A Man of No Importance (1994) - full transcript

Alfie Byrne is a middle-aged bus conductor in Dublin in 1963. He would appear to live a life of quiet desperation: he's gay, but firmly closeted, and his sister is always trying to find him...



"And at every cloud
that passed

"In happy freedom by.


"There were those among us all

"Who walked
with downcast heads,

"Who knew that,
had each got his due,

"They should have
died instead:

"He had killed

"A thing that lived,

"Whilst they had killed
the dead."

* Birds do it

* Bees do it

* Even educated fleas do it

* Let's do it

* Let's fall in love

BOY: Come on, quick!
The bus is coming!

MAN: All right!

* In Spain,
the best upper sets do it

* Lithuanians and Letts do it

* Let's do it

* Let's fall in love

Don't be dirtying
that nice clean bus, now,

-with your elbows.

You have it lovely, Bosie.

Oh, I can see myself
in it, like Narcissus.

-You're at it again.
-I'm what?

That stuff you do...

Big words, poetry.


What are you giving
them this morning?

Well, I propose to give 'em
a treat today.

They may choose
any piece they like
from my repertoire.

Come on. It's 8:00.
Carson will crucify us
if we're late.

Hey, Alfie!

I've got one request.
Do us that one,

"The dead are dancing
with the dead."

"And down
the long and silent street,

"The dawn,
with silver-sandaled feet,

"Crept like
a frightened girl!"

Good morning, my dear friends.

ALL: Good morning, Mr. Byrne.

"We caught the tread
of dancing feet,

"We loitered down
the moonlit street,

"And stopped beneath
the harlot's house.

"Like wire-pulled automatons,

"Slim silhouetted skeletons

"Went sidling through
the slow quadrille."

I do love this bit
about the ciggy.


"And sometimes

"A horrible marionette
came out,

"To smoke its cigarette."

-Disgusting habit! (COUGHS)

"And, turning to my love,
I said,

"'The dead are dancing
with the dead,

"The dust is whirling
with the dust.'


"Suddenly the tune went false,

"The dancers wearied
of the waltz,

"Their shadows ceased
to wheel and whirl."

My friends,

we have a new face.

Permit me, on your behalf,

to welcome her
into our little circle.

Welcome, my dear. Welcome.

Proving once again
that nature imitates art.


Miss Rice.

Miss Rice's entrance
matches perfectly

with the lines of a poem.

A little rhyme. Listen.

"And suddenly
the tune went false,

"The dancers wearied
of the waltz,

"The shadows ceased
to wheel and whirl.

"And down
the long and silent street,

"The dawn
with silver-sandaled feet,

"Crept like
a frightened girl."

Fair play to you, Mr. Byrne.
Fair play.


...further calls
for the resignation

of the Minister for War,
Mr. John Profumo,

after allegations
that his relationship

with showgirl
Miss Christine Keeler...

Merciful hour!

I couldn't eat that. Ugh.

You've had it before.
You like it. It's spaghetti.

With a bolognese sauce.

It's not curry, is it?

Curry's Indian.
The fellas with the turbans.

Never eating curry again.
Not after the last time.

This is Italian.

Yeah, but they're all
darkies to me.

The Parlettis are Italian,

The Fuscos, the Capranis.

They buy their vegetables
off you.

Yeah, and look what they
do with them!


I suppose
I have to eat something,

to keep body
and soul together.



Remember this morning,
I said I had a feeling.

Oh, yeah,
one of your premonitions.

Well, I was right.

Someone I was waiting for,

expecting, walked onto
the bus, out of the blue.

A girl.

A girl!

That is the power
of the nine weeks of St. Jude.

A nice girl for you!

It's not for me.

It's for my play.

Oh, God! You're not starting
that again, are you?

If you're talking about
me and my partners being...

I don't know what
it was called,

but it's the one you made
a complete banjax of, anyway.

I'm not talking about that.
I'm talking about another one.

I intend to stage
Oscar Wilde's masterpiece,


and I've found my princess.


Is that out of the Bible?

Nothing to do with the Bible

or nine weeks on your
knees to St. Jude.

It's to do with art.


Art has your head put astray.
Mine, as well.

-Is she a Dublin girl,
this girl?
-I don't know.

I haven't really spoken
to her yet.




Excuse me, missus.

All tickets, please.


This woman has no ticket.

Why, Mr. Carson, I must have
overlooked this lady.

There you are, ma'am.

The bus company
is not a charity.


If you want to provide

free transport for wasters,
that's up to you.


But if I come on and find
a tinker without a ticket,

I'll put you off the bus,
not them.

Mark me now!



WOMAN: Lovely morning.

Miss, uh, Rice.


Will... Will you be
in my play?

-Your play?

We have a drama group,
my friends and I.

On the bus?

-In a theater, St. Imelda's.

(SCOFFS) Sure, I can't act.

You're the perfect princess!

-Some princess.
What are you like, Mr. Byrne?

No, I mean, princess
in the play Salome.


-Coming, coming.

Get out of the way,
you dozy old bollocks, you!

Is that the one
who danced for Herod?

And got the head
of John the Baptist
on a plate?

Yeah, yeah, you know it!

-From the penny catechism.



Say you'll do it, Miss Rice!

Say you'll be my princess!

Was she a kind of
belly dancer, Mr. Byrne?



-She's not absolutely agreed,

but I'm certain she'll do it.

We begin rehearsals tomorrow.
She'll be perfect.

"She is like

"a dove that has strayed.

