The Door To Yesterday Vol. 3, No. 19 Masthead. Alan Warner. 2019

 

 

 

Famous Last Words. Memorable Movie Last Lines. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 I have long been an admirer of motion picture dialog and in particular, 

closing lines or brief exchanges that provide perfect endings to certain classic films. 


Here are twelve such examples from pictures produced during Hollywood’s golden age…

Some Like It Hot. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

Arguably the most famous of all final one-liners 

occurred in “Some Like It Hot”, the comedy 

about two male musicians Joe (played by Tony Curtis

and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) who disguised themselves 

in drag as Josephine and Daphne, members of an 

all-girl band fronted by singer Sugar Kane 

played by Marilyn Monroe.

Joe E. Brown and Jack Lemmon. The Door To Yesterday. Some Like It Hot. Alan Warner.

 The big payoff line of dialog took place

 as lecherous millionaire Osgood Fielding III 

(played by Joe E. Brown) is proposing marriage 

to the still-disguised ‘Daphne’ 


In desperation, Jerry (Jack Lemmon

rips off his female wig and reveals 

I’m a man!” 

to which Osgood replies:

‘Well, nobody’s perfect!”


Joe E. Brown as Osgood Fielding III 

in “Some Like It Hot” (United Artists: 1959): 

Screenplay: Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond 

Suggested by a story by R. Thoeren & M. Logan; 

Produced & Directed by Billy Wilder.

 

Sunset Boulevard Movie Poster. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 Later adapted as a stage musical, “Sunset Boulevard” 

is perhaps the finest movie set in and around the movie capital and it involved one of Hollywood’s major studios, Paramount. 


Appearing as himself was master showman 

and director, Cecil B. DeMille to whom

Gloria Swanson  addresses her most famous line…

“Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” 


Gloria Swanson as faded movie actress

 Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard

 (Paramount: 1950): 

Written by Charles Brackett, 

Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman Jr.; 

Directed by Billy Wilder. 


(The film is also remembered for another 

‘Norma Desmond’ one-liner when she proclaims:

“I am big! It’s the pictures that got small”).

Casablanca “The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship”. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner

 Another film containing numerous celebrated 

lines of dialog was the wartime romantic drama “Casablanca”. 


In the film’s closing moments depicted in the above still, Humphrey Bogart as nightclub owner Rick Blaine 

walked away into the fog with Claude Rains 

as the police chief, Captain Louis Renault 

and delivers this final declaration…

 “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.


Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca

 (Warner Bros: 1942): 

Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip Epstein

 & Howard Koch from a play 

by Murray Burnett & Joan Alison;

 Directed by Michael Curtiz.

Gone With The Wind Movie Poster. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 In the closing moments of the epic story of the American South…

Scarlett O’Hara:

 “After all…tomorrow is another day”


Vivien Leigh as Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara 

in David O. Selznick’s production of Margaret Mitchell’s 

Gone With The Wind

(Selznick International/MGM: 1939): 

Screenplay by Sidney Howard; 

Directed by Victor Fleming.

The Big Sleep. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 “The Big Sleep” was one of four films in which Humphrey Bogart co-starred with his wife Lauren Bacall 

and their on-screen chemistry was

 personified in this final exchange…

Vivian Rutledge: “You’ve forgotten one thing, me”

Philip Marlowe: “What’s wrong with you?”

Vivian Rutledge: “Nothing you can’t fix!”


Lauren Bacall as Vivian Rutledge

 and Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe 

in “The Big Sleep” (Warner Bros: 1946)

Screenplay by William Faulkner, 

Leigh Brackett & Jules Furthman 

from the novel by Raymond Chandler;

 Directed by Howard Hawks 

Humphrey Bogart in the Maltese Falcon. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 In “The Maltese Falcon”, Humphrey Bogart 

was private eye Sam Spade and the Falcon 

was a prized statuette…

Tom Polhaus: “Heavy, what is it?”

Sam Spade: “The-uh stuff that dreams are made of”


Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade 

and Ward Bond as Detective Tom Polhaus

 in “The Maltese Falcon” (Warner Bros: 1941): 

Screenplay by John Huston 

based upon the novel by Dashiell Hammett; 

Directed by John Huston

King Kong Movie Poster. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner .

