Sullivan's Travels (1941)
John L. Sullivan: There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan.
[discussing a prior 'serious' film]
LeBrand: It died in Pittsburgh.
Hadrian: Like a dog!
John L. Sullivan: Aw, what do they know in Pittsburgh...
Hadrian: They know what they like.
John L. Sullivan: If they knew what they liked, they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh!
John L. Sullivan: I want this picture to be a commentary on modern conditions. Stark realism. The problems that confront the average man!
LeBrand: But with a little sex in it.
John L. Sullivan: A little, but I don't want to stress it. I want this picture to be a document. I want to hold a mirror up to life. I want this to be a picture of dignity! A true canvas of the suffering of humanity!
LeBrand: But with a little sex in it.
John L. Sullivan: [reluctantly] With a little sex in it.
Hadrian: How 'bout a nice musical?
Burrows: You see, sir, rich people and theorists - who are usually rich people - think of poverty in the negative, as the lack of riches - as disease might be called the lack of health. But it isn't, sir. Poverty is not the lack of anything, but a positive plague, virulent in itself, contagious as cholera, with filth, criminality, vice and despair as only a few of its symptoms. It is to be stayed away from, even for purposes of study. It is to be shunned.
Burrows: Good morning, sir.
Burrows: I don't like it at all, sir. Fancy dress, I take it?
John L. Sullivan: What's the matter with it?
Burrows: I have never been sympathetic to the caricaturing of the poor and needy, sir.
John L. Sullivan: Who's caricaturing?
John L. Sullivan: I'm going out on the road to find out what it's like to be poor and needy and then I'm going to make a picture about it.
Burrows: If you'll permit me to say so, sir, the subject is not an interesting one. The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous.
John L. Sullivan: But I'm doing it for the poor. Don't you understand?
Burrows: I doubt if they would appreciate it, sir. They rather resent the invasion of their privacy, I believe quite properly, sir. Also, such excursions can be extremely dangerous, sir. I worked for a gentleman once who likewise, with two friends, accoutered themselves as you have, sir, and then went out for a lark. They have not been heard from since.
Policeman at Beverly Hills station: How does the girl fit into the picture?
John L. Sullivan: There's always a girl in the picture. What's the matter, don't you go to the movies?
John L. Sullivan: But nothing is going to stop me. I'm going to find out how it feels to be in trouble. Without friends, without credit, without checkbook, without name. Alone.
The Girl: And I'll go with you.
John L. Sullivan: How can I be alone if you're with me?
Miz Zeffie: He seems very strong. Did you notice his torso?
Ursula: I noticed that you noticed it.
Miz Zeffie: Don't be vindictive, dear. Some people are just naturally more sensitive to some things in life than some people. Some are blind to beauty, while others... Even as a little girl you were more the acid type, dear, while I, if you remember...
Ursula: I remember better than you do.
Miz Zeffie: Well forget it. And furthermore I have never done anything that I was ashamed of, Ursula.
Ursula: Neither have I.
Miz Zeffie: Yes, dear, but nobody ever asked you to.
The Girl: You know, the nice thing about buying food for a man is that you don't have to listen to his jokes. Just think, if you were some big shot like a casting director or something, I'd be staring into your bridgework saying 'Yes, Mr. Smearcase. No, Mr. Smearcase. Not really, Mr. Smearcase! Oh, Mr. Smearcase, that's my knee!' Give Mr. Smearcase another cup of coffee. Make it two. Want a piece of pie?
John L. Sullivan: No thanks, kid.
The Girl: Why, Mr. Smearcase, aren't you getting a little familiar?
John L. Sullivan: I certainly had a lot of nerve wanting to make a picture about human suffering.
[after the Girl jumps out of a moving train into Sullivan's arms, sending them both tumbling]
The Girl: Did I hurt you any?
John L. Sullivan: Well, you didn't do me any good.
