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The Prisoner (1955) Poster

(1955)

Quotes

[the Cardinal is in solitary confinement for two months]

The Cardinal: How are you doing this to me? Why am I... going out of my mind?

The Jailer: Well, it's funny, you know. The more store a man sets by his wits, the sooner he loses them. When a man starts watching his mind at work, you can't leave him alone for five minutes without he frightens himself to death.

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[Speaking about the "art" of interrogation]

The Interrogator: It's a pity it's a sport that has to be played with living men.

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The Cardinal: Try not to judge the priesthood by the priest.

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The Cardinal: Any confession I may be said to have made in prison, will be a lie, or the result of human weakness.

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The Interrogator: I've trained you well. And I suppose, in time, you'll drive a brilliant mind to pray for madness.

The Secretary: It had to be done sir.

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The Cardinal: They want me to take my own life, so they can say I committed the last cowardice of all. I shan't do that, you know.

The Interrogator: No, I didn't think you would.

The Cardinal: No. I might live for twenty... thirty years. Yes, it's one thing I'd never thought of. It's more terrible than anything I could have thought of.

The Interrogator: [draws a pistol] I could pretend to call to the warder for help, as I fire. You want to pray?

The Cardinal: You'll do it?

The Interrogator: Do you want to pray?

The Cardinal: [kneels and prays in agony for a few moments] No, I can't ask you to commit murder. You offer me escape...

The Interrogator: And I thought of you as an animal, to be put out of its pain. Do you want to face the world outside?

The Cardinal: No. But I must.

The Interrogator: So the laugh is on me. You go out of my hands a stronger man than when you came to me.

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The Interrogator: Afraid I'll slip you a truth drug?

The Cardinal: Surely it's a confession you're after; not the truth.

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The Interrogator: Every living soul in that sleeping city down there could be broken, if they had to be. The softer the mind, the more sensitive the conscience, the more surely they must be broken. That's the fascination - and the pity of it.

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The Cardinal: Your masters are in a hurry, I fancy. People who are going to make heaven on earth usually are.

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The Jailer: They look different after a few months in solitary, don't they, sir?

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The Interrogator: What have you done to me?

The Cardinal: That - from you?

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The Interrogator: He was broken by a half-truth, a distorted truth. He was too humble. He believed it when I told him his whole life was built on pride. A proud man would have been more skeptical.

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The Interrogator: You fake! The hero of the resistance who outwitted the Gestapo for his own vanity. The martyr for the Church whose only resistance is for his own pride. His Eminence, the Cardinal, who could steal the estimation of the world to justify a miserable little tyke of a backstreet drab who smelt of fish!

The Cardinal: Forgiveness!

The Interrogator: Did you preach forgiveness up there in your fine pulpit, forgiveness for those who stole?

The Cardinal: Of course.

The Interrogator: Didn't they have to give back what they'd stolen?

The Cardinal: How can you give back honor?

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The Cardinal: Shall I be allowed a priest before I die?

The Interrogator: There will be no need.

The Cardinal: I beg of you to let me see a priest.

The Interrogator: You're not to die.

The Cardinal: No? I'm to be hanged.

The Interrogator: The sentence has been commuted.

The Cardinal: What are they afraid of? Martyrdom? No one could make the world see me as a martyr now.

The Interrogator: It has been commuted.

The Cardinal: I've eased my mind with the thought of death. I can't see beyond it.

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The Interrogator: You're an enemy of society, like the schizophrenic, of the paranoiac. You're dangerous, because you mislead the poor, the uneducated, the silly. Only because you're wrongheaded. In time, we'll get to the root of the trouble. And you can be cured.

The Cardinal: Your believe it?

The Interrogator: Yes, I do believe it.

The Cardinal: God give me cunning against your skill.

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The Interrogator: Who do you think you're dealing with? Some mad, sadistic moron in the Gestapo, who has power to play with flesh and blood for his own lust? I was a doctor, before ever I was a lawyer. Your body is sacred to me.

The Cardinal: No drugs... no torture... what can you hope for?

The Interrogator: Conversion. It's your mind we want.

The Cardinal: For the first time since I've come into your prison - I'm afraid.

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The Interrogator: Have you forgiven yourself?

The Cardinal: Oh no. But I believe I shall be forgiven. He who will judge us, is He who made us.

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The Interrogator: We're up against a good man. He's got to show us where his weakness lies before we can use it - to destroy him. Meanwhile, we must wait

[sits down at his chessboard]

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Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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