The Awful Truth

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It's funny that everything's the way it is on account of the way you feel.

The Awful Truth is a 1937 film about a soon-to-be-divorced couple who go to great lengths to try to ruin each other's romantic escapades.

Directed by Leo McCarey.  Written by Viña Delmar and Sidney Buchman (uncredited), based on the play by Arthur Richman.

Jerry Warriner[edit]

  • I've gotta get a deep Florida tan if it takes all afternoon…All aboard for Miami, Palm Beach and points south.
  • Well, I'm gonna be tanned and Lucy's not gonna be embarrassed. And what wives don't know won't hurt them.
  • I wish Lucy would go out and get some fun for herself now and again. It would do her good. That's the trouble with most marriages today. People are always imagining things. The road to Reno is paved with suspicions. And the first thing you know, they all end up in a divorce court.
  • Perhaps our marriage doesn't mean anything to you?…Perhaps you have no sentiment left for me.
  • So you two are gonna be married. I was glad to hear that. I said to myself, 'That Leeson's just the man for Lucy.'
  • [to Daniel] Take good care of her. Maybe you'll succeed where I failed. And I'm sure that the three of you will be very happy out where the West begins. If you ever think of me, send me a postcard. Just say, 'Having a wonderful time!' I'll understand.
  • Oh, I've heard everything. I'm going out to get some popcorn and pink lemonade. I've just seen a three-ring circus.
  • [to Lucy] I certainly acted like a prized lunatic and I'm sorry…Nothing except the most ridiculous and sickening exhibition mortal man ever made of himself. Oh, I don't know why I act like that….The main idea is, do you accept my apology? Aside from making a blue-ribbon sap of myself today, I must have embarrassed you beyond words. You took it fine, though.
  • [to Barbara] You can't have a happy married life if you're always suspicious. No. There can't be any doubts in marriage. Marriage is based on faith and if you've lost that, you've lost everything.

Lucy Warriner[edit]

  • Well, if we haven't had the most terrible time. Armand's car broke down last night a million miles from nowhere and we had to stay at the nastiest little inn you ever saw. No modern conveniences at all. It was dreadful. We were on our way home from the Junior Prom. A pupil of Armand's invited us. And, oh well, it's a long story.
  • (You) can't have a happy married life if you're always going to be suspicious of each other…No one's interested in my night's adventure except Jerry and he knows it's innocent, just as well as he knows that, well, that he just got back from Florida.
  • And then somehow, all of a sudden, the three of us were having lunch together. The man, and Mr. Smith [their dog], and I. And then things began to happen rather swiftly. And finally I said, well I think we'd better get married. And we did. And that way, we were able to give Mr. Smith a better home and live happily ever after. Until now.
  • Put a light in the window if it's yes, two if it's no, and if you can't make up your minds, just pull down the shade.
  • Jerry's always had the most fantastic way of getting into scrapes. Oh, we've had some grand laughs together. [about Daniel] I can't marry him because I'm still in love with that crazy lunatic and there's nothing I can do about it…I tried to forget Jerry.
  • [about Jerry] I'm convinced he must care about me or he wouldn't do the funny things he does.
  • [to Jerry, about Barbara] Tell her I'd love to meet her. Tell her to wear boxing gloves.
  • [to Barbara] I've seen your pictures in the paper and I've wondered what you look like.

Daniel Leeson[edit]

  • Just to prove that you're not mad, will ya give me a little kiss?…If you knew how crazy I am about ya, you wouldn't hesitate. I can't sleep nights…I must be in love, 'cause I started writin' poetry to ya.
    To you my little prairie flower,
    I'm thinkin' of you every hour.
    Though now you're just a friend to me,
    I wonder what the end will be.
    Oh, you would make my life divine,
    If you would change your name to mine.
  • [to Lucy] You make me the happiest man in the world! I'm so happy I could eat three steaks.
  • [to Mrs. Leeson] Well, I guess a man's best friend is his mother. I certainly learned about women from you.

