Idiot's Delight (1939) Poster

Norma Shearer: Irene



  • Irene : But I have talked too much about myself. What about you, my friend?

    Harry : Oh, I'm not very interesting. I'm just what I seem to be.

  • Irene : You are a very bad dancer.

    Harry : Hmmm... in Romania they thought I was pretty good.

  • Irene : Harry, do you realize the whole world has gone to war? The whole world!

    Harry : I realize it, but don't ask me why. I've stopped trying to figure it out.

    Irene : I know why it is. It's just to kill us - you and me. Because we are the little people. And for us, the deadliest weapons are the most merciful.

    Harry : Easy...

    Irene : I've never cared before, but now I want to live.

    Harry : So do I, but if we don't, let's hope we make a fast exit.

    Irene : Then together.

    Harry : [explosion from a large bomb nearby]  Nice try buddy, but you muffed it!

  • Irene : My father was old. The hardships of that terrible journey had broken his body. But his spirit was strong. His spirit, that is Russia.

    Irene : He lay there in that little boat. And he looked up at me. Never can I forget his face. So thin. So white. So beautiful in the starlight.

    Irene : And he said to me, 'Irena, little daughter'. And then... he died.

    Irene : For four days I was alone with his body. Sailing through the storms of the Black Sea. I had no food. No water. I was in agony from the violent wounds of the Bolshevikii. I knew I must die.

    Irene : And then... an American cruiser rescued me. May Heaven bless those good men!

    Harry : Ahem. Excuse me Madame. But it seems to me that the last time you told me about your escape it was different.

    Irene : Well! I made several escapes.

  • Irene : Where'd you get your education, Harry?

    Harry : What makes you think I got one?

  • Harry : Say, what are your plans for supper?

    Irene : Oh, Mr. Van, are you inviting me?

    Harry : Well, don't look at me like that. I'm only offering to buy you a cup of coffee because I appreciate your kind motives in busting up our act tonight.

    Irene : Oh, that's very sweet of you, Mr. Van. I'll get dressed, right away. I'll be proud to be seen in a restaurant with you.

    Harry : Wait till you see the restaurant.

  • Harry : Give me a cup of coffee and some donuts. What'll you have, babe?

    Irene : Oyster stew.

  • Irene : Do you think we'll ever see each other again?

    Harry : Maybe we will and maybe we won't. You can't predict anything in show business.

    Irene : Or in any other kind of a life, I suppose.

    Harry : No, I guess not. But, I'll be thinking about you, babe.

    Irene : Oh, I'm sure you will.

    Harry : Yes, and as a matter of fact, I'd like to know that - you're thinking about me a little bit, too.

  • Harry : The world you live in isn't a world of facts and figures, it's a world of dreams. Maybe that's what I like about you Irene. You're so beautifully phony.

    Irene : And maybe you're wrong my darling. Maybe we two cheap people, with our cheap lives, maybe we're the only ones in this crazy world who are real.

  • Harry : [at a train station]  Well, we gotta be pulling out now babe.

    Irene : I know, but not together.

    Harry : No, not together. You go your way and I go mine. But I got a hunch we'll see each other again. Sometime.

  • Irene : Oh, 'Kak Stranno!' How strange!

  • Irene : I told you then that I wasn't everybody. It's true; I'm nobody. But I learned it was no use telling the truth to people whose life was a whole lie.

  • Irene : The temple of your memory must be so crowded.

    Harry : Are you sure you've never been in Omaha, Madame?

  • Irene : You amuse me very much, indeed. Here we are, on a mountain peak in Bedlam. Tonight, war is breaking over the vorld! And all you vorry about is whether I am a girl you once met casually in Omaha-ha-ha.

    Harry : Ha-ha-ha. Did I say it was casual?

  • Harry : Somehow or other I couldn't help feeling touched, that of all the sordid hotels you've been in, that you should have remembered that one.

    Irene : The age of chivalry still lives!

  • Irene : Harry, do you know any hymns?

  • Irene : [last line international version]  Look Harry! They've gone away.

  • Harry : You can call that sentimental, Mrs. Weber, but that is true.

    Irene : Forgive me, but that is not my name.

    Harry : Oh. I thought...

    Irene : I know what you thought. Mr. Weber and I are associated in a sort of business way.

    Harry : I see. Um, business is pretty good, isn't it?

  • Irene : Did I ever tell you of my escape from the Soviets?

    Achille Weber : You've told me about it at least 11 times and every time it was different.

    Irene : Well, I made several escapes.

  • Irene : Good night.

    Harry : Good night.

    Irene : Thanks for giving me such a good time.

    Harry : Well, thank you, Irene. I always enjoy seeing a woman eat. Don't forget - brush your teeth carefully, tuck yourself in, and have sweet dreams of Old Russia


  • Irene : Did I ever tell you of my escape from the Soviets?

    Achille Weber : You've told me about it at least eleven times, and every time it was different.

