Monday, March 17, 2008

I've Kissed You, Now Shut Up

We've all seen this scene before. The lovesick hero is finally alone with the girl but he is too scared to "do" anything. He stutters and blabbers on, trying hard to conceal his nervousness. Finally the girl, tired of the man's milquetoastish ways, takes the initiative and whispers (some variation of) these magic words: "shut up and kiss me". They lock lips while the rest of us roll our eyes at the cliche.

I've lost count of how many sitcoms and romcoms have employed that situation. But which film first featured this routine? I think I have found the answer to that question.

It is Ernst Lubitsch's masterpiece comedy, "Trouble in Paradise", a film he and the great Samson Raphaelson wrote in 1932. I've included the hero and the heroine's conversation below, but you simply *have* to watch the film on screen to truly understand the phrase "Lubitsch touch".

Here's the other thing about the sequence. All the crappy romantic films made in the last seventy six years have not diminished one bit the tenderness and the sheer startlingness present in the "shut up, now kiss me" situation. That's an example of just how great Lubitsch and Raphaelson are. Fucking Cinema Gods!

And now for the dialog:
Mme. Colet: Monsieur LaValle, I have a confession to make to you. You like me. In fact, you're crazy about me. Otherwise, you wouldn't think about my reputation. Isn't that so? But incidently, I don't like you. I don't like you at all! And I wouldn't hesitate one instant to ruin your reputation - (She snaps her fingers) - like that! (As they talk about their reputations, their mouths are only inches apart)

Gaston/LaValle: You wouldn't?

Mme. Colet: No, I wouldn't!

Gaston/LaValle: (snapping his fingers) Like that?

Mme. Colet: (snapping her fingers again) Like that!

Gaston/LaValle: I know all your tricks.

Mme. Colet: And you're going to fall for them.

Gaston/LaValle: So you think you can get me?

Mme. Colet: Any minute I want.

Gaston/LaValle: You're conceited.

Mme. Colet: But attractive.

Gaston/LaValle: Now let me tell you...

Mme. Colet: Shut up - kiss me! (They kiss) Wasting all this marvelous time with arguments...(They kiss again)


Space Bar said...

sigh. in those days they had writers.

km said...

*Real* writers.