The Fortune Cookie

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The Fortune Cookie is a 1966 film about a crooked lawyer who persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.

Directed by Billy Wilder. Written by Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond.
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who'll do anything for money and those who'll do almost anything for money...taglines

William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich[edit]

  • [repeated line to his mother-in-law] Shut up, Mother.
  • [on Abraham Lincoln] Great president, lousy lawyer.
  • [on Clarence Darrow] Great lawyer, lousy dresser.

Dialogue[edit]

[Jeffrey and Ginger Gingrich are rollerskating in the hospital.]
Charlotte Gingrich: Children! Jeffrey. Ginger. Cut that out. This is a hospital.
'William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Let 'em. If they're gonna break a leg, this is the place to do it.

Nun: Oh, I . . . I'm terribly sorry.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: All my fault, Sister. I was just trying to, uh, I'm his brother-in-law, Sister.
Nun: I see.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: And this is his mother, Sister, and this is my wife, his sister, Sister.
Nun: How do you do?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: We were sort of anxious to find out if, uh . . .
Nun: I understand. But it'll be a few more minutes.
[The nun walks off.]
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Thank you, Sister. [to his sobbing mother-in-law] Shut up, Mother.
Harry Hinkle's mother: Poor Harry. He was always so brittle. [to Charlotte Gingrich] Remember when he fell off the garage?
Charlotte Gingrich: Oh, Mother, not that old story again.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: What story?
Harry Hinkle's mother: When they were kids in Toledo, he and Charlotte were playing paratrooper. She pushed him off the roof.
Charlotte Gingrich: I didn't push him, he jumped. And anyway, he had an umbrella. Is it my fault if he forgot to open it?

[Harry Hinkle comes out of the emergency room in a stretcher.]
Harry Hinkle's mother: Harry? Harry, baby, how do you feel?
Harry groans.
Harry Hinkle's mother: It's me, Mama. And Charlotte is here and Willie and Ginger and Jeffrey.
Harry Hinkle: Hi, sports fans.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: How is he, Doc?
Doctor: I think he has a mild concussion. We've put him under sedation. He'll rest comfortably tonight.
Harry Hinkle: This is Harry Hinkle on Camera Four.
Harry Hinkle's mother: He doesn't know his own mother.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Well, Doc, any ruptures, broken bones, internal bleeding?
Doctor: I don't think so.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: You don't think so? How long you been outta medical school?
Doctor: Five months.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: That long, huh?
Doctor: Sir?
Harry Hinkle: Okay, Louie. You pick up the band. I'll pan with the pompom girls. La la-la la-la-la-la-la.

[William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich is in his cluttered office with only one client, Mr. Cimoli.]
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Now, tell me, Mr. Cimoli. Exactly how did you break your hip?
Mr. Cimoli: It's my pelvis.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: All right, your pelvis. How did it happen?
Mr. Cimoli: I was comin' out this store, and there it was on the sidewalk.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: What?
Mr. Cimoli takes out a banana peel and holds it up."
Mr. Cimoli: This.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: I see. And you were coming out of what store?
Mr. Cimoli: Well, that was Nat's Delicatessen on Euclid Avenue.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Too bad.
Mr Cimoli: Oh, such pain.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: I mean, too bad it didn't happen further down the street in front of the May Company. From them, you can collect. Couldn't you have dragged yourself another 20 feet?
[The phone rings. Willie answers it.]
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Hello? Speaking? O'Brien, Thompson, and Kincaid? Yes, what can I do for you? The Hinkle case? Oh, yes. I'm handling that. Well, I can't talk right now. I have an office full of people.
[Upon hearing that, Mr. Cimoli looks around in surprise.]
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Suppose I come up to your place? Right.
[He hangs up.]
Mr. Cimoli: Say, how much you think my pelvis is worth?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: By itself, nothing. So, it's a good thing you came to me. Before we're through with them, we'll have them begging for mercy.
Mr. Cimoli: Well, who's "them"?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: That I haven't figured out yet. But don't go away. I'll think of an angle.

