Friday, December 09, 2005

Why Martha! Your Sunday chapel dress!

who's afraid of virgina woolf?For a number of reasons, my fag-credibility factor is a bit lower than it should be to be a fully-fledged member of the card-carrying faggaratti. For instance, I loathe shopping (although I do like fucking). And I’m definitely not trend-driven nor overtly style-conscious even though I appreciate good design and take a detached interest in it. I only ever own one bottle (if that) of cologne at a time and I’ve never used moisturiser. Also, I’ve never been a great fan of the traditional gay icons like Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Barbara Streisand, Madonna, etc, etc. That’s not to say that I dislike most or any of them, I just can’t get wildly excited about them as so many of the faggaratti do.

But, having said that, I love ascerbic wit and clever, bitchy put-downs, something that so many of the gay icons of cinematic history excel at. So I knew that I’d love reading the entries on Joe's blog when he called for contributions to a list called Gay Men's 100 All Time Favorite Movie Quotes.

Even to me with my bad memory for such things, some of them are as common to me as lines of poetry would have been to a 19th century public schoolboy. But ask me to recall where they came from or who actually said them and I’m usually stumped. However, the one line I recalled perfectly was one of the many classic put-downs from the film of the play of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’:

elizabeth taylor’Why Martha! Your Sunday chapel dress!’ – George to Martha after she appears in an outfit that is too tight for her.

That reminded me how harrowing (and brilliant) that film was so I decided to google for some more quotes. And here they are:

Martha: I swear to GOD George, if you even EXISTED I'd divorce you.

Honey: I dance like the wind.

Martha: Look, sweetheart, I can drink you under any godd*mn table you want, so don't worry about me.

Honey: Oh, I don't know, a little brandy maybe. "Never mix, never worry!"
George: Martha? Rubbing alcohol for you?
Martha: Sure! "Never mix, never worry!"

[Martha has changed into an embarrassingly tight and revealing outfit]
George: Why Martha! Your Sunday chapel dress!

Martha: I hope that was an empty bottle, George! You can't afford to waste good liquor, not on YOUR salary!

George: All I said was that our son, the apple of our three eyes, Martha being a cyclops, our son is a beanbag, and you get testy!

Honey: They dance like they've danced before.
George: It's a familiar dance, monkey nipples, they both know it.

Martha: You make me puke.
George: That wasn't a very nice thing to say, Martha.

George: Martha, in my mind you're buried in cement right up to the neck. No, up to the nose, it's much quieter.

Nick: To you, everybody's a flop. Your husband's a flop, I'm a flop.
Martha: You're all flops. I am the Earth Mother, and you are all flops.

Nick: I'm tired, I've been drinking since nine o'clock, my wife is vomiting, there's been a lot of screaming going on around here!

George: So you get testy, naturally, don't worry about it! Anybody who comes here ends up getting testy, it's expected. Don't be upset.
Nick: I'm not upset.
George: You're testy.
Nick: Yes.

George: Martha is 108... years old. She weighs somewhat more than that.

Nick: Who did the painting?
George: Some Greek with a moustache that Martha attacked one night.

George: Martha, will you show her where we keep the, uh, euphemism?

George: Vanish!

Martha: I disgust me. You know, there's only been one man in my whole life who's ever made me happy. Do you know that?
[pause]
Martha: George, my husband... George, who is out somewhere there in the dark, who is good to me - whom I revile, who can keep learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them. Who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy. Yes, I do wish to be happy. George and Martha: Sad, sad, sad. Whom I will not forgive for having come to rest; for having seen me and having said: yes, this will do.

George: You take the trouble to construct a civilization, to build a society based on the principles of... of principle. You make government and art and realize that they are, must be, both the same. You bring things to the saddest of all points, to the point where there is something to lose. Then, all at once, through all the music, through all the sensible sounds of men building, attempting, comes the Dies Irae. And what is it? What does the trumpet sound? Up yours.

George: I'm very impressed.
Martha: You're d*mn right.
George: I said I was impressed. I'm beside myself with jealousy. What do you want me to do, throw up?