"She's like a narcissus..."

-You're at it again.
-"...trembling in the wind.

"She is like a silver flower."

-Do you know what I think?
-What, Bosie?

I think you're soft on her.

Ah, Alfred!
Something for the sister,

sweetbreads, good for
a delicate tum.

It's not offal I seek,
Mr. Carney.

I bring news of the drama.

-We're going up again!

Oh, we're going up, are we?
How did that come about?

I found a new actress.

-Is that a fact?
-A new female lead.

-Walked out of nowhere,

-onto the bus, sat down...

A charming creature.
Perfect for the part.

-Oh, my God, that's great,
isn't it?

-What do you want, Billy?
-Three of them, Mr. Carney.

Three of them.
That's marvelous news.

Oh, great! (LAUGHS)

So, we're going to restart,
are we?

Oh, now, tell me,
tell me, tell me, Alfred.

Am I still playing the part
of Algernon?

-Ah, the thing is...
-I'll accept no minor part,
mind you.

No fear, Mr. Carney.

You're still the backbone,
the crux, the very tripes
of my production.

-You're still my star.

Ah, God bless you, Alfred.

That's two and six, Billy.

-Ah, the, uh...

-Oh, no, no, no. Don't worry.

I will provide the ham
for the rehearsal sandwiches.

God bless you, Alfred.



"It is very vulgar
to talk about one's business.

"Only stockbrokers do that

"and then merely
at dinner parties."


Bravo! Magnificent! Bravo!


WOMAN: Good morning,
Mr. Byrne. Lovely morning.


Good morning, my dear friends.

ALL: Good morning, Mr. Byrne.

Good morning, Princess Salome.


What's in the sandwiches?

"What's in the sandwiches?"

Lettuce and rocket.

Rabbit food.

My ma puts in beef.

So young, so carnivorous.

You're at it again.

-At what, my Bosie?
-That stuff you do.


Big words, poetry.

I'm going to find out
who this Bosie is.

Better be a bloke.

Yeah? A regular young fella.
Know what I mean?

Will you be in my play?
We're going up again.

Bosie, that's what we say
in the theater.

"Going up."

But I have
a part in it for you.
A big part.

You asked me that
the last time,

and the time before.
You know I can't act.

Anyway, acting's stupid.

The lads would rag
the arse off of me
if I came on acting.

Be in my play.

We... We could dye
your hair blond,

like an angel.


You're weird, you are.

Lettuce and plays and poetry
and dyeing my hair.

Here, come on.

Come on.
Carson will crucify us.



Mr. Byrne.

It's about the hall, Father.

We'd like it, uh, for a play.

Oh, gosh, yes! (CHUCKLES)
Your little drama group.

So you're trying it again
this year?

Do you think...
Will you manage it this time?

We're quietly confident,
Father Kenny.

And, uh, is it the same one?
You're not changing it?

No, it's another one.

Uh, about John the Baptist.

-His beheading.

Oh, well,

it's a biblical theme.
That's a good thing,
a fine thing.

I... I'll get the keys
for you.

Isn't there a dance
in there somewhere?

Would it be immodest dancing?

Now, the Archbishop
is very strong
on immodest dancing.

Nothing immodest,
Father Kenny.

-It's art.


Well, I'll get you the keys,

You might drop off
the script some time.

BALDY: Well, that's
a bold stroke
and no mistake, maestro.

Salome, hmm?

What put it into your head
to do something so exotic

at your time of life?

This will be my testament.

This will be my coup de grace.

This will be
my monument, Baldy.

And, um, this girl
you're on about,

-she's going to be
Salome, huh?

The Princess Salome.

Her little white hands
fluttering like doves,

that fly to their dovecote.

No fool like an old fool.

And, uh, does Carney know?

Yeah, yeah.

Have you told him
what play you're doing?

Have you told him
it's this one? Salome.

I've told him
we're going up again.

I'll, uh... I'll give him
the script in good time.

He's, um...

He's in the
Sodality of the Sacred Heart,

He might take it bad.

There's all that dancing.

I mean, the Sodality's
very down on immodest dancing.

It's not immodest.

I mean... (STAMMERS)


dancing is neither modest
or immodest.

It's either well done,

or badly done.

That's all.

-Is that a quote?


I'll give Carney
a starring role.

That will mollify him.

Ah, I see what
you're getting at.

He'll be King Herod.

-They're both butchers,
of course.


Ah, look at this.

This is from
the last production.

"Mr. Alfred Byrne presents

"The Importance
of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde.

"Presented on March the 13th,

You see, it was
a Friday the 13th.

I remember warning you
about that at the time.

Friday the 13th...

It's a known
theatrical tradition,
like Hamlet.

What are you talking about,

They never go up
on a Friday the 13th.

And they never say "Hamlet."

It's "Macbeth"
they'd never say!



Look at these names, hmm?

"Mrs. Brady."

Where is she now?

Got a new bike.

Uh, Rudge.

Forsook the route.
Faithless one.

And Miss Greer...


Miss Greer, gone to the 14B.

And Joe Gunn, look.

Got a job at the Guinness,
walks to work.

And Greg Whyte.

Ah, yeah, Mr. Whyte.

The Reverend Chasuble
that was.

The whited sepulchre.

The abomination.

A Morris Minor was it he got?

A Standard Ten, Baldy,

for 30 pieces of silver!

-Ah, must have cost
more than that.
-A metaphor!

A metaphor for betrayal.

I made him from nothing.

Raised him to the stand.