    Irene : Well, I made several escapes. I am always making escapes, Achille. When I worry about you and your career, I have to run away from the terror of my own thoughts. So I amuse myself by studying the faces of the people I see. Just ordinary, casual, dull people. That little English couple for instance - I was watching them during dinner, sitting there close together, holding hands. And I saw him in his nice, smart British uniform shooting a little pistol at a huge tank. And the tank rolls over him. And his fine, strong body that was so full of the capacity for ecstasy... is a mass of mashed flesh and bones. A smear of purple blood, like a stepped-on snail. But before the moment of death, he consoles himself by thinking, "thank God she is safe. She is bearing the child I gave her. And he will live to see a better world." But I know where she is. She is under a house that has been racked by an air raid. She is as dead as he is. But he, he died in action against the enemy gloriously. But she died in a cellar, not so very gloriously. There will be many who will die this way in this war, won't there Achille?

    [he does not respond] 

    Irene : You don't say anything! Probably you are bored. But I like to think about these things, Achille. And it makes me so proud to think that I am so close to you, who makes all this possible.

    Achille Weber : That's all very interesting, my dear. But before you waste too much sympathy on these little people like your English friends, just ask yourself this: why shouldn't they die? And who are the greater criminals - those who sell the instruments of death or those who buy them and use them? It is they who make war seem noble and heroic, and what does it all amount to? Mistrust of the motives of everyone else! A dog-in-the-manger defence of all they've got, greed for the other fellow's possessions! Oh, I assure you, Irene, for such little people, the deadliest weapons are the most merciful.

  • Irene : I am so happy for you.

    Achille Weber : Happy? Why?

    Irene : All this wonderful death and destruction everywhere. And you promoted it.

  • Irene : I have something rather important to tell you.

    Harry : What is it, babe?

    Irene : Do you mind if I sit down?

    Harry : Well, as a matter of fact I do, but, anyway, have a seat. And if you see a bottle of champagne standing around, open it up. Now, what's on your mind?

    Irene : I want to confess.

    Harry : You'll find a church right around the corner.

  • Irene : I've been watching your act, Mr. Van. I couldn't help picking up some of the code. I mean, your tone of voice when you say - concentrate. There are subtle changes that mean different things.

    Harry : Where did you learn words like subtle?

    Irene : Oh, I haven't always been an acrobat, Mr. Van. I attended the University in Vienna... with Freud, Jung, all the great teachers.

    Harry : From the University in Vienna to the El Dorado in Omaha. Some jump!

    Irene : Yes. Ha-ha. That's been my whole life, today the mountaintops - tomorrow the Dead Sea.

    Harry : Yeah, I guess you're right, sister.

  • Harry : I have a great admiration for you.

    Irene : Oh, you like my electrical personality, huh?

    Harry : No, nothing as obvious as that. I think you have a very remarkable brain!

    Irene : So, you noticed that too, hmm?

    Harry : I also have a very remarkable brain.

    Irene : Yeah, and a very remarkable way of talking for a girl who makes her living swinging by her teeth.

    Harry : Why, I was born for excitement, adventure, danger. I've had all the - I'll have a lot more before I come to a violent death.

    Irene : So you've even got that arranged.

  • Harry : You've certainly lived on a big scale, babe.

    Irene : My name isn't babe. It's Irene!

  • Irene : Do you know that song? It's Kak Stranno - its Russian. Oh, its so lovely! It takes me back so far to the Winter Palace in Petersburg. La-la-la La-la-la Kak Stranno. That means, How Strange. It tells such a sad, beautiful story about two people, who meet and fall in love for one exquisite moment - and then they part. Like ships that pass in the night. Mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm Mmm-mmm-mmm KaK Stranno - How Strange.

  • Irene : But your place is rrrreally charming. I must tell everyone in Paris about it.

    Donald Navadel : We are rather proud of it.

    Irene : There is something about this design. It suggests, eh, an amusing kind of horror. It is like somebody's tomb, isn't it?

  • Mrs. Cherry : You mean - you read people's minds?

    Harry : Sure. I could see right through 'em.

    Irene : Oh, how embarrassing.

    Harry : I was playing a week in Omaha. Have you ever been in Omaha madame?

    Irene : Oma-ha? O-maw-ha? Where is dat? Persia!

    Harry : It's in Nebraska.

  • Irene : Goodbye, Harry. Goodbye, again.

  • Irene : I don't think I shall use my own name. No! Americans will mispronounce horribly. I shall call myself - Namoura! Namoura the Great!

    Harry : ...assisted by Harry Van.

  • Harry : It's a souvenir. See, it says, "Souvenir of Omaha."

    Irene : Did you buy it for me, Harry?

    Harry : Yeah, certainly I did. And what's more, it cost 75 cents. You know, that's the most expensive present I ever bought for any dame.

  • Harry : You know, Irene, I've met a lot of dames in my time, and most of 'em are so dumb you have to talk to 'em in sign language. You're the only one I ever met that I couldn't answer.

    Irene : Perhaps that's because I'm the only one who recognizes you for the great man that you are.

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