Critic's Choice (1963) - full transcript

Parker Ballantine is the most respected and forthright of the New York theater critics. Most of his closest friends are part of the Broadway community, such as his ex-wife actress Ivy London and producer S.P. Champlain. These friendships are not affected by bad reviews from Parker. Angie Ballantine is Parker's current devoted and faithful wife, who goes with him to show openings and even waits in the newsroom for him to write his reviews. Parker and Ivy's son, John Ballantine, lives with his father and Angie, who he loves. Angie has had problems in her life seeing projects through to completion, so Parker reacts with some skepticism when Angie announces she plans to write an autobiographical play about her growing up period. This project does become one that Angie does see through to completion, at least to a first draft stage, and despite Parker's disdainful reaction to at least the process, she is eager for his opinion on this draft. He complies. He hates it and tells her as such. Instead of folding under, Angie is even more determined to get the play produced to prove Parker wrong. Angie's creative team, including Champlain and up and coming womanizing director Dion Kapakos, admit Angie's script does have problems but underneath those problems is a great play. As the play goes into production which includes out of town previews (with problems still existing), Parker decides that his relationship with Angie will not force him out from doing his professional duty of reviewing the play if it makes it to Broadway. Will Parker be tainted by his own preconceived notions of the play, will he be honest, and if he is honest and doesn't like the production, will his marriage be able to survive?

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[♪♪]

[LAUGHTER]

You see, Jimmy,

I finally discovered
the difference

between a husband
and a lover.

And what
is the difference?

Night and day.

[LAUGHTER]

ACTOR 1:
Must you be whimsical

at a time like this?

And what's worse, evasive?



MARSHA:
I suppose I am a bit sneaky.

ACTOR 2:
But, Marsha, you must make

a choice between us.

We can't go on like this.

MARSHA:
I've made my choice, darlings.

ACTOR 1:
Which one of us then?

"Neither. I'm going back
to my husband."

MARSHA:
I'm not going to marry

either of you.

I'm going back to my husband.

You read the play.

I didn't have to.

I've heard the same line
in the same situation

in at least seven plays
in the last 10 years.



It's Broadway's version of

"I know a shortcut
through the pass."

MARSHA:
I might accept

a diamond bracelet.

Just a small one.

Parker.

Hey, S.P.

Hello, S.P.

Don't forget I'm expecting
you two for brunch on Sunday.

We wouldn't miss it.

Angie, would you see
that he gets there on time?

Now, how can I promise?

It took the United States Army

to get Parker out of bed
before noon.

If I'd have known the hours
our infantry kept,

I'd have fought
for the other side.

[ALL CHUCKLE]

Good night, S.P.

Good night, Parker.

Good night.

Good night, Angie.

See you Sunday.

What did he say?
Did he like my play?

I didn't ask him.

[STAMMERS INDISTINCTLY]

He's the most important critic
in the theater.

You don't do
that sort of thing, my boy.

You handle a critic
just like a polecat.

Be nice and friendly

but stay away
from the business end.

Anyway,
we'll know in a few hours.

Yeah, if I live so long.

But h-he did look happy,
didn't he?

He seemed to be in a...
In a great mood.

I know.
That's what worries me.

[♪♪]

[TYPEWRITER CLACKING]

Just look at him, Angie.

Twelve years
I've been watching that face.

Doesn't he look like
an angel at work?

Have you ever seen
such a saintly expression?

Ah, he's adorable.

He's adorable all right.

Now, you see how happy
he looks?

That means
he's murdering the play.

Was it really that bad?

I loved it,

and the audience laughed
like crazy.

I'm sure Parker will find
something nice to say about it.

Not a chance.

If he liked it,
he'd be in agony.

Many a night, I've sat around
watching him suffer

over a favorable review.

Ah, now,
cut that out, Joe.

Parker's a dedicated man
and completely honest.

Parker's a lucky guy,
having a wife like you.

Who else would hang around
a city room half the night

just waiting for him?

You know,
you've given him

the only real home life
he's ever had.

I wish
I'd seen you first.

Stay warmed up.
He may not go the distance.

Oh, hello,
Mrs. Ballantine.

Hello,
Mr. Rittenhouse.

I'll have my review in
right away, Joe.

Very exciting production
for off-Broadway.

Save it for tomorrow,
Harvey.

Parker's review may run long,
and I'm cramped for space.

Oh,
hello, Parker.

How do you feel?

Fine.
How do I look?

Well, you can't always tell
by the way someone looks.

He's really concerned
about my health.

He's afraid
I might live.

Oh, how can you say
a thing like that?

Because
that's the way I felt

when I was
a second-string critic.

[CHUCKLES]
You're in great form

tonight, Parker.

"The truth is,
Ivy London's clothes

gave a better performance
than she did."

It's a good thing
you can't be shot

for having an opinion.

It's happened.

Good night.

Keep him outta
dark alleys.

[♪♪]

Mm. Just what I wanted.
Where's John?

John. Breakfast.

We'll be late
for our game.

John.

ANGIE:
Come to breakfast.

[♪♪]

Say,
where's the ball?

How should I know?

Well, you had it last,
remember?

You said it was your turn
to keep it in your room.

Did you look
under his pillow?

Very funny.

Hey, here's an item
about a woman named Triplet

who had quadruplets.

Imagine a tri...

Did anyone hear me? I...
I didn't make it up, you know.

It's right here in the paper.
A woman named Tr...

Right there.

What do you say
we all go back to bed

and get a fresh start
tomorrow morning?

Boy, this is one of the best
reviews you've ever written.

Well, it was a bad play.

Hey, there's a great
big picture of Mom

right alongside
your review, Dad.

PARKER:
Oh?

Hey!

Hey, you used one of my lines.
Right there, remember?

I made it up
just two weeks ago.

Are you sure?
It was typed.

Well,
I type them sometimes.

The best line
in the review

and you only paid me
10 cents for it.

You're a child.
I didn't wanna spoil you.

Well, you just reworded it
a little.

"The clothes gave a better
performance than the actress."

And besides, I never thought
you'd use it on my own mother.

He'd use it
on his own mother.

Speaking of mothers,

according
to Godfrey Von Hagedorn,

it's all psychosomatic,

your not being able
to get pregnant.

It is, is it?

Uh-huh.

Well, he says
Dad had me with Ivy,

so he's all right.

And you have a wide pelvis,

so you ought
to be all right.

So the trouble
must be psychosomatic.

Nonorganic,
therefore psychically motivated.

Will you stop talking
like a child?

And who
is Godfrey Von Hagedorn?

Would you mind identifying him
just for us laymen?

Godfrey, the new kid
who just moved in downstairs.

The peanut who sits here
and watches television with you?

Yeah.

During the commercials,

they talk about my pelvis.

Hey,
we should be honored, Angie.

Think of it, right here
in our own living room,

Godfrey Von Hagedorn,

the famous,
12-year-old gynecologist.

Well, Godfrey knows
all that psychosomatic stuff.

His father's an analyst.

Godfrey puts a glass up
against the wall

and listens to all the stuff
the patients tell his old man.

How do you like that?

The father's an analyst,

and the kid's
a stool pigeon.

Godfrey says you probably feel
inferior to Ivy,

because she's
a glamorous actress

and you're just
from Random House.

You're afraid
that your baby

won't turn out
as good as hers did.

Me, I mean.

I think maybe
you oughta watch TV

down in their apartment
for a while.

Okay, but Dr. Von Hagedorn says
we make too much noise.

He's writing a play.

Oh.

Godfrey showed me
the first act

and asked my opinion
of it.

Well, Godfrey does
psychoanalysis for your family,

and you do drama criticism
for his?

Yeah,
kind of.

You know, I've been toying
with an idea for a play.

You have?

Mm-hm.

You know how you always laugh,
right out loud,

when I tell you stories
about the way Mother raised us,

and the crazy things
that happened,

and those nutty sisters
of mine?

Sally and Marge?

Uh-huh.

Sure, why don't you write
a short story about them?

No. No, it's just
gotta be a play.

I feel it in my bones.

Besides,
the theater needs new blood.

You said so yourself
in one of your Sunday pieces.

I did?
Well, I was dead wrong.

That's the trouble
with this country.

Everybody wants to be a writer.

Nobody wants to be a plumber,
and there's more money in it.

I suppose you think
you're terribly funny.

Oh, come off it, Angie.

You're the most wonderful girl
in the whole world,

but you're not a writer.

Why knock your brains out?

Thank you for the help
and encouragement.

Angie.

Oh, just go slide off
a base or something.

You sure handled that great.

Now she won't even come
to the game.

Ah, she'll come.

She wouldn't miss it.

[♪♪]

Angie.

Ah, Angie, you know
what I mean when I te...

It's a little frostbitten.

Who's coming to dinner,
Mickey Mantle?

I didn't mean to upset you,
darling.

I'm sorry.
Honestly, I am.

Well, all right.

But I do think
I might have something, Parker,

and I'd just like to try.

After all, Mother certainly was
a wacky businesswoman.

The crazy way she ran
her interior decorating shop,

and three daughters to support,
all as mad as she was.