The first promotion he gets...

Off the bus
and into a new motorcar.

BYRNE: A Standard Ten.

He shall be seated
at the throne.

And the angel of the Lord
shall spite him.

He shall be eaten up in one,

him and his Standard Ten!


Fares, please.

The only problem is,
I hope they turn up.


Yeah. Could be
a loose connection.

Will you be in my play, Bosie?

My name's Robbie!

And I can't act
and I can't fix this yoke.

It could be the rotor.

-The what?
-Well, you know, the rotor?

You know, the...
The distributor thingy.

It's a diesel, Alfie,
it's not a bleeding



I'm gonna be late!

Well... Why don't you go on,

to the pub
and I'll wait for the...

For the breakdown bus.

-Go on, go.


I can't leave my bus.
Our bus. No.

A noble sentiment.

We'll amuse ourselves,

telling stories
from the great river of life.

-Now that will be fun.

"If I can produce only one
beautiful work of art,

"I shall be able
to rob malice of its venom,

"cowardice of its sneer,

"and pluck out
the tongue of scorn

"by the roots.

"If life be,

"as it surely is,

"a problem to me,

"I am no less
a problem to life."


like an angel.


-LILY: Where you going?

On a date, is it?

Got you. (CRUNCHING)


* Say the things
we used to say

* And make the world
go away

* I'm sorry if I hurt you


* Day by day

* Just tell me
you still love me

* And make the world go away

* Make the world go away

* Just get it off,
off of my shoulder

* Say the things
we used to say

* Only you can
make it go away *

PRIEST: In nomine Patris
et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

In nomine Christi
et per invocatione
Sancti Blaisi.

Patris et Filii
et Spiritus Sancti.

In nomine Christi et per
invocatione Sancti Blaisi.

Patris et Filii
et Spiritus Sancti.

In nomine Christi et per
invocatione Sancti Blaisi.

Patris et Filii
et Spiritus Sancti.

In nomine Christi
et per invocatione
Sancti Blaisi.

Patris et Filii
et Spiritus Sancti.

It's an auspicious start
to our little drama,
is it not?

The feast of St. Blaise,
the protector of throats.

Our daddy, God rest him,
was devoted
to St. Blaise, wasn't he?

It didn't save him
from the cigarettes!

-So was Mrs. Carney, Lily.

So was Mrs. Carney.

Ah, lovely occasion though,
wasn't it?

-Nice ceremony.

One feels cleansed.

Clean as a whistle,
Mr. Carney.

Not like those poor sinners
over in England.

Are you referring
to this scandal,
this Profumo affair?


-The cut of them girls!
-Oh, it's a sad case.

Oh, poor creatures.

Taken like
the woman in the Bible,
in adultery.

There's only one thing
worse than adultery.

That's right, Mr. Carney.
That's very true.

How would that be?

The unspeakable sin.

The sin committed
by this poor benighted
creature, Stephen Ward.


Ooh! That is really good.

Ooh, I got it that time,
didn't I?

Remind me again,

why it's Salome
we're doing, Mr. Byrne.

-"If I can only produce..."
-Oh, yeah, I remember.

"...one beautiful
work of art..."

"Plucking out the tongue of
scorn by the roots."
Wasn't that it?

And it's definitely
not an excuse for you to have
Miss Rice buck-lepping around

in a set of veils hired
from Ging's in Dame Street?

Certainly not, Baldy.
The thought's unworthy of you.

My commitment is to art.

I certainly hope
Miss Rice will dance.

And Robbie will agree
to play the part of Jokanaan.

Oh, dear.

Oh, my goodness.

Recite us that piece again.

"If I can only produce..."

Oh, dear.

What on Earth
are you playing at?

Look at that.
You spoiled the whole game.


On... On the panel.

Look on the panel.

-Stage manager.

Ah, splendid fellow!

Uh, first,

thank you for coming.


And second,
there are some changes.

The major change is,
of course,

that we're putting on Wilde's
masterpiece Salome this time,

and not The Importance
of Being Earnest.

Uh... Some things
I'm happy to say,

uh, some things
remain the same.

Mr. Christy Bird
is still our stage manager.

And Mrs. Crowe is our

(CLEARS THROAT) And now...

Now to the cast.

Mr. Carney will be King Herod.

And Mrs. Grace will be

our handsome Herodias.


I'm pleased to say
that the Curran twins

have agreed to play
First Soldier
and Second Soldier.

Mr. Jack...

-Mr. Phil, Mr. Jack.


I shall be Jokanaan for now.

Um... But I believe
that that part

will be filled presently.
I confidently expect it.

And now, who will be

the Page of Herodias?


Um... Mr. Lally!



Perhaps we'd better make you
a Cappadocian.

I'll come back to you.


But the best news of all

is that we have a new star

in our little firmament,

a Salome as beautiful

and talented

as Oscar Wilde himself
would have wished.

Miss Adele Rice.


But as she is new to the part
and to the theater,

she will observe only
at this rehearsal.

Mr. Bird, if you will
illuminate the stage,
we will begin.





Can you
come down here a minute?
Would you mind?


This is salacious stuff!

-What's salacious?
-This play, Salome,

that your brother
Alfred's putting on.

Listen to this.

"What shall I do now,

"Neither the floods nor
the great waters
can quench my passion."

"I was a princess,
thou didst scorn me.

"I was a virgin and thou didst
take my virginity."

Come on now.

All right, come over here
and sit down.
It's just nothing but smut.

I couldn't condone
a play like that,
let alone take a part in it.