Martha: [derogatorily, to George] Hey, swamp! Hey swampy!
George: Yes, Martha? Can I get you something?
Martha: Ah, well, sure. You can, um, light my cigarette, if you're of a mind to.
George: No. There are limits. I mean, a man can put up with only so much without he descends a rung or two on the old evolutionary ladder, which is up your line. Now, I will hold your hand when it's dark and you're afraid of the boogeyman and I will tote your gin bottles out after midnight so no one can see but I will not light your cigarette. And that, as they say, is that.
Martha: Jesus.

Martha: Well, you're going bald.
George: So are you.

Nick: [to Honey] We'll go in a little while.
George: Oh no. No, you mustn't. Martha is changing, and Martha is not changing for me, Martha hasn't changed for me in years. If Martha is changing, that means we're going to be here for days. You're being accorded an honor, and you mustn't forget that Martha is the daughter of our beloved boss. She is his right... arm. I was going to use another word, but we'll leave that sort of talk to Martha.

[George takes a corner far too fast, tossing everyone in the car from side to side. Pause]
Martha: Aren't you going to apologize?
George: Not my fault, the road should've been straight.
Martha: No, aren't you going to apologize for making Honey throw up?
George: I didn't make her throw up.
Martha: What, you think it was handsome there? You think he made his own wife throw up?
George: Well, you make me throw up.
Martha: That's different.

Martha: Hey!
George: Hark! Jungle sounds.
Martha: Hey!
George: Animal noises.

George: You're a monster - You are.
Martha: I'm loud and I'm vulgar, and I wear the pants in the house because somebody's got to, but I am not a monster. I'm not.
George: You're a spoiled, self-indulgent, willful, dirty-minded, liquor-ridden...
Martha: SNAP! It went SNAP! I'm not gonna try to get through to you any more. There was a second back there, yeah, there was a second, just a second when I could have gotten through to you, when maybe we could have cut through all this, this CRAP. But it's past, and I'm not gonna try.

Martha: I looked at you tonight and you weren't there... And I'm gonna howl it out, and I'm not gonna give a d*mn what I do and I'm gonna make the biggest god-d*mn explosion you've ever heard.
George: Try and I'll beat you at your own game.
Martha: Is that a threat George, huh?
George: It's a threat, Martha.
Martha: You're gonna get it, baby.
George: Be careful Martha. I'll rip you to pieces.
Martha: You're not man enough. You haven't the guts.
George: Total war.
Martha: Total.

elizabeth taylor and richard burtonGeorge: I used to drink brandy.
Martha: You used to drink bergen, too.

George: Do you really think I'm going to kill you, Martha?
Martha: You? Kill me? That's a laugh.
George: Well, now, I might... some day.
Martha: Fat chance.

George: And that's how you play "Get the Guests".

George: Good. Better. Best. Bested.

7 Comments:

Blogger kleverkloggs said...

I read somewhere that Albee based it on a gay couple of academics at a University he was teaching at, though it sounds alot like Christmas with the 'rents if you ask me!

4:45 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Well, if that is true, it certainly makes a lot of sense!

10:03 pm  
Blogger justin said...

I went to a brilliant live performance of this play, way back in the late 60s. A few years later, I read one interesting interpretation of it... Martha and George were a childless couple, and what Martha was really saying was, "I want(ed) a fucking baby!".
That was a huge revelation for me, not only about the play's subject matter, but how people say one thing but mean another.

10:51 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

I don't remember it that well, having not seen it for 10 or more years but I do recall realising during the film that the big no-no area of their bickering was the baby.

A live performance must have been rivetting. The film certainly is.

10:55 am  
Blogger justin said...

PS (hope you don't mind a PS)..
..I would be interested to hear what you think about the latest figures for HIV in the UK.
Are the “safe sex“ messages getting across to the gay community? (See my latest blog).

11:03 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

The figures are distressing. I haven't 'analysed' them in any great detail but the figures for all STDs are up. Apparently the safe sex messages aren't getting through as they once did. That applies to the straight and gay population, mostly the younger generation. Will go have a look at your latest entry.

4:39 pm  
Anonymous Gyles said...

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2:54 am  

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