Voila! Finally, the An Ideal Husband
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the movie starring
Julianne Moore and Jeremy Northam. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of An Ideal Husband. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally
tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
- Your usual, my lord.
Good morning, my lord.
The morning paper, my lord.
"Sir Robert Chiltern,
a rising star in Parliament,...
.. tonight hosts a party that promises to be
the highlight of the social calendar...
.. with his wife, Lady Gertrude,...
.. who is herself a leading figure
in women's politics. "
"Together this couple...
.. represents what is best
in English public life...
.. and is a noble contrast
to the lax morality...
.. so common
amongst foreign politicians. "
Dear oh dear. They will never say
that about me, will they, Phipps?
I sincerely hope not, sir.
Bit of a busy day today, I'm afraid.
Distressingly little time
for sloth or idleness.
- Sorry to hear it, sir.
- Not entirely your fault, Phipps.
Not this time.
Thank you, my lord.
- Good morning, Tommy!
- Morning, Lady Chiltern.
I very much look forward to this evening.
- Miss Mabel.
I hope you can make
our usual appointment...
.. as I have something very particular
I wish to say to you.
Good day, ladies.
When Tommy wants to be romantic,
he talks to one just like a doctor.
- Miss Mabel.
- Lord Goring.
Countess, good morning.
- Aren't you going to congratulate me?
Aren't you going to ask what for?
- What for?
- I've decided to get married.
My God! Who to?
That part... is still to be decided.
Good morning, dear Gertrude.
Good morning, Lady Markby.
Allow me to introduce
my friend Mrs Cheveley.
Two such charming women
should know each other.
- How do you do?
- Mrs Cheveley and I have met before.
And to think
you married Sir Robert Chiltern.
You know, I was so hoping
to meet your clever husband.
Yes, but I have to return
to Vienna on Friday.
Oh, dear, what a shame.
Well, perhaps I might bring her
Yes, by all means.
- What can I say? I'd be delighted.
- We'll see you tonight.
- See you tonight.
You see, Phipps,
fashion is what one wears oneself.
What is unfashionable...
-.. is what other people wear.
- Yes, my lord.
Other people are quite dreadful.
The only possible society is oneself.
To love oneself...
.. is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
Yes, my lord.
the Duke and Duchess of Berwick.
.. and, it is widely agreed,
the last truly decent man in London.
That you're a very personable man
with a most attractive personality,...
.. and you have brought into British politics
an honesty and integrity...
A nobler atmosphere, a finer attitude...
And higher ideals.
One mustn't believe everything
one reads in the newspapers.
Yes, in the old days we had the rack.
Nowadays we have the press.
Your own newspaper being
the notable exception, Sir Edward.
Where truth shines out like a beacon
and lies run vainly for the shadows.
Bravo, Lady Chiltern!
Do I detect in your conversation
.. not uncommon in your husband's
If you are suggesting that my position
owes anything to my wife,...
.. you are mistaken.
It owes everything to my wife.
I demand that you make it known!
Without her, I am entirely unexceptional.
And without her love,...
.. I'm nothing.
All I know is, a serious shake-up
in the government looks inevitable now.
The Prime Minister himself
was asking about you this morning.
Really? Probably afraid
you'd be taking his job!
Lady Markby, Mrs Cheveley.
Oh, my dear,...
.. if I had a jewel for every staring eye!
I'm glad to say, Lady Markby,
you evidently do!
Chère madame, quelle surprise!
- I have not seen you since Berlin.
- Five years ago, Vicomte.
You are younger and more beautiful
than ever. How do you manage it?
By making it a rule only to talk
to charming people like yourself.
What do we know about her?
Very influential in Vienna -
in the highest circles.
A force to be reckoned with.
And are you staying in London long?
That depends on the weather,
.. and partly on your brother.
My dear, Sir Robert
has been dying to meet you.
Everyone is! Our attachés in Vienna
write to us about nothing else.
An acquaintance that begins
with a compliment...
.. is sure to develop into a real friendship.
- I see you've met my sister.
- Yes, indeed.
My dear child, allow me to introduce you
to the Vicomte de Nanjac.
You have a beautiful house, Sir Robert.
We're very happy here.
- I would so love to look around.
- Allow me.
Good evening, young lady.
Well, sir, what are you doing here?
Wasting your life, as usual!
You should be in bed, sir!
I heard you were at Lady Rufford's
dancing till four in the morning!
- Good evening, Father.
