Not Every One Who Drinks Is a Poet

A lot of the time I find movies boring. Sometimes, though, I do stumble on a brilliant picture that captures my imagination even after several viewings.

More often than not, the thing that sells me to a movie is the writing — and especially the dialogue.

The wonderful dialogue reproduced here is from an equally wonderful movie, Arthur, starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli and John Gielgud. Arthur tells the story of a happy drunk who is heir to a vast fortune — which he stands to lose when he falls in love with a poor waitress/acting student from Queens (Minnelli) and refuses to marry the girl his and the girl’s families have chosen for him.

In the following scene a hopelessly drunk Arthur finally proposes to Susan (played by Jill Eikenberry) at a fancy restaurant in New York.


Susan: Arthur, don’t you get it? You can get drunk, you can throw up, you can forget to call me for months. You can’t lose with me. I know you too well. And I’m much stronger than you are. I know how alone you are. I hate how alone you are. I’ve cried because you’re so alone. Don’t be afraid, Arthur. You’re never going to be alone again.

Arthur: Waiter! I’ll have another one. You wanna another fish?

Susan: Don’t drink anymore, Arthur.

Arthur: Susan…

Susan: Yes, Arthur?

Arthur: You’re such an arsehole! This is what I am! Every one who drinks is not a poet. Some of us drink because we’re not poets.

Susan: A real woman could stop you from drinking.

Arthur: It’ll have to be a real big woman.

Susan: Arthur, will you take my hand?

Arthur: That would leave you with one. Sorry. Here’s the hand.

Susan: I love you, Arthur.

Arthur: Good. I have to talk to the waiter now. (To the waiter: ) My doctor has adviced me that I must drink ten of these an hour.

Waiter: I understand, mister Bach.

Arthur (to Susan): This is the ring my grandfather gave to my grandmother. (cough) Then he died. And subsequently she gave it to me.

Susan: I’ll always love you, Arthur.

Arthur: It’s a great ring, isn’t it?

Susan: It’s a beautiful ring! It’s a magical night.

Arthur: Do you have any objection to naming a child Vladimir… even a girl?

Susan: Ask me, Arthur.

Arthur: Will you marry me, Susan? Take all weekend If you want.

Susan: Yes!

Arthur: Congratulations! Would you mind if I took you home? I’ve… I’ve got a terrible headache or something…

About Markus

Markus Jääskeläinen is a Finnish writer and photographer living in the Blue Mountains of Australia with his wife, their two dogs and a cat.

One comment

  1. Keith

    A great scene from one of the best movies ever. Few movies have more great lines.


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