I think
I know what you mean.

She falls in love with a man
who almost marries her,

but the daughters
are too much for him,

the weird things they do.

Yeah.

But in the end,
everything turns out great.

Her business is a big success,
and the daughters

go out in the world
and make their own way.

Yeah,
something like that.

Do you think it would go?

In Boston tryouts alone,
it's folded 12 times.

Oh, Parker.

Well, I'm gonna write my play,
and nobody's gonna stop me.

All right, all right.

And with those words
flung bravely into the face

of a mocking, hostile world,

Angela Ballantine's career
was launched.

Tonight, I'd like to present
the winner

of the Clare Booth Luce Award

for America's
cutest playwright.

Will you please say a few words,
Mrs. Ballantine?

Take off.

Don't worry about it.

It's just
a superficial brain wound.

What'd you do,
get her sore all over again?

She hit you?

No, no, of course not.
Don't give it a thought.

It's nothing. Come on.

Do you think
she'll really write that play?

Oh, she'll begin it,
all right.

Just like she began
that art course

and that rug
last summer.

PARKER:
She won't stay with it, though.

She's got all
the bulldog endurance

of a snowflake.

[KIDS CLAMORING]

[CROWD CLAPPING, CHEERING]

All right, Schwartzie baby,
settle down in there.

MAN:
Come on, Davey, let's go now.

Put it over, Dave, come on.

Little chatter out there, guys.

Come on,
get ahold of it, Godfrey.

[CROWD CHEERING]

Ooh. Ooh.

Watch it
with the spikes, huh?

I've been watching
for her too.

It's the sixth inning.
She ought to be here by now.

Could be she was serious
about that play.

MAN:
All right, Davey,

all right, come on.

Put it over, put it over.
Right here now.

[CRACKING]

Oh! Oh!

[GROANING]
Oh!

Throw it.

Go.

Oh! Oh.

[CHEERING]

Out!

Gotcha.

What do you mean
I'm out?

PARKER:
Oh, my back.

Oh, fellas.

What,
can't ya get up?

Oh, my back.

His back.

Oh-ho-ho-ho!

How's things
on your planet?

All right,
some of you fellas,

pick him up and bring him
over here on the bench.

Right over this way.
This is it.

Right on the bench.

Steady, men. Hold steady, men.

Over here,
now.

If you find any parts,
they're mine.

All right, fellas,
this way.

BOY:
What is it?

JOHN: What is it, Dad?

My back.

Hey, Dad? Dad?
Mr. Ballantine, Dad, he's hurt.

Yes, yes, son, I see.

Stand back, everyone,
I'm... I'm a doctor.

Excuse me, sonny.
Pardon me.

Well, what have we here,
Mr. Ballantine?

Oh, do something, doc.
I feel like an anteater.

Relax,
Mr. Ballantine.

It's a little outside my line.
I'm a psychiatrist.

Tell me, have you ever
had this trouble before?

Oh, not for years.

Not since he was married
to my mother.

Oh, I see.

Well, you know, these things
aren't always physical.

Sometimes they're emotional,
caused by tension.

What have I got
to be tense about?

Just try moving around.

One more time, okay.
Feel better?

All right, everyone,
you can go back.

Enjoy the ball game,
he's all right.

Thanks a lot, doc.

Uh, Von Hagedorn's my name.

I'm your new neighbor.
Downstairs, Apartment 3C.

Oh, yes, I...
I've met your Godfrey.

Yes, I've been wanting
to meet you.

I always read
your reviews.

Oh, fine.

Well, I think I better
get back in the game.

I don't wanna
let the team down.

If I were you,
I'd rest that back.

[CRACKING]

No, no, no. I feel fine.

And if I can ever
do anything for you...

Now that you mention it,
I do a little writing on my own.

Sometime I'd like you
to take a look at a play

that I've been working on.

[CRACKING]

A play?

[GROANS]

MAN:
What...?

What happened, Mr. Ballantine?

Fellas,
he did it again.

Come on.
Get him to the bench.

Back to the bench,
that's it.

Don't panic.

It's definitely emotional.
Let's go. Make way for him.

Don't panic,
everybody.

It's gonna be all right.
There you go.

There. Oh, that's the spot.

Oh, it's heaven.

I'm sorry I lost my temper
this morning.

And I should have gone
to the game.

Was John disappointed?

Well, sort of.

He wanted to show off
for you a little, I guess.

Where is he now?

Up in his room.

You better rest
this afternoon.

Yeah. Lock the door.

You trying
to show off too?

I wanna get started on my play.
May I use your typewriter?

Well, what's mine's yours.
The rent's a kiss an hour.

Just bought four seconds.

I wonder what kind of paper
I should use.

Well, there's white,
yellow, onionskin.

Try a little of each.

I'm fresh out of parchment,

but some of our best things
have been written

on tablets of jade.

Oh, Parker, why do you have
to be such a damn tease?

You know, I might
just accomplish something.

My sisters were funnier
than you think.

They were?

Yes, they were.

Wow. You're now the owner
of a second-hand typewriter.

I wish you luck.

I wish you
Mary, Mary, My Fair Lady,

and Abie's Irish Rose.

Oh, gosh, now you've gone
and scared me.

So start tonight.

Can't. We're having dinner
with Mother tonight, remember?

She's leaving tomorrow
for Washington

to decorate that new
African ambassador's apartment.

Well, start tomorrow then.
Sunday's great to start a play.

Champlain's party
is tomorrow.

Although, how you can face him
after that review you wrote...

Aren't you afraid he'll slip you
a poisoned hors d'oeuvre?

You still don't understand.

I've panned a dozen plays
he's produced,

and what I've written
hasn't affected our friendship

in the slightest.

That's the way it is
with professionals.

Yeah, I guess so.

There. Does that give you
any inspiration?

I could go further.

Parker, please,
I wish you'd just go.

Okay, but if you need
anything...

I'm gonna take
a hot bath.

I might even
drown myself.

Fine. That'll be good for you.

Thanks a lot.

Hope the gurgling
won't disturb you as I go under.

[TYPEWRITER CLACKING]

Well, here we are.

We had to send out
for the buns.

PARKER:
Hamburgers he has

to have in Sardi's.

CHARLIE:
Parker, let him alone.

I may have been
a lousy mother,

but I'm a marvelous grandmother,
aren't I?

Not bad.

I didn't think you were
a lousy mother, Charlie,

I thought
you were wonderful.

Remember how you used
to let us practically live

on banana
and peanut-butter sandwiches?

That was
because I couldn't cook.

Angie's a whiz in the kitchen.

Have you ever tasted
her frozen fielder's mitt?

Never mind, sorehead.

Well, what have you all
been up to?

You I know.

You've been closing plays
single-handedly.

Angie? Oh, how are you
coming along on the rug?

She's still hoping it'll fly.

That's not funny.

I'm not working
on the rug anymore, Mother.

I, uh...
I've started something new.

CHARLIE:
Oh?

A play.

A what?

A play?

CHARLIE:
She can't be serious.

Angie, you can't even
write a letter.

Well, you're about
as much help as Parker.

Oh, now, now, take it easy.
I didn't mean it that way.

CHARLIE:
What are you writing

a play about, dear?

Are you ready?
It's about you.

About me?

Well, not just you.
It's about all of us.

Sally, Marge and me

and the funny things
that happened.

Funny? It was chaos.

Look, dear,
I know you have childhood scars,

but do you have to be public
about it?

Well,
you'll have a great third act.

Sally in Paris trying
to fulfill a woman's role.

Oh, she's fulfilling it,
all right,

even by French standards.
She's not married.

Eat.

Remember when Marge and I

spent hours dressing Sally
in your clothes

so she could go
on her first date

with that nice
Princeton boy?

That's what you remember.

I remember
that nice Princeton boy

tore the sleeve off
my best dress.

It seems to me
you have two plays here.

Your version and Angie's.

Why don't you collaborate?

Collaborate?
I may sue.

Thanks a lot,
Mother.

Do you know how many plays
are copyrighted every year

in the Library of Congress?

Over 3000.

And do you know how many
are produced on Broadway?

About 70.

So just figure those odds.

You and your
Library of Congress.

Excuse me,
I'm going to the powder room.

Well, gee,
I was just trying to show you

what a long shot
a play is.

Odds, long shots.
What are you, a bookie?

[♪♪]

MAN:
Got it. It's green.

[CROWD CHEERING]

Thank you. Thank you.

Mrs. Champlain,
it's a lovely party.

Thank you,
Vicki.

Yeah, fabulous.

Angela, I'd like you to meet
Vicki Grant and Robert DeMartin.

Angela Ballantine.

How do you do?

Ballantine.
I know that name.

Well, Angela's
Parker Ballantine's wife.

Oh, yes,
of course.

Oh, look,
there's Dion Kapakos.

ROBERT:
That's him all right.

He's corralled his usual
party quota, two girls.

Excuse me.

I amend that observation.

Three girls.

Who's Dion Kapakos?

You haven't heard of him?

He's a director,
a new genius in the theater.

And an old genius
with the ladies.

