Now Streaming: Kevin Kline’s Tony Award®- winning performance in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter. First produced in 1942 with Coward himself in the leading role, Present Laughter continues the GREAT PERFORMANCES marathon within the PBS Broadway’s Best lineup. The play premiered on PBS Friday, November 3, 2017 at 9/8c (check local listings).
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ Applause ] ♪ ♪ -[ Sighs ] [ Giggles ] ♪ [ Dialing ] ♪ -Hel-- Hello, Cynthia, darling. It's Daphne.
Yes. Are you alone?
Listen, I'm you-know-where.
Yes, I did!
No, he isn't awake yet.
There's nobody about at all.
No, in the spare room.
I can't go on about it now. Someone might come in.
If anybody rings up from home, will you swear to say that I spent the night with you?
Darling, you promised.
In that case, say I'm in the bath or something.
[ Giggles ] I can't wait to tell you.
[ Birds chirping ] Good morning.
-What time is Mr. Essendine going to be called?
-He will ring. -What time does he usually ring?
-That depends what time he went to bed.
-Well, I'm afraid we were rather late last night.
You see, we were at a party, and Mr. Essendine very kindly said he'd drive me home.
And then I'd found I'd forgotten my latchkey.
And I knew I shouldn't be able to make any of the servants hear because they sleep at the top of the house, and so Mr. Essendine very sweetly said that I could spend the night here.
And -- and so I did.
-If you were very late, he will probably sleep until the afternoon.
-Oh, dear! Couldn't you call him?
We can never call him.
-Good morning! -Good morning, miss.
-Have you any idea what time Mr. Essendine will get up?
-Oh, might be any time.
He didn't leave no note. -Couldn't you call him?
It's nearly 11:00.
-The whole place goes up in smoke if we wake him by accident, let alone call him.
-Well, do you think I could have some breakfast?
-Well, now, what would you fancy?
-Some coffee, please, and some orange juice!
I'm Mr. Essendine's secretary.
Is there anything I can do for you?
-Well, I'm afraid it's rather awkward.
You see, Mr. Essendine drove me home last night from a party, and I idiotically forgot my latchkey, and so Mr. Essendine very sweetly said that I could spend the night here in the spare room.
-I hope you were warm enough. -Oh, yes, quite.
-It's liable to be a bit nippy in the spare room.
-I kept the heater on.
-Oh, very sensible. -And, oh, I was wondering if somebody could tell Mr. Essendine that I'm, well, here.
-I expect he'll remember when he wakes up.
-Have you any idea when that will be?
-I'm afraid not.
If he didn't leave any special time to be called, he might sleep on indefinitely.
-I wouldn't want to go away without saying goodbye and thanking him.
-If I were you, I should have some breakfast and dress.
And if he isn't awake by then, you can leave a message for him.
Have you asked for any breakfast?
-Yes, I think the man is bringing it.
-Have you known Mr. Essendine long?
-Well, no, not exactly.
I mean, of course I've known him for ages.
I think he's wonderful, though we actually only met last night for the first time.
-I think he's even more charming off the stage than on, don't you?
-I can never quite make up my mind.
-Have you been with him for a long while?
-Just on 17 years. -Ah!
[ Giggles ] How wonderful!
I expect you know him better than anybody.
-Less intimately than some.
Better than most.
-Is he happy, do you think? I mean, really happy.
-I don't believe I've ever asked him.
-He has a sad look in his eyes every now and then.
-Oh, you noticed that, did you?
-We talked for hours last night.
He told me all about his early struggles.
-Did he by any chance mention that life was passing him by?
-Yes, I think he did say something like that.
-Oh, dear. -Why?
-I just wondered.
-I do hope you don't think it's awful of me spending the night here like this.
I mean, it does look rather bad doesn't it?
-Well, really, Miss, um... -Stillington. Daphne Stillington.
-Miss Stillington, it's hardly my business, is it?
-No, I suppose not.
But I wouldn't like you to think -- -17 years is a long time, Miss Stillington.
I gave up that sort of thinking in the spring of 1922.
-Will you have it in here, Miss, or in the bedroom?
-In here, please. -Oh, no. Oh, no.
I really think you'd be more comfortable in the bedroom.
The studio becomes rather active round about 11:00.
People call, you know, and the telephone rings.
-I'll let you know the minute he wakes up.
-Thank you so much.
-Now you pop right back into bed, Miss.
-Is there any soap in that bathroom?
-Uh, yes, but the tap is a bit funny.
You have to go on turning it till kingdom come.
-Did you tell her?
-She'll find out for herself.
-You better send Miss Erikson in to her.
-She's gone to the grocers, but I'll tell her when she comes back.
-Were you here last night? -Nah, she's news to me.
-Well, if he hasn't rung by 12:00, we better wake him.
-You know what happened last time!
-It can't be helped. He's got a lunch out anyhow.
-Well, if the balloon goes up, don't blame me.
[ Cheers and applause ] [ Laughter ] -Suppose it's of no interest to any of you that I have been awakened from a deep, deep sleep by everybody screaming like banshees.
What's going on?
-I've been talking to Miss Stillington.
-Who the hell is Miss Stillington?
-She's in the spare room.
-I didn't ask you where she was, Monica, dear.
I asked you who she was.
-We might look her up in the telephone book.
-She forgot her latchkey, if you know what I mean.
-Go away, Fred.
And get me some coffee.
-Righty-o. -And don't say, 'Righty-o.'
-Very good, sir. -Thank you very much.
-You met her at a party, and you brought her home here, and you told her about your early struggles, and she stayed the night.
-I remember now.
She's a darling.
I'm mad about her.
What did you say her name was?
-Stillington, Daphne Stillington.
-I knew it was Daphne, but I hadn't the faintest idea it was Stillington.
How did she look to you? -Restive.
-Oh, poor little thing. I hope you were nice to her.
Has anybody given her anything to eat?
-Fred has taken her some coffee and orange juice.
-What's she doing now? -I don't know.
Drinking it, I suppose.
-It's dreadful, isn't it? What are we to do?
-Well, she wants to say goodbye and to thank you.
-That, Garry, dear, I am in no position to say.
-Why didn't you tell her to dress quietly like a mouse and go home?
You know perfectly well it's agony here in the morning with everybody banging about.
-Well, you might have thought of that before you asked her to stay the night!
-She had to stay the night. She'd lost her latchkey.
-The sooner we turn that spare room into a library, the better.
-Probably sobbing her heart out.
-Why don't you go and see?
-[ Groans ] Lend me a comb, and I will.
I look 98.
-Just a few more years, I'll be bald as a coot with a row of angry, false teeth leering at me from a glass.
Then you'll be sorry.
-On the contrary, I shall be delighted.
There will be fewer eager young debutantes ready to lose their latchkeys for you when you've got a toupee perched on top of your head.
-I shall never wear a toupee, Monica, however bald I get.
Perhaps on the stage I might have a little front piece, but in life, never.
I intend to grow old with distinction.
-I'm sure that will be a great relief to all of us.
Now -- Oh.
Now do go and do a nice goodbye scene.
There's a dear.
And get rid of her as quickly as possible.
We've got to do the mail, and Morris might appear at any minute.
-I haven't done my exercises yet.
You can do those after she's gone.
-Well, I can't possibly go into the spare room in my pajamas.
It's like an icebox. -The heater is on.
It's been on all night.
-Garry! -Oh, my dear.
-I thought I heard your voice. -If you want me, I shall be in the office, Garry.
-Thank you, Monica. -And you won't forget, will you, that at 12:30, you have given an appointment to a Mr. Roland Maule?
-No, Monica. -And at 1:00 sharp, Morris is coming to discuss what understudies you're going to take to Africa.
-I shall remember, Monica. -I'm so glad.
Goodbye, Miss Stillington.
-Garry. Oh, Garry.
I'm ridiculously happy.
-I'm so glad, darling.
-There's something awfully sad about happiness, isn't there?
-What a funny thing to say.
-It wasn't meant to be funny.
-I've been in love with you for such a long time.
-Oh [Stammers] -- No, don't say that.
-Why? What's the matter?
-Don't love me too much, Daphne.
Promise me you won't.
You'll only be unhappy.
No good can come of loving anyone like me.
I am not worthy of it, really.
I -- I -- I'm not.
-You're more worthy of it than anyone in the world.
-I'm not a child. I'm 24.
[ Laughs ] 24. If only I were younger.
If only you were older.
-What does age matter when people love each other?
-I wonder how tragically often that has been said?
-It's true. -Now, look at me, Daphne.
Look at me kindly, clearly, and honestly.
Look at the lines in my face, my thinning hair.
Look at my eyes. -You're not so very old.
-I didn't say I was so very old.
I merely said look at me.
In fact, I'm only 6-- 5-- 45.
-What's 45? -It's too old for 24.
-You mean you don't love me? -I don't mean any such thing.
-Do you love me?
Say it. Do you? -Of course I do.
-I love you, Daphne.
[ Giggles ] -But this is goodbye.
-Goodbye? -Well, it must be.
Not for my sake, but for yours.
Last night, suddenly a spark was struck.
The flame burned brightly for a little.
That was happiness, tremendous, wonderful happiness, something to be remembered always.
-You're different this morning.
You didn't mean any of the things you said last night.
-Listen, my dear, you're not in love with me, the real me.
You're in love with an illusion, the illusion that I gave you when you saw me on the stage.
Last night, I ran the risk of breaking that dear, young illusion forever.
But I didn't!
No. No. Thank God I didn't. It's still there.
I can see it in your eyes, but never again.
No, that's all I dare hope for now, moments like last night.
That's why I'm so lonely.
Sometimes so desperately lonely, but I have learned one bitter lesson in my life.
And that lesson is to be able to say, 'Goodbye.'
-Goodbye, but Garry -- -Let me go on!
[ Laughter ] 'We meet not as we parted, We feel more than all may see; My bosom is heavy-hearted, And thine full of doubt for me: -- One moment has bound the free.
That moment is gone forever, Like lightning that flashed and died -- Like a snowflake upon the river -- Like a sunbeam upon the tide, Which the dark shadows hide.'
-But Garry -- -Quiet.
[ Laughter ] 'That moment from time was singled As the first of a life of pain; The cup of its joy was mingled -- Delusion too sweet, though vain!
Too sweet to be mine again.'
There now. That was Shelley.
Don't you think it's beautiful?
-Yes. -There was nothing Shelley didn't know about love, not a thing.
All the sadness, all the joy, all the unbearable pain.
-I don't see why love should be so miserable.
-That's because you're young, my sweet, young and eager and greedy for life.
-You told me last night that I was the one that you had been searching for always and that now that you had found me, you would never let me go.
[ Laughter ] -That -- That -- That's perfectly true.
I shall never let you go.
You shall be here in my heart forever.
-Oh, Garry! [ Crying ] -Please, please, don't cry. I can't bear it.
-How can you say that I'm only in love with an illusion and not the real you at all?
-Because it's true. -It isn't.
It was the real you last night.
You weren't on the stage. You weren't acting!
-I'm always acting, watching myself go by.
That's what's so horrible.
I see myself all the time, eating, drinking, loving, suffering.
Sometimes I think I'm going mad, mad.
-I could help you if only you'd let me.
-I'm sorry, dear, what did you say?
-I could help you! -If only you could.
But it's too late. -It isn't.
It isn't, I swear it isn't.
You see, I'll prove it to you!
-No, you must get out of the tiresome habit of contradicting everything I say.
It is too late.
It's not that I don't love you.
I do, but you see, my life is not my own.
I am not free like other men to take happiness when it comes to them.
I belong to the public and to my work.
In two weeks' time, I'm going to Africa with a repertory of six plays.
Do you realize what that means, the work, the drudgery, the nerve strain?
But that is my job, the one thing to which I must be faithful.
When I come back, I come back, I shall look at you again, and I shall know in the first glance whether you have waited for me or not.
Now, come kiss me.
Kiss me once, just once and then go.
[ Laughter ] [ Crying ] Oh, Garry!
Not goodbye, just au revoir.
Come, my dear. Come, come, come.
Away with melancholy.
-Do you want your coffee here or upstairs?
-Put it anywhere, Fred, within reason.
