Monday, December 18, 2023

Movie Quote of the Day (‘What's Up, Doc?’, As a Mild-Mannered Musicologist Faces a Judge)

Howard Bannister [played by Ryan O’Neal]: “That night, I went back to my room and she was in the bath.”

Judge Maxwell [played by Liam Dunn]: “Who was there?” [reconsiders] “No, don't tell me, just go on.”

Howard: “When Eunice walked in and the drapes caught fire, everything burned. They asked me to leave. I really don't blame them.”

Judge: “Good boy. Is there more?”

Howard: “Sure.”

Judge [sighing]: “There's more.”

Howard: “Well, the next day, today, Mr. Larrabee asked me to his house with my rocks and to bring Eunice. Or rather, Burnsy, the one he thinks is Eunice. Is that clear?”

Judge: “No, but it's consistent.”

Howard: “Shall I go back over it?”

Judge: “No, please, I beg you, don't! Just go on.”

Howard: “It gets kind of complicated now. First, there was this trouble between me and Hugh.”

Judge: “You and me?”

Howard: “No, not you. Hugh.”

Hugh Simon [played by Kenneth Mars]: “I am Hugh.”

Judge: “You are me?”

Hugh: “No, I am Hugh.”

Judge: “Stop saying that!”

[to bailiff]

Judge: “Make him stop saying that!”

Hugh: “Don't touch me, I'm a doctor!”

Judge: “Of what?”

Hugh: “Music.”

Judge: “Can you fix a hi-fi?”

Hugh: “No, sir.”

Judge: “Then shut up!”— What's Up, Doc? (1972), screenplay by Buck Henry, David Newman, and Robert Benton, based on a story by Peter Bogdanovich, directed by Peter Bogdanovich

Entertainers often have very, very complicated private lives. Case in point: Ryan O’Neal.

The Love Story actor, who died over a week ago, lived so turbulently off the screen that he became a semi-permanent resident of the gossip pages, even as his career tailed off. Personally, I find the accusations against him leveled by Anjelica Huston (described in my blog post from 2½ years ago) especially disturbing.

Compartmentalizing such a man is difficult, to be sure. Even so, whenever I see What's Up, Doc?, O’Neal’s straight-faced performance in Peter Bogdanovich’s neo-screwball farce (or, for that matter, his other two collaborations for the director, Paper Moon and Nicklelodeon) goes a long way towards lightening whatever dark mood I may occasionally experience.

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