Thompson: [on William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich] This guy is so full of angles and gimmicks and twists, he starts to describe a doughnut, and it comes out a pretzel.
O'Brien: Nevertheless, when he gets here, I suggest we try the friendly approach.
Thompson: Okay. But after you shake hands with him, I suggest you count your fingers.
Chester Purkey: I'd better get out of here.
O'Brien: Purkey, I want you to keep digging away.
Chester Purkey: My pleasure. I'd like to dig a nice, deep hole for our friend Gingrich.

[Chester Purkey exists the office of O'Brien, Thompson, and Kincaid and starts putting on his gloves, only to bump into William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich, who immediately starts shaking Purkey's hand while he talks.]
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Hi there, Purkey, old boy.
Chester Purkey: Hello.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: They keeping you busy?
Chester Purkey: I'm not complaining.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Attababy! [to the Lawyers' receptionist] To see O'Brien, Thompson, and Kincaid.
Lawyers' receptionist: And you are?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Gingrich, Gingrich, and Gingrich.
[Purkey is walking out when he notices that a finger appears to be missing on his gloved hand.]
Chester Purkey: Hey!
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: What's the matter?
[Purkey adjusts his glove and finds that his finger is not missing.]
Chester Purkey: Nothin'.
Lawyers' receptionist: Go right in, Mr. Gingrich.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Thanks. And take the rest of the afternoon off.

William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Gentlemen.
O'Brien: Ah, Mr. Gingrich. I've heard a lot about you. Sit down, sit down.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Say! You each have an office like this, or do you all bunk together?
O'Brien: The reason we called you up here, Mr. Gingrich is because -
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Lemme guess. You want to settle.
O'Brien: Settle?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: You don't want to settle.
O'Brien: Certainly not.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: That settles that.
Thompson: You got no case, Gingrich. It's a simple matter of workmen's compensation.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: It's a simple matter of negligence. That tarpaulin should have been rolled back 50 feet, and it's gonna cost you $20,000 per foot!
O'Brien: Rubbish! All the legal precedents are on our side.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: That so? What about Fishbein v. the Empire State Building?
O'Brien: What about it?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: You'll find it in Volume 16, New York Supplement Two, Page 45, 1900 and 39. A window washer, 61st floor. The safety belt broke and -
[Willie makes the motion and sound of someone falling.]
Thompson: As a window washer, Mr. Fishbein was taking a normal occupational risk.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: The window washer's name was Jones. Mr. Fishbein was a pedestrian walking innocently down 34th Street, and the next thing he knew, he was splattered all over the sidewalk. The widow sued, was awarded $85,000. Case appealed, judgement upheld. Volume 259, Appellate Division, page 56. Also Volume 24, New York Supplement Two, page 168, 1900 and 40.
O'Brien: Maybe in New York, they throw money around like that.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: All right, what about Mrs. Cunningham v. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad? US District Court, Eastern District of Ohio, Number eighty-nine twenty-seven. Mrs. Cunningham, en route to Cincinnati to visit dying uncle, gets trapped in the toilet on account of a faulty lock. The car is hitched to another train. Mrs. Cunningham winds up in San Bernardino, California. By this time, the uncle is dead, and she's cut of the will. So, she sues the railroad for damages. Does this ring a bell?
Thompson: Never heard of it.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: You mean, none of you has? Because you gentlemen represented the railroad.
O'Brien: We did?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: And lost the case.
O'Brien clears his throat.
O'Brien: Suppose we get back to the Hinkle case?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: You guys should really bone up on negligence.
O'Brien: We've been going over the hospital report.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Discouraging, isn't it?
O'Brien: Naturally, we don't accept it at face value.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: I wouldn't either.
Thompson: Look, Gingrich. Let's stop horsing around. We demand the right to have our own doctors examine Hinkle.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: You got it.
Kincaid: Unless you agree to it, we'll get a court order and force you.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: I agree to it.
O'Brien: Now, don't give us any trouble, Gingrich. We know you're reputation. We - What do you mean, you agree to it?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Permission granted.
Thompson: You have no objections?
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: As a matter of fact, I insist on it. To you gentlemen, it's just a question of money. But to me, it's a personal tragedy. My kid brother-in-law, possibly disabled for life. I'm sure you gentlemen'll bring him the best doctors, the kind of specialists we could never afford. Maybe you'll even send him to the Mayo Clinic.
O'Brien: Don't worry. Mr. Hinkle will get a thorough going-over.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Good. We'll there be anything else, gentlemen?
O'Brien: I can't think of anything.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Well, I can. If you're to examine my client, you'll need written consent.
O'Brien: Yes, of course. [to Thompson] Get Miss Heffelfinger in here.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Don't bother. I have the authorizations right here.
[He takes them out and hands them to the O'Brien, Thompson, and Kincaid.]
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Three copies, all signed and notarized. Thank you very much, gentlemen. If you'll excuse me, I have somebody waiting in my office. Interesting case. I'm considering suing the United Fruit Company. There should be a printed warning on every banana peel. Those things can be hazardous to your health. Carry on, gentlemen.

