Daily Dialogue — September 22, 2014

September 22nd, 2014 by

Edmond: What do you want of me?
Mercedes: I want to be free of you… the way you obviously are free of me.Just a few answers from you, and I shall be gone forever.
Edmond: Ask your questions.
Mercedes: Where have you been?
Edmond: Thirteen years in the Chateau d’lf… and everywhere else you can imagine.
Mercedes: The Chateau d’lf for 13 years. Did you suffer? What happened afterward?
Edmond: Much.
Mercedes: Why did you not come to me?
Edmond: Why did you not wait? You married the very man who betrayed…

She holds up her hand. He is suddenly speechless at the sight of her finger with the piece of twine tied around it like a ring, that Edmond put there years before.

Mercedes:I told you that night on the rocks, remember? It would never leave my finger. And it never has.
Edmond: Why?
Mercedes: You know why.
Edmond: If you ever loved me… don’t… don’t rob me of my hate. It’s all I have.
Mercedes: Let it go, Edmond. Let it go. I don’t know what dark plan lies within you. Nor do I know by what design we were asked… to live without each other these 1 6 years. But God has offered us a new beginning…
Edmond: God?
Mercedes: Don’t slap His hand away.
Edmond: Can I never escape Him?
Mercedes: No. He is in everything. Even in a kiss.

She’s kisses him.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), screenplay by Jay Wolpert, novel by Alexandre Dumas

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Vengeance, suggested by Jon Raymond. Today’s suggestion by Jon.

Trivia: Jay Wolpert deliberately rewrote the Dumas story so that Mondego and Dantes started out as best friends; his logic was that it would be a ‘buddy’ film that turned sinister. Wolpert believed that when a friendship soured, the hate generated was both more terrible and more believable.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Jon: “This is a pivotal scene in Edmond’s transformation from seeking vengeance to becoming human and accepting his past fate, and his new found success. Until this point he had been stripped of everything that mattered to him. Even though he regained riches and a friend in Jacopo, and now in Mercedes, he has no loyalty nor caring for anyone. He is focused relentlessly on vengeance. But Mercedes brings him to see the light. He cannot ignore her, in his face with her twine ring, evidence of her own suffering through the years. She melts him. Edmond had become so obsessed with vengeance that he would forsake his own happiness and shut out everyone and everything to carry it out, even himself. His vengeance was all he had left. It is all he was.

It seems interesting that vengeance was a strong theme in these early French related works, as in A Tale of Two Cities, or Les Miserables. It also lends itself well to dramatic story. A person filled with relentless vengeance makes for a very strong driving character, like a runaway train. It makes for a great plot to explain what made the character vengeful, what happens to the people around them, and what extremes they will go to. Perhaps this is what makes it classic, surviving all these centuries, seeming relevant even today. There is something to be said for writing that becomes classic, and what we can learn from it.

There is a sub-theme of God (opposing vengeance). In an earlier prison scene, Edmond’s mentor, the priest, Abbé Faria, speaks to him in another memorable moment:

Abbe Faria: Here is your final lesson – do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, “Vengeance is mine.”
Edmond Dantes: I don’t believe in God.
Abbe Faria: It doesn’t matter. He believes in you.

Later after he first encounters Mercedes and turns her away, Jacopo confronts him, again, to question his vengeance:

Edmond: If you ever presume to interfere in my affairs again, I will, I promise you, finish the job I started the day we met! Do you understand?
Jacopo: I understand you are mad.
Edmond: Mad? My enemies are falling into my traps perfectly!
Jacopo: Mad, your grace, for ignoring this: you have a fortune, a beautiful woman who loves you. Take the money, take the woman, and live your life! Stop this plan, take what you have won!
Edmond: I can’t.
Jacopo: Why not?… I’m still your man, Satara. I swore an oath I will protect you. Even if it means I must protect you from yourself. I’ll drive you home now.

This script is full of such classic scenes.

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please click on Reply and post in comments. Thanks!

Daily Dialogue — September 21, 2014

September 21st, 2014 by

“I was hoping you could give me a bath. I’m very, very dirty.”

American Beauty (1999), written by Alan Ball

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Adultery.

Trivia: Angela’s surname is Hayes, another reference to Lolita Haze from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, Lolita.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Lester Burnham’s fantasies about Angela are as far as he gets with his adulterous intentions.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Vengeance

September 20th, 2014 by

The Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Vengeance, suggested by Jon Raymond.

“Call him a mad vigilante. Call him a hero.
Either way… he’s always on target.”
Death Wish

The usual drill:

* Copy/paste dialogue from IMDB Quotes or some other transcript source.

* Copy/paste the URL of an accompanying video from YouTube or some other video source.

I’d also ask you to think about why the dialogue is notable. Is there anything about the dialogue which provides some takeaway re screenwriting?