Lola Warriner[edit]

  • [to Mrs. Vance, about Jerry] We call him Jerry the Nipper. He likes to sneak 'em when nobody's looking. So cute about it too. I've seen him go along a whole evening and apparently not have a thing to drink and all of a sudden fall flat on his puss.
  • What in the world was Dad ever doing with a football?…Of course I remember. Pop loved Princeton. He was there nearly twenty years. If ever a man loved a place, he did - he just adored it. And he certainly kept it looking beautiful. You've seen the grounds, of course?
  • I was working my head off at the Virginia Club but the minute he started doing better, you know what I mean, why he made me give up my job and, uhm, take a trip to London and Paris and uh, I think that was pretty swell, don't you?…it was a little act, kind of uh, well, it's a little hard to explain.
  • Sa-ayy wait a minute! Don't anybody leave this room! I've lost my purse. [the purse is found between the cushions] Oh, well, am I relieved.


  • Armand Duvalle: [about Jerry] He's free of all mean suspicion. Yes, he has more the Continental mind.
  • Attorney: [on the phone] Now, now Lucy, don't do anything in haste that you might regret later. Marriage is a beautiful thing. [to his wife] Please be quiet, will you?…Please shut your mouth!…Will you shut your big mouth! I'll eat when I get good and ready and if you don't like it, you know what you can do, so shut up!
  • Judge: If the divorce is not further contested, it will become final 90 days from this date. The plaintiff and the defendant will then be at liberty to make other marriages if such be their desire.
  • Judge: The custody of the dog will depend upon his own desire.
  • Barbara: [to Jerry, after Lucy answers his phone] Have you made up your mind who the woman is?


Armand: Well, in all fairness, you should permit me to remain and explain ourselves.
Lucy: Well, American women aren't accustomed to gallantry, Armand. I appreciate your offer, but maybe you had better go.
Armand: Oh, pardon me, Mrs. Warriner, you misunderstand. I am a voice teacher, am I not? For one year, she has been my pupil. And from time to time, I pat her on the back. I mean, I congratulate her on her development. Do I express myself?
Jerry: Yes, you've been doing all right.
Armand: But now my position must be considered. I have never yet been in a scandal.
Jerry: Never been caught, huh?
Armand: No. I am a great teacher, not a great lover.
Lucy: That's right, Armand. No one could ever accuse you of being a great lover. That is, I mean to say, well, well who's to say whether you are or not. It's all so silly, but maybe you had better go.

Lucy: It's enough to destroy one's faith, isn't it?
Jerry: Oh, I haven't any faith left in anyone.
Lucy: I know just how you feel.
Jerry: What do you mean?
Lucy: You didn't happen to mention in any of your letters what a terrible rainy spell they were having in Florida. The papers were full of it.
Jerry: Well, I can explain that, Lucy.
Lucy: You can?
Jerry: And don't try to change the subject. You think a great offense is a great defense. Don't try to justify your behavior by insinuating things about me.
Lucy: But I haven't any behavior to justify. I've just been unlucky, that's all. You've come home and caught me in a truth and it seems there's nothing less logical than the truth.
Jerry: Hmm, a philosopher, huh?
Lucy: You don't believe me.
Jerry: Oh, how can I believe you? The car broke down. People stopped believing that one before cars stopped breaking down.
Lucy: Well, his car's very old.
Jerry: Well, so's his story.

Lucy: I've told you the truth about all this, Jerry. Don't you see that there can't be any doubt in marriage? The whole thing's built on faith. If you've lost that, well, you've lost everything.
Jerry: Then I guess we're washed up because we've lost faith in each other.
Lucy: Do you mean that?…All right then, that settles it. I wouldn't go on living with you if you were dipped in platinum. So go on, divorce me. Go on, divorce me! It'll be a pleasure. [he refuses] All right, then I'll divorce you. I believe it's customary anyhow for the wife to bring suit. It has something to do with a husband being a gentleman, if you know what I mean? I'll call up our lawyer right now.

Aunt Patsy: You know dozens of men who would turn handsprings at the chance to take you out. Here I've got you all dressed up, ready to go out and you weaken and refuse…I want to go where there's life, and I don't mean plant life. I want to go to the theatre, you know, and go places later and step around and do things…I don't need an escort to get a drink. I'm going down to the bar and see Joe. Bartender or no bartender, he's still a man. Maybe he knocks off early.
Lucy: Oh, Patty, you wouldn't!
Aunt Patsy: I wouldn't, eh? You're talking to a desperate woman. [Mr. Smith jumps up next to Lucy on the couch] Too bad he can't wear a top-hat.