[Sister Veronica sees Harry happily riding his wheelchair.]
Sister Veronica: Oh, doesn't it do your heart good? I have a hunch he'll be up and around in no time.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich laughs.
William H. "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich: Now, look, Sister, I asked you to pray for him, but we don't want any miracles.

[Chester Purkey and Max are surveilling Harry Hinkle's apartment from the apartment across the street. Purkey is listening to what is happening in Harry's apartment on his headphones, hearing Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson speak.]
Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson: One, two. Left, right.
Chester Purkey: What's that with the "One, two. Left, right"?
Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson: One, two. Left, right.
Chester Purkey: Hey, Max!
Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson: One, two. Left, right.
Chester Purkey: What are they doin' over there? Can you see anything?
Max looks into the camera facing the window.
Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson: One, two. Left, right.
Max: They're dancin' the frug.
Chester Purkey: What?
Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson: One, two. Left, right.
Purkey goes to the window and looks into the camera. He sees Boom Boom talking to Harry, who is using a walker.
Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson: Left, right. One, two. Left, right.
Chester Purkey: The frug! Hey, you have some sense of humor.
Max: If you ask me, we're just wastin' our time. I think this guy's legit.
Chester Purkey: Maybe so, but let's give it a chance.
Max: We've been watchin' for three days and three nights! The colored guy has to dress him, shave him, feed him, put him to bed, carry him to the toilet, brush his teeth. If that's an act, then I'm Soupy Sales.
Chester Purkey: Listen. I once shadowed a guy who was suin' the Yellow Cab Company. Some kind of collision. Claimed he was paralyzed. For six weeks, we were watchin' him and nothin', never even moved a muscle. He had this Swedish masseuse come every so often, give him a rubdown. Then, one night, bingo! There he was, givin' her a rubdown.
Max: No kiddin'?
Chester Purkey: Caught him red-handed. Except that idiot cameraman. He got so carried away, he forgot to roll the film.
Max: Couldn't you ask for another take?
Chester Purkey: Well, I - You mind if I laugh after lunch?

Cast[edit]

Taglines[edit]

  • There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who'll do anything for money and those who'll do almost anything for money...
  • Why was she planted in Harry Hinkle's bedroom?
  • Is he a spy? A security risk? Is he unfaithful? Or is he a nice, normal shnook out to make a lousy million bucks by sheer accident!
  • Dough is the most important ingredient in THE FORTUNE COOKIE
  • How Harry Hinkle became a fortune cookie OR: some people will do anything for $249,000.92.