Here is our lineup for upcoming Daily Dialogue themes:

September 29-October 5: Politics
October 6-October 12: Punishment
October 13-October 19: Wedding Vows [Shari]
October 20-October 26: Overreacting
October 27-November 2: Madness
November 3-November 9: Seduction [Markham Cook]
November 10-November 16: Embarrassing Moment
November 17-November 23: Friendship
November 24-November 30: Proposal [Aamir Mirza]
December 1-December 7: Leadership
December 8-December 14: Quitting
December 15-December 21: Negotiation [Michael Waters]

Check this out: The GITS Daily Dialogue Topic Index! You can read about Liz and Allie, two sisters who are big fans of the blog, and were inspired to create the index. A great resource for writers looking for inspiration for their own dialogue writing. You can be a part of this proud tradition with your ideas for weekly themes and Daily Dialogue suggestions.

Please post your ideas for this week’s theme — Adultery — in comments. Thanks!

If you have any ideas for Daily Dialogue themes, feel free to post as well. Thanks for your suggestions!

Daily Dialogue — September 20, 2014

September 20th, 2014 by

Jerry: The fact is I can’t understand why she felt it necessary… after all these years… to tell you so suddenly. Last night?
Robert: [surprised] Last night?
Jerry: Without consulting me.. without warning me, after all, you and me…
Robert: She didn’t tell me last night.
Jerry: What do you mean? I know about last night. She told me. You were up all night.
Robert: That’s correct.
Jerry: And she told you last night about her and me?
Robert: No, she didn’t. She didn’t tell me last night. She told me about you and her four years ago.

Betrayal (1983), screenplay by Harold Pinter based on his own play

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Adultery.

Trivia: The original Broadway production of “Betrayal” by Harold Pinter opened January 5, 1980 at the Trafalgar Theatre and ran for 170 performances.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Betrayal is a fascinating movie in that the entire story is told from the husband’s point of view, with the scenes in precise reverse chronological order. The beginning of the movie is the end of the affair. The end of the movie is when the future lovers first meet.

Daily Dialogue — September 19, 2014

September 19th, 2014 by

Ennis Del Mar: This is a one-shot thing we got goin’ on here.
Jack Twist: It’s nobody’s business but ours.
Ennis Del Mar: You know I ain’t queer.
Jack Twist: Me neither.

Brokeback Mountain (2005), screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, short story by Annie Proulx

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Adultery.

Trivia: Heath Ledger, uncertain about the role when he was first offered it, was encouraged by his then girlfriend, Naomi Watts, to take it, immediately after they both read the script. After reading the script, Ledger said he would have flown to Taiwan to meet with Ang Lee in order to be hired for the role.

Dialogue On Dialogue: We often think about dialogue between the adulterer and the aggrieved party — husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend. But what about the pair who commit adultery? How do they respond when trying to calculate what it all means? One theme we see often: The act doesn’t really change things. That’s what gets articulated. But, of course, it does change things. As it does in Brokeback Mountain.

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — September 18, 2014

September 18th, 2014 by

“You think I’m funny, I’m an asshole? No no no… what’s funny is HER… what’s funny is, I had you two followed, because if it’s not you she’s sleeping with, it’s someone else… what’s funny is, when she gives you that LOOK, and says, ‘I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, Ray, I ain’t done nothin’ funny’… but the funniest thing to ME is… you think SHE came back HERE for YOU… THAT’S what’s FUCKIN’ FUNNY!”

Blood Simple. (1984), written by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Adultery.

Trivia: On the advice of Sam Raimi, the Coens went door-to-door showing potential investors a two minute ‘trailer’ of the film they planned to make. They ultimately raised $750,000 in a little over a year, enough to begin production of the movie.

Dialogue On Dialogue: That’s the thing about adultery. If someone sleeps with a married person, knowing they are doing so while living a lie… how can you trust them not to do the same thing to you? That’s a point aggrieved husband Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) makes here to the man involved in the affair Ray (John Getz).

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — September 17, 2014

September 17th, 2014 by


Richard and Francesca drive up to the general store to buy groceries. Francesca heads for the store as Richard crosses the street.

FRANCESCA: Want anything special for dinner?
RICHARD: Hmm. How about that brown sugar meat loaf you make?
FRANCESCA: (smiles) Okay.

She enters the store.


Francesca makes small talk with the grocery lady as she buys

what she needs.


Francesca places a bag of groceries on the front seat of the truck, then gets in herself to wait for Richard. She takes a deep breath and removes a handkerchief from her bag to wipe the sweat from her face. She freezes –

Through the windshield, she sees ROBERT standing beside his truck across the street, staring at her. Her heart stops.

For a moment, she isn’t even sure he’s real.

The town moves about its business around them. But neither notice or care. Whatever safety or forgetfulness she felt is gone. Her feelings burst through. She sits there helpless before him — willing to go or stay depending on what he did.

