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