Saturday, December 31, 2005

That Girl in a Cole Porter Song and Other Gems From the Screenwriter's Pen

A work in progress, these are some of my favorite movie quotes. Where possible, I've tried to avoid the obvious. Consequently, you won't find "I coulda been a contender" or "You lookin' at me?" here (although I couldn't resist a quote from Taxi Driver). That said, I do love Budd Schulberg and Paul Schrader's iconic takes on wounded masculinity--especially in context. For those lines to really work their magic, you don't just need to conjure up the indelible images of Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro in your mind (or on the screen), you need to hear the rest of their dialogue in those famous scenes to really get what they're going on about. On the other hand, I've taken all of these quotes out of context, so if you're the least bit intrigued, I would encourage you to check out some of these fine films.


"The work of the police, like that of woman, is never done."
-- He Walked by Night (1948)

[I think this was spoken by Jack Webb.]

"Men aren't interested in a sheet of virgin-white paper. They want something with writing on it."
-- Careless Lady (1932)

[I think this was spoken by Joan Bennett.]

"Men! You say no to one, and they think you're a candidate for the funny farm."
--Tippi Hedren, Marnie (1964)

Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape."
-- Taylor (Charlton Heston), Planet of the Apes (1968)

"I always say the law was meant be interpreted in a lenient manner...Sometimes I lean to one side of it, sometimes I lean to the other."
-- Paul Newman, Hud (1963)

"I want that girl in a Cole Porter song. I wanna see Lena Horne at the Cotton Club--hear Billie Holiday sing fine and mellow--walk in that kind of rain that never washes perfume away. I wanna be in love with something. Anything. Just the idea. A dog, a cat. Anything. Just something."
-- Harry Stoner (Jack Lemmon), Save the Tiger (1973)

"One should become a person, like other people."
-- Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), Taxi Driver (1976)

"The critics? I hate the critics? I have nothing but compassion for them. How can I hate the crippled, the mentally deficient, and the dead?"
-- Sir (Albert Finney), The Dresser (1983)

"Ordinary fuckin' people--I hate 'em."
-- Harry Dean Stanton, Repo Man (1984)

"If you toy with me, I'll burn you so bad, you'll wish you'd died as a child."
-- Sgt. Maj. "Dick" Dickerson (J.T. Walsh), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

"This is a complicated case, Maude. A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous, a lot of strands to keep in my head, man. Lot of strands in old Duder's head."
-- The Dude (Jeff Bridges), The Big Lebowski (1998)

"Sooner or later, Mr. Fowler, one has to take sides."
-- Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen) to Michael Caine, The Quiet American (2002)

[Indecisive people get on my nerves.]

"Cats live in loneliness, then die like falling rain."
-- Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space (2002)

"I believe the killing of fluffy creatures is never justified."
-- Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

"'Fear Eats The Soul,' there's more truth in that title than most whole films."
-- Naomie Harris, Tristram Shandy (2006)

Quotes about the movies/movie life.

"I believe in suffering in abject luxury."
-- Laurence Harvey (1928-1973)

"American cinema is not the enemy. It always brings you surprises. Because it is cinema, it can't be the enemy. But it takes up too much space. It gets bigger and leaves less to others.''
-- Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (2002)

"Film is lies 24 times a second."
-- Errol Morris

[Morris goes Godard one better.]

"One tender moment's reprieve from loneliness can illuminate a life."
-- Stephen Holden on Brokeback Mountain (2005)

"I'm a good actor for me as a director because I do everything I tell myself to do."
-- Tommy Lee Jones on The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2006)

Endnote: 1956 photo of Jack Lemmon with Rita Hayworth and Robert Mitchum from the BBC. Image of Errol Morris and Ricky Jay (Deadwood) from the official Morris website. For my favorite general quotes--lit quips, et al--please click here. For my favorite "Black Irish" quotes, this space is the place. Wanna contribute a quote to my collection? You know what to do.

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