The Age of Innocence (1993)
Newland: You gave me my first glimpse of a real life. Then you asked me to go on with the false one. No one can endure that.
Ellen: I'm enduring it.
Ellen: Newland. You couldn't be happy if it meant being cruel. If we act any other way I'll be making you act against what I love in you most. And I can't go back to that way of thinking. Don't you see? I can't love you unless I give you up.
Ellen Olenska: How can we be happy behind the backs of people who trust us?
Ellen Olenska: I think we should look at reality, not dreams.
Newland Archer: I just want us to be together!
Ellen Olenska: I can't be your wife, Newland! Is it your idea that I should live with you as your mistress?
Newland Archer: I want... Somehow, I want to get away with you... and... and find a world where words like that don't exist!
Ted Archer: The day before she died, she asked to see me alone, remember? She said she knew we were safe with you and always would be because once when she asked you to, you gave up the thing you wanted most.
Newland Archer: [after a long pause] She never asked. She never asked me.
Ellen Olenska: Is New York such a labyrinth? I thought it was all straight up and down like Fifth Avenue. All the cross streets numbered and big honest labels on everything.
Newland Archer: Everything is labeled, but everybody is not.
Ellen Olenska: Then I must count on you for warnings too.
Ellen Olenska: Is fashion such a serious consideration?
Newland Archer: Among those who have nothing more serious to consider.
Ellen Olenska: They never knew what it meant to be tempted, but you did. You understood. I've never known that before - and it's better than anything I've known.
May Welland: ...I can't have my happiness made out of a wrong to someone else.
Newland: Honest? Isn't that why you always admire Julius Beaufort? He was more honest than the rest of us, wasn't he, we've got no character, no color, no variety. I wonder why you just don't go back to Europe.
Ellen: I believe that's because of you.
Newland Archer: [Last lines] Just say I'm old-fashioned. That should be enough. Go on. Go on!
Mrs. Mingott: I gave up arguing with young people 50 years ago.
Ted Archer: [about his fiancée] I'll be back on the first, and our wedding's not till the fifth.
Newland Archer: I'm surprised you even remembered the date.
Ted Archer: Annie made me swear to do three things in Paris: get her the score of the latest Debussy songs, go to the Grand Guignol, and see Madam Olenska.
The Narrator: Carriages waited at the curb for the entire performance. It was widely known in New York, but never acknowledged, that Americans want to get away from amusement even more quickly than they want to get to it.
Newland Archer: All the older women like and admire you. They want to help.
Ellen Olenska: I know. I know, as long as they don't hear anything unpleasant. Does no one here want to know - want to know the truth, Mr. Archer? The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only asks you to pretend.
Newland Archer: What could you possibly gain that could make up for the scandal?
Ellen Olenska: My freedom!
Ellen Olenska: Do you think her lover will send her a box of yellow roses tomorrow morning?
Ellen Olenska: Don't make love to me. Too many people have done that.
The Narrator: As for the madness with Madame Olenska, Archer trained himself to remember it as the last of his discarded experiments. She remained in his memory simply as the most plaintive and poignant of a line of ghosts.
Larry Lefferts: Beaufort may not receive invitations anymore, but it's clear he maintains a certain position.
Mrs. Mingott: Your name was Beaufort when he covered you with jewels and it's got to stay Beaufort now that he's covered you with shame.
Ellen Olenska: I remember we played together. How this brings it all back to me. I remember everybody here the same way in knickerbockers and pantalettes.
Newland Archer: You have been a way a very long time.
Ellen Olenska: Centuries and centuries. So long, I'm sure I'm dead and buried, in this dear old place, as heaven.
The Narrator: It invariably happened, as everything happened in those days, in the same way.
The Narrator: Regina Beaufort came from an old South Carolina family; but, her husband Julius, who passed for an Englishman, was known to have dissipated habits, a bitter tongue, and mysterious antecedents. His marriage assured him a social position, but not necessarily respect.
The Narrator: Only by actually passing through the Crimson drawing room, could one see "The Return of Spring" - the much discussed nude by Bougereau, which Beaufort had had the audacity to hang in plain sight.
The Narrator: Archer enjoyed such challenges to convention. He questioned conformity in private; but, in public, he upheld family and tradition. This was a world balanced so precariously that it's harmony could be shattered by a whisper.
Newland Archer: The worst of it is that I want to kiss you - and I can't.
[looks around, kisses May]
Mrs. Mingott: When's the wedding to be?
Newland Archer: Oh, as soon as ever it can, if only you'll back me up, Mrs. Mingott.
Mrs. Welland: We must give them time to know each other a little better, mama.
Mrs. Mingott: Know each other? Everybody in New York has always known everybody. Don't wait till the bubbles off the wine. Marry them before Lent. I may catch pneumonia any winter now and I want to give the Wedding Breakfast.