I won't read you any more.

I wouldn't let a decent woman

hear half the stuff
that's inside here.

Now, just stay here.
I'll get you a nice cordial.

-Oh, yes. Raspberry, please.
-Raspberry, right.

Raspberry's very soothing.

-Are you all right there?

-You all right?
-I'm all right.

I'm just shaking.
I'm shaking with the...
Just reading this stuff.

Ah, but you're
a pioneer, love,
in your own rights.

It's a great thing
being a pioneer.

You think it is?
Ah, there you are.

I'm not a pioneer now,
as such. Right?

You know, Lily,

I didn't realize
until tonight

what you'd been put through.

Oh, he was very strange
from a child.

-A solitary boy, you know.

-A reader.


And you know another thing?

That room of his,
you know, he never ever
unlocks that room.


There'd be no locks
if it was me.

You must always have access.
Without that, you get
this kind of stuff.

And do you know what more?
Do you know what's
in his room?


Hundreds of books
under lock and key.

I don't... I don't like
the sound of that.

Mind you, he told me
that they were all about
railway trains.

I doubt it. Let me get that
out of your way.

You can put your glass down.

-Thank you.
-"Railway trains."
I doubt that.


Bring me the head
of John the Baptist indeed.

CARSON: All tickets, please.

Well, for once,
I can't fault you.

No spongers on board.

The young fella,
getting better at keeping nix.

Oh, there's a pair of
youse in it.

And I have my eye
on youse both!


RASHER: "The Tetrarch
has a somber look."

GORMAN: "Yes, he has
a somber look."

RASHER: "He is looking
at something."

"He is looking
at someone..."

-Stop doing that!
-Yes, stop doing...

Where's "that"?

Would you stop
repeating everythin' after me?

-I'm not!
-You are!

Calmly, Mr. Flynn,
it's in the script.

-"The Tetrarch
has a somber look..."

-Good morning, Mr. Ryan.

You are playing
various Nazarenes.

-No, mute, I'm afraid.

But nonetheless
important for that.

Hold tight...
From where we were.

RASHER: "The Tetrarch
has a somber look."

he has a somber look."

RASHER: Stop doing that!


BYRNE: Mrs. Crowe,

would you ever
get on to Gings,

the costumiers in Dame Street?

I think there's
been some mistake.


-Hold on.


Now, he's changed
the locks again.

-He does that to thwart me!

Lily, let me look through
that keyhole, will you?

My God, look at that!
Look at it!

God, he has to be stopped!

He's the Typhoid Mary
of the theater,

all he touches with filth.

I have a key
that fits all locks.

I'll find these books of his
and have them destroyed.

It's for his own good, Lily.
I can assure you that.

And this play
he's putting on,

I'll have that taken off
with all the haste

that Father Kenny, I'm afraid,

can muster.

And you as a gesture
of sisterly...

Let me get the light.
There you are. Now...

Ah, music.

-Would you like to hear music?

-Ah, that's great.


-Do you like that?

Now, what I was saying.
We should attempt to keep him
out of harm's way.

Yeah, but you don't mean...

-It's about time, isn't it?
-You don't mean like
St. James' Hospital now?

No, no. I didn't mean
to have him committed.

But that's a very good idea.

No, I was...

I was talking about marriage,
Lily, my dear.

Marriage? Alfie?

You know, the natural state

is the married state
for a man of his age.

You know. Like a priest
or a widower, maybe...


You know, uh, by rights.

By rights, Mr. Carney.

Married, and out of
the house by rights.

I... I wouldn't say
"out of the house", Lily.

But I would, Mr. Carney.
I would.

Now that's lovely. Who's that?

Who is it? I don't know.


Excuse me. Are you Miss Rice?

-Well, I'm Alfie's sister.

-Mr. Byrne?

-From the bus?

-Our director?

Come here. I just
want to have a quick word
with you for a minute.

You know, Alfie, he's...
He's just crippled
with shyness, you know.

So he asked me if I would come
down here to ask you,

would you like to
come and have tea
with us tonight?

-He wants me to come to tea?
-'Course he does.

A beautiful girl like you.

-Do you know where we live?

It's just around the corner.
It's James' Street.

A butcher's shop
called Carney's.

And we live over that.

Now. I brought you
couple of eggs, love.

'Cause there's no
proper feeding
in digs. I know that.

And you need
a bit of nourishment,

like, you know,
a girl on your own.

Don't forget. James' Street.
Butcher's shop.

Tonight. See you.

Oh, Lord.

"You must not look at her.

-"You look too much at her!"

Mr. Lally,
would you mind
if we did it just once more?

"How pale the princess is.

"Never have I
seen her so pale.

"She is like the shadow
of a white rose

"in a mirror of silver."

"You must not look at her.

"You look too much at her."



Mr. Lally, a moment.


This is art.

Mr. Lally,
you understand, art?

And art never expresses
anything but itself.

(STAMMERING) Well, what does
that mean, Mr. Byrne?

It means quieter, Mr. Lally.

Try it once more.

"She is like the shadow

"of a white rose

"in a mirror of silver."

"You look too much at her.

"You must not look at her."


Better. Much better.


LILY: Now that is a beautiful
omelet, Alfred!

It's a great gift
to be able to cook.


Where's Carney?

He wasn't
at the rehearsal again.

Sodality night,
he's the secretary.
You know that.

-Did the rehearsals go well?
-Going splendidly.

What's your
first name again, pet?


