Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wisdom Dialogue from Classic Films (1948-75)

Wisdom Dialogue from Classic Films (1948-75)

A Hard Day's Night  (1964)             The Beatles/Richard Lester

Man on train: Don't take that tone with me, young man. I fought the war for your sort. 
Ringo: I bet you're sorry you won.

John: We know how to behave! We've had lessons. 

Catch 22   (1970)                    Mike Nichols, director

A bombardier in World War II tries desperately to escape the insanity of the war. However, sometimes insanity is the only sane way cope with a crazy situation. Catch-22 is a parody of a "military mentality" and of a bureaucratic society in general.

Yossarian: Let me see if I've got this straight: in order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy and I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I'm not crazy any more and I have to keep flying.
Dr. 'Doc' Daneeka: You got it, that's Catch-22. 
Yossarian: Whoo... That's some catch, that Catch-22. 
Dr. 'Doc' Daneeka: It's the best there is. 

1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: We're gonna come out of this war rich! 
Yossarian: You're gonna come out rich. We're gonna come out dead.

Maj. Major Major Major: Also, Sergeant, I don't want you coming in while I'm in my office asking me if there's anything you can do for me. Is that clear? 
First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir. When should I come in your office and ask if there's anything I can do for you? 
Maj. Major Major Major: When I'm not there. 
First Sgt. Towser: What do I do then? 
Maj. Major Major Major: Whatever has to be done. 
First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir.  

Dr. Strangelove   (1964)        Stanley Kubrick

President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room. 

[Turgidson advocates a further nuclear attack to prevent a Soviet response to Ripper's attack]
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.
President Merkin Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel... that Coca-Cola machine. I want you to shoot the lock off it. There may be some change in there.
Colonel "Bat" Guano: That's private property.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going to happen to you, your frame, outlook, way of life, and everything, when they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President of the United States? Can you imagine? Shoot it off! Shoot! With a gun! That's what the bullets are for, you twit!
Colonel "Bat" Guano: Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: What?
Colonel "Bat" Guano: You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.

[after learning of the Doomsday Machine]
President Merkin Muffley: But this is absolute madness, Ambassador! Why should you *build* such a thing?
Ambassador de Sadesky: There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.
President Merkin Muffley: This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that.
Ambassador de Sadesky: Our source was the New York Times. 

Dr. Zhivago  (1965)                David Lean

Komarovski: There are two kinds of men and only two. And that young man is one kind. He is high-minded. He is pure. He's the kind of man the world pretends to look up to, and in fact despises.

Zhivago: You lay life on a table and cut out all the tumors of injustice. Marvelous. 

Pasha: The private life is dead - for a man with any manhood. 
Zhivago: I saw some of your 'manhood' on the way at a place called Minsk. 
Pasha: They were selling horses to the Whites. 
Zhivago: It seems you've burnt the wrong village. 
Pasha: They always say that, and what does it matter? A village betrays us, a village is burned. The point's made. 
Zhivago: Your point - their village. 

La Strada  (1954)                    Fellini

Fellini's "La Strada" is memorable, atmospheric, entertaining, thoughtful, and many other things. It is often sad, not even so much because of the things that happen, but simply for what it reveals about the human condition. It is sometimes surreal, not in a bizarre visual sense, but in the unexpected combinations of emotions that it sometimes evokes. And it is always human, commenting on individuals and humanity as a whole with a keen eye and with cinematic skill.

The Fool: Maybe he loves you?
Gelsomina: Me?
The Fool: Why not? He is like dogs. A dog looks at you, wants to talk, and only barks. 

The Fool: What a funny face! Are you a woman, really? Or an artichoke? 

The Fool: I am ignorant, but I read books. You won't believe it, everything is useful... this pebble for instance.
Gelsomina: Which one?
The Fool: Anyone. It is useful.
Gelsomina: What for?
The Fool: For... I don't know. If I knew I'd be the Almighty, who knows all. When you are born and when you die... Who knows? I don't know for what this pebble is useful but it must be useful. For if its useless, everything is useless. So are the stars! 

Lawrence of Arabia  (1962)    David Lean

General Allenby: I thought I was a hard man, sir. 
Prince Feisal: You are merely a general. I must be a king. 

General Murray: I can't make out whether you're bloody bad-mannered or just half-witted. 
T.E. Lawrence: I have the same problem, sir.

General Allenby: I'm promoting you Major. 
T.E. Lawrence: I don't think that's a very good idea. 

Tafas: [talking of Britain] Is that a desert country? 
T.E. Lawrence: No: a fat country. Fat people. 
Tafas: You are not fat? 
T.E. Lawrence: No. I'm different.

Mr. Dryden: If we've been telling lies, you've been telling half-lies. A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it. 

Prince Feisal: You, I suspect, are chief architect of this compromise. What do you think? 
Mr. Dryden: Me, your Highness? On the whole, I wish I'd stayed in Tunbridge Wells. 

Mr. Dryden: [to Bentley, on a meeting between Lawrence and Allenby] Well, I'll tell you. It's a little clash of temperament that's going on in there. Inevitably, one of them's half-mad - and the other, wholly unscrupulous.

One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest  (1975)     Milos Forman

McMurphy: I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this. 

McMurphy: What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy or somethin'? Well you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around on the streets and that's it. 


McMurphy: But I tried, didn't I? Goddamnit, at least I did that. 

McMurphy: I can't take it no more. I gotta get outta here. 
Chief Bromden: I can't. I just can't. 
McMurphy: It's easier than you think, Chief. 
Chief Bromden: For you, maybe. You're a lot bigger than me. 

Chief Bromden: My pop was real big. He did like he pleased. That's why everybody worked on him. The last time I seen my father, he was blind and diseased from drinking. And every time he put the bottle to his mouth, he didn't suck out of it, it sucked out of him until he shrunk so wrinkled and yellow even the dogs didn't know him. 
McMurphy: Killed him, huh? 
Chief Bromden: I'm not saying they killed him. They just worked on him. The way they're working on you. 

Sunset Boulevard  (1950)           Billie Wilder

Joe Gillis: [narrating] Well, this is where you came in, back at that pool again, the one I always wanted. It's dawn now and they must have photographed me a thousand times. Then they got a couple of pruning hooks from the garden and fished me out... ever so gently. Funny, how gentle people get with you once you're dead. 

Betty Schaefer: I've been hoping to run into you.
Joe Gillis: What for? To recover that knife you stuck in my back?

Joe Gillis: You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
Norma Desmond: I am big. It's the pictures that got small.

Norma Desmond: [to newsreel camera]  You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!... All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up. 

The Treasure of Sierra Madre  (1948)        John Huston

Howard: I know what gold does to men's souls. 

Howard: Ah, as long as there's no find, the noble brotherhood will last but when the piles of gold begin to grow... that's when the trouble starts. 

Fred C. Dobbs: You know, if I was a native, I'd get me a can of shoe polish and I'd be in business. They'd never let a gringo. You can sit on a bench 'til you're three-quarters starved... you can beg from another gringo... you can even commit burglary. You try shinin' shoes in the street, peddlin' lemonade out of a bucket, and your hash is settled. You'll never get another job from an American.
Bob Curtin: Yeah, and the natives would hound and pester you to death.
Fred C. Dobbs: Some town to be broke in.
Bob Curtain: What town isn't? 


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