Oh, really?

Just about everybody here
does something, don't they?

Just about.

S.P. says celebrities are
only interested in themselves

and other celebrities.

I know. At least 10 people
so far have asked me what I do.

I feel like I should hang a sign
around my neck saying:

"Housewife. Here on a pass."

Don't let it throw you, Angela.
I'm in the same boat.

All right, take it easy now.
I think we got 'em on the run.

Oh,
I love beating actors.

You should've been a critic.

Ha, ha. Sorry.

Not at all.
How you doing?

Fine.
The food looks great.

Yeah.
I'm Dion Kapakos.

Yes, I know.

We met? No, we couldn't have.
I would've remembered.

You know, I've been wondering,
what do you do?

Do?

Yes.
You look very bright.

What do you do?

Well, I'm sort of a writer.

A writer?
That's marvelous.

Well,
I don't know how marvelous.

Well, sure it is.
What do you write?

Well, I'm...
I'm writing a play.

That's great.
I'd love to read it.

I don't know
if it's ready to read yet.

WOMAN:
Dion? Angie?

DION:
Barbara, Phil.

Gee, kids, sorry to hear
about the play.

Yeah, we just posted
the closing notice.

Well, I hope you have better
luck with yours.

Her what?

Her play.
Hadn't she told you about it?

Why, Angela.

Please, I'd rather
not talk about it.

Well, it must be good.

Every bad writer I know
talks his head off.

[APPLAUSE]

Yes, sir.

Say a few words.

Thank you.

Silence.

I just want to say

that our opponents
played brilliantly.

Like to add anything,
Parker?

Only that we played better.

[LAUGHTER]

Everyone come
and have some food now.

Come on
before it gets cold.

Parker, why didn't you tell me
about Angela?

I think it's wonderful.

What's wonderful?

Well, the play,
of course.

The play?

Oh, oh, the play.
Oh, she told you about it?

No, actually I just overheard
her talking about it.

What is this? You mean Angie
has written a play?

That's right.

Well, I'd like to see it.

You've lost enough money
this year, S.P.

[BOTH LAUGH]

Angie, I've just been talking
to Parker,

and I know you must have
a wonderful play.

Did he say that?

Well, not exactly.
But he couldn't fool me.

I know he's trying
to keep it under wraps.

He looked so annoyed
when I mentioned the play.

Oh, he did?

Even made a joke
about it.

Like it was nothing.

He did, did he?

[♪♪]

Fun party, wasn't it?

Wasn't the food great?

Meet any
interesting people?

You know,
you talk too much.

[RADIO CLICKS]

MAN:
And so with the World Series

a week away

let's take a look
at the wild scramble going on

for the National League
pennant.

Only two percentage points
separate the two...

Oh, come on, honey,
knock off that silent treatment.

I'm sorry about that crack
I made to S.P.

I didn't mean anything by it,
it was just a joke.

Uh-huh.

Don't I get more
than "uh-huh"?

I was just thinking.

My thought for tonight
is that you are beautiful.

[SLOW ORCHESTRAL MUSIC PLAYING
OVER RADIO]

Angela.

Angie?

Uh-huh.

You're dawdling.

Sleepy time.

I'll warm up
your side of the bed, okay?

[SIGHS]

Angela?

Angela?

[TYPEWRITER CLACKING]

[♪♪]

Hm.

You're next,
madam.

Lady?

[CAR HONKING]

[BLENDER WHIRRING ERRATICALLY]

[♪♪]

Here you are.

Don't forget the tip.

Hey, you didn't toast
the bun.

[IN UNISON]
Angie always does.

Well, she does.

I generally get
an onion too.

Just eat, huh?

[RINGS]

Hello? Yes.

Just a minute,
please.

Will you tell Angie
to answer the phone?

Angie,
answer the telephone!

[SIGHS]

Why didn't I think
of that?

Angie,
telephone.

ANGIE:
Who is it?

Who is it?

Who's calling,
please?

S.P. Champlain.

S.P. Champlain.

ANGIE:
Who? I'll get it.

The producer?

The producer?

I suppose it could've been
S.P. Champlain the laundryman.

Is he gonna be
Angie's producer?

Of what, one act?

What's in Variety?

Ivy's doing a musical.

Yeah, she called me for advice,
but ignored it, of course.

I don't remember
Ivy ever singing.

You're lucky.

Your cradle had hi-fi.

Guess what?

I give up.

S.P. Champlain's
gonna produce your play.

No. No, but he wants
to read it.

He thinks
it's a great idea.

His last disaster
was a great idea.

But don't let me
discourage you, darling.

If you ever finish it,
send it to him.

What do you mean if?
I have finished it.

Done.

Complete.
The end.

Gee, Angie, you've only been
on it five weeks.

Well, William Shakespeare
once wrote a play in five days.

Yeah, well, writing a play
in five days is nothing.

Having it run five days
is the trick.

Oh, now, Parker,
stop that.

Anyway, I didn't tell
Champlain that I finished it.

I want you
to read it first.

Are you sure
you want me to?

Well, you're the best critic
in the whole apartment. Come on.

[♪♪]

Wait a minute.
I'm not sure I should read it.

Why not?

Well,
I won't lie, Angie.

This isn't a flower arrangement
or a hairdo or a rug.

I don't want you
to lie,

and I don't think
you'll have to.

I think
you're in for a surprise.

I hope so.
I do.

[CHUCKLES SOFTLY]

Well,
you better get started.

Why don't you lie down
right over here?

Yeah,
I'd better lie down.

Sit way back.

Ah.

There.

Ah.

[CHUCKLES]

That's a pretty good title,
Sisters Three.

Thank you.

Well...you go ahead.

Mm-hm.

I-I'll be very quiet.

[♪♪]

Now what?

Nothing.
I was just watching you.

I'm not a bird.
I don't wanna be watched.

Well,
I just thought I...

Well, I...

Out. Beat it.

[♪♪]

Angie?
Ah!

Shh.

Well, what's going on?

I was just listening to see
if he liked it.

[♪♪]

I dropped something.

How's it going?

Page 2
is how it's going.

If I stay around here,

it's gonna take me longer
to read this thing

than it took you
to write it.

How long sneaky squaw
been hiding in bush?

I was just
standing back there.

[LAUGHS]

Did you finish it?

Angela, darling.

I'm looking for
an affirmative beginning,

and I keep coming back
to the title.

It's a good title, Angie.

But the play?

No, dear.
No, I'm sorry.

The characters are sugar
and spice and everything nice,

but that's not
what people are made of,

not even girls.

The dialogue is...

Well, it's clumsy, Angie.

That's the only word for it,
except maybe "pretentious"

where I think you were trying
to be poetic.

And the structure,

well, there is none.

This isn't a play at all, honey.

It's just
a fuzzy, inexact memory.

How was the typing?

I'm sorry, Angie.

I wish I could have said
something else.

Do you?

Is that what you wish?

Angie baby, believe me...

Suddenly,
I'm "Angie baby."

For five weeks
you've been sticking pins in me,

and now I'm "Angie baby."

The play is no good,
honey.

You asked me to read it,
and I warned you I wouldn't lie.

Did you read it?

I don't think
you read my play.

Now, wait a minute,
what does that mean?

I think you read the play
you were hoping I would write,

not the one I did write.

I think I could have put Hamlet
in front of you

and all you would have seen
would have been

one more mixed-up teenager
with problems.

Now, listen to me.

I read your play objectively.

Objectively?

Yes, objectively.

That happens to be
my business,

and I happen to be considered
pretty good at it.

Well, not where
I'm concerned, you're not.

You're just a self-satisfied
male chauvinist

who thinks I should keep my head
in a broom closet.

Not your head,
but this play, yes.

It's a good play.

It's a tender, simple,
touching drama.

It has heart,
and it has warmth

and it has sweetness.

Oh, it has sweetness,
all right.

You put that on-stage,

it'll decay every tooth
for 10 miles around.

Well, that's
one man's opinion.

Taxi.

Angie...

One man's biased, positive,
prejudiced opinion.

It may interest you to know,
Mr. Critic

that I wasn't even sure
I wanted my play produced.

I mainly wanted to see
if I could finish something.

Well, the Kitty Hawk
is up in the air now

and you're standing
on the ground,

still shouting,
"It won't fly! It won't fly!"

Empire Theater building,
please.

[♪♪]

Ah, Mr. Ballantine,
this way.

Eddie.

Parker.
S.P.

Parker, you old clairvoyant.

Hello, Parker.

We were just this instant
talking about you.

Now, come on, sit down.

Sit down.

Just for a second.

Actually, we were talking
about Angela.

I read the play.

It certainly needs work.

Yeah, that's one thing
you could say about it.

I'm not as enthusiastic
about it as Margaret is.

You're not?

You are?

Oh, very.

It has the usual
second-act weaknesses.

You got that far, huh?

Oh, I think
it has a chance.

I'm gonna put it on.

You're what?

Angela's play?

You're joking.

About money,
he doesn't joke.

[LAUGHS]

Come on,
you old fox.

You... You knew
I'd produce it.