The Narrator: The burden of her flesh had made it long since impossible to go up and down stairs. So, with characteristic independence, she had established herself on the ground floor of her house. From a sitting room, there was an unexpected vista of her bedroom. Her visitors were startled and fascinated by the foreignness of this arrangement - which recalled scenes in French fiction. This was how women with lovers lived in the wicked old societies.
Sillerton Jackson: Certain nuisances escape Beaufort.
Mrs. Archer: Oh, necessarily, Beaufort is a vulgar man.
Newland Archer: Nevertheless, no business nuisance escapes him. Most of New York trusts him with its affairs.
Mrs. Archer: My grandfather, Newland, always used to say to mother, "Don't let that fellow Beaufort be introduced to the girls."
Mrs. Archer: Poor Ellen. We must always remember the eccentric bringing up she had. What can you expect of a girl whose allowed to wear black satin at her Coming Out Ball?
Janey Archer: I'm surprised she should have kept such an ugly name as Ellen when she married the Count. I should have changed it to Elaine.
Newland Archer: Why?
Janey Archer: I don't know. It sounds more - Polish.
Sillerton Jackson: Handsome, they say; but, eyes with a lot of lashes. When he wasn't with women, he was - collecting china. Paying any price for both, I understand.
Newland Archer: Who has the right to make her life over, if she hasn't? Why should we bury a woman alive if her husband prefers to live with whores?
The Narrator: They all lived in a kind of hieroglyphics world. The real thing was never said or done or even thought; but, only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.
Henry van der Luyden: Well, it's the principal that I dislike. I mean to say, if a member of a well-known family is backed by that family, it should be considered final.
The Narrator: It was not the custom in New York drawing rooms for a lady to get up and walk away from one gentleman in order to seek the company of another. But, the Countess did not observe this rule.
Ellen Olenska: May I tell you what most interests me about New York; not all the blind obeying of traditions, somebody else's traditions; it seems stupid to have discovered America only to make it a copy of another country. Do you suppose Christopher Columbus would have taken all that trouble just to go to the opera with Larry Lefferts?
Ellen Olenska: Are you very much in love with her?
Newland Archer: As much as a man can be.
Ellen Olenska: Do you think there's a limit?
Ellen Olenska: So, how do you like this odd little house? To me it's like heaven.
Julius Beaufort: I'm having a nice oyster supper in your honor. Private room. Congenial company. Artists and so on.
Ellen Olenska: That's very tempting. I haven't met a single artists since I've been here.
Newland Archer: I know one or two painters I could bring to see you, if you allow me.
Julius Beaufort: Painters? Are there any painters in New York?
Newland Archer: If he chooses to fight the case, he can say things that might be un - that might be disagreeable to you. Say them publicly, so that they, it could be damaging, even if...
Ellen Olenska: If?
Newland Archer: Even if they were unfounded.
Ellen Olenska: What harm could accusations like that do me here?
Newland Archer: Perhaps more harm than anywhere else. Our legislation favors divorce, but, our social customs don't.
Ellen Olenska: Never?
Newland Archer: Well, not if the woman - has appearances in the lest degree against her, has exposed herself by any unconventional behavior - to - offensive insinuations and...
Ellen Olenska: Yes. So, my family tell me.
Ellen Olenska: Cousin May wrote. She asked you to take care of me.
Newland Archer: I didn't need to be asked.
Ellen Olenska: Why? Does that mean I'm so helpless and defenseless? Or, that women here are so blessed they never feel need?
Newland Archer: What sort of need?
Ellen Olenska: Oh, please don't ask me. I don't speak your language.
The Narrator: He could feel her dropping back to an inexpressive girlishness. Her conscious had been eased of its burden. It was wonderful, he thought, how such depths of feeling could coexist with such an absence of imagination.
Newland Archer: Is this really so difficult?
Mrs. Mingott: The entire family is difficult! Not one of them wants to be different. When they are different, they end up like Ellen's parents. No masks. Continental wanderers, dragging Ellen about, lavishing on her an expensive but incoherent education. Out of all of them, I don't believe there's one that takes after me, but my little Ellen. You've got a quick eye. Why in the world didn't you marry her?
Newland Archer: Well, for one thing, she wasn't there to be married.
Mrs. Mingott: No. To be sure.
Mrs. Mingott: We should remember, marriage is marriage and Ellen is still a wife.
Mrs. Mingott: I told him he should have married you!
Ellen Olenska: [laughs] And, what did he say?
Mrs. Mingott: Oh, my darling, I leave you to find that out.
Ellen Olenska: I should go were I'm invited or I should be too lonely.
Newland Archer: Nothing's done that can't be undone. I'm still free. You can be too.
The Narrator: The past had come again into the present, as in through newly discovered caverns in Tuscany where children had lit bunches of straw and seen old images staring from the wall.
May Welland: What are you reading?
Newland Archer: Oh, it's a book about Japan.
May Welland: Why?
Newland Archer: I don't know. Because, it's a different country.
May Welland: You used to read poetry. It was so nice when you read it to me.