Rhapsody in Blue (1945)
Oscar Levant: If I had your talent, I'd be a pretty obnoxious fella. What do you call yourself?
George Gershwin: George Gershwin, it's my real name.
Oscar Levant: Mine's Oscar Levant. I'm thinking of changing it.
Oscar Levant: Tell me, if you had it to do all over again, would you still fall in love with yourself?
Dreyfus receptionist: You're fresh!
Oscar Levant: Unfortunately you're not.
George Gershwin: It's only with my music that I can prove my right to live. I must write!
George Gershwin: I don't want to be just a concert pianist. I want to use the piano as a stepping stone!
Max Dreyfus: [referring to "Porgy and Bess", which has just opened] You've made opera entertaining.
Julie Adams: What if this show is a flop?
George Gershwin: We'll do others. I haven't got time for flops.
Christine Gilbert: You can make up songs, George, but you can't make up lif.
Max Dreyfus: [occurs at about 1:49:45, after success 'Of Thee I Sing', George wants to write an opera, pushing people to continue working at 4 a.m] Well, George, what is it you're trying to forget?
George Gershwin: Forget?
Max Dreyfus: Don't tell me you've turned yourself into a dynamo just for the fun of grinding out one hit after another. Success is coming out of your ears. Why don't you relax and just be a human being again?
George Gershwin: I don't know what you're talking about.
Max Dreyfus: I'm talking about you. I can see a boy way down in those streets who dreamed himself a long way from the ground he started on. Came up like an elevator. Now he's looking for new buttons to push. Seems to have an idea that happiness is vertical. And the last stop is heaven.
Prof. Franck: Is your work the best? As good as you can do?
George Gershwin: Well of course, not yet.
Prof. Franck: Or are you just making a fortune?
George Gershwin: What's wrong with a fortune, if it helps me get on?
Prof. Franck: Come here, my boy. Look:
Prof. Franck: [Indicating a portrait on the fireplace mantle] This is Franz Schubert. He was a songwriter too. He died young. At 32. For years he wore the same old faded necktie. But in the land that nurtured him, he was a voice that will never be silenced.
Prof. Franck: [now indicating a carved bust] Here, Richard Wagner. At rehearsals of his great opera "Rienzi," Richard Wagner hid in the wings, while the singers ate their luncheon. He didn't have a lunch - just dreams of the music of the future.
Prof. Franck: [now indicating another carved bust] Beethoven. He never asked himself, "Is this a hit?" He said, "This is the way it must be done."
Prof. Franck: [Indicating an autographed manuscript] Eh? You see that? It wasn't a hit at first. It was a manuscript of Johannes Brahms.
George Gershwin: You knew him?
Prof. Franck: Yes, he gave it to me in Vienna. Once I hoped to reach his greatness. But one pupil like you makes up for a lifetime of disappointments.
George Gershwin: [shaking his head] Professor Franck... you overestimate my future.
Prof. Franck: Oh, I have such hopes for you, my boy. America is a growing country. A mixture of things very old, with more that is new. Your nature has the same contradictions: the lamb, and the wolf. Ideals, and material ambitions. If you can make them both serve, George, you can give America her voice.
Oscar Levant: [climbing into a sleeper berth on the train to L.A] The difference between an upper berth and a lower berth is the difference between talent and genius.
George Gershwin: Work is a compulsion. It's an obsession. And there's so much I want to do.
Ira Gershwin: What are you trying to prove, Georgie? You've already done...
George Gershwin: Don't you see, Ira? It's only with my music that I can prove my right to live. I must write... and I can't even hear it inside me anymore.
George Gershwin: I'm alright! My headaches gone, and I can play!
Ira Gershwin: Don't overdo it, George.
Oscar Levant: Take it easy, fella'.
George Gershwin: Why should I take it easy? I feel wonderful! Now we can finish the score of the picture and get on with something else. I'd like to try a ballet, or maybe a string quartet, or better yet... I'd like to set The Gettysburg Address to music.