And I can see your fine
Italian hand in this thing.

How much help
did you give her, hm?

Me?
Not a thing.

Nothing.

Well, you must have given her
some advice.

Yes, I did.
I did.

Oh, sit down.
Let's have a celebration drink.

Waiter.

I might have one.

Yes, sir?

Scotch.

Uh...

A double.

Yes, sir.

Make it a
double double.

[♪♪]

MAN:
Three girls enter,

stage left.

Carolyn holds up
the ruined dress.

Curtain.

All right.

All right.
Not bad.

Let's everybody
break now.

And, uh, rehearsal,
same time tomorrow.

And let everyone
get here promptly, please.

[SIGHS]

Parker.

You.

Been here long?

Just a few minutes.
I came to pick you up.

Parker,
this is Dion Kapakos.

[GRUNTS]

Ah.

Well, hello.

How are ya, sir?
How are ya?

I've been wanting
to meet you.

Same here, sir.
Same here.

I saw you a couple of months ago
at S.P.'s party,

and I almost
introduced myself

but you were busy
with a croquet mallet.

I wouldn't
have known you.

Someone told me
you had a beard.

Oh, I did,
but it was just insecurity.

You know, one hit show,
and out came the old razor.

Dion was my first choice
for director.

I remembered all
the wonderful things

you said about him
last season.

You know, I wrote you
a three-page letter, sir,

after that review of Oh, Doctor.

Well,
I don't remember.

Oh, no, see, I tore it up.
It was just too damn slushy.

You know, you're kind of like
a father image for me.

Oh, no,
I mean it.

It's true.

You see,
I'm an arrogant brat

and you're just about
the only critic alive

whose opinion I respect.

Well, thank you.

Uh, I'll get my notes.
You two talk.

Heh.
Mm.

Well, how are
the rehearsals going?

Well, it's too early
to know.

Listen, would you mind
telling me

where you find a girl
like that?

Beauty, sensitivity
and modesty.

Random House,
but they're out of stock.

She and I have got a lot
of hard work ahead of us.

We open in Washington
in just four weeks,

and then Boston and then we come
back here for the opening,

December the 15th.

Say, tell me, do you really
think Angie has a play there?

Not yet.
I know this:

We're gonna have to rewrite it
from the ground up,

but we'll fix it.

Personally, I think it's a job
for Mandrake the Magician.

Uh-huh, Angie told me
how you feel.

You, I would love
to make a monkey out of.

Overthrow
the father image.

Sort of.

[BOTH CHUCKLE]

Here are the notes I made,
but they don't add up to much.

Well, every bit helps.

We gotta get right back
to the roots of the play.

Remember,
we have an opening night.

Shall we try
that new Italian restaurant?

Yeah.
Ah-ah.

Don't forget,
we gotta work tonight.

Oh, I'm sorry, dear.

Do you mind going
to the opening alone?

No, I guess not.

Maybe I'll take John.
There's no school tomorrow.

That's good.

Where you working?

My place.

[♪♪]

I have
a sort of interesting trap

down on Bleecker Street.

It's in the phone book
if you're the nervous type.

I'm not. She'll join you
right after we have dinner.

It's a real pleasure
to meet you, sir.

You can drop the "sir"
if you like.

I missed the Civil War
by a good five years.

[LAUGHS]

[♪♪]

Father image, huh?

[♪♪]

I'll bet you saw
a great play tonight.

Pow!

Yeah,
how did you know?

Well, look at your old man.

He's in agony.

Say, where's Angie?

Oh, she's working tonight.

Oh? How's her
new play coming?

Seen any of the rehearsals?

Yeah, a couple.

How'd it look?

Oh, I'm a kid.
What do I know?

Oh.

That bad, huh?

You know,
I'm afraid to ask you

what you're going to be
when you grow up.

Hello, Joe.

Hi.

Hi, kid.

Hello, Mr. Rittenhouse.

Oh, hello, Parker,
how do you...?

I feel fine.
Fine. Just fine.

Well.

"Vital and glowing," huh?

Well,
it was a good play.

Say, when Angie's play opens,
are you gonna review it?

If it opens,
you mean.

I think so.
I'm not sure.

Would you tell the truth?

No, I'm gonna lie
like I always do.

Don't get so...

What kind of a question
is that,

am I gonna tell the truth?

You told the truth about Ivy's
performance in Helen of Troy,

you remember?

Why don't you let someone else
write the review?

Who? Him?
Harvey Rittenhouse?

Well,
he's not that bad.

Harvey Rittenhouse
is a knucklehead

who sits in
off-Broadway theaters

and dreams of being
one of my pallbearers.

He reviewed Lady Godiva

and used three columns
describing the horse.

He's just ass enough
to give Angie a polite review.

Well, what if he does?
What difference does it make?

Well, a spade ought to be
called a spade.

Come on, John.

Wonderful little woman,
Angie.

She'll make somebody
a fine wife.

Ha, ha.
Very funny.

[♪♪]

Why don't you run down
to the morgue

and have a good laugh?

[♪♪]

You know, in June,
when the season's dead,

we're gonna take Angie
to Paris.

That's one thing
she's always wanted.

She'll be able to see
her sisters.

She's really been lonesome
for 'em.

I'll switch
my vacation around.

If I can't, I'll just take
a leave of absence.

Dad?

What?

Do you really think
you oughta review Angie's play?

Will you stop being
such a worrier?

Eat your hot dog.

You mean you don't care

if you hurt Angie
and make her angry?

Sure, I care.

Who do you think I am,
Bluebeard?

John, listen,

if I lie about Angie's play,
or if I try to get off the hook

by lettin'
Harvey Rittenhouse cover it,

I'll lose my self-respect.

Maybe my self-respect sounds
tiny compared to hurting Angie.

But if I start
disliking myself,

I'm gonna start disliking
the whole world, Angie included.

Never sell off
a piece of yourself

just to avoid
hurtin' someone.

The people who matter
will understand and forgive.

The others?
Well...they don't matter.

Boy, that's the biggest thing
you've ever told me, isn't it?

You bet your life it is.

Except about sex, maybe.

Sex?

What's sex?

MAN: [OVER PA]
Mr. Daniel Craig.

Mr. Daniel Craig.

I got these for ya,
for the plane.

Thank you, dear.

Good Housekeeping?

I think he's trying
to tell you something.

[CHUCKLES]

Oh, dear, of all times
for Dion to be late.

He gets two demerits

unless he brings a note
from his scoutmaster.

Ah!

Oh, Dion, where've you been?
I'm a nervous wreck.

DION:
Too swift arrives

as tardy as too slow.

[LAUGHING]

He's a Method Romeo.

How oft when men are
at the point of death.

Have they been merry!

Oh, don't mind me.

I get like this
at this stage of the game.

It's all front.
Underneath, I'm scared silly.

It's knees like water.

Ha, ha.

We haven't even left yet,
and I'm worn out.

Oh, don't worry. I brought
a good supply of Benzedrine.

Ah, there's that Johnny boy
that was at the run-through.

How you doing, Johnny boy?

Fine.

Wonderful kid.
I love kids.

We communicate.

With two tin cans
and a long string?

John, if your father takes you
to any of the openings,

you be sure and do
your homework, you hear?

I hear.

If you don't happen to like
whatever play it is,

you just sit there quietly,
none of that groaning business.

WOMAN: [OVER PA]
...may now be boarded

at Gate 5. All aboard...

Darling,

take care.

Don't worry,
I won't poison them.

Angie and I are coming back
to town

with the best damn play
you've ever seen.

Yeah? Who's in the briefcase,
Tennessee Williams?

Aw, come on, Parker,
wish me luck.

Well, I do.
You know I do.

Come on.
Come on, Angie. Let's go.

Goodbye, darling.

Goodbye, John. Be a good boy.

Angie, wait! Parker, her case.

Angie, here you go, honey.

Take good care of them for me.

Bye, kid!

PARKER: Have a nice trip.

Bye-bye.
Don't worry

about a thing, okay?

You know what I wish?

I wish you were
on that plane with them.

Come on, John.

Don't wait for me.
I'll bring the rolls right in.

[♪♪]

I don't know
about these peas, Dad.

They look
like BB shot.

Eat.

It may not delight
your taste buds,

but it'll keep you alive.

I'm not so sure.

She leaves us
with the only woman in the world

who can make a meatball
that weighs 300 pounds.

A thousand of these

would have turned the tide
at Gettysburg.

You don't have
to pretend it's good.

I'm not a cook,
I never was.

I'm an interior decorator.

I'd hate to think
what you're doing to mine.

[LAUGHS]
I'll get your coffee.

Hey, where you going?

Downstairs.

I'm sharing TV dinners
with Godfrey.

You think he'd mind
if I came along?

I'll smuggle you
up some.

Hurry, I'm sinkin' fast.

Where did John go?

He just remembered
a previous dinner engagement.

Oh, Parker, I'm sorry.

It's been pretty bad,
hasn't it?

No, you're doing
the best you can, Charlie.

Actually,
it brings back memories.

I haven't had food like this
since the Army.