-I'd have brought it in before, but I heard all that weeping and wailing going on and thought, 'Perhaps I better wait.'
-Put the tray down, Fred, and go away.
[ Telephone ringing ] -Righty-o.
-There's no peace, no peace anywhere.
-[ Whistling ] Who switched their telephone in here?
-I switched it in here because we've got to go through the mail, and I can't keep darting in and out of the office all the time.
-Will you stop whistling, Fred?
It's like living in Waterloo Station.
-Hello, Mr. Essendine's secretary speaking.
Oh, well, I'm afraid he's not available at the moment.
Is there anything I can do?
Well, he's very busy just now.
I really think it would be better if you wrote.
Oh, no. Oh, I'm sorry.
That's quite impossible, is it.
Very well. Goodbye.
-Who was that? -Mr. Bramble.
-Never heard of him. -Well, he says you promised to look at his invention.
-What sort of invention? -I haven't the faintest.
-Very curious. -Fred said I was to go and speak to the young lady.
-Very well, Miss Erikson. -What shall I say to her?
-I really don't know.
-I have been to the grocers.
-That's as good an opening gambit as any.
[ Laughter ] -Just see that she has everything she wants, Miss Erikson, and turn on a bath for her.
-Alas, that I cannot do.
The tap makes no water.
-Well, rise above the whole situation and do the best you can.
-I will try.
-Preserve that spirit of cheerful optimism, Miss Erikson.
-Well, there's nothing much this morning.
I shall go through them quickly.
-This coffee tastes of curry powder.
-Never mind. -I do mind.
I wish I had a French chef instead of a Scandinavian spiritualist.
-Oh, you could never get rid of Miss Erikson.
She worships you.
-Everybody worships me.
-There's hell to pay if they don't.
-What's that blue letter? -Sylvia Laurie.
She says she must see you before you go away.
-Well, she can't.
-And another from Lady Warren, lunch on Tuesday or dinner on Friday?
-Neither. -And here is a postcard I can't make head or tail of.
-It's from Brazil. -I know.
It says so on the stamp.
-'I've done what you said, and it's nearly finished.'
I can't read the signature.
It looks like Pickett.
-Well, can you remember anybody called Pickett that you sent to Brazil to finish something?
[ Laughter ] -Tear it up.
People should write legibly or not at all.
-Not at all would be lovely.
Oh, is Miss Stillington dressed yet?
-Yes, but she is crying, which makes her slow.
-Crying. -You better go upstairs, Garry.
-Tell Fred. -Oh, Miss Erikson, tell Fred Mr. Essendine wants his bath.
-I will tell him.
Fred! -You better come up, too.
We can finish the rest of the letters while I'm in the bath.
-Well, there's only one more, an invitation from Gertrude Lovette. [ Doorbell rings ] She's giving a coming-out dance for that pimply looking daughter of hers.
-What a horrible thought.
[ Telephone rings ] -Hello?
[ Chuckles ] Oh, yes, he is in, but he's gone to have his bath.
[ Doorbell rings ] Today?
Oh, I thought you weren't going till the end of the week.
Oh, yes, of course.
He's not lunching till half past.
Well, all right then. We'll see you later today.
-Hello, Miss Erikson. Is everybody in?
-Just sitting so.
-Good morning, Monica, dear. -Liz, darling.
[ Applause ] We thought you weren't coming back until tonight.
-I came over by plane loaded with gifts like an Eastern potentate.
Here's one for you. -Oh, how lovely!
-It's a bottle of perfume and very expensive.
-Oh, thanks so much, Liz.
You're a darling.
-What's God up to?
-In the bath. -I brought him a dressing gown.
-How thoughtful. He's only got 18.
-[ Chuckles ] Don't be acid, Monica.
You know how he loves peacocking about in something new.
It's nice and thin and highly suitable for Africa.
Miss Erikson looked more peculiar than ever this morning.
Is her spiritualism getting worse?
-She got in touch with a dead friend at a séance on Sunday night. -Yes.
-And all he said was, 'No, no, no.'
And 'Christmas Day.'
It upset her very much. -[ Laughs ] Hello, Fred. How's everything?
-Ah, bit of a lash up, Miss. Same as usual.
-Do you think I could have a cup of coffee?
I feel a sinking. -Righty-o, Miss.
-It's very resolute of Fred to go on calling me Miss, isn't it?
-Well, I think he has sort of an idea that when you gave up being Garry's wife, you automatically reverted to maidenhood.
-It's a pretty thought. -Oh, I'm so sorry about the bath, Miss Stillington.
-It didn't matter a bit.
-This is Mrs. Essendine, Miss Stillington.
-How do you do? -Mrs. Essendine? Do you -- I mean, are you Garry's wife? -Yes.
-Oh, I thought you were divorced.
-Oh, we never quite got around to it.
-Oh, I see.
-Oh, no, but please don't look agitated.
I upped and left him years ago.
-Miss Stillington lost her key last night, and so she slept in the spare room.
-You poor dear. You must be absolutely congealed.
-[ Chuckles ] Do you think I could get a taxi?
-I'll ring up for one. -No, don't do that.
My car is downstairs.
It'll take you wherever you want to go.
-That's most awfully kind of you.
-Not at all.
The chauffeur's got bright red hair, and his name is Frobisher.
You can't miss him.
-Thank you very much indeed.
You sure it's not inconvenient? -Not in the least.
Just tell him to come straight back here after he's dropped you.
-Oh, yes, of course I will.
Thank you very much again! -Not at all.
I do hope you haven't caught cold.
-Oh, no, I don't think so. Goodbye.
-I'll show you out. -No, no, please.
Don't trouble. -It's no trouble at all.
-Do you want anything with it, Miss?
-No, thank you, Fred, just the coffee.
-Righty-o. I'll go tell his nibs you're here.
I don't think he knows. -Thank you, Fred.
Well, has that been going on long, or is it new?
I found it wandering about in Garry's pajamas.
-Poor little thing.
How awful for her to be faced with me like that.
You ought to have pretended I was somebody else.
-Well, it serves her right.
Oh, I don't mind.
If only they'd leave Garry alone.
It makes the mornings so complicated.
-He's just incapable of saying no or goodbye.
-Oh, he says goodbye often enough, but he always manages to give the impression that he doesn't really mean it.
-I'll have a go at him.
After all, it's high time he relax.
-Oh, if you think a big scene is really necessary, we could get Henry and Morris, too, and have a real rouser the night before he sails.
Morris is awfully hysterical these days.
And Henry's not nearly so reliable since he married Joanna.
-Do you like her, Joanna?
-She's a lovely creature, but tricky.
Yes, I think I like her all right.
-I don't. -You never would, darling.
She's not your cup of tea at all.
-Who isn't? -Joanna.
-Oh, she's not bad.
A bit predatory, perhaps, but then as far as I can tell, everybody is predatory in one way or another.
-I shall give it up for Lent. -Good morning, darling.
-Good morning. -Where's my present?
-On the piano bench. -Oh.
It's not another glass horse, is it?
-No. It's a dressing gown for Africa.
-A dressing gown, Monica!
Just what we wanted.
Oh, it's absolutely charming, and I'm mad about it.
[ Laughter ] Don't anybody say anything important for five minutes.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] Impeccable taste.
Just the right sort of colonial propaganda.
[ Laughter ] Say something about it, Monica.
[ Laughter ] -So beautifully austere.
-Oh, Henry rang up. He's going to Brussels today, and he's coming in to see you before he goes.
-If these shoulders were only mine.
-So is Morris, I think.
-Go away then, Monica.
I must talk to Garry before Morris gets here.
-You better hurry.
Mr. Maule will be here in a minute.
-Who's Mr. Maule?
-Oh, you know perfectly well who he is.
He's the young man who wrote this mad play, 'Half Inverse,' and caught you on the telephone.
Oh, you were so busy being attractive and unspoiled by your great success that you promised him an appointment.
-Monica, it is your pride and pleasure to protect me from things like that.
I can't possibly see him. -You must see him.
He's come all the way from Uckfield, and it serves you right for snatching the telephone when I wasn't looking.
-I've noticed a great change in you lately, Monica.
I don't know whether it's because you've given up cramming yourself with potatoes or what it is, but you're getting nastier with every day that passes.
-I shall be in the office if you want me.
-Yes, of course you'll be in the office, spinning awful plots and intrigues against me.
I shouldn't wonder. -I will, if I can think of any.
-Go away. -Liz.
-Yes, darling. -Do try to persuade him to have some electric treatments on his hair.
It's getting terribly thin.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] -And switch that telephone off!
-Well, darling, tell me all about everything.
-I saw the play.
-Is it good? -Yes, very.
It's a perfect part for you.
We shall have to change it a bit, but the writer is quite willing to do what we like as long as you play it.
-I'm seeing Morris after lunch to see if he'll direct it.
Now then, I want to talk to you about something else.
-I don't like that tone at all.
What's on your mind? -You.
Your general behavior.
-Oh, Liz, what have I done now?
-Don't you think it's time you started to relax?
-I don't know what you're talking about.
-Who was that poor little creature I saw here this morning in evening dress?
-She'd lost her latchkey! -They often do.
-Now, Liz -- -In my humble opinion, all this casual scampering about is rather undignified.
-Casual scampering, indeed.
You have a genius for putting things unpleasantly.
-Don't misunderstand me.
I'm not taking the moral view.
I gave that up as hopeless years ago.
No, I'm merely basing my little homily on reason, dignity, position and, let's face it, age.
-May God forgive you.
It's all very fine for you to come roaring back from Paris where you've been up to God knows what and start to bully me.
-Oh, I'm not bullying you. -Yes, you are!
You're --you're -- you're sitting smug as be damned on an awful little cloud and blowing down on me.
-Who deserted me in the first place, abandoned me, and left me a prey to everybody?
Answer me that.
-I did, thank God. -Well then.
-Would you like me to have stayed?
-Certainly not. You drove me mad.
-Stop shilly-shallying about then and pay attention!
-This to date is the most irritating morning of my life.
-Be good. There's a darling.
I mean it. -What do you mean?
Your behavior naturally affects all of us.
Morris, Henry, Monica and me, you're responsible for us, and we are responsible for you.
You never miss an opportunity of lecturing us and wagging your finger in our faces when we happen to do something you don't approve of.
-Of all the base ingratitude.
-I think the time has come for you to look very carefully at yourself and see if you really need all this buccaneering.
-Buccaneering? [ Laughter ] -Just try not to be so devastatingly charming to people for a little.
Think what fun it would be to be unattractive for a minute or two.
Why, you might take to it like a duck to water.
You know, you really are very sweet.
I might as well be talking Chinese.
-Oh, don't be cross, Liz, please.
I admit, I am a trifle feckless every now and then, but I really don't do any harm to anybody.
-You do harm to yourself and to the few, to the very few who really mind about you.
-Oh, I suppose you've been discussing this already with Monica and Henry and Morris.
-Well, I haven't yet, but I will unless I see some sign of improvement.
-Well, you know how you hate it when we all make a concerted pounce.
-The thing that astonishes me in life is people's arrogance.
-Well, you're a fine one to talk about arrogance.
-Well, it's fantastic.
Look at you all gossiping in corners, whispering behind your fans, telling me what to do and what not to do.
It's downright sauce. That's what it is.
And what happens if I relax my loving hold on any of you for one minute?
I'm having to play a three-month season in New York.
Henry immediately gets pneumonia, goes to Biarritz to recover, meets Joanna, and marries her.
-Isn't this all a little beside the point?
-I go for a brief holiday in Saint-Tropez, and when I come back, what do I find?
-We're not going to have that all over again.
-You and Henry have put all of Henry's money into 'The Lost Cavalier.'
And who played it for 18 months to capacity with extra matinees?
I did! -You did!
-And who started his whole career as a director in that play?
-And who's idea -- -Oh, I wish you would stop asking questions and answering them yourself.
It's making me giddy.
-Well, where would they have been without me?
Where would Monica be now if I hadn't snatched her away from that sinister old aunt of hers and given her a job?
-With the sinister old aunt. -And you, my dear, one of the most melancholy depressing actresses on the English stage, where would you be now if I hadn't forced you to give up acting and start writing?
Good God, I even had to marry you to do it.