Aunt Patsy: Imagine you living right across the hall from us all of this time. [to Lucy] He's a stranger in town. He'd take it as being real neighborly of us if we show him some of the bright spots.
Daniel: We're here on a visit. I'm in oil, you know.
Aunt Patsy: Marinated, so to speak.
Daniel: [laughing] Say, that's a good one. I gotta remember to tell that to my mother.
Aunt Patsy: Mr. Leeson. Won't you tell us something about Oklahoma?
Daniel: Well, Oklahoma's pretty swell. I got quite a ranch down there. I'd like to have you see it sometime, Mrs. Warriner…I got cattle and horses and chickens and alfalfa.

Jerry: This is my day to visit Mr. Smith.
Lucy: He's only my husband for - how much longer is it now? Sixty days?
Jerry: Fifty-nine.
Lucy: Oh, that's better. Only fifty-nine days. Don't worry about him, he has a Continental mind.
Daniel: [they shake hands] I'm glad to know ya.
Jerry: How can you be glad to know me? I know how I'd feel if I was sitting with a girl and her husband walked in.
Lucy: I'll bet you do.
Jerry: [to Lucy] You know, I don't think you ought to go around telling people you're not married. He looks like a nice sort of fella. How do you think he feels?
Lucy: Why don't you go and play with the dog?
Jerry: Don't mind me.
Lucy: [to Daniel] Tell me some more about Arizona.
Daniel: Oklahoma.

Jerry: [about Mr. Smith] Hey, is he getting enough to eat lately? He doesn't look very well.
Lucy: Well, you don't look so hot yourself.

Daniel: Are you sure you don't like that fella?
Lucy: Like him? You saw the way I treated him, didn't you?
Daniel: That's what I mean. Back on my ranch, I got a little red rooster and a little brown hen and they fight all the time too, but every once in a while they make up again and they're right friendly.

Daniel: I think I'm in love.
Mrs. Leeson: You keep your mind off women…She won't want to meet me. She knows that any other woman could see right through her.

Lucy: [about Daniel] He's sweet and thoughtful…sane and considerate. I was married to one who was insane and inconsiderate.
Aunt Patsy: I didn't expect you to get silly about him…It's fine except the rebound is rarely the real thing. As a matter of fact, it's the bunk.
Lucy: Well, I'm serious about Daniel and I like him. I like him very much. I'm all through with Jerry. He doesn't mean a thing to me. I don't love him, and what's more, I probably never did. I'm sure I never loved him and now I hate him. And that surprises you, doesn't it? I hate Jerry Warriner and I like Daniel Leeson very very much and I hope he's just crazy about me because I think he's the finest man I ever met.

Jerry: I'm in love with love. In the spring, a young man's fancy likely turns to, uh, what he's been thinking about all winter. How long have you been talking like Amos 'n' Andy, huh?
Dixie Belle: Oh, for quite some time. I got wise to the fact that it helps me in my work. So as long as I loved my work, you'll all have to pardon my Southern accent.

Jerry: Ah, so you're gonna live in Ok-la-ho-ma, eh Lucy? How I envy you. Ever since I was a small boy, that name has been filled with magic for me. Ok-la-ho-ma!
Daniel: We're gonna live right in Oklahoma City!
Jerry: Not Oklahoma City itself? Lucy, you lucky girl! No more running around to nightspots. No more prowling around in New York shops. I shall think of you every time a new show opens and say to myself, 'She's well out of it.'
Daniel: New York's all right for a visit but I wouldn't want to live here.
Lucy: I know I'll enjoy Oklahoma City.
Jerry: Well, of course. And if it should get dull, you can always go over to Tul-sa for the weekend. I think a big change like that does one good, don't you?

Jerry: [about Dixie Belle] I just met her.
Lucy: I guess it was easier to her to change her name than for her whole family to change theirs.
Daniel: That'd go great out West.
Lucy: It seemed to go pretty well with the cowboy here.
Jerry: Do you want to change the subject?