It's a beautiful name,
isn't it, Alfred? "Adele."

Did you enjoy
the rehearsals, love?


What's this play about anyway?

It needs spice.

Is there a nice
little love scene in it?

I don't think
you'd call it love. It's...

Spice, Adele?

LILY: I think love is great.

I think love is lovely.

What part of
the country are you from?


-Where is that?
-Under Shannon.


A bit of bread, love. Yeah.

And eat your omelet.

Made that specially for you.
He's a great cook, you know.

Daddy thought it was very odd.
A man being a good cook.

-I think it's wonderful.

I think any girl who finds
a man who can cook

is very lucky, you know.

He does all the cooking
in this house.

I never have to
lift a finger.

BYRNE: Lily.



You don't really
want to, do you?

-Go out with me.

'Course I do.

I enjoy your company.

Oh, look at that.


ADELE: No, no. I mean...

Step out with me,
like your sister said.

Oh, God. No.

What did she say?

It doesn't matter.

-She's trying to fix us up.


Listen to me, Mr. Byrne.

There's something
I wanted to tell you
but I never got the chance.

-You see...
-You have a boy.

You have a fella.


You see, you know
very little about me, really.

I think you think more of me
than I deserve.

You seem to me perfect, Adele.

And your young fella,
are you fond of him?


Young love is a lovely thing.


Or so I'm told.

And is he... Is he here,

in Dublin?


No, no, no.

And what's he called,

this lucky man
who's loved by a princess?

ADELE: John.

That's a coincidence.
John, huh?

He's a very lucky fella,
that John of yours.


It's all right. It's nothing.

I'm just being stupid.


People are very harsh judges,
you know.

Yeah, well...

Why should anyone judge you,
my princess?

Oh, I'm far from a princess.
Far from it.

But I know you won't judge me
too harsh.

Judge you? Why?

Oh, come on!


(LAUGHING) What are you like,
Mr. Byrne?

I'd invite you in for tea.

-Oh, no, no.

I only have one room
and they don't allow guests.

Yeah, yeah.
'Course. Lodgings.

Oh, thank you for the zoo.

Thanks for comin' out with me.

You're very nice.

Mr. Byrne?

I hope you're not cross
about John.

No, no.

That's a sort of joy to me.

To know that you love someone

and that they love you
in return.


"The love that dare
not speak its name."

Do you know what that is?

I don't, Mr. Byrne,
to be honest.

Till tomorrow,
Princess Salome.

Till tomorrow, Mr. Byrne.

PRIEST: In nomine Patris
et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

In nomine Patris
et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

In nomine Patris
et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

In nomine Patris
et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

-I'm off. See you.
-We're rehearsing tonight.

Why don't you come and see?

-I'm playing snooker.
-You what?

I'm playing snooker.

Why don't you
come to the snooker?

We're rehearsing.

Well, after the rehearsal.

We don't start till all hours.

Your friends'll rag me.

Don't mind them.
They rag anyone.

ADELE: "There is nothing
in the world

"so red as thy mouth.

"Let me kiss thy mouth."


That was very good.


grace, style...

A very fine Salome.


Second sequence, Herodias.

And Tigellinus,
Page of Herodias.


Ah, page 12
in your versions.

Uh, from, uh...


"How these men weary me."

Mrs. Grace. Now, this...
This is ensemble acting.

Uh... No waiting for cues.

First, Nazarene, will you put
that cigarette out?

And principals,
you know what's
required from you.

And, Mrs. Grace,
I want a commanding,

uh, spirited,

flirtatious portrayal.

Where's the Page of Herodias?
Ah, there. On stage,
Mr. Lally.

-We're ready for you...
-Mr. Byrne, a minute, please.


I'd be better off saying
my lines

from down here,
if you don't mind.
Please, sir.

But may I enquire why?

Oh, it's... The beating.

-"The beating"?

Where is... Here, there.
Now, look there.

"She strikes the page
with her fan."

-Well, there's a bit, uh...

A bit too much gusto
in the striking, if you see
what I mean.

-Mrs. Grace.
-Mr. Byrne.

I think, um...

You think what, Mr. Byrne?

I think what we need here
is a break.



Shit! The second time
I missed it!

* Guess I'll get dressed
and go to town

* I'll find some crowded

* Though it will be empty
without you

* Can't get used to losing you

* No matter what I try to do

* Gonna live my whole life

* Loving you

* Call up some girl
I used to know *

Go on. You can't miss.

-ROBBIE: Jesus.

-You're brutal!

Robbie, where did you
get this fellow?

Don't mind them, Alfie,
you're bleedin' brilliant.

-He had 'em all fooled,
including me.

-Do you want a mineral?

Two minerals, Gertie.

* No matter what
I try to do... *


* Loving you

-How come you're on such
good form tonight, eh?
-I'm elated, my boy.

The drama's going splendidly.

-You telling me that now?
-I do. I do.

Salome's the key.
Miss Rice is splendid.

She's like a dove that
has strayed.

Alfie... She's a funny mot,
that one.

Do you know that?

She's deep, she is.

What do you mean, my own boy?

-I don't know.
She acts innocent.
-She is innocent.

She is a virgin.

She has never defiled herself.

She has never abandoned
herself to men,
like other goddesses.

-Jesus, is that
what you think?
-I do. I do.

Well, fair play to you, Alfie.

-MAN: Robbie, we're on!
-Come on.
It's our turn again.


BALDY: Nice ball, Mr. Byrne!

Ah, it's better
you're getting.

