The House Without a Christmas Tree (TV Movie 1972) Poster


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Addie Mills: ...Why won't you buy me a tree, Dad? I'll settle for a small one.

Jamie Mills: I've already told you no, and no means no!

Addie Mills: What's this all about, money? Because you spend more on cigarettes in a year than one tree costs. I added it up myself!

Jamie Mills: ADDIE! Will you stop pestering me and go to bed!

Addie Mills: Just tell me it looks like Christmas in here. Or feels like it!

Jamie Mills: How would you like me to take a belt to you?

Addie Mills: How would you like me to beg?

Jamie Mills: ...Right, anything's better than that. If you can drink a glass full of water, I'll let you have a tree this year. But you only get one try, and if you blow it, you can't bring the issue up ever again. Deal?

Addie Mills: Deal!

[She fills a glass with water and downs the whole thing. James smiles triumphantly]

Jamie Mills: You blew it, kid.

Addie Mills: What are you talking about? It was full and I drank it...

Jamie Mills: No, the deal was that you had to *drink* it full. You drank it *empty*.

[Flustered, Addie runs from the room in tears]

Grandma Mills: James, that was cruel.

Jamie Mills: Oh, can't you take a joke? Where's that infamous sense of humor I grew up with?

Grandma Mills: I never played a joke like that on any of my friends. What a thing to do to a child, over something she wants so badly!

Jamie Mills: She has to learn. In this life, you can't have everything you want.

Grandma Mills: James, let her have a tree this year. Why not? It's such a little thing to make her happy. If you give it a chance, you might enjoy it yourself.

Jamie Mills: You're at least two hundred percent wrong about that.

Grandma Mills: You've let your whole life turn sour. You've no right to sour Addie's life as well.

Jamie Mills: I'm exercising my right as her father.

Grandma Mills: Oh, you just don't want anything around to remind you. Well, Addie's around. If you can't look at her without being reminded...

Jamie Mills: I don't have to listen to this!

[He gets up and storms out of the room]

Grandma Mills: [calling after him] For two cents, I'd buy her a tree myself!

Jamie Mills: [returns to room] Don't you dare, Mother! She's *my* daughter, and *I'll* decide what she can and can't have!

[slams the door]

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Jamie Mills: [James comes home from work and finds the tree] Where in hell did that come from!

Addie Mills: I won it!

Jamie Mills: ...Think I take charity, do you? Dragging stuff down the street, making people think we take castoffs, like some bums!

Grandma Mills: James, that tree's not hurting anything.

Jamie Mills: I do *not* take charity!

Addie Mills: It wasn't charity, Dad. It was the prize in a contest at school.

Jamie Mills: If I want a tree, I can damn well buy it myself!

Grandma Mills: She's the one who wants it, not you.

Jamie Mills: She has to learn that she can't have everything she wants, not in this life. *I* don't have everything *I* want. When I was ten, do you think I dreamed of working a crane fifty weeks a year? I'd like to go somewhere, and sit in the sun, and forget both of you!

[Addie bolts out of the room, visibly stung]

Jamie Mills: ... I want that tree out of my house!

Grandma Mills: It's *my* house, James Addison Mills the Third, and *I* say the tree can stay right where it is!

Jamie Mills: ...If you don't want me here, I'll be more than glad to move out and take Addie with me.

Grandma Mills: Don't talk nonsense!

Jamie Mills: I'm serious, Mother. If we stay here, I'm *not* having you interfere between me and my daughter!

Grandma Mills: I ask clarification of the word "interfere", James. By that, you mean spend quality time with her, whenever you were busy or tired or just not in the mood...

Jamie Mills: You know damn well what I mean!

Grandma Mills: Anyway, she's more than your daughter, James. She's a human being. She's got feelings, even if you haven't. Son, don't you see - The last person you showed any feelings at all for was Helen!

Jamie Mills: *Leave her out of this!*

Grandma Mills: You were broken-hearted, I know - but you're not the first man who's ever lost a wife! Son, it's been almost *ten years*! That kind of grief is selfish. That child - Helen's child - needs your love.

Jamie Mills: I *proved* I loved her, didn't I? I didn't send her to live with Will and his family, or wrap her in newspaper and leave her on some stranger's doorstep. Haven't I worked long hours at a whole list of jobs to keep her fed and clothed? I was overqualified for most of those jobs, but I took them as they came. She could have been a Ward of the State, and probably had an easier life, but no. I kept the responsibility.

Grandma Mills: Is that how you think of her? As a responsibility? James, I've known men your age who'd give a pound of their own flesh for a daughter like Addie! Raising her should be a privilege for you, an opportunity. Instead it's a chore, like mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage or doing the dishes! Oh, when she was a baby that was enough; you could carry her around like she was a doll, leave her in a crib when you didn't feel like carrying her - she was just a cute baby then. Now she's grown from a pet into a person, and you don't know what to do with her! So you hold yourself away and live in this house like a stranger. Well, when she's old enough she's going to leave you, James. She's going to find her own place to live, get her own job - and maybe start her own family, if she gets lucky and meets the right person. Then you won't have the responsibility anymore, because you won't have a daughter, either.

Jamie Mills: ...It was my fault. Having the baby is what killed her.

Grandma Mills: Don't say that, James. It was pneumonia.

Jamie Mills: Every doctor we went to said the same thing - the baby would die, or she would. We'd just be asking for trouble. But she kept begging and pleading, and so... I should never have given in.

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Billy Wild: Hi, got your paper.

Addie Mills: Thanks.

[Slams door]

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