- How do you stand London society?
A lot of damn nobodies
talking about nothing!
Nothing is the only thing
I know anything about.
That's a paradox, sir. I hate paradoxes.
So do I. Everyone one meets
is a paradox nowadays.
It makes society so... obvious, hm?
Do you always understand
what you say, sir?
Yes,... if I listen attentively.
Oh, conceited young puppy!
I have it on very good authority
that you have some delightful Corots.
- Oh, really? Whose?
- Baron Arnheim.
- Did you know the Baron well?
- Intimately. Did you?
- At one time.
- Wonderful man, wasn't he?
Very remarkable, in many ways.
It's a pity he never wrote his memoirs.
They'd have been most interesting.
Allow me to introduce my dearest friend,
the idlest man in London.
- Lord Goring.
- You've met!
I did not think you'd remember me,
Mrs, er... Cheveley.
My memory is under admirable control.
Sir Robert, the Indian Ambassador.
And so, my dear Arthur, are you not
just a little bit pleased to see me?
Oh, my dear woman,...
.. possibly even less than that.
Should you wish to avoid me entirely,
I am at Claridge's until Friday...
.. when I shall return to Vienna.
Are you still a bachelor?
- Resolutely so.
- He is the result of Boodle's Club.
He reflects every credit on the institution.
And now, Sir Robert,
I have something to say to you.
- You'll find me an eager audience.
- I'm so glad.
I want to talk to you about a great
political and financial scheme,...
.. about this Argentine Canal Company,
What a tedious, practical subject
to talk about, Mrs Cheveley.
Oh, I like tedious, practical subjects.
I don't like tedious, practical people.
Besides, you're interested, I know,
in international canal schemes.
But the Suez Canal was a very great
and splendid undertaking.
It gave us our direct route into India.
This Argentine scheme is
a commonplace Stock Exchange swindle.
It is a speculation.
A brilliant, daring speculation.
Believe me, Mrs Cheveley, it is a swindle.
Let us call things by their proper names.
It makes matters simpler.
I hope you have not invested in it.
You're far too clever to have done that.
I have invested very largely in it.
Who advised you
to do such a foolish thing?
Your old friend and mine - Baron Arnheim.
It was one of the last things he said.
The future of the canal depends...
.. of course, on the attitude
of Her Majesty's government.
.. I will personally
be presenting my report...
.. to the House of Commons
on Thursday night.
I can tell you now...
.. I will be condemning the scheme
in no uncertain terms.
You must not. In your own interests, to
say nothing of mine, you must not do that.
My dear Mrs Cheveley,...
-.. what do you mean?
- I will be frank.
Amend that report to state the canal
will be of great international value.
Will you do that for me?
- You cannot be serious.
- I am quite serious.
If you do what I ask,
I will pay you very handsomely.
You are a man of the world
and you have your price.
Everybody has nowadays.
If you will allow me,
I will call your carriage for you.
You have lived so long abroad...
.. that you seem to be unable to realise
you are talking to an English gentleman!
I realise I am talking to a man
whose past is less perfect...
.. than his reputation would suggest.
What are you saying?
I am saying that I know the real origin
of your wealth and your career...
.. and I have got your letter, too.
You are very late!
- Did you miss me?
I'm sorry I did not stay away later.
I like being missed.
- How very selfish.
- I am selfish.
You always tell me
about your bad qualities.
- I haven't told you half of them.
- Really? Are the others very bad?
Quite dreadful. When I think of them
at night, I can go to sleep at once.
Well, I must tell you
that I like your bad qualities...
.. and I would not have you
part with a single one.
It shows admirable good taste.
May I have the pleasure
of escorting you to the music room?
- Why, Tommy, I'd be delighted.
- As would I.
Are you coming to the music room?
Not if there's any music
going on, Miss Mabel.
Well,... the music is in German,
so you would not understand it.
Quite so, quite so.
- Gertrude, good evening.
I didn't think you liked political parties.
I adore them. They're the only place left
where people don't talk politics.
The affair to which you allude
was no more than a speculation.
It was a swindle, Sir Robert.
Let us call things by their proper names.
It makes matters simpler.
Now I'm going to sell you
that letter back...
.. and the price I ask is your public support
of the Argentine scheme.
I cannot do what you ask me.
You are standing
on the edge of a precipice.
- Supposing you refuse...
- What then?
Suppose I were to pay a visit
to a newspaper office...
.. and give them this scandal
and the proof of it.