Do you...
Do you ever get lonely, Baldy?

Ah, yeah. 'Course I do,

since Mary passed away,
God rest her.

Ah, a man needs a partner,

a helpmate.

That's why God made man
and woman.

Do you know?

Do you know what I miss?

-The cuddles.

That's the best thing about

I mean, Mary was a great cook,

and a great ironer of a shirt.

Oh, yeah, I know, I know.

But... But...

Best of all...

-Your Mary, she was
a big woman.

Break a bag of ribs she would.

Nothing like it.

That's what you need,
a woman to cuddle you.

Stop your mooning around.

Set you to rights.

"I am ready,


(CLAPPING) Excellent, Adele!

Good. Good.
Oh, ah, Mr. Bird...

Hey, hey!
Mr. Byrne, come here a minute.

I want to tell you something.

You have got her
completely wrong.

All wrong.

She's not
what you think she is at all!

She's a tough cookie.

She's a bad person
through and through.

-She's a whore, Mr. Byrne.
-Mr. Lally!

And you are playing her
like a nun.

Oh! Oh, you mean Salome?

-And who else?

-You don't think I was talking
about Miss Rice, do you?
-No. Of course not. No.

But... But that's just it.


this is not real life.


I mean,

that's Wilde's great

to take the crude clay
of real life

and to transmute it
into art.

So, though Salome
is a belly dancer,

she's pure,

as quicksilver is pure.

Do you see?

Wilde had no life
aside from art,
remember that, Mr. Lally.

He lived in the realm
of the aesthetic.

He never descended into
the sewer.

Mr. Bird!

Well, that's not what
Mr. Carney's saying,
Mr. Byrne.

"And for St. Joseph's bursary
for the education

"of young clerics,

-"the sum of three pounds,
10 shillings."

Now, that concludes
the financial report.

That's it, then.

The financial report is

Ah, yes, good. So it is.

So, then,
just the minutes then.

-We've done the minutes!
-Oh, yes, so we did. Good.

So, it's any other business.

-That's me.
-Oh, yes, Mr. Carney.

I'd like to draw
the Sodality's attention

to the purpose to which
St. Imelda's Hall
is being put.

-Oh, certainly, Mr. Carney.
-Well, in fact it's become

a house of ill repute,
no more, no less.

-Merciful hour!
-A house of smut,

of foul, sexual language,
excessive drinking,

violent behavior and
immodest dancing.

When did this happen,
Mr. Carney?

Well, you should know,
Father Kenny.

-Since you condoned this
-I did no such a thing.

You know well I'm as strong on
drink and immodest dancing
as the Archbishop himself.

That's a very
strong accusation,
Mr. Carney.

Well, I'm not withdrawing it.

There is a play currently
in rehearsal.

(CHUCKLES) Oh, sure!
That's Alfie Byrne's play.

-Oscar Wilde's play, Salome.

And I believe you're in it

In fact, I'm surprised
you're not rehearsing
at this minute.

You wouldn't see me
rehearsing a play with words
like this in it.

Wait a min now, I'll read them
out to you. These are the
words in the play here.

"Incestuous." "Harlot."

"Abominations." "Fornication."




-Not "Bladrick."

Second Cappadocian.
Quickly, quickly!

We have a scene to play here.

Fourth Nazarene!
Fourth Nazarene!

-Baldy, where's Carney?
-He's not coming.

What? What do you mean,
"He's not coming"?

Carney, he's telling people
to stay away, to boycott you.

He's got the Sodality
behind him.

They're saying that the play
is immoral and immodest
and scurrilous

and I don't know what.

They want to put it out
of the hall.

And me?
What are they saying about me?

Carney says
you're a bad influence.





A ghost.

A specter.

A premonition.

And did they...

-Did he try to turn you
against me?
-Ah, yeah.

I told him to feck off
or I'd burst him!


Ah, Baldy.

My best, my truest friend.

That's the spirit, Mr. Byrne.

Now, don't let the bastards
grind you down!

Ah! A commendable sentiment,
if a little coarse in
the phrasing.


Right, where are we now?

-Here, Mr. Byrne.

Oh, yes. You got what you want
and you're not happy, so...
Ah, ah.

"What shall I do now?"

"What shall I do now,


"Neither the floods

"nor the great waters

"can quench my passion.

"I was a princess

"and thou...

-"Scorn me.

"Thou didst scorn me."

Now, now, now, now, now...

Take your time, Miss Rice.

"Neither the floods..."


"Neither the floods

"nor the great waters

"can quench me passion.

"I was a princess

"and thou

"didst scorn me."

-This is no good...

"I was..."




"I was a virgin

"and thou didst take
my virginity

"from me."

(SIGHS) Oh, Lord!

-She's what, Mr. Carney?
-She's pregnant, Mrs. Taffe.

LILY: Merciful hour! Who by?

"Who by? Who by?"
That's the $64,000 question!

I got this

from the secretary

of the Sodality in Roscommon.

Roscommon, that's where
she's from!

Country girls is very lax
in their morals.

It's all that loose straw
lying around.

I haven't my glasses with me.
What does it say?

Well, in the spirit
of Christian wariness,
I made a few enquiries

and this is what I came up
with. Now she left Roscommon
about a month ago,

to come up to Dublin,

where she found
a suitable niche for herself

in that charade your brother
Alfred's putting on.

Well, then she is not
gonna be a suitable mate
for him at all!

She's not suitable at all.
Mutton dressed as lamb!

She's a bit young
to be mutton!