It's a plot to make you
appreciate Angie

when she gets back.

How's she doing?

I don't know.

You mean
you haven't called her?

She could've called me.

Oh, Parker.

Parker,
may I give you some advice?

Charlie.

You know,
it just occurred to me

why mothers-in-law
are always lecturing

and pushing and giving advice
to their sons-in-law.

It's because we know more,
that's why.

I give up.
What's the advice?

Why don't you run up
to Boston to see Angie?

She must be going through
a pretty rough time now.

Sort of...
Sort of like having a baby.

She could use a little love
and understanding.

Who couldn't?

[♪♪]

Yes, sir?

Good morning.

Mrs. Ballantine's
room number, please.

Angela Ballantine.

Oh, I am sorry, sir.

We don't give out
room numbers.

Is she expecting you?

I thought
I'd surprise her.

[♪♪]

That's exactly the sort
of thing we try to avoid.

Yeah, but I'm her husband,
Mr. Ballantine.

Parker Ballantine?

Oh?

Would you please use
the house phone?

Right over there.

You wanna listen in
or is it bugged?

[♪♪]

WOMAN:
Operator.

Uh, Mrs. Ballantine, please.

One moment, please.

I'm sorry, sir,
there's no answer in that room.

Oh, well, will you
try Mr. Kapakos' room?

Dion Kapakos?

Mr. Kapakos has left word
not to be disturbed

until Wednesday.

Wednesday?

Parker!

Parker, love.

What are you doing
in Boston?

Well, hello, Ivy.

Oh, but this is heaven,
running into you like this.

Everything's been so dull.
How's John?

Oh, fine, fine.
How's your show coming?

We folded last night.
Died a horrible death.

Ah, I'm sorry.

That's horseracing,
darling.

I hear Angela's play
is in trouble too.

How about buying an out-of-work
actress some breakfast?

Well, I just got here.
I'm looking for Angela.

She's in 603.

I had the room
right across from her.

This place
has been a madhouse.

Especially on the sixth floor.

The goings-on,
you wouldn't believe.

It's simply been
a hotbed of activity.

I'll say one thing
for Angela though:

She's been looking
wonderfully radiant.

Well, she always does.

Come on, darling, you have time
to buy me one cup of coffee.

Not me. I haven't finished
paying for the last one yet.

Well, I better...

Oh, I miss you, Parker.

I miss you too.

On my masochistic days.

I'll see you.

[♪♪]

[♪♪]

[WATER RUNNING]

Darling.

Darling?

Oh, Parker.
Parker, old man.

Well, this is crazy.

Angie and I were
just talking about you.

If you're looking
for your bride,

she's next door
in my room.

I came in here
to shower

so I wouldn't disturb
the kid.

Kid?

[♪♪]

Angie.

Angela.

No, no.
I gotta get some sleep.

Angie.

No, no.

We gotta stop now, Dion.

Angie.

Parker.

Oh, am I glad
to see you.

Yeah. Sure.

You know there's a man
in your shower?

Oh, and do I need coffee.

[SIGHING]
Oh.

What man?

Kapakos.

Oh, I know.
It's just been awful.

Dion is just inexhaustible.

Oh, he is, is he?

We were at it
all last night.

[MOANS]

He makes me write
and rewrite

and rewrite the rewrites.

I'm so groggy I can't see.

Come on,
let's go back to your room

and chase that faun
out of the shower.

Then I'll order breakfast.

Oh, Park,
we're in such trouble.

Well, why don't you just
chuck it and come home?

Oh, I couldn't.

I feel we're so close.

If...
Hiya.

I'll see you in a couple
of minutes, Angie.

Uh, we'll have
another whack at it.

It's my turn.

[♪♪]

Angie?

Now, just a minute.

Have you talked to him
about it yet?

No, not yet.

DION:
Why not?

Well, it...

Well...
Mind hanging this

on the door as you go out?

We got something
we wanna talk to you about.

Later.
Do you mind?

Frankly,
we're in trouble.

Washington was a disaster

and it didn't go so well
here last night.

But we're getting close.

We're getting close.

Well, good. Goodbye.

You see,
the trouble is,

Champlain
has got "producer-itis."

Pfft.

He's trying to bully us
into using a new third act.

Something
he dreamed up himself.

Can you believe that?

Oh, it's awful.
It's cornball.

I think
it's the third act

of Bertha,
the Sewing Machine Girl.

Use it,
it's sure-fire.

Parker, we want you to see
the show tonight.

Yeah.
You'll be able

to put your finger
on what's wrong.

We'll take
any suggestions you make.

We really need you,
old man.

I'm sorry,
I can't do it.

Why not?

I just can't.

You have to.
It's desperation time.

If I contribute something
to the play,

how can I review it?

It's gonna be hard enough
to be impersonal as it is.

How can you re...?

You're going to review it?

Yes, I am.

I talked it over
with Joe Rosenfield,

and I'm going to.

But that's not fair.

You read the play,
and you hated it.

We assumed
you would disqualify yourself.

I'm sorry,
I'm a vampire.

Nothing disqualifies me
but a stake through the heart.

Damn it, she's your wife.

No, she isn't,
not on opening night.

You're a playwright,
I'm a critic.

Let's both do our work
as well as we can

and shake hands
before and after.

Surgeons do not operate
on their wives.

I'm not gonna operate,
Angie.

I'm gonna look at a play
and write an opinion on it.

Can't you forget
you're a critic

a couple of days
and give us a hand?

No, I can't.

No, not he.

He never forgets
he's a critic.

Not even
on his wedding night.

Angie.

You know what he did?

The morning
after we were married,

I woke up,
he was in the shower,

there was a note
pinned on the pillow next to me.

Do you know what it said?

"A memorable evening.
Parker Ballantine."

It was a joke.
You laughed for five minutes.

Will you get out of here
and leave us alone?

All right, all right.

I'll be waiting
in my room, Angela.

Come on, Angie,

let's just forget it
for now, huh?

You have been sitting
in judgment on me

night and day
ever since we were married.

And now, you're gonna
step on my play.

The one thing I've done.

The one thing
I've accomplished.

And you're gonna grind it

under that critical heel
of yours.

Angie, listen...

I remember
every word you said:

You'll never get
a producer.

You'll never get
a director.

A critic is supposed
to point up, not down, you...

You hatchet man.

You'll never get into rehearsal.

You'll never get out of town.

Well, I did get out of town,
and I wish you were.

Angie.

Angela, just please listen.

I've gotta review your play,

and I've gotta review it
truthfully.

It's a question
of keeping my self-respect.

Well,
keep your self-respect.

I don't want it.

Just...
Just quit hijacking mine.

[♪♪]

MAN: [OVER PA]
Captain W.F. Turner.

Captain W.F. Turner.

Please come
to the information counter.

Parker!

[♪♪]

Hey.
Oh, pardon me.

I was going down,
but I've gotta go up.

Will you...? Will you...?
I'm... I'm... I'm sorry.

I... I-I'm sorry.

I'm going cross-town,
really.

I'm sorry,
I'm going this way.

Now I know
how a salmon feels.

Oh, Parker, don't tell me
we were on the same plane?

Looks that way.
I came back tourist.

I wasn't very hungry.

And I was alone

when I could have had you
all alone.

Find my bags for me,
will you, darling?

And buy me a drink.

All right,
just a quick one.

Thank you, sweet.

You just saved the life
of your son's mother.

Yeah, I should be decorated.

I see it didn't take you long
to find out

what was happening
in Boston.

Oh!

[GROANS]

Oh, Parker, darling,
your poor back.

[GRUNTS]

A porter!
Somebody, help!

Anybody!

[GROANS]
Oh, love.

[MOANS]

[SIGHS]

There. That's the spot.

Ohhh.

Ah, my poor baby.

Still have
the same old back trouble.

Does that feel better,
darling?

A little higher, please.

[MOANS]

Ohhh.

You know, Parker,

you really were
awfully sweet to me.

I didn't deserve you.

You didn't.

A little more to the right,
please.

[MOANS]

Oh, that's heaven.

Ohhh.

You know,
I've been thinking, Parker.

I was sort of a rat.

But even at my rattiest,

I never did
what she's doing to you.

What are you talking about?

Oh, Parker,
don't pretend with me.

After all, I did stay
at the same hotel with them.

Ivy, what are you trying to say?

Something
that's not easy to say.

Try a simple,
declarative sentence.

Well,
Dion is the subject,

and Angela
is the object.

The verb is...

Ridiculous.

They were just working together,
rewriting.

What's so unusual

about a playwright
and a director doing that?

Long after they were done
with their rewriting,

they were spending
whole nights together

in her room.

They were overheard
not saying anything.

Ivy, you got a mind
like a police blotter.

Forget it.

Why would I lie to you?

I mean, I don't pretend to have
unselfish motives, darling.

I want you back.

I want you back

more than I ever wanted anything
in the world,

but I wouldn't lie
about that.

Ivy, I think you better go.

Hey, Dad's back.

John!

Oh, John, darling.

Ha, ha.

My, how you've grown.

Oh, give Mother a kiss.

