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The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) Poster

Quotes

Reidenschneider: They got this guy, in Germany. Fritz Something-or-other. Or is it? Maybe it's Werner. Anyway, he's got this theory, you wanna test something, you know, scientifically - how the planets go round the sun, what sunspots are made of, why the water comes out of the tap - well, you gotta look at it. But sometimes you look at it, your looking changes it. Ya can't know the reality of what happened, or what would've happened if you hadn't-a stuck in your own goddamn schnozz. So there is no "what happened"? Not in any sense that we can grasp, with our puny minds. Because our minds... our minds get in the way. Looking at something changes it. They call it the "Uncertainty Principle". Sure, it sounds screwy, but even Einstein says the guy's on to something.

Reidenschneider: The more you look, the less you really know. It's a fact, a true fact. In a way, it's the only fact there is.

Ed: Frank.

Frank: Huh?

Ed: This hair.

Frank: Yeah.

Ed: You ever wonder about it?

Frank: Whuddya mean?

Ed: I don't know... How it keeps on coming. It just keeps growing.

Frank: Yeah, lucky for us, huh pal?

Ed: No, I mean it's growing, it's part of us. And we cut it off. And we throw it away.

Frank: Come on, Eddie, you're gonna scare the kid.

Ed: I'm gonna take his hair and throw it out in the dirt.

Frank: What the...

Ed: I'm gonna mingle it with common house dirt.

Frank: What the hell are you talking about?

Ed: I don't know. Skip it.

[last lines]

Ed Crane: I don't know where I'm being taken. I don't know what I'll find, beyond the earth and sky. But I'm not afraid to go. Maybe the things I don't understand will be clearer there, like when a fog blows away. Maybe Doris will be there. And maybe there I can tell her all those things they don't have words for here.

[first lines]

Ed Crane: Yeah, I worked in a barbershop, but I never considered myself a barber. I stumbled into it. Or married into it, more precisely.

[Recurring line, to Ed]

Big Dave BrewsterFrank: What kind of a man are you?

Reidenschneider: Science. Perception. Reality. Doubt. Reasonable doubt.

Doris Crane: Good luck with your goddamn cherries!

Ed Crane: He told them to look not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. Then he said the facts had no meaning.

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Birdy Abundas: You know what you are? An enthusiast.

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Ed Crane: Me, I don't talk much... I just cut the hair.

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Reidenschneider: I litigate. I don't capitulate.

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Ed Crane: Sooner or later everyone needs a haircut.

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Ed Crane: My wife and I have not performed the sex act in many years.

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Ann Nirdlinger: Knowledge can be a curse.

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[Tolliver loosens his tie suggestively]

Ed Crane: Was that a pass?

Creighton Tolliver: Maybe.

Ed Crane: Well you're out of line, mister... way out of line.

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Reidenschneider: You say he was being blackmailed, by who? You don't know. For having an affair, with who? You don't know. Did anyone else know about it? Probably not, you don't know.

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Ed Crane: Heavens to Betsy, Birdy!

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Jacques Carcanogues: [to Ed, after Birdy's audition] I think, one day, she'll make a very good typist. Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping. Voila!

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Ed Crane: Time slows down right before an accident, and I had time to think about things. I thought about what an undertaker had told me once - that your hair keeps growing, for a while anyway, after you die, and then it stops. I thought, "What keeps it growing? Is it like a plant in soil? What goes out of the soil? The soul? And when does the hair realize that it's gone?"

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Ed Crane: I was the principal barber now. I hired a new man for the second chair. I'd hired the guy who did the least gabbing when he came in for an interview, but I guess the new man had only kept quiet because he was nervous. Once he had the job he talked from the minute I opened the shop in the morning until I locked up at night. For all I know, he talked to himself on the way home.

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Ed Crane: I was a ghost. I didn't see anyone. No one saw me. I was the barber.

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Ed Crane: I went to see a woman who was supposed to have powers of communicating with those who had "passed across" as she called it. She said that people who had passed across were picky about who they communicated with, not like most people you run into on this side. So you needed a guide, someone with a gift for talking to souls.

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Ed Crane: [after reminiscing about their first date] It was only a couple weeks later she suggested getting married. I said, "Don't you want to get to know me more?" She said, "Why? Does it get better?" She looked at me like I was a dope, which I never really minded from her. And she had a point, I guess. We knew each other as well then as now. Anyway, well enough.

