RUSSO: Will you stop it!
POPEYE: I’ll bust you!
RUSSO: Come on!
POPEYE: Will you let me at him! I want to bust him! I want to bust him!
RUSSO: Let me talk to him.
POPEYE: You got a friend here, buddy. You got a friend!
RUSSO: You gonna tell us who your man is?
POPEYE: When’s the last time you picked your feet, Willie? Who’s your connection, Willie, what’s his name?
RUSSO: Answer us!
WILLIE: No! No, man, no!
POPEYE: Is it Joe the barber? Joe the barber, right, that’s who it is, isn’t it? Now don’t give us any shit! What’s Joe’s last name?
WILLIE: I don’t know, man.
RUSSO: Give him a chance, just give him a chance.
WILLIE: All I know is he lives on 125th St. man, above the barber shop.
RUSSO: What side of the street does he live on, north or south, north or south?
WILLIE: I don’t know what you’re talking about man, I don’t know from north or south.
RUSSO: I’m asking you what side of the street he lives on!
POPEYE: Hey, shithead. When’s the last time you picked your feet, huh?
WILLIE: What’s he talking about?
POPEYE: I got a man in Poughkeepsie wants to talk to you. You ever been to Poughkeepsie, huh? You ever been to Poughkeepsie?
WILLIE: Hey c’mon man give me a break, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
POPEYE: C’mon say it, let me hear you say it, c’mon. Have you ever been to Poughkeepsie? You been to Poughkeepsie, haven’t you? I want to hear it, c’mon!
WILLIE: Yes, I’ve been -
POPEYE: You’ve been there right? You sat on the edge of the bed, didn’t you? You took off your shoes, put your fingers between your toes and picked your feet, didn’t you? Now say it.
POPEYE: All right. You put a shiv in my partner, you know what that means? Goddamnit! All winter long I got to listen to him gripe about his bowling score. Now I’m gonna bust your ass for those three bags, and I’m going to nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie!
– The French Connection (1971), screenplay by Ernest Tidyman, novel by Robin Moore
The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is arrest, suggested by Teddy Pasternak. Today’s suggestion by JasperLamarCrab.
Trivia: An article quoted some of the performers as admitting that they pretty much ignored the dialog in the script and used terms and phrases the police advisers gave to them during rehearsals. Ironically, the screenplay won an Oscar. (Note: Owen Roizman, the film’s cinematographer, maintains that the dialog in the finished film is almost exactly the same as that in the screenplay he read during production).
Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by JasperLamarCrab: “This is a study in mixing comedy with brutality made when Tarantino was still in shorts, albeit with a realistic tone and documentary feel. Popeye and Russo completely unbalance the suspect – and the audience – by swapping roles as bad cop and worse cop with the finesse and timing of a veteran comedy team. The real lesson is to get dialogue from real life (the “picking your feet” routine was actually used by Eddie Egan, the model for Doyle) and let brilliant actors go to town.”