[CHUCKLES]

Do you know
that it's been months

since I've seen you?

But you're getting so big.

What have you been
feeding him?

Oh, we don't feed him.

Angie grabs one end,

I grab the other,
and we pull.

[CHARLIE LAUGHS]

I'm Charlotte Orr.

Oh, I'm sorry, Charlie.

This is Ivy London.

Ivy, Charlotte Orr,
Angela's mother.

Charlotte Orr?

The decorator?

Yes.

Uh, is your show coming in, Ivy?

No, lamb, it's gone out.
Way out.

Your father was right.
I should have listened to him.

My, oh, my, oh, my.

At least we achieved
one good thing between us,

didn't we, Parker?

Yes, he's all right,
I guess.

Come along, dear.

Let's scoot upstairs
and start your homework.

Goodbye,
my darling.

It's been wonderful
seeing you.

Oh, and John...

This summer, we're definitely
going to spend a week

at Lake, uh, Whatever-it-is.

It's been a pleasure
meeting you, Miss London.

My pleasure, Mrs. Orr.

I never miss any
of your performances.

It's heartwarming to see

that your vivacity
isn't merely stagecraft.

And your beauty is more
than makeup and amber lights.

[♪♪]

She hates me.

What are you
talking about?

That was the nicest speech
anyone ever made to you.

It was in code.

You pick out
every other word,

and you get
the real message.

[♪♪]

I still love you, Parker.

I will always love you.

Ancestors of mine have died
in institutions.

Oh, and, uh, don't worry
about Angela and Dion, darling.

You're probably right.

[KNOCKING ON DOOR]

Come in.

Aw, Dad,
the show just started.

Won't be over for an hour.

All right.

What are you looking at?

What's the name of it?

I wonder where
they'll hide the bodies.

[LAUGHS]

I think
he wants to see my father.

He's in his office.

Oh, he is?

Well, I might as well
say hello to him

as long as I'm down here.

[OMINOUS MUSIC PLAYS OVER TV]

WILLIAM:
Come in.

Oh, Mr. Ballantine,
this is an unexpected pleasure.

Nice to see you.

Why...?
Oh, am I disturbing you?

No, of course not.

Just checking
my bank statements.

[CHUCKLING]

Well, I just thought
I'd drop down

to see how the boys
are doing.

Well, I'm glad you did.
Oh, oh, sit down.

Sit down, Mr. Ballantine.
Sit down.

Well, doctor,
how's the play coming?

Excellent. I've been wanting
to talk to you about it.

Uh, I know it's a little
outside my field, but I...

I think
it's gonna surprise you.

Fine, I'd like
to read it sometime.

Oh, fine, I'll give it to you
before you leave.

[CHUCKLES]
Oh, fine.

Now, is there anything else
you wanna talk to me about?

Oh, not really.

Nothing really.

Sure?

Well, it's just
that I have this friend.

A friend?

An old friend.

A married man.

At the moment.

Yes?

Oh, doc, I hardly know
where to begin.

Just anything that comes
into your friend's mind.

Oh.

Oh, yes.

Well, this married man
has a wife.

Yes?

Who has a friend.

Yes?

Thing is, there's a younger man
in the picture.

A sort of a Don Juan type,
a troublemaker.

Keeps referring to my friend
as a father image.

Yes?

I suppose
it all sounds childish, doctor,

but this is deeply disturbing
to my friend.

[LAUGHING]
The whole thing is absurd,

of course, I just...

They have a good marriage,

in spite of this quarrel
they've had, and...

Somehow,
I don't feel as though

I'm getting through to you,
doctor.

[♪♪]

Yes?

And worst of all
is this dream.

Actually, it's more
of a nightmare, doctor.

And when I say nightmare,
I mean a pajama-soaker.

See, my friend is in this plane
flying over the mountains,

and the stewardess
comes around with cocktails

and his wife's name
is on the napkins.

Suddenly,
everybody's ugly drunk,

and they come at me...

They come at him
with knives and forks and...

And... And all because
he told the truth.

Yes?

And the pilot comes out,
taps him on the shoulder,

and tells him
the plane's overweight

and one passenger
has to jump.

Then comes the big drop.
Falling, falling, falling.

And my friend reaches up

and grabs the tail end
of the plane

and he hangs on.

And they throw knives
and forks out the window.

And the napkins
are floatin' by

with his wife's names
on them.

And he reaches up,
and he hangs on.

Hangs on,
but the younger man steps out

and steps on his fingers.

And the plane
keeps pulling away, doctor.

Then the pilot comes out
and he looks down.

The pilot has one eye
with contact lenses.

Just one lens.
A big lens, doctor.

[♪♪]

Boy, look at that.

Makes you proud,
doesn't it?

Gee, there's certainly been
a big change in you

since you talked
to Godfrey's father.

That's had nothing
to do with it.

It's just that it's immature
to feel threatened

simply because Angie's
written a play.

But I am immature.

And I keep on thinking
about all those TV dinners.

Angie'll get over her peeve.

And remember,

not one word to her
about our surprise.

ACTRESS 1:
It's not really their fault.

I've just been too lenient
with them.

That's been my mistake.

Hello,
Mr. Ballantine.

Hi.

They're having
a final run-through.

It should be
just about over.

Well, thanks, Joe.

ACTRESS 1:
Well, it's too late now.

What are you girls doing
up there?

[IN UNISON]
Nothing, Mother.

Okay, kids.

Just play it the same way
at the opening tonight.

Good luck.
Don't worry about a thing.

I'll see you all at 7.

All right, now.
Relax.

Hiya, Parker.

Hi.

Hi, darling.

Hello.

Hi, John.

We decided to come down
and pick you up.

That was good of you.

How's the rehearsal?

All right.

I need to lie down
for a while.

Butterflies
in your stomach?

Butterflies,
bats, bees, birds.

There's a lifetime supply
of telegrams

on your dressing table.

Oh, did Sally or Marge cable?

I don't know.
I didn't open them.

I made a dinner reservation
for us at 6:30.

I'm sorry.
I won't be able to make it.

Dion's coming by
for me at 6.

There's some things
we have to go over.

You know what I've decided?

I've decided to wear
my new dinner jacket

for the occasion.

For me?

For little old,
worthless me?

You're gonna put on that
great big, painful dinner jacket

with the heavy lead collar

and all those steel spikes
in the lining?

Now, Angie...

Oh, I declare,
Mr. Parker,

you keep on this way,

you're just gonna
spoil me rotten.

[♪♪]

[♪♪]

Good evening,
Mrs. Ballantine.

Good evening.

Mr. Ballantine.

[GASPS]

It's Angie!
Angie!

Sally!

How are you?

Marge!

You look great.

You look wonderful.

I'm gonna cry.

You cut your hair.

I'm gonna cry.

It's the cutest thing.

Silly little sister.

It's so wonderful to see you.

SALLY:
Listen, what's this

about a play?

MARGE: Ohhh!

SALLY: Silly sister.

You're quite a guy,
Parker.

ANGELA:
Wonderful.

MARGE:
What about this play here?

ANGELA:
I'm doing a play.

[♪♪]

[DOORBELL BUZZES]

Hiya, Johnny boy.
How you doing?

Just great.

Angie ready yet?

She'll be right down.

Well, tell her to hurry,
will ya?

I'm double-parked.

You are?

Hey, there's a cop.

Where? Where?

At the police station.

You're a real funny kid,
aren't you?

I get a yuk
once in a while.

Hello.

Hi.
Hey, you better

get a move on, John.

You'll be late.

Martini?

That's fine.

Agh.

You always drink
before an opening?

Only when I'm expecting
a snakebite.

You're an interesting guy,
Parker.

I've been doing
some thinking about you.

About me?

I didn't think you'd have time
with your tight schedule.

You comfy?

Yeah, thanks.

Cheers.

Mud in your eye.

You ever been
through analysis?

Not all of me.

Oh, seriously, old man,
look at the facts.

You slammed Ivy London
with a brutal review,

didn't you?

Now you're all set to give Angie
the very same treatment.

It seems to me you've got
a pretty deep hostility

toward the women you marry.

Do I get to look
at some inkblots or is that it?

Oh, come on, now,
don't be defensive.

I'm in analysis myself.

It's done me a lot of good.

Oh, man,
I was aggressive, destructive,

a compulsive braggart.

Self, self, self.
That's all I ever thought about.

And that was
before analysis?

But it's different in Paris,
Charlie.

No different in Paris
than it is anywhere else.

Uh, well.

Yes.

This is Dion Kapakos.

Sally Orr, Marge Orr,
Angela's sisters.

You know Charlie.
Dion directed the play.

How charming.

This family
puts the Gabors to shame.

Isn't he adorable?

Adorable.

I'll try
and hurry Angela.

I just love men
who are intense.

They're so convincing.

You must come
to Paris.

First time I ever wanted
to kiss a playwright.

Dion's waiting.

I know.

Parker?

Yeah?

You're not still planning on
covering the opening, are you?

You know I am.

I don't want you to.

I want you to call the paper

and let Harvey Rittenhouse
cover it.