John L. Sullivan: It's a funny thing how everything keeps shoving me back to Hollywood or Beverly Hills, or this monstrosity we're riding in. Almost like, like gravity as if some force were saying, 'Get back where you belong. You don't belong out here in real life, you phony you.!'... Maybe there's a universal law that says, 'Stay put. As you are, so shall you remain.' Maybe that's why tramps are always in trouble. They don't vote. They don't pay taxes. They violate the law of nature... But nothing is gonna stop me. I'm gonna find out how it feels to be in trouble, without friends, without credit, without checkbook, without name. Alone.
John L. Sullivan: [to the girl] Why don't you go back to the car? You look as much like a boy as Mae West.
John L. Sullivan: Of course I'm just a minor employee here, Mr. LeBrand...
LeBrand: He's starting that one again.
John L. Sullivan: I wanted to make you something outstanding... something you could be proud of, something that would realize the potentialities of film... as the sociological and artistic medium that it is. With a little sex in it. Something like...
Hadrian: Something like Capra. I know.
John L. Sullivan: What's the matter with Capra?
LeBrand: Look, you want to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Hadrian: Now, wait a minute!
LeBrand: Then go ahead and make it! For what you're getting, I can't afford to argue with you.
John L. Sullivan: That's a fine way to start a man out on a million-dollar production.
LeBrand: You want it, you've got it! I can take it on the chin. I've taken it before.
John L. Sullivan: Not from me you haven't.
LeBrand: Not from you, Sully, that's true. Not with pictures like So Long Sarong, Hey, Hey, In the Hayloft, Ants in Your Plants of 1939... But they weren't about tramps, lockouts, sweatshops, people eating garbage in alleys and living in piano boxes and ash cans.
Hadrian: And phooey!
LeBrand: They're about nice, clean young people... who fell in love... with laughter and music and legs. Now take that scene in Hey, Hey, In the Hayloft...
John L. Sullivan: But you don't realize conditions have changed. There isn't any work. There isn't any food. These are troublous times.
Hadrian: What do you know about trouble?
John L. Sullivan: What do I know about trouble?
Hadrian: Yes, what do you know about trouble?
John L. Sullivan: What do you mean, what do I know about trouble?
Hadrian: Just what I'm saying. You want to make a picture about garbage cans... When did you eat your last meal out of one?
Hadrian: What's that got to do with it?
John L. Sullivan: He's asking you.
Hadrian: You want an epic about misery... you want to show hungry people sleeping in doorways.
LeBrand: With newspapers around them!
Hadrian: You want to grind out ten thousand feet of hard luck - and all I'm asking you is, what do you know about hard luck?
John L. Sullivan: What do you mean, what do I know about hard luck? Don't you think I've...
John L. Sullivan: What?
Hadrian: You have not.
Hadrian: I sold newspapers till I was 20, then I worked in a shoe store and put myself through law school at night. Where were you at 20?
John L. Sullivan: I was in college.
LeBrand: When I was 13 I supported three sisters, two brothers and a widowed mother. Where were you at 13?
John L. Sullivan: I was in boarding school. I'm sorry!
LeBrand: Well, you don't have to be ashamed of it, Sully. That's the reason your pictures have been so light, so cheerful, so inspiring.
Hadrian: They don't stink with messages.
LeBrand: That's why I paid you five hundred a week when you were 24.
Hadrian: Seven hundred and fifty when you were 25.
LeBrand: A thousand when you were 26.
Hadrian: When I was 26, I was getting 18.
LeBrand: Two thousand at 27!
Hadrian: I was getting 25 then!
LeBrand: I had just opened my shooting gallery then. Three thousand after Thanks for Yesterday.
Hadrian: Four thousand after Ants in Your Plants!
John L. Sullivan: I suppose you're trying to tell me I don't know what trouble is.
LeBrand: In a nice way, Sully.
John L. Sullivan: You're absolutely right. I haven't any idea what it is.
Hadrian: People always like what they don't know anything about.
John L. Sullivan: I had a lot of nerve wanting to make a picture about human suffering.
LeBrand: You're a gentleman to admit it, Sully, but then, you are anyway.