Jerry: Look, why don't you two get up and dance, or don't you dance?
Daniel: Uh, Lucy doesn't care very much about dancing. Didn't you know that?
Jerry: Did Lucy tell you that? She's holding out on ya. She's a beautiful dancer. Why, I used to call her 'Twinkle-toes.' [grinning] Hello Twinkle-toes.
Daniel: Have you been foolin' me, you little rascal?
Lucy: Well, to tell you the truth, Dan, I-I didn't think you cared much about it.
Daniel: Care about it? Why, I could dance till the cows come home! I won several cups at it myself.
Lucy: We never won any cups.
Jerry: Maybe you had the wrong partner.
Daniel: There's a lot in what you say.

Jerry: Our divorce was one of those tragedies that you read about in the papers - a trusting woman and a worthless man. I was never good enough for Lucy, and well, finally she found it out. Lucy is above suspicion and always has been. She's as pure as the driven snow, as faithful as she is fair. And I would that I had been worthy to kiss the hem of her garment. Never during our marital bliss did she cause me one moment's uneasiness. Never did I have to ask, 'Lucy, where have you been? What were you doing?' I always knew. I tell you, something wonderful went out of my life when I lost her.
Daniel: Oh, I know just how you feel.
Jerry: How do ya know? How can you know how it feels to have used up the best years of a woman's life? Well, of course, that's the way it goes.

Jerry: What do you see in this fellow?
Lucy: Oh, none of your business.
Jerry: Not that I care, but uh, what kind of mind could he have that would impress you, huh?
Lucy: You might be surprised. You could take a few lessons and profit nicely.
Jerry: You'd be surprised what I'd give to get an earful of that.

Jerry: I think Barbara and I will be very happy together.
Lucy: Let's drink to our future. Here's hoping you and Barbara will be very happy - which I doubt very much…as we go down life's highway, you going your way and I going my way. I think champagne is so fitting to round out our romance. I remember the first drink we ever had together. You in your very best manner said, 'It must be champagne.' And then you offered a toast, you remember?…Being a woman, I do… You said, 'Lend an ear I implore you. This comes from my heart. I'll always adore you. Til death do us part.' Remember?…Oh dear, well, it was pretty swell, I mean, while it lasted, but uh, all beautiful things must end, so, I guess we may as well call it a day.

[Lucy poses as Jerry's sister, Lola]
Lola: [while pulling on her handkerchief] Will you excuse me, Mrs. Vance? Thank you. [Mrs. Vance rises, but Lola is the one sitting on the handkerchief] Oh look, it's me, isn't it?! [they both resume their seats and Lola again pulls on the handkerchief] It's you this time, Mrs. Vance. [Mrs. Vance rises again] Look, I'll just put it over here and get it out of the way.
[Mrs. Vance sits down again and shoots upward, after sitting on Lola's hand]
Lola: I guess that could go on and on and on and on.
Mrs. Vance: I hope not!
Lola: Well, I don't want to be rude but may I have a drink?…I had three or four before I got here, but they're beginning to wear off, and you know how that is.

Jerry: You just thought that if I'd stay up there, you'd show me exactly how innocent a night in the country could be, didn't you?
Lucy: Are you still harping on that same old string? Well, it's a matter of complete indifference to me whether you go or stay. I was just trying to make it easier for you, that's all.

Jerry: I told you we'd have trouble with this…In a half an hour, we'll no longer be 'Mr. and Mrs.' Funny, isn't it?
Lucy: Yes, it's funny that everything's the way it is on account of the way you feel.
Jerry: Huh?
Lucy: Well, I mean if you didn't feel the way you do, things wouldn't be the way they are, would they? Well, I mean things could be the same if things were different.
Jerry: But things are the way you made them.
Lucy: Oh no. No, things are the way you think I made them. I didn't make them that way at all. Things are just the same as they always were, only you're the same as you were, too, so I guess things will never be the same again. Good night.

Lucy: You're all confused, aren't you?
Jerry: Uh-huh. Aren't you?
Lucy: No.
Jerry: Well, you should be, because you're wrong about things being different because they're not the same. Things are different, except in a different way. You're still the same, only I've been a fool. Well, I'm not now. So, as long as I'm different, don't you think that, well, maybe things could be the same again? Only a little different, huh?
Lucy: Do you mean that, Jerry? Are you sure?
Jerry: Mmm, hmm.
Lucy: No more doubts?…No more being…?
Jerry: Except, uh…
Lucy: Except what?
Jerry: Well, there's only one thing that bothers me.
Lucy: What?
Jerry: [the door opens] This darn lock.
Lucy: Oh, is that all?


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