 In the original grandaddy of all monster movies, “King Kong”, 

the giant gorilla was brought from Skull Island to New York by showman Carl Denham. 

The ape carried a girl (played by Fay Wray) to the top of the Empire State Building 

and then was eventually killed by a group of fighter planes. 


A police lieutenant then turned to Denham and said 

“The airplanes got him” 

to which Denham famously replied:  

“Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes…It was beauty killed the beast”


Robert Armstrong as Carl Denham in “King Kong” 

(RKO Radio: 1933) 

Screenplay by James Creelman & Ruth Rose 

from an idea conceived by Edgar Wallace & Merian C. Cooper; 

A Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack Production.

A Streetcar Named Desire Movie Poster. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner

 An unforgettable iconic scream…

Stanley Kowalski: 

“Hey Stella! Hey Stella!” 


Marlon Brando as the brutish Stanley Kowalski 

calling out to his wife Stella played by Kim Hunter

 in “A Streetcar Named Desire” 

(Warner Bros: 1951): 

Screenplay by Tennessee Williams; 

Adaptation by Oscar Saul 

Based on the play by

Tennessee Williams; 

Produced by Charles K. Feldman; 

Directed by Elia Kazan

Now Voyager with Betty Davis. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 “Now, Voyager” was one of Bette Davis’s 

string of successful films of the 30’s and 40’s 

and in it, she played a woman in love with a married architect played by Paul Henreid


In the picture’s terminal scene, the two of them realize 

the limitations of their relationship going forward. 

Henreid famously lights two cigarettes and hands

one to Davis and their final words

 include his knowing question…

Jerry Durrance: 

And will you be happy Charlotte?”

Charlotte Vale: 

Oh Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon,

 we have the stars”


Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale 

and Paul Henreid as Jerry Durrance

in “Now, Voyager

 (Warner Bros: 1942); 

Screenplay by Casey Robinson 

From the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty;

 A Hal B. Wallis Production; 

Directed by Irving Rapper.

 

James Cagney in movie still from White Heat. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 In the film noir classic “White Heat”, 

the sadistic, mother-obsessed gangster Cody Jarrett 

(played magnificently by James Cagney

breaks out of jail and is cornered by authorities 

in the rooftop steel pipes of a chemical plant. 

A shoot-out takes place and Jarrett meets his end 

in a massive explosion and screams his final words…

Cody Jarrett: “Made it Ma, top of the world!”

To which secret agent Hank Fallon surmizes…

“Cody Jarrett. He finally got to the top of the world 

and it blew right up in his face”


James Cagney as Cody Jarrett 

and Edmond O’Brien as Hank 

Fallon in “White Heat”: 

Screenplay by Ivan Goff & Ben Roberts

 Suggested by a story by Virginia Kellogg; 

Directed by Raoul Walsh 

(Warner Bros: 1949)

Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 An earlier example of equally effective

 final words of a dying gangster…

Little Caesar: “Mother of mercy! Is this the end of Rico?” 


Edward G. Robinson as small-time hood

 Caesar Enrico Bandello in “Little Caesar” 

 (Warner Bros: 1931):

 Screen Version & Dialog by Francis Edwards Faragoh;

 Novel by W.R. Burnett; 

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

 Finally, my own personal favorite last lines took place in the unforgettable backstage drama “All About Eve”…

All About Eve Movie Poster. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 Eve was Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter)

 who turned from self-effacing fan of renowned 

theatrical star Margo Channing (Bette Davis

into a conniving career-hungry actress.


 As the film closes, Eve has won the ultimate 

theatrical award herself but accidentally

 leaves her statuette in a taxicab.

George Sanders in All About Eve. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner.

 Cynical theater critic Addison DeWitt

 (George Sanders) (pictured above) arrives at 

Eve’s apartment to return the statuette

 but her door is answered by a young woman, 

herself an awestruck fan of Eve’s, 

who announces that her name is Phoebe. 


Addison DeWitt: “Tell me, Phoebe, do you want someday to have an award like that of your own?”

Phoebe: “More than anything else in the world”

Addison DeWitt: “Then you must ask Miss Harrington 

how to get one. Miss Harrington knows all about it”.


-George Sanders as Addison DeWitt

 and Barbara Bates as Phoebe

in “All About Eve” 

(20th Century Fox: 1950): 

Written for the screen and directed 

by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

 Rock on.


Alan Warner


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