And a fine gesture that turned out to be.
-Well, I was in love with you for longer than I was with anyone else.
You can't grumble. -I never grumbled.
I believe in going through any experience, however shattering. -You adored me.
You know you did. -I still do, dear.
You're so chivalrous, rubbing it in how dependent we all are on you for every breath we take.
-I didn't say that.
-You are just as dependent on us anyway, now.
We stop you being extravagant and buying houses every five minutes.
We stopped you in the nick of time from playing Peer Gynt.
-I still maintain I would have been magnificent as Peer Gynt.
-Above all, we stop you from overacting.
-You have now gone too far.
I think you had better go away somewhere.
-I've only just come back. -Monica.
Monica, come here at once.
-What on Earth is the matter?
-Have you or have you not seen me overact?
-It's a conspiracy. I knew it!
-As a matter of fact, you're overacting now.
-Oh. Very well.
I give in. [ Door closes ] You're all against me.
It doesn't matter about me.
Oh, no. I'm only the breadwinner.
It doesn't matter that I'm wounded and insulted.
It doesn't matter that my timorous belief in myself should be subtly undermined.
-Your belief in yourself is about as timorous as Napoleon's.
-And look what happened to him.
He died forsaken and alone on a beastly little island all surrounded by water.
-Islands have that in common.
Now then, about Morris, I want you to concentrate for a minute.
-How can I concentrate? -I'm very worried.
-About Morris? Why? What's wrong?
-I'm not definitely sure anything is, really, but I've heard things. -Well, what sort of thing?
-Apparently Morris is in love with her.
I don't know how far it's gone or any details, but I do know that if it's true, something ought to be done about it and at once.
-Morris and Joanna.
He must be mad.
Does Henry suspect anything?
-I don't think so, but you know he never would, would he, unless it were shoved under his nose.
-He ought never to have married that stereotyped diamond-studded siren in the first place.
I always said it was a grave mistake.
-Well, I don't think she's as stereotyped as all that, but she's dangerous all right.
-I've always run a mile from her.
Really, it's too tiresome.
Just as I'm about to go away and everything.
This could bust up our whole business.
-If Henry finds out, it certainly will.
-What are we to do?
-First of all, find out from Morris whether it's true or not.
And if it is, how far it's gone.
Then read him the riot act, get him away somewhere.
Take him to Africa with you, anything.
[ Doorbell rings ] -Oh, it's that beastly young man from Uckfield.
And here I am trembling like a leaf.
I can't face him. I can't.
-You've got to if you promised.
-My life is one long torment, and none of you even remotely cares.
-It might not be the young man at all.
It might be Morris. -To hell with Morris.
To hell with everybody. -Don't be idiotic.
You have got to find out.
I shall be in until 1:15.
Telephone me as soon as he's gone.
-I'm lunching with him.
He won't go. -Oh.
-I can't very well give you a detailed report of his love life over the telephone with him sitting there.
Dial my number by mistake and just say, 'I'm so sorry. It's the wrong number.'
Then I shall know.
-What will you know? -That everything is all right.
But if you say, 'I'm so terribly sorry, it's the wrong number,' I'll know everything is all wrong, and I'll be round in a flash to back you up.
My whole life is enmeshed in intrigue.
-Have you got that clear? Will you promise to do it?
-Yes, all right. [ Doorbell rings ] I'll tell you another fascinating thing about my life here if you're interested.
No one in this house in any circumstance whatsoever answers a bell in under an hour.
Miss Erikson! Fred!
-I'm going now.
-The front doorbell, Miss Erikson, has been pealing incessantly for 28 minutes.
-Alas, yes, but there is a woman at the back door with a tiny baby.
-[ Gasps ] -What does she want? -I do not know.
There was no time to ask her.
-Most of the silver is gone by now I expect.
Monica, there's a woman at the back door with a tiny baby.
Go and deal with her.
-What does she want? -That, Monica, dear, can only be accurately ascertained by bloody well asking her.
Kindly do so. -There's no need to snap at me.
-How do you do? -How do you do?
[ Laughter ] -This is my wife.
Mr. Maule. -Oh, how do you do?
-How do you do? Ah!
I know you have an appointment with Garry, and I wouldn't dream of interrupting it, so I'll say goodbye.
Remember, Garry, I shall be sitting by the telephone.
-Yes, I'm so sorry.
It's the wrong number. -All right.
-I'm so terrible sorry.
It's the wrong number. -All wrong.
Thank you. And, well, good luck.
Do sit down, Mr. Maule.
-Oh, thank you.
-No, thank you. -Don't you smoke?
-No. Thank you.
-How old are you? -25. Why?
-Oh, doesn't matter. Just wondered.
-Well, how old are you?
-43 in December.
Jupiter, you know, very energetic.
-[ Laughs ] Yes, of course. [ Giggles ] -So, you've come all the way from Uckfield.
-It isn't very far. -Yes, I know, but it sort of sounds far, doesn't it?
-Oh, it's a sweet little thing, but it looks far from well.
-What did she want? -Her sister.
-Well, we haven't got her, have we?
-She lives two doors down in the Mews.
It was all a mistake. [ Laughs ] -I must introduce you.
Mr. Maule, this is my secretary, Miss Reed.
-How do you do? -How do you do?
[ Laughter ] There's your script, Mr. Maule.
-Oh, thank you very much!
-Do sit down again, Mr. Maule.
I must talk to you about your play.
-Well, I expect you hated it.
-Well, to be candid, I thought it was a little uneven.
-I thought you'd say that.
-I'm glad I'm running so true to form.
-Well, I mean, it really isn't the sort of thing you would like, is it?
-In that case, why on Earth did you send it to me?
-Well, I just took a chance.
I mean, I know you only play rather trashy stuff as a rule, but I thought you just might like to have a shot at something deeper.
[ Laughter ] -And what is there in your play, Mr. Maule, that you consider so deep, apart from the plot, which is completely submerged after the first four pages?
-Plots aren't important.
It's ideas that matter.
Look at Chekhov.
-In addition to ideas, I think we might concede Chekhov a certain flimsy sense of psychology, don't you?
-You mean my play isn't psychologically accurate.
-It isn't very good, you know?
Really, it isn't.
-Well, I think it's very good indeed.
-I understand that perfectly.
But you must admit that my opinion, based on a lifelong experience of the theater, might be the right one.
-The commercial theater.
-I suppose you'll say that if Shakespeare wrote for the commercial theater, and the only point of doing anything with the drama at all is to make money, all those old arguments... What you don't realize is that the theater of the future is the theater of ideas. -That may be.
But at the moment, I am occupied with the theater of the present.
-And what do you do with it?
Every play you appear in is exactly the same -- superficial, frivolous, without the slightest intellectual significance.
You have a great following and a strong personality.
And all you do is prostitute yourself every night of your life.
All you do with your talent is to wear dressing gowns and -- and make witty remarks when you might really be helping people, making them think, making them feel.
You -- [ Laughter ] -There can be no two opinions about it.
I am having a most discouraging morning.
[ Laughter ] -If you want to live in people's memories, to go down to posterity as an important man, you better do something about it quickly.
There isn't a moment to be lost.
-I-I don't give a hoot about posterity.
Why should I worry about what people think of me when I'm dead as a doornail anyway?
My worst defect is that I'm apt to worry too much about what people think of me when I'm alive.
But I'm not going to do that anymore.
I'm changing my methods.
And you, my high-brow young friend, are my first experiment.
To begin with, your play isn't a play at all.
It's a meaningless jumble of adolescent pseudo-intellectual poppycock.
It bears no relation to the theater or to life or to anything.
And you wouldn't even be here now if I hadn't been bloody fool enough to pick up the telephone when my secretary wasn't looking.
Now that you are here, though, I would like to tell you this.
If you wish to be a playwright, you just need the theater of tomorrow to take care of itself.
Go and get yourself a job as a butler in a repertory company if they'll have you.
Learn from the ground up how plays are constructed, what is actable and what isn't.
Then sit down and write at least 20 plays, one after the other.
And if you can manage to get the 21st produced for a Sunday night performance, you'll be damned lucky.
-I had no idea you were like this.
[ Laughter ] -I'm awfully sorry if you think I was impertinent just now.
But I'm awfully glad, too, because if I hadn't been, you wouldn't have got angry.
And if you hadn't got angry, I wouldn't have known what you're really like.
-You don't in the least know what I'm really like.
-Oh, yes, I do now.
-I can't see that it matters anyway.
-No, no. It matters to me.
-How do you mean? -Do you really want to know?
-Uh... What are you talking about?
-Well, it's rather difficult to explain, really.
-What's difficult to explain? -What I feel about you.
-Now look here, young man. -No, no, no!
Let me speak, please. Please.
You see, in a way, I've been rather unhappy about you for quite a long time.
You've been a sort of [Laughs] obsession with me.
I saw you in your last play 47 times.
[ Laughs ] One week, I went every night because I was up in town trying to pass an exam.
-Did you pass it? -Oh, no, I didn't.
-I'm not surprised.
-My father wants me to be a lawyer.
[ Laughs ] Imagine. -Imagine.
-That's what the exam was for.
But actually, I've been studying psychology a great deal because somehow I felt that I wasn't at peace with myself.
But then gradually, bit by bit, I-I-I began to realize that you signified something to me.
-What sort of something?
-I don't quite know.
-Do you know that 'not yet' is one of the most sinister remarks I've ever heard in my life?
-Don't laugh at me, please.
I'm always sick if anyone laughs at me.
-Forgive me, but you know you really are the most peculiar young man.
-Can I come and see you again?
-I'm afraid I'm going to Africa.
-Would you see me if I came to Africa, too?
-I really think you'd be far happier in Uckfield.
-Well, I expect you think I'm mad.
[ Laughs ] But I'm not, really!
I just mind deeply about certain things.
But -- But I feel much better now because I think I shall be able to sublimate you all right.
-Yes. -Good. Well, in that case, I'm afraid I shall have to ask you to go and start the sublimation process immediately.
I'm expecting my director, and we have business to discuss.
-Oh, no. No, that's all right.
I'm going immediately.
-Don't forget your script.
Tear it up.
You were quite right about it.
It was only written with part of myself.
I see that now.
-Goodbye. -[ Laughs ] [ Door opens, closes ] [ Applause ] Monica!
-Has he gone?
-If ever that young man rings up again, get rid of him at once!
He's mad as a hatter.
-What did he do? -He started by insulting me, and he finished by sublimating me.
-Poor dear, you look quite shattered.
-I am. -Have a glass of sherry.
-Those are the first kind words I've heard all morning.
-I think I'll have a nip, too. [ Doorbell rings ] -There's Morris. What time is it?
-Oh, 20 to 1:00. Here you are, dear.
-Oh, thank you. -It's, well, I -- -You'd better.
[ Laughter ] -There's a strange young man sitting on the stairs.
-What's he doing? -Crying.
-Yes, what have you been up to, Garry?
-I haven't been up to anything.
I merely told him what I thought of his play.
-Well, I'm glad to see you haven't lost your touch.
-Sherry, Morris? -Yes, thanks.
-Is it the same sherry that we always have?
-Yes. -No, thanks.
-Why? What's the matter with it?
-Nothing much. It's just not very nice.
-You ought never to have joined the Athenaeum Club.
It's made you pompous.
-Well, Henry is quite right about the sherry.
-If anybody complains about anything else, I shall go out of my mind.
This studio has been like a wailing wall all morning.
[ Laughter ] -What's the matter with the old boy, Monica?
He seems remarkably crotchety.
-Liz went for him a bit, and then I told him he overacted.
He really has had rather a beastly time.
And then that dotty young man on top of everything.
-Well, never mind, Garry.
God's in his heaven and all is right with the world.
I've got some lovely bad news for you.
-Nora Fenwick can't go to Africa.
-Why not? -She's broken her leg.
-Isn't actually so terribly important.
-Oh, oh, dear me, no.
It couldn't matter less.
It only means that I have to spend the entire voyage out rehearsing a new woman in six different character parts.
How did she do it?
-Well, she fell down at Victoria Station.
-She had no right to be at Victoria Station!
Who can we get?
-Well, Morris wants Beryl Willard, but I don't think she's quite right.