Harvey Rittenhouse.

All he can cover
is a seat.

That's where
his talent is.

I don't want you
to review my play.

I'm sorry, Angie,
I have to.

All right.

And you can go right on
calling it a lead balloon,

and saying it will decay teeth,
but I'm through.

Angela.

You're under a terrific strain,
and you're saying things.

I am not saying things.
You said so yourself.

I'm a playwright
and you're a critic,

and that's all.

And if you wanna
come gunning for me

with that poisonous review
you've been dreaming up

ever since I began my play,

well, just go ahead.

Now, wait a minute, Angie.

I've overlooked a lot of things
since you started this play,

including gossip
about you and Dion in Boston.

Since when does a critic
ask questions

about a playwright's
personal affairs?

Now, don't start playing games
with me, Angie.

I'm not playing games.

Do you think you can throw away
one half of me

and still cross-examine
the other half?

I'm not cross-examining you.

I am one person,

and you disowned me.

And I think it's a little late
for you to start wondering

if anything happened
between Dion and me.

I'll tell you one thing,
Parker Ballantine.

Dion believes in me.

He treats me as an equal,
an adult.

He doesn't act patronizing
and make fun of me.

Dion happens to love me.

In six weeks,
I took the winner

of the Women's National
Broad Jump Finals

and turned her
into a Broadway star.

Angie.

Angie,
I'm your husband.

Tonight,
I don't have a husband.

You made the rules.

There's just one thing
I'd like to know.

When does opening night end?

At midnight? At 2?
At 6:00 in the morning? When?

Because after the show,
Dion's taking me home.

And I'd just like to know
where I stand

and whose house
I should go home to.

Well?

You win.

Leave these tickets
at the box office

in Harvey's name.

I'll call the paper.

One of those tickets
was for John.

I have a ticket for John.

I have one for you too.

Right next to Mom
and Sally and Marge.

Just leave one for John.
I'm not going.

Well, if that's the way
you want it.

It isn't.

Nothing's the way I want it.

You really mean
you're not going at all?

That's right.

Well, what finally got through
that thick head of yours?

Just one of those steel balls
they use to demolish buildings.

Parker.

I made dinner a reservation
at the Chateau Renault

right across from the theater.

Take John, will you?

You're gonna meet us
at the theater?

No, I'm not going
to the theater.

Charlie has a ticket
for you.

Who's gonna cover
the show?

All the other critics.

Don't worry.
Justice will be done.

Well, who's gonna cover it
for our paper?

I don't know.

Come along, John.

You're stuck with me
and those crazy aunts of yours.

Well,
why aren't you going?

Because I'm not feeling well.
Now, go on with Charlie.

Well, you said
as long as you were living

you'd never let Harvey...

I'm not going because
Angie doesn't want me to go.

Now, get out of here,
will you?

It's almost 6:30.

You said sometimes you had
to hurt people.

Charlie.

You said you'd hurt them more
if you lost your self-respect.

Charlie, will ya get him
outta here?

That was the most important
thing ya ever told me,

all that about self-respect.

Well, I'm sorry.
I changed my mind.

John.

You said
you would never sell out...

Will you stop telling me
what I said?

Well, come on
to the theater.

Just get out.

I'm sorry, John.

Just please go on
with Charlie.

I don't care
if you don't go to the theater.

I don't care
if you never go anyplace.

I don't care if stay right here
and lock the door and stay

until you're dead.

Stay with him.

[♪♪]

Thought you'd never
get here.

What are you trying to do?
Drown your troubles?

Nah, I'm just teaching 'em
how to swim.

Say, friend,
why don't you go home,

get yourself some dinner?

Haven't got a home.
How do you like that?

Sad, friend, sad.

You're right.

You're making these
a little thin too.

Let me use your phone.

Ivy?

Ivy, you're a rat.

You're also a louse
and several other small animals.

I just wanted to tell you that
before I got nasty.

Who is it?

It's your old ex,
Parker.

Parker Ballantine.
That's who it is.

I've been miserable, Ivy.

Hey, Ivy.

What are you doing?

If I came over,

would you say funny things
and rub my back?

[SNORTS]

Ivy.

Ivy rat.

I've been thinking it over
about your last performance.

It was a beautiful performance,
Ivy.

Just beautiful.

I'm a dog,

and you've been
like a mother to me.

Mmm.

Sure, I'll come over.

On the back
of a large bluebird.

Mmm.

So you're
Parker Ballantine.

Why, yes.

You know,
speaking of rats...

I used to be an actor

until you reviewed a play
I was in.

Now, look at me.

Oh, I'm sorry,
old man.

Keep the change.

Stick it in your pocket.

Does my heart good
to see ya so miserable.

Hello, dear.

Hi.

Hello.
Hello.

You look pale.

It's just my makeup,
opening-night green.

She's a little shaky now,

but when that old curtain
goes up

she'll be as calm
as a mountain lake.

Hey, Frank.

You're not the only one
with the flutters.

How can you do
a thing like this to me?

Angie, who would believe it?
Our story on Broadway.

John,
are you all right?

I'm okay.

He hardly touched
his supper.

Maybe he's coming down
with something.

Oh,
John's all right.

Why don't you all
go down to your seats.

I'll join you
in a minute.

All right.

Good luck, Angie.

Thank you.

Run along, darling.

Why don't you call him?

Why should I?

Because you're his wife.

When we left,
he looked pretty sick.

He could have come
to the play.

Angie, you're being
very childish about this.

Well, from where I sit,

I'm not the only one
in the playpen.

Look at that Champlain.
Nothing bothers him.

He must have
nerves of steel.

I wonder how much longer
I'd live

if I never attended
any opening nights.

How you doing, Angie?

Great.

[♪♪]

[GARGLES]

Please, no food.
Not while I'm drinking.

Just drink sitting up
for a while.

It looks nicer.

Ah.

Appearances count for nothing
with us alcoholics.

What time is it?

Twenty-five to 8.

At 8:00,
the curtain goes up

revealing on-stage
an egg the size of a zeppelin.

Forget it, darling.

And at this moment,
backstage...

Dion Kapakos, boy rat,
is feeding pep and optimism

to his hardy band
of tomorrow's unemployed

while Angela's being sick
in the powder room.

Hey,
I broke the mainspring.

Symbolism.

I cannot stand symbolism.

Oh, Parker.

Don't worry.

Just the old watch my father
left me on his deathbed.

My poor baby.

She really hurt you,
didn't she?

Yeah.

Taking your tickets
from you

and trying to lock you out
of the theater.

Who does she think she is?

Oh, Parker, I love you.

Now, you said you'd come up here
and rub my back.

Yes, yes.
Turn over, darling.

Yeah,
okay, okay.

Easy now.
I'm a wounded veteran.

Buy a poppy, sir?

What kind of a life
can you have with her now?

Can you ever stand up
to her again?

Put her in her place?

Higher.

No, I can't.

I guess I can't,
not after tonight.

She's finished
the marriage completely.

It's done. Kaput.

It is.
It's true, it is.

Everything.

John, Angie, me.

I said I'd never sell out,
but she scared me

and I did sell out.

Kaput. Finished.

I'm glad she's done it,
my darling.

I'll make things right for you.
And for John too.

I'm a new Ivy, Parker.
You'll see I am.

Oh, Parker, love.

Ivy. Ivy.

Ivy, I gotta get
to that theater.

What?

I gotta get
to that theater.

See the show and beat Harvey
back to the office

and write my review.

I gotta get...
Parker.

This is the drunkenest room
I've ever been in.

You can't go to the theater.
It's too late.

I have to.
It's the only way.

It's 10 of 8.
You'd never make it.

Curtain never goes up
until 10 after. Never does.

They announce 8:00,

but it never goes up
until 10 after.

They're liars,
all of them.

I got 20 minutes.

Cab up 8th Avenue,
cross 46th Street.

Make it in plenty of time.

You're drunk, Parker.

Ten more drinks and
I'll still be a better critic

than Harvey Rottenhouse.

Oh, look at you.

[BELCHES]

You can't go to the theater
in this condition.

You're pie-eyed.

Actors can act
when they're drunk.

Playwrights can playwright
when they're drunk, can't they?

I say a critic can critic
when he's drunk.

I... Shoes.

I must wear shoes.

Never go to the theater
without them.

Nobody ever does that.

Ah, there they...

[CHUCKLES]

It walked on me.

Now, where's that other
little devil?

I had two.
It was a set.

Gotta have shoes.

I won't let you do this.
I won't.

Ivy, help me find
that other shoe

or I'll dissect you.

Put you in suitcases
and ship you to New Haven,

Boston, Philadelphia
and Washington.

All right, review the play.
Good. Go ahead.

You'll blow the marriage
into tiny little pieces. Good.

The sooner the better.

Well, I'll come that bridge
when I cross it.

I can't let everything be ruined
without a fight.

Thinks because
she's a playwright,

I have to stop being
a critic.

Thinks she's gonna
scare me.

Thinks that I'm afraid
to stand up for my rights.

To 46th Street.
Charge.

Parker.

Parker, please.
Please stop, Parker.