Our Christian duty is plain,
we must impart what we know.

We must warn!

But this is a terrible blow,
Mr. Carney.

Though if you ask me,
she always looked a bit
of a slapper.

Get us another drop of
cordial, Mr. Carney,
will you, please?

Oh, right.

Jesus, Mary and
holy St. Joseph!

Give us that.

What are you looking at?


In the name of the Father
and the Son and
the Holy Ghost, amen.

Bless me, Father,
for I have sinned.


If, um, a girl,

a young lady,

had got pregnant and...

You know,
what would the man...
What should...

Is that you, Mr. Byrne?

-Is it?

Dear God.

This is a turn-up
for the books, no mistaking.

Mr. Byrne, what...

What do you intend to do
about... About it?

What will you do about
the child?

Will you have a bit of sense,
Father? I'm not the father!

And what put it in my head
to come here for advice?
I can't think!

Oh, poor Mr. Byrne.


-Miss Rice.

Miss Adele Rice.

She's up on the back landing.

My ma's out.
She wouldn't let you up there,
but I don't mind.





Are you all right?


Oh, God!

Oh, John!



ADELE: Mr. Byrne!

JOHN: "Mr. Byrne"?
Who the hell...

Ah! Ah!

Mr. Byrne!

Mr. Byrne!

-Oh... Mr. Byrne!


* Love letters straight

* From your heart

* Keep us so near

* While apart


* I'm not alone

* In the night

-That's an awful shake
you have there.

Would you like a Woodbine
to steady your nerves?

Yeah, please.

I find them very soothing.

Are you looking
for that chap, Fay?

Very handsome
young chap, that.

* And, darling, then

* I read again

* Right from the start...

I'm sorry!

Stupid... I'll pay of course.

It's only an old cup
got broke.

Be worse if it was your heart.

* I'll memorize

* Every line

-* And I'll kiss the name


Alfie! Confession.

I'm not coming.


Is something wrong with you?


I'm just not coming.


"All that remains

"is a recollection

"of a pleasure,

"of a luxury,

"of a regret.

"The only way
to get rid of temptation

"is to yield to it."


* Hey, Mambo!

* Mambo Italiano! Hey, Mambo!

* Mambo Italiano! Go, go, go

* You mixed up Siciliano

* All you Calabraise
do the mambo like a crazy
with a

* Hey, Mambo!

* Don't wanna tarantella
Hey, Mambo!

* No more mozzarella
Hey, Mambo!

* Mambo Italiano!

* Try an enchilada
with a fish baccala

* Hey, goomba!

* I love-a how you dance rumba

* But take some advice,

* Learn how to mambo

-* If you gonna be a square

* You ain't gonna go nowhere

* Hey, Mambo...

Want to what?

"A cuddle"?

A cuddle.

Come on, then.

* Mambo

* Italiano

He's a queer-looking tulip!




That will do now, Kitty.


GARDA: Are you all right?

Are you all right?

(SOFTLY) Bosie.

What did he say?

-He called you Dozy.


All right, fella. Come on.

Dozy bleeding queer!

You git!

Come on. All the way.

Foley, did you hit him?

Did, my arse.
Dozy bollocks.

It was the queers robbed him.
They always are.

There's only one thing
for me now...

Absolute humility.

Oh, we'll see. Go on.

Come on.

Lily, I have a bit of a query
and you're a very clever

I wonder if you could
enlighten me.

Could you tell me
what a fondue is?

A fondue is a dog.

Shih-tzu, fondue,
Chinese dog.
Everybody knows that.

CARNEY: Oh, of course!
I knew that. Little dog!

-LILY: Why, has somebody
got one?
-Ah, Mrs. Meehan.

Well, into the shop she walks

and she said she wants
some meat for the fondue.

Oh, scraps she's looking for.
Free scraps.
You know, don't give her any.

Scrap ends.

Bits of gristle
for the exercise
of the dog's jaws.

Scrap ends and scrags.
You know.

-Trotters, gizzards, innards
and everything...
-LILY: I know.

My God! Isn't that Alfie?


Jesus, Mary
and holy St. Joseph,
what's happened to your face?

I'm all right.

-Do you know this man?
-God, he's my brother!

-Of course, we know him!
-What happened to your eye?

Can you take him home, please?

-Alfred, who would have
done this to you?
-What's happened to him?

-Look at the state you're in!

-I did it to myself.
-Who were the perpetrators?

Well, he's not going
to press any charges.

It's the usual thing.
They never do.

-Go on. Take him home,
will you?
-All right.



WOMAN: Come on.
There's a good fella. Come on.

There's a good dog.
Come on. Come on.


Are you all right?


I'm grand, thanks. I'm grand.

Come on. Come on.


Missus, could you give
us a hand?



Thanks, missus.

-Are you sure
you're all right?

Did you slip?

I jumped.


Oh, sorry!


What a funny little man
you are.

I couldn't touch a thing.

It's your favorite,

When I think
of where your hands
have been.

That's the point.
They've never been anywhere!

I've never been close enough
to anybody to

rub up against them,
let alone lay my hands
on them.

The one person

I like...

Well, love, damn it...

Is a fella.

Yes, Lily.

It's a fella.

But don't worry,

because the very idea that...

That I...

I might want or love him...


Even feel special
toward him...

...would be so repulsive
to him

that he wouldn't be able
to get far enough away
from me.

So eat up.

My hands
are innocent of affection.

Eat your breakfast.


The love that dare not
speak its name, eh?