-Beryl Willard. -Beryl Willard, yes.
-Morris wants Beryl Willard, does he?
-Well, why not? She's extremely competent!
-Oh, I-I quite agree.
Beryl Willard is extremely competent.
Beryl Willard has been extremely competent, man and boy, for over 40 years.
-[ Stammers ] -In addition to her extreme competence, she has contrived with uncanny skill to sustain a spotless reputation for being the most paralyzing, monumental, world-shattering, God-awful bore that ever drew breath.
-Really, Garry! I don't see how you can speak of her like that!
-Let me explain one thing further.
No prayer, no bribe, no threat, no power human or divine would induce me to go to Africa with Beryl Willard!
I wouldn't go as far as Wimbledon with Beryl Willard!
-What he's trying to say is he doesn't care for Beryl Willard.
-All right. All right. She's out.
Whom do you suggest? -Just a minute.
If you're going to start one of those casting arguments, I'm going.
I've got to catch a plane for Brussels.
I just want to let you know that you can't have the Mayfair Theater for the French play in the autumn.
-Robert's got it for the whole season starting in September.
-Why did you let him? You knew I wanted it!
-The Lyceum is very much nicer, and the capacity is bigger.
-It's a conspiracy.
You, both of you have been trying to get me into that under-heated morgue for years!
-It's been done up and redecorated.
-It'll have to be rebuilt brick by brick before I set foot in it.
-Arrange it later, will you, Morris?
He's obviously in one of his states this morning.
I can't stop now.
-What are you going to Brussels for, anyhow?
Nice, ordinary, straightforward business.
Nothing to do with the theater at all.
I can't wait to get there.
Try to be a little more amiable when I come back.
Goodbye, Morris. -Yes.
-By the way, you might call up Joanna.
She's all alone. -Oh, I have.
I'm taking her to the opening at the Haymarket tomorrow night.
-Fine. Goodbye, Monica.
-Do you want me anymore? -Why?
What are you going to do?
-I'm going to write to Beryl Willard and ask her to come and live with you.
[ Laughter ] -So you're taking Joanna to the opening at the Haymarket tomorrow night?
Why not, indeed.
-What on Earth do you mean?
-I think I shall come, too. -All right.
That'll be grand! I've got a box.
There's lots of room.
-Morris, why have you been looking so mournful lately?
-I haven't been looking in the least mournful.
I'm -- I'm perfectly happy.
[ Laughter ] -Morris, y-you like Joanna, don't you?
-Of course I do. She's a darling.
-Well, I wouldn't exactly describe her as a darling, but then I don't see that much of her.
I gather you do.
-What -- What are you getting at?
-People are beginning to talk, Morris.
-What about? -You and Joanna.
-Are you in love with her? -In love with Joanna?
Of course I'm not!
-Are you preparing to be?
I can generally tell when you're about to embark on one of your emotional rampages.
-Oh, I like that, I must say.
What about you? -Never mind about me.
Nobody could accuse me of being emotional.
-[ Laughs ] Couldn't they just!
Look at Sylvia Laurie!
You carried on like a maniac over her for weeks, all that sobbing and screaming.
-That was years and years ago. -Never mind when it was.
It was. You wore us all to shreds.
-I notice you very adroitly turned the conversation into an attack on me.
-Now, really, Garry, what's the point?
-Do you swear to me that you haven't had an affair with Joanna?
-Well, I'm damned if I'll be cross-questioned like this.
-If you're fooling about with Joanna on the side, and Henry finds out, do you realize what it will mean?
-I refuse to go on with this conversation!
-You can refuse till you're blue in the face.
You're going to listen to me! -I'm not!
It's true, then, isn't it?
Oh, God. God, oh, this is serious.
This is really serious. Please, please, sit down.
Sit down! -No.
No, I have no intention of submitting to one of your famous finger-wagging tirades.
I'm sick to death of them.
-Now, look here.
[ Laughter ] We have never lied to each other about anything really vital to us.
Have we? -Well, no.
-Then it would be rather foolish to start now, wouldn't it? -You're right! All right!
But as far as I can see, nobody has!
-I'm not going to ask you any more questions.
I am, however, going to make you see one thing clearly, and it is this.
You, Henry, Monica, Liz, and I share something of inestimable importance to all of us.
That something is mutual respect and trust.
Here we are, five people closely woven together by affection and work and intimate knowledge of each other.
It's too important to set up, to risk breaking for any outside emotional reason whatsoever.
Joanna is alien to us.
She doesn't really belong to us and never could.
Henry realizes that perfectly well.
And to do him justice, I must say he has never tried to force her on us.
But don't you believe for one minute she's not a potential danger, because she is.
She is exceedingly attractive and ruthlessly implacable in the pursuit of anything she wants.
If she could succeed in wreaking havoc among all of us, I'm sure there's no stone she would leave unturned.
She's a scalp hunter, that baby, a go-getter, a collector if ever I saw one.
And all I'm asking you, all I'm imploring you is this -- be careful.
-But I haven't the least intention -- -[ Stammers ] -You needn't say anything now, but be careful.
Is that clear?
I think I'll have a little more sherry.
-I think I will, too.
It's delicious. -Yes.
-Would you? -Yes.
-I forgot to ring up for a table.
-Oh, there's no need. We can always go upstairs.
-Oh, no, no, no.
Upstairs smells of potted shrimps.
It won't take a moment. [ Dialing ] I'm so sorry.
It's the wrong number.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] ♪ ♪ [ Applause ] ♪ ♪ ♪ -It's very pretty, very pretty indeed.
-Oh, you look very dressy tonight, Fred.
Where are you going?
-Tagani's -- is that a nightclub or a dance hall or what?
-A bit of all sorts, really.
Doris works there.
-Oh, what does she do?
-She sings a couple of numbers and does a dance with a skipping rope.
[ Laughter ] -Very enjoyable.
-I think it's a bit wet, if you ask me.
But still, goes down all right.
-Are you going to marry Doris?
[ Laughs ] What a laugh.
-No, Fred, you are dreadfully immoral.
[ Laughter ] -I happen to know for a fact that you've been what is known as taking advantages of Doris for over two years now.
-Well, why not? She likes it.
I like it. And a good time is had by all.
-What's she going to do when we got to Africa?
-Ah, she'll manage.
She's got a couple blokes running around after her now.
-Oh. I see.
[ Laughter ] -Will you ring in the morning as usual, or do you want to be called?
-I'll ring. Has Miss Erikson gone?
-Yes, she went early.
She's, uh, she's gone to a friend in Hammersmith.
They turn out all the lights, play a gramophone, and talk to an Indian.
-Well, if it amuses them and pleases the Indian, I suppose it's all right.
-Well, she's a good worker, you know, even if she is a bit scatty, and you can't have everything, can you?
-No, Fred, you most certainly can't.
-Will that be all?
-Yes, thank you.
Enjoy yourself. -Same to you.
♪ ♪ [ Telephone ringing ] ♪ -Hello, hello. Who's this speaking?
Oh, hello, Liz.
Yes, I've been in about half an hour.
Yes, quite alone.
I'm turning over a new leaf.
Hadn't you heard?
Yes, I-I went to the play with him last night, to the Savoy afterwards for supper, and then, uh, Morris and I dropped her home.
No, as a matter of fact, she was very charming.
She's quite intelligent, you know.
And I must say, she's a permanent pleasure to the eye.
I'm going straight to bed.
You too. Be good.
[ Doorbell rings ] Ohh.
[ Laughter ] [ Doorbell rings ] Joanna.
-Oh, I can't tell you how relieved I am that you're in.
I've done the most idiotic thing.
-Why? Whatever has happened?
-Well, I've forgotten my latchkey.
-Oh, don't look at me like that!
I'm not in the least inefficient as a rule.
This is the first time I've ever done such a thing in my life.
I'm in an absolute fury.
I had to get dressed in the most awful rush to get to the Toscanini concert, and I left it in my other bag.
-And the servants all sleep at the top of the house I suppose?
-They do more than sleep.
They apparently go off into a coma.
I've been battering on the door nearly a half an hour.
-Would you like something to drink?
-Very much indeed.
Well, I'm exhausted.
-Well, we must decide what is best to be -- to be done.
-I went to a call box and I rang up Liz, but she must be out because there wasn't a reply.
-You rang up Liz and there wasn't any reply?
-Mm. As I hadn't any more change, and the taxi man hadn't either, I came straight here.
Oh, thank you.
You're looking very whimsical.
Don't you believe me?
-Of course I believe you, Joanna.
Why on Earth shouldn't I?
-I don't know.
You always look at me as if you didn't trust me an inch.
It's a shame because I'm so nice, really.
[ Laughter ] -I'm sure you are, Joanna.
-I know that voice, Garry.
You used it in every play you've ever been in.
-Complete naturalness on the stage is my strong suit.
-[ Chuckles ] You've never liked me really, have you?
-No, not particularly.
-I wonder why.
-I always had a feeling you were rather tiresome.
In what way tiresome?
-I don't know. There's a certain arrogance about you.
A little too much self assurance.
-You don't care for competition, I see.
[ Laughter ] -You're lovely looking, of course.
I've [Clears throat] always thought that.
-Well, thank you.
-If perhaps a little too aware of it.
-You're being conventionally odious, but somehow it doesn't quite ring true.
But then you never do quite ring true, do you?
I expect it's because you're an actor.
They're always apt to be a bit papier-mâché. -Puppets, Joanna, dear.
Creatures of tinsel and sawdust.
How clever of you to have noticed it.
-I wish you'd stop being suave just for a minute.
-What would you like me to do?
Fly into a tantrum? Burst into tears?
-I think I should like you to be kind.
At least kind enough to make an effort to overcome your perfectly obvious prejudice against me.
-I'm sorry it's so obvious.
[ Laughter ] -I know you resented me marrying Henry.
You all did, and I entirely see why you should have anyhow, at first.
But after all, that's five years ago.
During that time, I've done my best not to obtrude myself, not to encroach on any special preserves.
But my reward has been rather meager, from you particularly, nothing but artificial politeness and a slightly frigid tolerance.
-I see my appeal has fallen on stony ground.
I think I should like you to call me a taxi.
-Nonsense. There's nothing you'd hate more.
You came here for a purpose, didn't you?
-Of course I did. I lost my latchkey.
I knew you had a spare room, and... -Well?
-I wanted to get to know you a little better.
-No, you don't.
I know what you think, but I can't altogether blame you.
In your position as one of the world's most famous romantic comedians, it's only natural you should imagine every woman is anxious to hurl herself at your head.
I'm sure, for instance, you don't believe for a moment that I lost my latchkey.
-You're good. My God, you're good.
-What's the number for the taxi rank?
I'll ring it up myself.
[ Dialing ] -Yes, hello. Is that Sloan 2-6-6-4?
I -- I'm sorry. It's the wrong number.
-[ Laughs ] -What are you laughing at?
-If only you knew.
-You're enjoying yourself enormously, aren't you?
[ Dialing ] -You win. -Oh, give me the phone.
And don't be so infuriating.
-Have another drink. -No, thank you.
-Please. I-I am sorry.
-I wish you were really sorry.
-Maybe I am.
-I could cry now.
You know, very effectively.
[ Laughter ] If I only had the technique.
-Technique certainly is very important.
-Conversation seems to have come to a standstill.
-I think perhaps I would like to have another drink after all.
Just a very small one.
-Soupçon. -Thank you.
Oh, you make me feel extraordinarily self-conscious.
That's one of your most renowned gifts, isn't it, frightening people?
-Oh, surely you're not going to pretend that I frighten you.
-It's personality, I expect.
You look strangely young every now and then.
[ Laughter ] It would be nice to know what you were really like under all the trappings.
-Just a simple boy, stinking with idealism.
-Sentimental, too. -Mm.
-Are you happy on the whole?
Would you like me to play you something?
-No, thank you. -Why ever not?
You must be mad. -Oh, not mad, just musical.
[ Laughter ] -Snappy, too.
Quite rude, in fact.
Yes, that was rather rude, wasn't it?
What should be we do now?
Is there any necessity to do anything?
-I don't know.
My social sense tells me something is demanded, but for the life of me, I can't think what it is.
That's why I suggested playing to you.