He begins walking towards her. She prepares herself. Her life will change — it has to. There’s not turning back.

But the closer Robert gets, the clearer he can see that she is crying. And he stops.

Without any words, he realizes what taking her with him would mean. With just a glance, he sacrifices her. With their eyes locked in the middle of Main Street — in front of the whole town — they smile and say goodbye.

Robert returns to his truck. He drives off down Main Street, taking the first left.

Moments later, Richard throws the feed bag into the back of his truck and gets in. Francesca is wiping her eyes.

He doesn’t notice. He drives off in the same direction as Robert.

FRANCESCA (V.O.): For a moment, I didn’t know where I was. And for a split second, the thought crossed my mind that he really didn’t want me — that it was easy to walk away.

As they pass the corner where Robert made his left turn, Francesca turns to look and sees:

ROBERT’S TRUCK IS PARKED just off the corner. As if he had to drive away to get out of sight, but couldn’t bring himself to drive any further.

The sight of him hiding there breaks Francesca’s heart, she turns away from her husband to hide the tears.

The Bridges of Madison County (1995), screenplay by Richard LaGravenese, novel by Robert James Waller

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Adultery. Today’s suggestion by Lois Bernard.

Trivia: Catherine Deneuve, a former lover of Eastwood’s in real life, auditioned for the role of Francesca.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Everyone knows what’s going on here except the husband, which is what adds a whole other layer of dramatic tension to the moment.

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — September 16, 2014

September 16th, 2014 by

“I tried so hard to make it go away. I thought that I could do it for you and for the kids. I can’t… I just… I can’t.”

Far From Heaven (2002), written by Todd Haynes

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Adultery.

Trivia: This was the last feature film to have an original score by Elmer Bernstein.

Dialogue On Dialogue: In movies, it seems like the act of adultery almost always comes to light. That can happen in a number of ways. In Far From Heaven, the revelation comes in the form of a confession. I suspect the more common manner is the affair being discovered. Anyone have any suggestions for those type of movie moments?

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — September 15, 2014

September 15th, 2014 by

“Well, what am I supposed to do? You won’t answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I’m not going to be ignored, Dan!”

Fatal Attraction (1987), written by James Dearden

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Adultery.

Trivia: When Glenn Close finally secured the part of Alex Forrest, one of the first things she did was to take the script to two different psychiatrists. She asked them, “Is this behavior possible and if it is, why?” The two psychiatrists who reviewed the script at Glenn Close’s request both came to the same conclusion: Alex Forrest’s behavior was, in its own way, classic behavior. Their diagnosis was that Alex had been molested and sexually tortured for an extended period of time while she was a child. As a result, she would naturally lash out at anyone who found her desirable.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Actions have consequences and with this famous line — “I’m not going to be ignored” — Dan starts to realize how deep into it he has gotten himself.

If you have a suggestion for this theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — September 14, 2014

September 14th, 2014 by

JACK CRABB: You mean you’re blind?
OLD LODGE SKINS: Oh no. My eyes still see. But my heart no longer receives it.
JACK CRABB: How did it happen?
JACK CRABB: Where’s Buffalo Wallow Woman?
OLD LODGE SKINS: Rubbed out. And White Elk Woman too. And Dirt On The Nose. And High Wolf. And many others.
JACK CRABB: And Burns Red?
JACK CRABB: Burns Red in the Sun?
OLD LODGE SKINS: Rubbed out. His wife. His children. And many more.
JACK CRABB: Do you hate them? Do you hate the White Man now?

The old man pulls a scalp from his belongings.

OLD LODGE SKINS: Do you see this fine thing? Do you admire the humanity of it? Because the Human Beings, my son, they believe that everything is alive. Not only man and animals, but also water, earth, stone. And also the things from them, like that hair. The man from whom this hair came, he’s bald on the other side, because I now own his scalp. That is the way things are. But the White Man, they believe everything is dead. Stone, earth, animals, and PEOPLE. EVEN THEIR OWN PEOPLE. If things keep trying to live, White Man will rub them out. That is the difference.”

Little Big Man (1970), screenplay by Calder Willingham, from the novel by Thomas Berger

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Wisdom. Today’s suggestion by John Arends.

Trivia: The line “Today, is a good day to die.” largely used by Star Trek Klingons was first said in this film by Old Lodge Skins (Chief Dan George). Little Big Man was an actual historical figure. He was a Native American, an Oglala Lakota, who was a fearless and respected warrior who fought under, and was rivals with, Crazy Horse. He also fought at the Battle of Little Big Horn, a battle which is depicted in this film.

Dialogue On Dialogue: I saw this movie visiting my brother at the University of Virginia where he was attending law school (I was a senior in high school). There are scenes that are seared into my memories… including this one. The horror of the ‘white man’ and their mistreatment of the Indians. Old Lodge Skins cannot comprehend why. Neither can I. Thus this wisdom is swathed in bitterness.