a very nice way of
saying 'I told you so', Linda.
Gay, the most wonderful idea came to me
right after the second act intermission.
Why not do a comedy?
A satire on all the smug,
contented, callous tough-shirts.
People who think dictators
are inevitable.
Who say the average man is
bloodthirsty and contemptible.
Gay, you can set the whole
world to laugh at these people.
Gay, listen. In the second scene a woman
enters. A beautiful radiant woman who...
I see you have already written
in a part for yourself.
Yes, of course. Or I wouldn't have
thought of the play in the first place.
But Gay, what about it?
Isn't it an exciting idea?
I see you're starting
right from the beginning.
Going to make a successful
playwright out of you.
No, no.
I'm starting from the successful
playwright that will take you back...
To the boy from Redfield Minnesota.
Wait a minute, though.
What about Philo Swift?
Well, now.
If you're going to start that,
what about Amanda?
Well, she walked out on me.
I saved the family honor.
I walked out on him.
You did?
- Uhuh.
Well, what do you know?
Gay. Stand here next to me.
You really walked out on him, huh?
All those seats.
Now, if we are really starting
from the beginning. Excuse me.
Where are you going?
- To get you a pack of cigarettes.
Wait a minute.
I didn't give you the money.
- No. It's alright.
Here's a quarter.
And you can keep the change.
Gosh, I haven't kissed
you for two months.
That's nothing to brag about.
You big, long drink of water.