-You must be pretty shattering to the young and inexperienced.
-Is that a subtle allusion to my charm?
-You glitter so brightly.
You're so gaily caparisoned, all the little bells tinkling.
-I sound like a circus horse.
-You are rather like a circus horse, as a matter of fact, prancing into the ring to be admired, jumping with such assurance through all the paper hoops.
-Listen, Joanna, dear, you really must make up your mind.
This provocative skirmishing is getting me down.
What do you want?
-I want you to be what I believe you really are -- friendly and genuine, someone to be trusted.
I want you to do me the honor of stopping your eternal performance for a little.
Bring down the curtain.
Take off your makeup and relax.
-Everybody keeps telling me to relax.
-Why are you so afraid of being vulnerable?
Wouldn't it rather be a relief?
To be perpetually on guard must be terribly tiring.
-Oh, I was right about you from the first!
-Were you? -Yes!
You're -- You're predatory as hell!
-You got poor Henry when he was convalescent.
You made a dead set at Morris, and now, by God, you're after me.
No, don't -- don't deny it.
You suddenly appear out of the night reeking with the lust of conquest.
The whole atmosphere is quivering with it.
That's a new dress, isn't it?
Those are new shoes. You've had your hair done.
And your mind even more expertly groomed to vanquish than your body.
Every word, every phrase, every change of mood, cunningly planned.
You want to know what I'm really like, do you?
Under all the glittering veneer, well, this is it.
This is what I'm really like.
When I'm driven into a corner, I tell the truth, and the truth at the moment is that I know you, Joanna.
I know what you're after.
Go away and leave me alone!
-Will you please go away at once?
-You're really the reason I married Henry.
-Are there no depths to which you won't descend?
I'm in love with you.
I've been in love with you for over seven years now, and it's high time something was done about it.
-This is the end. -Oh, no.
No, my sweet. Only the beginning.
-Now, listen to me, Joanna.
-I think you better listen to me first.
-I shall do no such thing. -You must.
It's terribly important to us all.
Please. Sit down.
-I-I'd rather walk about if you don't mind.
Dear, sweet Garry, please.
Please sit down.
I've got to explain, and I can't if you're whirling about all the time.
-This is dreadful. -First of all, I want you to promise to answer one question absolutely truthfully.
-What is it? -Will you promise?
-Yes, all right. Go on.
-If you had never seen me in your life before, if we met for the first time tonight, if I were in no way concerned with anyone you knew, would you have made love to me?
Would you have wanted me?
[ Laughter ] -Yes!
-Well, that's that. -No, no, no. Wait.
-Oh, no. Shut up. No, shut up. No, shut up.
-I -- No, right. -No, you must be fair.
You must let me explain.
I'm devoted to Henry.
I'm much fonder of him than he is of me.
Oh, he was madly in love with me for the first two years, but he isn't now.
You stood between us.
Not only in my heart, but in his.
He hated your thinly veiled disapproval of me, and it gradually strangled his love for me.
Henry has been lightly unfaithful to me 11 times to my certain knowledge during the last three years.
He's probably having a high old time in Brussels at this very moment. -You're lying, Joanna.
-I don't mind enough to lie.
Henry is a darling.
I wouldn't leave him for anything in the world.
We get on perfectly.
Oh, much better now, really, than we ever did before.
But you are the one that I'm love with and always have been.
I don't want to live with you, God forbid.
Oh, you'd drive me mad in a week.
But you are to me the most charming, infuriating, most passionately attractive man I've ever known in all my life.
[ Laughter ] -What about Morris?
-Oh, don't be so idiotic.
He was only a step nearer you.
-Has there been anything between you?
-Of course there hasn't.
-You swear that?
-Well, there's no need for me to swear it.
You can see, can't you?
And even if you can't see, you must at least be able to feel that what I'm saying is true.
Well, neither of us exactly adolescent.
We both know enough by experience that when our instincts are pushing us with all their force in one direction, that it's painful to rush off in the other.
Who could you and I possibly harm by loving each other for a little?
-May I please get up now?
[ Laughter ] -Yes.
-How was the Toscanini concert?
-Glorious. He played the '8th' and the '7th.'
-Personally, I always prefer the '5th.'
-Oh, I like the '9th' best of all.
-Nothing like the dear old '9th.'
-I love Covent Garden.
It's so uncompromising.
-I love the Albert Hall much, much more.
-I wonder why. I always find it depressing.
-Not when they do 'Hiawatha,' surely.
-I won't hear one word against the Albert Hall.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] ♪ ♪ [ Laughter ] -Oh, good morning. -Good morning.
-Is Mr. Essendine awake yet? -He has not rung.
-Oh, I wonder if you'd be very kind and let him know that I'm awake?
He would be crazy with anger.
-Oh, would he indeed.
I should be crazy with anger myself unless I get some breakfast.
I've been ringing that bell in there for hours.
-It does not work.
-Oddly enough, that dawned on me after a while.
-It is the mice.
They eat right through the wires.
They are very destructive.
-Oh, good morning Miss -- Oh, dear.
[ Laughter ] -I beg your pardon?
-You're Mrs. Lyppiatt, aren't you?
-Yes, I am.
-[ Whistles ] -That I gather was Mr. Essendine's valet.
Does he always behave like that?
-He was a steward on a very large ship.
-Most of the ship stewards I've met have good manners.
-He is only one I know.
-I would like some China tea, some thin toast without butter, and a soft-boiled egg please.
-We have no tea and no eggs either, but I will make the toast with pleasure.
-Ugh. Have you any coffee?
-Yes. We have coffee.
-Then kindly bring me some as quickly as you can.
-I will tell Fred.
-And as he was on a very large ship, perhaps he can do something about that faucet in the bathroom.
He was not a bathroom steward.
[ Door closes ] -Oh, dear.
-Oh, Joanna. -Oh, good morning, Monica.
[ Laughter ] -Ah -- Oh, thank Heaven you've come.
I've had such a complicated chat with the housekeeper.
-Did you stay the night here? -Oh, yes.
Wasn't it sweet of Garry to let me?
I did the most idiotic thing.
I lost my latchkey.
-You lost your latchkey.
-I was in absolute despair and then I suddenly thought of Garry.
-Suddenly thought of Garry.
-Why do you keep repeating everything I say?
-I don't know.
It seems easier than saying anything else.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] -Why, Monica, you actually look as if you disapprove of my staying the night here.
-I think it was tactless, to say the least of it.
-In heaven's name, why?
It was a perfectly natural thing to do in the circumstances.
-When in Henry coming home?
-Tomorrow morning on the 11:00 plane.
Is there anything else you'd like to know?
-No. No, no.
I don't think I want to know anything else at all.
-I really do resent your manner a little bit.
Anyone would think I'd done something awful.
-Obviously you are a better judge of that than I.
-[ Scoffs ] I really don't feel equal to continuing this rather strained conversation before I've had some coffee.
Perhaps you'd be kind enough to hurry it up for me.
-I always knew it. -Always knew what?
-That you'd cause trouble! -[ Scoffs ] -I'll see about your coffee. [ Doorbell rings ] There's somebody at the door!
You better go back into the spare room.
-Oh, I'm quite happy here. Thank you.
-Just as you please.
[ Laughter ] -Good morning, Monica.
-Hello, Liz! I'm so glad you've come.
Joanna is here.
[ Laughter ] Good morning, Joanna.
This is a surprise.
-Oh, Liz, darling, I tried to get you for hours last night.
I lost my latchkey and was in the most awful state, but you weren't in.
-I was in from 10:00 onwards.
You must have been ringing the wrong number.
-Well, I rang the number you gave me.
-Then I must have given you the wrong number.
-I shall be in the office if you want me, Liz.
-I do want you, Monica, so don't budge.
-Where will you have it? -Oh, um, here please.
-I think it would be more comfortable for Mrs. Lyppiatt to have her coffee in the spare room.
-Oh, I'd rather have it out here if you don't mind.
I like to see what's going on.
-Put it down there for the moment, Fred.
We will decide later where Mrs. Lyppiatt is going to have her coffee.
-Oh, I have already decided, Liz, but it's sweet of you to take so much trouble.
-That will be all. Thank you, Fred.
-Righty-o. Just give us a shout if you want anything.
-Thanks, I will.
I suppose Garry hasn't been called yet, has he, Monica?
-I don't know. Shall I go and wake him?
-No. Not yet.
-Oh, he ought to be wakened at once, Liz.
It's disgraceful, lying in bed on a lovely morning like this.
He'll be getting fat and flabby if he's not careful.
-Oh, I wish to God he would!
[ Laughter ] -I wonder what she put in this coffee, apart the coffee I mean.
-Weed killer, if she had any sense.
[ Laughter ] -You're being remarkably offensive this morning, Monica.
One always hears that the secretaries of famous men are rather frustrated and dragon-like.
It's funny you should turn out so true to type.
-But the only thing that is frustrating me at the moment is a wholesome fear of the gallows.
[ Door slams ] -Poor thing.
I suppose she's mad about Garry like all of us.
-All of us, Joanna?
-Oh, I must say, he is enchanting.
We had the most lovely talk last night.
-I think it would be better if neither Morris nor Henry knew you stayed the night here, Joanna.
-Good heavens, why?
Henry wouldn't mind a bit.
-I wouldn't be too sure if I were you.
Anyhow, Morris would.
What's it to do with Morris?
-Listen, we don't have much time to waste fencing with each other.
I know perfectly well that you have been unfaithful to Henry with Morris, so you needn't trouble to deny it any further.
-It's a most abominable lie!
-Unfortunately, I dined quietly with Morris last night upstairs at the Ivy.
He was very upset and became rather hysterical, as you know he sometimes does, and he told me everything.
-How dare he discuss me with you, or with anyone.
-I don't think Garry would like to know that you have been Morris' mistress, and I don't think Morris would like to know that you have been Garry's mistress, which I suspect you have.
-And I don't think Henry would like to know anything about any of this.
-Are you trying to blackmail me?
-Yes. I am.
[ Laughter ] -You mean you'd be low enough to tell Garry?
-Yes, and Morris and Henry.
I will tell them all unless you do as I say.
-Hmm. I suppose you're still in love with Garry yourself?
-[ Laughs ] Not in the least.
But even if I were, that is beside the point.
I certainly love him.
I love Henry and Morris, too.
We have been devoted to one another for many years, and I'm not taking any risk that you will upset it even temporarily.
You are going to do as I tell you.
-And what if I don't?
-You'll be out, my dear, with all of us forever, with Garry most of all.
-You're very sure. -Absolutely positive.
I know Garry very well, you know.
After all, I've had every opportunity.
-Pity you ever left him.
-For him, yes, I think it is.
-And why should you imagine I should mind so terribly being out with all of you, as you put it?
-Principally because you made such a terrific effort to get in.
You'd have had a much better result, and much quicker too, if you hadn't been so determined to be alluring.
-Wh-- I have never been spoken to like this in my life.
-Well, make the most of it.
-Oh! [ Laughter ] -I want you to promise me that you will not see Garry again before he goes to Africa. -Well, really.
-Will you promise that? -No.
Certainly not. It's nonsense.
I'm bound to see him again.
How could I avoid it? -You can be ill.
You can go to Paris, anywhere.
-Oh, I have no intention of doing any such thing.
-Very well. Fred! Fred!
-It'll be you who's breaking everything up and not me.
-You called, Miss?
-Go and wake Mr. Garry immediately, will you?
-Righty-o, Miss. [ Doorbell rings ] -But answer the door, first! -Yes, Miss.
He told me last night he was coming to see Garry at 11:00.
-Look here, Liz! -No, I'm glad really.
It'll be more convenient.
-I can't face him. It'll be too unpleasant.
I'll...I'll do what you say. -You swear it?
You swear you won't see him again?
You'll go away?
-Yes. Yes, I swear it. -Quickly.
Go back into the spare room.
Don't come out until I tell you!
-It's a Mr. Maule.
He says he has an appointment.
-A mister who?
-Maule. He looks a bit wet to me.
-Oh, dear. Well, I suppose you better show him in.
Miss Reed can deal with him.
I'll tell her. -Righty-o, Miss.
-What is it? -A Mr. Maule is here.