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Ed Crane: Frank Raffo, my brother-in-law, was the principle barber, and man could he talk. Now maybe if you're 11 or 12 years old, Frank's got an interesting point of view. But sometimes he got on my nerves.

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Ed Crane: Doris and I went to church once a week. Usually Tuesday night.

Bingo Caller: B-9. I-29.

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Ed Crane: It's like pulling away from the maze. While you're in the maze, you go through willy nilly, turning where you think you have to turn; banging into the dead ends. One thing after another. But you get some distance on it, and all those twists and turns, why, they're the shape of your life. It's hard to explain. But seeing it whole gives you some peace.

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[Last words]

Big Dave Brewster: I'm all shot to hell.

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Ed Crane: [narrating] There they were. All going about their business. It seemed like I knew a secret, a bigger one even than what had really happened to Big Dave. Something none of them knew. Like I had made it to the outside somehow, and they were all still struggling way down below.

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Big Dave Brewster: Japs had us pinned down in Buna for something like six weeks. Well, I gotta tell ya, I thought *we* had it tough, but, Jesus, we had supply. *They* were eating grubs, nuts, thistles. When we finally up and bust off the beach we found Arnie Bragg, kid missing on recon; the Japs had *eaten* the sonofabitch, if you'll pardon the, uh... And this was a scrawny, pimply kid too, nothin' to write home about. I mean, I never would've, ya know, so what do I say, honey? When I don't like dinner, what do I say? I say, 'Jesus, honey, Arnie Bragg - *again*'?

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Frank: Did you pump it? You can't pump it. That'll just flood it.

Customer: Ya gotta pump it. Ya can't just hold it down. *That'll* flood it.

Frank: You crazy? You pumped it?

Customer: Well, ya can't hold it down.

Frank: Just turn the key.

Customer: Not when it's cold.

Frank: Well, if it's cold, choke it.

Customer: And pump it.

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[after telling Crane his wife has been arrested]

Officer Persky: Crap detail...

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Frank: I never want to see another blueberry pie. I never even want to hear those words. Don't say those words Ed! Don't say those words...

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Reidenschneider: No talking out of school. What's out of school? Everything's out of school. I do the talking. You keep your trap shut. I'm an attorney. You're a barber. You don't know anything.

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Ed Crane: And through it all, we cut the hair.

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Reidenschneider: You're okay, pal. You're okay, she's okay, everything's gonna be hunky... And the, and the flapjacks, honey.

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Reidenschneider: Ladies and gentlemen, members of the jury, citizens of Santa Rosa, we've just heard from the district attorney a rather lurid description of a truly despicable man.

Ed Crane: [voice-over] I had to hand it to him. He tossed a lot of sand in their eyes. He talked about how I'd lost my place in the universe. How I was too ordinary to be the criminal mastermind the D.A. made me out to be, how there was some greater scheme at work that the state had yet to unravel. And he threw in some of the old truth stuff he hadn't had the chance to trot out for Doris.

Reidenschneider: One may at first look at these lines and see only the chaos of a work of modern art.

Ed Crane: He told them to look at me, look at me close. That the closer they looked, the less sense it would all make.

Reidenschneider: Look closely at him. This human, this barber.

Ed Crane: That I wasn't the kind of guy to kill a guy, that I was the barber, for Christ's sake. I was just like them, an ordinary man. Guilty of living in a world that had no place for me, yeah. Guilty of wanting to be a dry cleaner, sure. But not of murder.

Reidenschneider: But most specifically, this is a barber's dilemma. For he is modern man.

Ed Crane: He said I was modern man.

Reidenschneider: He is your reflection.

Ed Crane: And if they voted to convict me, they'd be practically cinching the noose around their own necks. He told them to look not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. And then he said the facts had no meaning. It was a pretty good speech. Even had me going, until Frankie interrupted it.

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Ed Crane: I was turning into Ann Nirdlinger, Big Dave's wife. I had to turn my back on the old lady, on the veils, on the ghosts, on the dead. Before they all sucked me in.

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Doris Crane: [Falling down drunk] Life is so goddamn wonderful you almost won't believe it. It's a bowl of goddamn cherries...

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Costanza: He's a barber right? It's a good trade. So why you got no kids, huh?

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Ed Crane: Life has dealt me some bum cards. Or maybe I just haven't played 'em right, I don't know.

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See also

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

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