Well, it dared to speak
its name last night
by the looks of it!

It didn't speak
love's name last night.

That was my crime.

You're lucky
you're not in the jail.

Like yon fella Stephen Ward!

I am in prison.

I've been in prison
all my life.

And the one bird
that sang to me

from my prison bars
has upped and flown away.

Oscar Wilde, I suppose.

Alfred Byrne, I fear.

Where's Robbie Fay?

Bosie, is it?
Well, Bosie's gone.

My own boy.

See, I explained
to your "own boy,"

as you call him,
the kind of man you are,

and the things you
do get up to,

and he was off like a shot...

Bang! Couldn't wait
to get away from you.

Aye, it's time.
On your way.

Mr. Carson!

"The love that dares
not speak its name."
Do you know what that is?

-I do not
and I don't want to.
-Let me tell you.

It's fine. It's beautiful.

It's the noblest form
of affection.

You can kiss my ass!

There's nothing
unnatural about it.

It's intellectual.

And it exists repeatedly
between an older
and a younger man.

And the older man
has intellect

and the younger man
has all the joy
and the hope

and the glamour
of life before him.

And that it should be so,
the world doesn't understand!

The world mocks at it.

And, sometimes

puts one
in the pillory for it,


You must resign!

In flagrante delicto.
You were caught!

A-ha! Everyone on the bus
knows this.

Corpus in flagrante delicto.

Yes, the unnatural act.
The sin of Sodom.

-Ah, Bird,
you're a Sodality member...

How can you allow yourself
to be directed by this man?

-Now, why shouldn't I?
-He's a great sinner.

He's a terrible director.

But I'm staying.

Mrs. Crowe, how can you stay
in this bed of abominations?

I don't know
what Mr. Byrne has done,
but I know him for a good man.

I will stay.

-Me, too.
-Thanks, Phil.

-Ah. I'm blessed
in my friends.

Ernie Lally, you at least!

He has it wrong about her.

All wrong about her,
Mr. Carney. And I'm staying.

You're a bunch of...
I'm shocked.

I'm surprised. I don't know
what the world's coming to,

but I know
what you're coming to,
Alfred Byrne, a bad end. Yeah.

A sad, bad end.

(LAUGHS) Yeah.

-Oh, Mr. Carney!


What are you looking at?

Mr. Byrne.

Miss Rice.

I'm so sorry.

I was telling
the truth, wasn't I,

when I said I wasn't
what you thought I was?

We've learned

a horrible lesson.

About me.

About myself.

(SOFTLY) I know.

I've come to say goodbye.


You... You don't have
to go on my account.

I have to go to England.

To England, why?

I need to go,
for me and the baby.


Oh, the baby. The baby.

-He's moving already.
-The baby.

Maybe he'll be a dancer
like his mother.

And your fella, John.
He'll be going with you?

He doesn't love me, Mr. Byrne.


The other day...

You know, when I saw you?

That isn't always love,
you know.

You're really innocent,
aren't you?

Man of the world,
Miss Rice. (CHUCKLES)

Love's funny, Mr. Byrne.

I hope it comes
to you one day.


Oh! Your suitcase.

Life goes on,

whatever about art.

I'm sorry about the play.

I'm sorry I can't
be your Princess Salome.

Goodbye, Mr. Byrne.

"And that never
would he see his face

"in weal or woe again."

There you are.

I came to be in the play.

Where's the actors?


What have you done
to your hair?

Do you like it?


My own boy!

I thought you'd gone
and left me.

Ah, don't mind
that old shite, Carson.

He had me transferred.
Tried to.

My own boy.

None of that now.
I know where you've been.

I don't care
what you get up to.

I like you.

(SCOFFS) You're my pal.

And I know
who Bosie was and all!

So, where's this part
you've got for me
in the play?

No play.

But, a part...

I have a part for you.

Sit down, my own boy.
Sit down.

Read this for me.

(COUGHS) Right.

Oh! It's that bleeding
poetry again!

Read it, my own boy.

"Like two doomed ships
that pass in storm...

"Like two doomed ships
that pass in storm

"We had crossed
each other's way..."


"But we made no sign,
we said no word,

"We had no word to say;

"For we did not meet
in the holy night,

"But in the shameful day."

-Read on, my own boy.


BOTH: "The prison wall
was round us both,

"Two outcast men we were..."

BOSIE: "The world had thrust
us from its heart,

"And God from out His care:

"And the iron gin
that waits for Sin

"Had caught us in its snare.

"In Debtors' Yard
the stones are hard,

"And the dripping wall
is high..."

* Birds do it

* Bees do it

* Even educated fleas do it

* Let's do it

* Let's fall in love

* In Spain,
the best upper sets do it

* Lithuanians and Letts do it

* Let's do it

* Let's fall in love

* The Dutch
in old Amsterdam do it

* Not to mention the Finns

* Folks in Siam do it

* Think of Siamese twins

* Some Argentines,
without means, do it

* People say in Boston
even beans do it

* Let's do it

* Let's fall in love

* Sponges, they say, do it

* Oysters down
in Oyster Bay do it

* Let's do it,
let's fall in love

* Cold Cape Cod clams,
'gainst their wish, do it

* Even lazy jellyfish do it

* Let's do it,
let's fall in love

* Electric eels,
I might add, do it

* Though it shocks them I know

* Why ask if shad do it?
Waiter, bring me shad roe

* In shallow shoals,
English soles do it

* Goldfish in the privacy
of bowls do it

* Let's do it,
let's fall in love *