-He has no right to be.
He's raving mad! -Mr. Maule.
-Oh. -How do you do?
We met before. Do you remember?
-Yes, very well, just the other day. -Yes.
-Have you an appointment with Mr. Essendine?
-Oh, yes, indeed.
I spoke to him last night on the telephone.
He told me I was to come at 10:30.
I fear I'm a little late.
-I'm afraid you can't possibly see him just at the moment.
Could you come back later?
-Isn't there anywhere I can wait?
-You can wait in the office... -Yes! -...and I will find out when Mr. Essendine can see you.
-That's very kind of you. Thanks very much.
-Oh, not at all -- No!
-Oughtn't I to have let him in? -I don't know!
He says Mr. Garry told him to come, although I can hardly believe that he did.
You better go and wake him and ask him!
-No, Monica! Don't wake Garry yet!
I'd rather he slept on for a bit.
-All right, Fred.
We'll call him later. -It's all the same to me.
-Listen, Monica, I have guaranteed that you and I won't say anything to Henry or Morris or anybody about her being here as long as she swears not to see Garry again before he goes to Africa.
-And did she? -Yes, she did, but Morris will be here at any moment and it's going to be awkward!
There's a telephone in the spare room, isn't there?
-Yes. -Is it the same number as this or is it different? -It's the private line.
This one's an extension of the office.
-What's the number? -You know it.
It's the private line, Sloan 2-6-4-2.
[ Doorbell rings ] -Here he is.
Leave this to me. I'll explain later!
-Oh, Mr. Maule!
What are you doing?
[ Laughter ] -Garry! -Oh!
Don't ever do that again as long as you live.
-Where are you going? -Out.
-Out where? -Just out.
I suppose I can't go out if I want to, can't I?
-Oh, I never even knew you was up.
You are a dark horse, and no mistake.
-Don't be impertinent, Fred, and... -And go away. All right. -...go away.
-Oh, uh, the gentleman is in the office and the lady is in the spare room if you happen to want either one of them.
-What's he talking about?
The boy is off his rocker.
-Lady? Really, Garry, you're impossible.
Who is it? -I would be very much obliged if everyone would just mind their own damned business!
-Well, for heaven's sake, get rid of her!
I've got to talk to you.
I'm in a bad way! -What's the matter?
-Get rid of her first, whoever it is.
She's probably got her ear clamped to the keyhole.
-How can I get rid of her? She may be in the bath.
-Tell her to hurry! -Now look here, Morris.
-If you won't, I will.
-I forbid you to go near that room.
Morris! -Will you please, please, please come out of there as soon as you can?
-I'm coming. I was only just powdering my nose.
-Liz, it's you?
[ Laughter ] -Of course.
Who did you think it was?
-Yes, who d-- who did you think it was?
-Well -- Well, I don't know what you were making such a fuss about, Garry.
-I, make a fuss? I-I-I don't know what you mean.
I was just sitting here.
-Why are you so completely dressed so very suddenly?
You were asleep a few minutes ago.
-Oh, no, I wasn't.
I most gravely doubt whether I shall ever sleep again.
[ Laughter ] -Perhaps your conscience was troubling you?
-I can't for the life of me imagine why everybody is so absolutely beastly to me.
I can't wait to get to Africa to be away from the lot of you.
-It won't be exactly unrelieved sadness for us.
-No sarcasm, please.
-For God's sake, stop bickering both of you!
I'm in the most awful state!
-Why, what's the matter?
I told her last night. -What does Liz know?
What did you tell her last night?
-Pull yourself together, Morris.
Have a drink or something. Try not to be silly.
-I don't want a drink.
If I have a drink, it will make it much worse.
It always does.
I haven't slept for three nights, Garry, ever since you talked to me the other morning.
-Oh, dear. -Why not?
-It's bad enough getting one of my awful obsessions.
You know what I'm like when I get an obsession.
God knows you helped me through enough of them, but this time I've made another fool of myself and -- and -- and -- and... and I've lied to you into the bargain.
-Lied to me? What about?
-Joanna and I love each other.
[ Cries ] -Ohhhh.
[ Laughter ] -It's been going on for several months, but we made a pact that we would lie about it to everyone, whatever happened, in order not to make an awful mess and upset everything, but I'm not used to lying to you!
I never have before, and it's been absolutely driving me mad ever since yesterday afternoon.
I-I couldn't bear it any longer, and I told Joanna I was going to tell you, and she was furious.
She said she'd never speak to me again if I did and she -- she went away and left me.
I've been looking for her ever since.
Her servants say she hasn't been home all night.
I'm -- I'm so terrified that something has happened to her.
-Perhaps it has.
-[ Cries ] You don't like her, Liz.
You never did.
I'm not sure that I do, really, but -- but I love her.
-The whole thing is very fragrant, isn't it, Garry?
You needn't fuss any more, Morris.
Joanna spent the night with me.
-She spent the night with you? -Yes, on the sofa.
She lost her latchkey.
She's there now.
I told her I'd tell you to ring her up if I saw you.
-Yeah, I'll go 'round now! -No, you better ring her up first and she if she's still there.
I'm getting the number for you.
-Oh, thanks, Liz. -Hello, Maggie.
Is Mrs. Lyppiatt still there?
All right. Here you are, Morris.
-Hello, Joanna? -You are a triple fool.
-I was so terrified.
Why didn't you tell me you were with Liz?
-How did you get her out? -She's not out.
She's in the spare room on the other line.
-Well, I was afraid that something had happened to you!
Yes, I am.
Yes, I am! I'm at the studio.
Yes, I have!
I had to!
How could you be so cruel?
Listen, Joanna. I must see -- Joanna? Joanna!
Joanna! She's hung up.
-Serves you right. -I must see her.
I must s-- What am I to do?
-Control yourself and don't be hysterical!
-I'll go 'round your flat now!
[ Laughter ] -You're coming with me.
-Coming with you? Where to?
-It's cruel and heartless of you to try to be funny at a moment like this when you know I'm utterly miserable.
-I'm not trying to be funny.
What's the matter with Westminster Abbey?
It's historic! -Oh, be quiet, Garry!
Listen, Morris, it really would be better if you didn't try to see Joanna in your present state!
Have a drink and calm down.
-Will you stop flogging everybody into dipsomania?
-You can see her later in the day.
-I'm surrounded by lies and intrigue and sickening emotionalism, and I'm telling you here and now, I will not put up with it for one more min-- Oh, what do you want?
-Did you or did you not give an appointment to Roland Maule this morning?
-I most emphatically did not!
He terrifies the life out of me!
-Well, he's here. -Hello!
-Oh, Mr. Maule! -Oh, no!
-I'm afraid I told a wicked lie about the appointment, but I must see you!
It's very, very important!
I want to tell you that it's all right.
-What's all right?
-About what I felt about you.
I've got the whole thing straightened out.
-I'm absolutely delighted and I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart, but you really must go n-- [ Doorbell rings ] -[ Laughs ] -Miss Erikson! Fred!
There's somebody at the door!
-Mr. Maule, I really do think it would be better if you were to come back later.
-Couldn't I stay a little longer?
-No, you really -- -You see, every moment I'm near him I get smoother and smoother and smoother.
-I really don't -- I don't understand.
Well, she's disappeared.
[ Laughter ] -[ Humming ] Oh.
[ Laughter ] I-I -- W-- I thought you weren't coming back until tomorrow?
-Joanna -- she hasn't been home all night.
Nobody knows where she is. -It's all right, Henry!
She stayed the night with me.
-But I rang the house and the housekeeper hadn't seen her.
-There's a reason for that.
[ Laughter ] I'll explain later.
-Wait till you hear it.
[ Laughter ] -No, something has happened.
I had a presentiment in the aeroplane.
-I always have a presentiment in an aeroplane -- a presentiment that I'm going to be sick.
I think I'm going to be sick now.
-But why would the housekeeper say she hadn't seen her?
-Ring her up if you don't believe me.
Monica, get my flat on the telephone.
-Thank you, Monica. If you would.
-How do you do? My name is Roland Maule.
-How do you do?
-Roland Maule -- I don't think we've met!
-Mr. Maule. -Hello, Joanna.
Henry wants to speak to you.
It's -- Yes.
You gave me the most awful fright!
[ Doorbell rings ] -What? What is happening?
-Are you coming back to the house?
All right. I'll be in to change in about half an hour.
[ Laughter ] All right, darling.
I'll tell her.
-She says she's going out in a minute.
Um, tell her to stay where she is.
I will pop in and see her presently.
-Joanna l-- What?
She says she feels as if she were in a French farce and is sick to death of it.
She's hung up.
-There's a Lady Saltburn outside, Miss Reed.
She says she has an appointment for 11:30.
-Lady who? -Good heavens!
-Thursday, oh, I've completely forgotten!
Lady Saltburn's niece.
You promised you'd give her an audition and recommend her to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts or something.
Don't you remember? -I most certainly do not.
She must be sent away immediately!
-You can't send Lady Saltburn away!
She gave us £50 for the footlights fund!
-I don't care if she gave us £5,000 for the Dorcester Midwives Conservative Association.
I'm in no condition to listen to people's nieces this morning.
I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown as it is.
-Why? What's happened?
-W-- [ Laughter ] Too much, Henry.
Far, far too much.
-You must see her. -No.
-It will only take a minute. -No!
-It would be most terribly rude not to.
-Fred, ask her in. -Righty-o.
[ Laughter ] -It's all very exciting, isn't it?
-We better go.
I-I can come back later, Garry. Liz, Henry, please.
Miss Daphne Stillington.
[ Laughter ] -Mr. Essendine!
This is so charming of you.
-Not at all. It's a pleasure.
-This is my niece, Daphne.
-Oh, how do you do?
-I believe you knew her mother years ago.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] She died, you know.
-In Africa, how dreadful.
-I've been longing to meet you, Mr. Essendine.
I've loved everything you've ever done.
-What a charming tribute.
-Daphne simply wouldn't give me peace until I had rung up your secretary and absolutely implored her for an appointment.
She is so tremendously keen, you know.
-She must be.
Oh, I must introduce you to everyone.
This is my wife, Lady Saltburn.
-How do you do? -How do you do?
-My secretary, Ms. Reed. -How do you do?
You were so kind on the telephone.
-And these two vivacious figures are Mr. Dixon and Mr. Lyppiatt.
-How do you do? -How do you do?
-How do you do? -Oh, and, uh, Mr. Maule.
-How do you do? -Oh!
Oh, this is quite a peep behind the scenes, isn't it, Daphne dear?
-[ Giggles ] -One peep is quite enough.
-This is the most thrilling moment of my life, Mr. Essendine.
I've always wondered what you'd be like close to.
-You mustn't embarrass Mr. Essendine, Daphne dear.
-I'm sure he understands, don't you, Mr. Essendine?
-Of course, my dear, but I'm afraid I can only give you just a few minutes.
You see, I'm terribly busy just at the moment making arrangements for my tour of Africa.
-I had no idea you were going to Africa.
How very interesting!
You really must pay a visit to my brother-in-law.
He lives on the most beautiful mountain, on the top.
-Right on the top?
Right on the top.
-Please excuse us. We really must go.
We have to go to the office.
Goodbye. -Oh, how sad.
-Morris, Liz. -I'm staying here for a little.
I'll come later. -All right. Goodbye.
-Goodbye. -Goodbye, Mr. Maule.
-No, I'm staying, too. [ Laughter ] -Are you ready, Daphne dear?
You know how busy Mr. Essendine is.
I'm sure it was very sweet of him to see us at all.
Thank you. We mustn't impose on him.
-Yes. I'm ready.
-What are you going to do?
-Nothing very much.
I'll try not to bore you.
You see, I want you to hear me say very much.
It means everything to me.
You will hear me, won't you?
You can hear me, can't you?
And you're not angry, are you?
-Daphne, really. What are you talking about?
-Mr. Essendine understands, don't you, Mr. Essendine?
-Mr. Essendine understands everything.
Mr. Essendine always understands absolutely everything.
What no one else seems to understand is that the strain of it is driving him, step by step, to a suicide's grave.
[ Laughter ] -Don't be affected, Garry. -My wife, Lady Saltburn, left me several years ago.