Apartment's all uphill.

Parker, look at you.
People will see you.

They won't believe
it's me.

Parker, listen.
Parker?

PARKER:
Uh, going down.

Ladies' lingerie,
ladies' negligee, and, uh...

Parker.

Everybody going down.

Parker!

[♪♪]

One moment, my good man.
My shoe.

[♪♪]

Easy, easy.
You been drinking or something?

You said
you was in a hurry, Mac.

Yeah, but I'd just like
to be there

when we get
where I'm going.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHING]

We got 'em.

I'm going backstage.

Oh, S.P.

Relax.

It's going fine.

So am I.
Oh, excuse me.

[♪♪]

Are we in orbit?

Keep it. You can't tell
where you'll come down.

Curtain's up,
Mr. Ballantine.

Oh, fine.

It's the only way
to see a play.

[QUIETLY]
Good evening, Mr. Ballantine.

Hi.

That's all right.
I'll take it, baby.

ACTRESS 1:
That's been my mistake.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

ACTRESS 2:
Your mistake was not sending

them all to an orphanage.

All right, Harvey.
Good night.

I was assigned
to cover this play, Ballantine.

Up, up, old man,
you're in my seat.

Shh!
You're creating a disturbance.

Shh...

Come on, go play in the lobby.
Come on.

I'm sorry, sir.

[CROWD SHUSHING]

ACTRESS 2:
I think my leg is broken.

ACTRESS 1:
I'll get you an aspirin.

ACTRESS 2:
Never mind, I'll get it myself.

Shh!

ACTRESS 1:
Maybe we better let the drapes

go with the flow.

Who's he?
Some drunk.

ACTRESS 2:
You're too dirty. I'm quitting.

ACTRESS 3: You can't quit.

ACTRESS 3:
What would I do without you?

'Scuse me.

ACTRESS 2:
Miss, I'd work for you

the rest of my life.

But those three daughters
of yours are too much.

Better pick this one.
It's ripe.

This seat is taken.

Oh, I'm sorry.

He must be
a short little fella.

ACTRESS 2:
...marry you after an evening

with those three monsters?

One way.

ACTRESS 3:
Mr. Prescott was

very fond of them.

ACTRESS 2:
"Was" is right.

Then Margaret's monkey
descended on him...

Sorry.

...and we lost another prospect.

You lost, chum?

[SCOFFS]

ACTRESS 1:
...out of town

on business Wednesday.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

ACTRESS 2:
Will I be allowed

to keep a gun in my room?

ACTRESS 3:
Now, you know they're

basically nice girls.

ACTRESS 2:
I suppose you're right.

ACTRESS 3:
Of course I am.

ACTRESS 2:
Still, I wonder why

that psychiatrist wouldn't...

I feel better now.

I don't.

I think I just saw Parker
going up into the balcony.

Parker in the balcony?
Don't be ridiculous.

ACTOR 1:
I find the situation

terribly embarrassing.

[♪♪]

Thank you.

You can't sit here,
sir.

Thank you.
I'm very comfortable.

Do you have a seat,
sir?

There's a rat sitting in it.
Big long rat.

Take that seat
down there, sir.

Please, sir.

I hate to disturb anybody.

Please, sir.

Have a seat.

I'm so very sorry.

It's all right.
This way, please.

She just pushed me,
that's all.

[♪♪]

Everybody.

WOMAN:
Get him up and put him

in the seat.

Shh.
There's a show going on.

I got it.

Pull him up.

What's going on
up there?

Teenagers, probably.

John, dear,
please turn that thing off

and go to bed.

It's after 1:00.

I wanna wait up
for Angie.

You have to go to school
tomorrow,

and you need your sleep.

I can sleep during civics.

ANGIE:
Where is he?

All right,
where is he hiding?

Are those the reviews?

Well, where is he?

Who? Parker?

He reviewed the play.

No kidding.

DION:
He slashed it.

Cut it to ribbons.

But he didn't even go
to the theater.

Oh, but he did.
Champlain was right.

He did see him crawling up
into the balcony.

Listen to this:

"Opening night report
by Parker Ballantine.

"I think it's time for all us
Transylvanian peasants

"to pick up our torches

"and march menacingly
up to that castle on the hill

because Dr. Frankenstein
is making monsters again."

Marge,
get me a drink.

"This time, he's attached
the arms and legs of Agamemnon

"to the torso of Rebecca
of Sunnybrook Farm.

"S.P. Champlain has led
the creature

"over to the 46th Street Theater

"where it stumbled around
for a few minutes

and fell over dead."

How does it feel
to be the son of Dracula?

Hey,
there's more.

"Just for the record,

"Sisters Three was written
by Angela Ballantine

directed by Dion Kapakos,
and produced by mistake."

Dion, help me get my bag,
will you?

[♪♪]

You're sure you don't want me
to go up with you?

No, thanks, Joe.

Well, uh, if there's a knifing,
call Foley.

He'll be on the desk.

Have him stand by.

"Several actors were involved.

"The only thing they can do

is change their names
and start over again."

This one says,
"Periods of tedium."

Well, that doesn't sound
very complimentary.

Well, maybe the other reviews
aren't very good,

but his is the crusher. We'll be
lucky if we last till Saturday.

Mother, I'm only taking
a few things tonight.

Tomorrow, pack up everything.

And I'll let you know
where to send it.

Where do you think
you're going?

You can't leave.

I don't wanna hear
one word.

Not a single word.
He knew how I felt.

And to think he gave me
his ticket.

Don't go, Angie,
please.

I'm sorry, John.

When you're older
you'll understand much more

about the
man-woman relationship.

If you're really
leaving Parker,

I'd like to have him.

After me, dear.

I'm between husbands
right now.

Anyway, I think he's the cutest,
the brightest,

the most unselfish man
I've ever met.

Unselfish.
He's an opinionated sneak.

Well, he sent us
the plane tickets.

That's how sneaky he is.

He knew how much
you wanted to see us.

He what?

He did?

He did.

Come on, Angie,
let's get going.

Dad.

Gee,
those were all new ones.

Well, do I get a cigarette
before you shoot?

I'm not shooting.
I'm leaving.

With me.

John, I want you
to do me a favor.

What?

I want you
to go upstairs,

get into your pajamas
and get into bed.

But Angie,
she's leaving us.

Now, you stop worrying.

Come on,
up you go.

Will everything
be all right?

Trust me.

Well, I guess
the well-bred thing to do

at this point
is to leave.

Those two were all I had left
to brag about...

now that I'm losing
my figure.

Aren't you supposed to be
under the bed?

You're on my side.

Angie,

you keep asking
to be treated like an adult,

then act like one.

Stop running.
You're not 15 anymore.

I have a few things to say
to my wife. Do you mind?

We read what you had to say.

Listen to me, Angie.

When you decided
to write a play,

I poked fun at you.

I heckled and behaved
like a grade-A crumb.

You said I hijacked
your self-respect

and you were right.

For that, I most humbly beg
your forgiveness.

When do you bring on
the violins?

I'll bring on a whole symphony
if I have to.

But I cannot
nor will not apologize

for writing that review.

To my mind, Sisters Three
is exactly the monster

I said it was.

I've done my job,
my readers have been warned.

So live with your readers.

I may have heckled you

because I assumed you'd chosen
the wrong work to do.

But I never tried to lock you
out of your workroom.

Tonight, you tried
to lock me out of mine.

Well, hello. Hello.
Saw your light was still on.

Just had to stop by
and tell you

how much we enjoyed
the play tonight.

Well.

Thank you, doctor.

Is John still up?

Oh, no. It's a little late.
We've got to get to bed.

Good night,
Mrs. Ballantine.

Thanks for dropping by.

You've made
my evening complete.

Just enjoyed the play.

Had to tell you.
Come along, Godfrey.

Thank you.

Angie, believe me,
if you try to write another play

I won't throw spitballs.

And the next time
you ask for help, I'll give it.

Because I belong on your team.

PARKER:
That dawned on me

about 30 seconds ago.

I'm not gonna
let you do this.

You'll sit here
and darn his socks

and weave rugs
and have a dozen babies.

You'll never write
another play.

I will if I want to.

I can do anything if I want to.
Anything.

Angie, I love you,
and I need you.

John loves you
and needs you too.

Don't you, John?

Yes.

Please stay, Angie.

Boy, oh, boy.

Sure, he talks big
about helping you,

but wait till you get out
the old typewriter...

Dion...

this is
your father image speaking.

Beat it.

I wanna tell you...

I said, get out.

I'll be waiting
in the car, Angie.

If it's a compact,
you'll never get your head in.

You, to bed.

And you?

[♪♪]

[♪♪]

PARKER:
A warm, vibrant and

thoroughly satisfying evening.

The most delightful conception
of the entire season.

Parker Ballantine.

[WHISTLING]

Parker.

[CRACKING]

Angie!

Angie!

Parker.

Angie!

Angie!

[PARKER WAILING]

Parker. Oh, Parker,
what happened?

Angie.

What's the matter?
Oh, your back. Not again.

[PARKER GROANING]

[♪♪]