Gnawing regret has embittered her.
-There's nothing worse than regret.
Look at Chekhov -- he knew!
-We have no time for Chekhov at the moment, Mr. Maule.
What are you going to do, sing?
-No, I'm not going to sing.
I'm just going to say a few lines.
-Say a few lines. Good.
Well, you do you want to stand on anything?
-No. -Sit on anything?
-No. -Glass of water?
-No. -Very well.
-'We meet not as we parted...' -I knew it. [ Laughter ] -'We feel more than all may see; My bosom is heavy-hearted, And thine full of doubt for me: -- One moment has bound the free.
That moment is gone forever, Like lightning that flashed and died -- Like a snowball upon the river' -- -Flake. 'Snowflake,' my dear.
-'Like a snowflake upon the river -- Like a sunbeam upon the tide, Which the dark shadows hide.'
That moment from time with 'sing-led'' -- -What? 'Sing-led'? Oh, oh, oh, singled.
Of course, yes. Oh, that's very good.
I've never heard that before.
-'As the first of a life of pain; The cup of its joy was 'ming-led'' -- -Even better, 'ming-led.'
-'Delusion too sweet, though vain!
Too sweet to be mine again.'
-Very good. Very good indeed. [ Applause ] -That room is like a Frigidaire, and I have no intention of staying in it one moment longer.
Would somebody kindly call me a taxi?
-Oh, dear. You better take my car, Joanna.
-The chauffeur has got red hair and his name is Frobisher.
[ Laughter ] -Thank you very much.
I shan't see you again, Garry, as I'm going to Paris tomorrow for a month, so this is goodbye.
Oh, please, don't imagine I haven't enjoyed the circus enormously.
But in the circuses I've been used to, it was always the ring master who cracked the whip, not the clowns. -[ Gasps ] -Oh! -This is splendid!
[ Laughs ] Splendid!
I feel reborn! -Daphne, darling, darling.
-[ Laughs ] [ Applause ] -'I shall never forget those lovely days in Madeira and our picnics on the rocks.
What fun we had.
It really was wonderful getting to know you intimately like that without...' 'Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
I know for my exciting news.
I am coming to England -- imagine.
I arrive on the 28th and shall be in London for three whole weeks.
I'm so longing to see you again.
With my love and many, many glorious memories, yours, Winnie.'
[ Whinnies ] How old is this one?
-It's dated November the 7th.
-That's over six months ago!
She must be gone by now!
-Well, you're the one who told me to put it in Mount Pleasant with all the others.
-Too late to do anything about it now.
And here's one signed 'Joe.'
-Joe what? -Just Joe.
It's dated February the 2nd.
It seems he met you in the south of France.
-I do get about, don't I?
Oh, it's Joe!
-That's what I said.
-Joe is wonderful.
I met him in Marseilles.
He comes from Madras. What does he want?
-It's at the end, after the bit about his sister having a baby.
[ Laughter ] -Curious piece of information to be sending me.
[ Laughter ] Oh, why didn't you send him one?
All he wanted was an autographed photograph.
-Because I didn't consider that 'Joe, Madras' was sufficient address.
-Well, I'm damned if I remember his other name.
-Well, he's out of luck then, isn't he?
-I wonder if I shall ever see green England again?
-I see no reason why you shouldn't.
-I might die of some awful tropical disease or be bitten by a snake.
-I doubt there are many snakes in the larger cities.
-I can see myself now under a mosquito net fighting for breath.
[ Laughter ] -You have a flat, literal mind, Monica.
It must be very depressing for you.
-I get by.
-How many more are there?
-[ Laughing ] Oh, about -- about 20.
-Oh, I can't bear it.
Put them away until I come back.
-Well, just now you seemed to be in doubt as to whether you were coming back.
-Well, I can't answer letters if I'm dead, can I?
-You finished with the tray?
I want to be getting along. -Yes, Fred.
Is everything packed?
-All except the last-minute stuff.
We can pop that in in the morning.
-Is this poor Doris' swan song?
-How do you mean?
-Nothing, Fred. Couldn't matter less.
-She's coming to the station tomorrow morning to see us off.
You don't mind, do you?
-I can't wait.
-Well, I must be getting home now.
-Oh, no. No.
P-P-Please don't. You can't leave.
I-I feel depressed.
-I'll be here first thing in the morning.
-I do wish you were coming with me.
I shall be utterly lost in Africa with some dreary temporary.
-Is Liz coming to the station?
-Why don't you go around and see her?
-You know perfectly well.
She's still in a rage.
I haven't seen her for a week.
-Have you tried?
-I've telephoned her three times.
Each time she spoke to me kindly and remotely as if I were an idiot child.
I'm not sure she didn't spell some of the words out to me.
-Would you like me to have a go at her?
If she wants to behave like an outraged Mother Superior, let her get on with it.
-I do see her point.
You really did go a little too far.
-Now, Monica, don't you start on me, too.
-I'll take these into the office.
-You'll miss me when I'm in Africa.
-Nothing more you want?
-Well, this place looks a fair lash-up, don't it?
How many do we have?
-Oh, I don't know, about -- about 60 I suppose.
-Well, between them all, they put away enough gin to float the ♪ -Oh, you better call me at 8:00 in the morning.
We've got to leave the house by 10:00.
-Right, Fred. Go on. Go on. Go on.
-Same to you.
-By the way, you'd better be careful if the telephone rings.
Roland Maule has been calling up all the week.
-You know, think I'd actually welcome him tonight.
At least he'd be interesting psychologically.
-So would Rasputin.
[ Laughter ] -I feel dreadfully flat.
I suppose one always does when one goes away.
-It's your own fault that you're alone, you know.
You refused all offers.
You pleaded for a few hours solitude in order to say farewell to your books and pictures, and said you'd throw yourself out the window if you didn't get it, and that then we should all be sorry.
-I'm perfectly certain that you wouldn't be.
-Now, now, now.
You're getting a big boy, you know.
You'll be 47 next birthday.
-57 next birthday, just fancy.
-Good night, darling. -I do envy you, Monica.
Y-Y-You're so unruffled and efficient.
You go churning through life like some frightening old warship.
[ Laughter ] -Thank you, darling.
That sounds most attractive.
-Have one more drink.
-No, thanks. I really must be getting home.
-A little game of something.
[ Telephone rings ] Hello?
No, Colonel Pichard is not here.
He died of drink on Tuesday.
[ Laughter ] -I am going away now, Mr. Essendine.
Have you everything you want?
-Frankly, Miss Erikson, no.
I have nothing that I want.
-Oh. What a pity.
[ Laughter ] -Have you? Have any of us got what we want?
-Oh, Mr. Essendine.
You are only acting.
For a moment, I was quite upset.
-You lead a very strange life, Miss Erikson.
Do you enjoy it?
[ Laughter ] -Tell me all about it, won't you?
From A to Zed.
-Do you mind if I pinch a cigarette?
-Pinch anything you like, Miss Erikson.
-I smoke so much.
I'm always running out.
It is most silly.
[ Laughter ] -You've dropped one.
Where are you going now, for instance?
-I am going to my friend in Hammersmith.
-I understand from Fred that she's a medium.
-Oh, dear, yes.
Sometimes she makes a trance.
It is very surprising.
She would lie on the ground for hours making noises.
-What sort of noises?
-They are different.
Sometimes she will sing high up like a bird.
Other times she may make a little bark.
Often she is very ill.
-I'm not surprised.
[ Laughter ] -Well, I must be pushing off now, Mr. Essendine.
-Push away, Miss Erikson.
That was most interesting.
Thank you very much.
-Not at all.
[ Applause ] [ Doorbell rings ] [ Laughter ] -Hello! It's me! -Daphne.
What -- What is the meaning of this?
-I'm coming with you to Africa.
I bought my ticket this afternoon.
-You what? -I've run away.
I left a note for my aunt.
You see, I know something now.
I've known it all week really, ever since that awful morning when I fainted.
I know that you need me just as much as I need you.
-Now, Daphne -- -No, no, please.
Don't say anything for a moment.
I've thought it all over very carefully.
I know I'm very much younger than you and all that, but I can help you and look after you.
-Daphne, dear, this is really too absurd.
You must go home immediately.
-I knew you'd say that. -Daphne, please.
Put your coat back on and don't be silly.
-I know you better than you think I do.
I know when you're acting and when you're not.
You're acting now.
-I'm doing no such thing.
-I felt ashamed on Thursday at first, ashamed of playing a trick on you by making Auntie ring up for an audition, but when I was here I was glad.
-Oh, you were glad, were you?
-I think that's why I fainted.
You see, I suddenly realized the truth!
-How desperately lonely you really are.
In spite of all those people around you, in spite of all your success, I knew how deep your longing must be to have someone really to love you, to be with you.
And when I saw that dreadful prostitute come out of the spare room and in that tawdry evening dress, then I knew!
-Daphne, that was not a prostitute.
That was the wife of one of my dearest friends.
-No, Garry. You can't deceive me.
I know. -Daphne, I wish to state loudly and clearly that I am not acting.
I am speaking to you with the utmost sincerity of which I am capable when I tell you -- I order you -- to put on your coat and get into a taxi and go back to your aunt's.
-No! [ Giggles ] You needn't be frightened.
I won't make any demands on you whatever.
I don't want you to marry me or anything like that.
I don't believe that real love should be bound by church or law.
I'm just coming with you.
I'll just be there when you want me, when you're tired and lonely and want someone to put their arms around you.
-No. -I won't even see you on the boat if you don't want me to.
I'm not a very good sailor anyhow.
[ Doorbell rings ] -Now -- T-That's the front doorbell. -Who is it?
-How do I know?
You'd better wait in the spare room.
-No! Garry, please! Not the spare room!
[ Laughter ] -D-- D-- Daphne!
That's what it's for!
-Get rid of them soon, promise, whoever it is!
-Of course, of course. Button up now.
Quiet as a mouse!
[ Doorbell rings ] Oh, no, no, no.
-I'm afraid I must see you! -Well, I'm very sorry.
You can't. I'm just going to bed.
-It's a matter of life and death.
-Will you please -- What the hell do you mean forcing yourself into my house like this?
-That's right. Shout, shout.
You're magnificent when you're angry.
-I'll tell you something, young man.
You're just raving bloody mad.
That's all that's the matter with you.
-Oh, no, I'm not! You're the one who's mad!
-Will you please leave this house at once!
-I'm afraid I can't!
It's quite impossible.
I've burnt my boats.
-Burnt your what?
-What are you talking about?
-[ Laughs ] I told a wicked lie just now when I said it was a matter of life and death.
It isn't really quite as bad as that, but it's very, very serious.
-I'm going to telephone the police.
-I shan't let you!
-I'm tremendously strong you know!
I can lift the heaviest objects imaginable without turning a hair.
[ Grunting ] -Here, put that down.
Put that down!
Now look here, Mr. Maule.
-You may call my Roland.
Well, Roland, I want to put this to you calmly and sensibly.
This is my last night in England and I have a great deal to do.
-Well, you said just now that you were going to bed.
-Be that as it may -- -[ Laughs ] I know you think I'm mad, and I really don't blame you a bit, but I assure you [Clears throat] I'm not.
I merely have an exceptional brain in many ways, a brain, incidentally, that may be of inestimable service to you.
As I told you the other day, you signify a great deal to me.
You are in fact part of me.
-I-I'm sure I am very flattered, Roland, but -- -I wonder if I could have a biscuit.
-A what? -A biscuit.
[ Munches ] -There are biscuits just over there.
Help yourself, Roland.
-Thank you very much.
I promise you faithfully, I shall go the moment I have finished this biscuit.
After all, there's no valid reason, is there, why I shouldn't be acting being mad just as you're acting being sane?
-I'm not acting!
-[ Laughs ] You're always acting!
That is what is so fascinating.
Only, you are so used to it, you don't realize it yourself.
I am always acting, too!
I have been acting mad with you because it amuses me to see you put on a surprised face.
I am absolutely devoted to your face in every mood.
-I suppose you wouldn't consider acting getting the hell out of here, would you?
-[ Laughs ] That's wonderful!
-Look, what exactly do you want?
-To be with you. That's why I'm coming to Africa.
-That's why you're what?
-Oh, I bought my ticket this morning.
It's only steerage, but it's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.
[ Laughs ] I've given up my law studies and left Uckfield for good.
That's why I'm rather excitable tonight.
You needn't be frightened I shall get in your way or make any demands on you.
-Y-You mean, you don't expect me to marry you?
[ Doorbell rings ] That's the front doorbell. There's somebody here!
Do be a good boy and go away now.
You promised you would when you'd finished your biscuit.
-Please don't send me away!
I can protect you.
-Protect me? -From yourself.
[ Gasps ] Every step you take is fraught with peril.
But your head is in the stars and you can't see.
[ Doorbell rings ] -Now, look here, Mr. Maule -- -No, no, no!
I won't let you send me away! -Well, I'm afraid -- -You'll regret it your whole life long if you do!
[ Doorbell ringing ] -Now, Roland, really. Some -- Where are you -- Oh, no, no, no!
Roland! Open this door!
Don't be such a bloody fool!
[ Doorbell ringing ] [ Laughter ] [ Doorbell rings ] Oh, Joanna.
-What is the meaning of this?
-Oh, don't you know? -Yes, I do.
You're coming with me to Africa.
You bought your ticket this afternoon.
You're not going to make any demands, and you're not a good sailor.
-Oh, but I'm a perfect sailor.
What are you doing?
I'm so terribly, terribly, terribly sorry!
It's the wrong number!
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] -Darling.
Underneath this rather taught, strained manner of yours, deep down inside, aren't you just a little bit glad to see me?
-Oh, I'm absolutely delighted.
It'll settle things once and for all.
-That's what I thought.
-When did you get back?
I thought you were staying in Paris for a month.
-No, you didn't.
You knew perfectly well I wouldn't be able to.
I must say, I tried for the first few days to put you out of my mind.
I railed against you, said the most dreadful things that you weren't there to hear.
Then I remembered. -What did you remember?
-I remembered what you said to me the other night.
You said, 'No matter what comes after this, what circumstances combine against us, what tears are shed, this is magic, the loveliest magic that I've ever known.'
-That's from the second act of 'Love Is So Simple.'
-Yes, I recognized it.
I saw the play several times, you know.
-In that case, why on Earth did you believe it?
-Oh, I didn't, but your saying it proved something to me.
It proved that you're no more sincere emotionally than I am.
You no longer need or desire the pangs of love, but are perfectly willing to settle for the fun of love.
It's an adult point of view, and I salute it.
I couldn't agree with you more.
-That is the most immoral statement I've ever heard in my life.
-It's true enough, though, isn't it?
As I told you the other night, I've always wanted you.
I've always known instinctively that we were right for each other.
You need me.
The people around you are no longer enough.
I need you.
You're the first man I've met who's worthy of my steel.
Now, I can't guarantee that we shall be domestically happy together, but we'll have a good time.
-Well, I'll be damned.
[ Laughter ] -You're quite right what you said just now with remarkable clairvoyance that I was coming to Africa with you.
I've got the bridal suite.
-The bridal s-- -It was all they had left.
In addition, I've written a note to Henry telling him everything.
He's dining with Morris at the Athenaeum, so they can read it together.
[ Doorbell rings ] Who is that?
[ Laughter ] -I'm so terribly, terribly sorry.
It's the wrong number.
-Liz, darling, how nice you look.
-Thank you so much. I do my best.
-I think it's only fair to tell you I'm sailing with Garry tomorrow.
-What fun? So am I.
[ Laughter ] -What, dear? -I decided this afternoon.
-It's certainly a big day for the Cunard Line.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] -If I may say so, Liz, I think that's rather silly of you.
-I really don't see why. It'll be charming.
We can eat at the same table and do our lifeboat drill together.
-Joanna has written a note to Henry and Morris explaining everything.
-Oh, good, then they'll probably be coming too.
-I should like to take this opportunity of saying, 'I wish I were dead!'
[ Laughter ] -Nonsense, darling, you'll enjoy the voyage enormously.
There won't be a dull moment.
-You think you're being very clever, Liz, don't you?
Personally, I've always thought it was foolish not to have the courage to admit defeat.
-You seem to imagine that I'm competing with you.
I do assure you it's nothing of the sort.
I think it best that for publicity purposes, you will be there as a friend of mine.
[ Doorbell rings ] -I'll give you just two guesses as to who that is.
-I'll go, Garry.
-Perhaps I was wrong about you after all.
You haven't got the guts of a rabbit.
-I'm very glad I haven't.
I'm sure they'd be extremely inadequate.
-Is it true?
That's all I want to know! Is it true?
-False friend, false friend.
You're not at the Athenaeum Club now.
-This is a miserable, disgusting situation, and you know it.
-It's a stab in the back, that's what it is!
I literally am stabbed in the back.
-Not too low down, I hope.
-I've got a note from Joanna.
-I suppose you know then, don't you?
-Yes, he does. -Is what she says in it true?
-How do I know? I haven't read it.
-No. Don't prevaricate.
She says that you've been lovers and that you're going away together tomorrow.
Is that true?
-Answer me, Garry.
-I'll tell you what's true and what's not true, and you can stop fluttering your wings like a penguin and listen.
-Be careful, Garry! -Careful?
I've been a damn sight too careful with the lot of you for years.
-Have you or have you not been Joanna's lover?
-Yes, I have.
-Oh, you miserable cad! -Oh, dear.
-You should never have married her in the first place.
I always told you it was idiotic.
-You have the damned impertinence to stand there after seducing my wife... -Oh, no, no, no.
-...and tell-- -Henry! Henry.
It's time you and I got down to brass tacks once and for all.
I did not seduce your wife, and well you know it.
You're taking a very high and mighty attitude over this.
If you'll trouble to look at the facts honestly for one minute, you'll find that you don't really mind at all.
-No, Morris is the one who minds.
-Morris? What do you mean?
-Garry, that was disgraceful of you!
-Disgraceful my foot.
I'm sick of everybody lying and intriguing and acting all over the place.
-All right, Garry. You win.
I never thought anyone could sink so low.
[ Laughter ] -What did you mean about Morris? Now answer me!
-I mean that Morris and Joanna have been carrying on an aborted little ding dong under your silly nose for months.
-I shall never speak to you again until the day I die.
-Well, we can have a nice chat then, can't we?
[ Laughter ] -Morris!
Joanna, is this true?
-Of course it's true.
Mind you, it hasn't lasted quite as long as your rather dreary affair with Vera Radcliff.
That's been hiccuping along for nearly a year now.
-Henry? Oh, no.
-Oh, please. No, Joanna. Joanna. No, no, no, no.
[ Laughter ] Don't pretend that you didn't know about it.
You were absolutely delighted.
It gave you room to expand.
-I told you that in the deepest confidence!
How could you be so vile as to betray it?
-I'm sick to death of being stuffed with everybody's confidences!
I'm bulging with them!
You, all of you, come to me over and over again and you pour your damned tears and emotions and sentiment over me until I'm wet through.
You're all just as badly behaved as I am, really.
In many ways a great deal worse.
You believe in your amorous hangovers.
I at least have the grace to take mine lightly.
I mean, you wallow.
And I laugh because I believe now, and I always have believed, that there's too much damned nonsense talked about sex.
To me, the whole business is vastly overrated.
No, I enjoy it for what it's worth, and what is more, I fully intend to go on doing so for as long as anybody is interested.
And when the time comes that they are not, I shall be perfectly content to go to bed with an apple and a good book.
-Well, I'll be damned!
-Of all the brazen arrogance!
-You have the nerve to work yourself up into a state of moral indignation about us.
-I haven't worked myself into anything.
I'm merely defending my right to speak the truth for once.
You wouldn't recognize the truth if you saw it!
You spend your whole life attitudinizing and posturing, showing off!
-And where would we be if I didn't?
I should like to know!
-Oh, stop shouting all of you!
You'll have the roof off!
-I'm sick to death of this idiotic performance.
I'm going. -Anyhow, if it hadn't been for our restraining influence, you'd be making B-pictures by now.
-I suppose you'll be telling me next that it's your restraining influence that has maintained me as the idol of the public for 30 years.
-You're not the idol of the public!
-Oh? -Oh, no.
They'll come and see you in the right play, in the right part, and you've got to be good at that.
Look what happened to you in 'Pity the Blind.'
-I was magnificent in 'Pity the Blind.'
-Yes, for 10 days.
-If it hadn't been for us, he'd have done 'Peer Gynt.'
-I'm going. I'm leaving.
-If anybody mentions the name 'Peer Gynt' in this house, I shall -- I -- I swear before heaven, I shall mount the most expensive production imaginable in the largest theater in London!
-Not on my money you won't!
-Oh, we're back at that again, are we?
Money! Money! Money!
-If it wasn't for the fact that Morris and I signed the contract for the Lyceum Theatre this morning, we should both of us wash our hands of you forever.
-You what? -No, Garry, for Heaven's sake!
[ Laughter ] Well, do you hear me, all of you?
I'm going for good.
-Take my car. It's downstairs.
[ Laughter ] -This has been a great evening for speaking the truth, hasn't it?
Well, I should like to add just one little contribution.
I consider you, Mr. Garry Essendine, to be not only an overbearing, affected egomaniac, but the most unmitigated cad that it has ever been my misfortune to meet, and I most devoutly hope I shall never set eyes on you again as long as I live.
[ Smack ] [ Laughter ] -You mean to tell me you signed a contract for that theater w-w-when I particularly told you that no power on God's Earth would induce me to play in it?
-Now look here, Garry. -No, I won't look here!
No! No, no, no, no.
This is nothing more nor less than the most outrageous betrayal of faith, and I am deeply, deeply angry.
-Listen, Garry, as I told you the other day, they're doing up the whole theater.
[ Laughs ] They're simply mad to have you there and have even consented to put a shower in your dressing room.
-I don't care if they put a swimming pool in my dressing room.
I will not play a light French comedy to an auditorium that looks like a Gothic edition of Wembley Stadium!
-It won't look like that, honestly, darling!
I've seen the designs.
They're really awfully good.
You've seen the designs, have you?
You're in this too.
Traitorous! -Oh, Garry!
-Oh, really, Garry! -Go away!
Go away, all of you! All of you, go!
Go! I can bear no more.
I've got to face that dreadful sea voyage tomorrow, and then all those agonizing months of drudgery across the length and breadth of what is admitted to be the most sinister continent there is.
Please, go. Please. Please. Please.
Parasites, vultures waiting to claw the flesh from my bones.
For 30 years I've given you everything.
I gave you my youth.
Where is my youth today?
[ Laughter ] Sent whistling down the wind!
I gave you my vitality!
Where is my vitality?
Dream not of me, now when I'm nothing but a husk, an empty shell.
I'm to be sent out to die in a jungle far, far away.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
[ Laughter ] [ Applause ] -Go on, both of you. I'll talk to him.
-Well, that performance wouldn't deceive a kitten.
He's losing his grip.
Come on, Henry! -I don't know.
It might actually work... in New York.
[ Laughter ] -[ Groaning ] What's that?
I think I should like a little sip of something.
I really do feel quite tired.
-Whiskey or brandy?
-Brandy. It's more stimulating.
Quick. Quick, Liz.
Don't muck about!
-Turn the lights on.
-The lights are on. -Oh.
What's that? -Brandy.
-Oh, yes, brandy.
[ Groans ] [ Laughter ] Moisten my lips.
I said my lips, not my nose!
Liz, you're not really coming to Africa with me, are you?
-Certainly I am, and not only to Africa.
I'm coming back to you for good.
[ Laughter ] Liz, darling, I-I-I don't want you to come back to me.
I-I'm perfectly happy as I am.
-That can't be helped. You behave abominably anyway.
You might not be able to be quite so bad with me there.
-Please, Liz, I implore you not to come back to me.
Ha-- Have you no sympathy?
-I'm thinking of the good of the firm.
Oh, that reminds me.
I must leave a note for Monica in the office.
I want her to ring up the bank for me first thing in the morning.
-The office, oh, God! -What?
-Liz, Liz, Liz.
[ Gasps ] -You're not coming back to me.
I'm coming back to you.
♪ [ Applause ] ♪ ♪ ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ ♪