Think of their joy and the delight
they would have in tearing you down.
Think of... Sir Edward!
My dear Mrs Cheveley,...
.. I do hope
we have the opportunity to meet up.
I so enjoy the cut and thrust
of continental politics.
I shall make it a particular priority.
It is infamous, what you propose.
Oh, no. It is the game of life, Sir Robert,...
.. as we all have to play it...
.. sooner or later.
What a charming house.
I have spent a delightful evening.
I'm so glad.
And so glad, too, you had a chance
to meet my husband, Mrs Cheveley.
Though I must confess
to some curiosity...
.. as to the matter of your conversation.
Your carriage is waiting, Mrs Cheveley.
Thanks. Well, another time perhaps,
Lady Chiltern. Good evening.
Good evening, Mrs Cheveley.
Will you see me out, Sir Robert?
Now that we have the same interests,
we will be great friends, I hope.
Let me have more time
to consider your proposal.
There is nothing to consider.
Support the scheme
and I will return the letter.
Scandals once lent charm
or interest to a man.
Nowadays they crush him.
Yours is a very nasty scandal.
You would be hounded out of public life.
You would disappear completely.
What brought you into my life?
Circumstances. At some point,
we all have to pay for what we do.
You have to pay now.
I will give you
any sum of money you want.
Even you are not rich enough
to buy back your past.
No man is.
Father, this is not my day
for talking seriously.
What do you mean, sir?
During the season I only talk seriously
on the first Tuesday in every month...
.. between noon and three.
Well, make it Tuesday, sir!
Ah, yes, but it is before noon, Father.
- My doctor said specifically...
- You are ...
I only admit to .
You are and you must get a wife.
A shade lacklustre this morning, Chiltern.
Mind on other matters,
I shouldn't wonder.
I had that Cheveley woman
drive by the office last night.
Wanted me to write a piece...
.. about this Argentine thing.
Quite interesting, really.
- Mentioned you.
- Did she?
She did indeed.
So what did she say?
Oh, outlined the virtues of the scheme,
that sort of thing.
Wouldn't be surprised
if she had shares in it.
What did she say about me?
About your speech on it.
Said I should be prepared for a surprise.
Wouldn't say what.
Can I take it
you've changed your position?
I wonder what kind of a woman she is.
That woman - Mrs Cheveley.
So the question remains,
where to from there, hm?
To the Hartlocks and the Basildons...
.. or should we go straight
to the Bachelors' Ball?
Arthur, I almost wish
I were you sometimes.
I almost wish you were, too,...
.. except you'd make something useful
out of my life and that would never do.
You could always get married.
It's the "always" bit that alarms me.
I could see by the glare in his eye
he was about to do it again.
Poor Mr Trafford.
- It sounds quite serious.
- Oh, it is.
He proposed to me in broad daylight...
.. in front of that dreadful
statue of Achilles.
The things that go on
in front of it are quite appalling!
The police should interfere!
It may not suit a modern girl
like you, Mabel,...
.. but there is, of course,
one extremely effective way...
-.. to stop his proposals.
- What would that be?
- To accept one of them!
- Oh, no!
By the way,...
have you been talking to my father?
- Why? Should I?
- Certainly not.
He was foolish enough to suggest
that I model myself on you.
I have always said he was a man
of exquisite taste and rare judgment.
Hard work, probity, and a good woman.
He neglected to mention that you took
the last good woman I know.
Took her right out of my arms,
if I remember correctly.
What's that saying about the sea
and there being plenty of fish in it?
Mmm, yes, but I couldn't
possibly marry a fish.
I'd be sure to land an old trout.
I never change... except in my affections.
What a noble nature you have.
But you told me yesterday.
I have reason to believe
the information I received...
.. was prejudiced.
- Or, at any rate, misinformed.
I now believe there may be
some benefit to the scheme.
This has nothing to do
with Mrs Cheveley, does it?
You seem to be
displaying signs of triviality.
On the contrary, Aunt Augusta,...
.. I've now realised
for the first time in my life...
.. the vital importance of being earnest!
.. you... are telling me the whole truth?
Why do you ask me such a question?
Why do you not answer it?
Ladies and gentlemen,...
.. I have enjoyed this evening immensely.
.. is there, in your life, any...
.. any secret, any...
.. that you think as highly
of the play as I do myself!
You must tell me!
You must tell me at once!
Oh, Gertrude, there is nothing
in my past life that you might not know.
I was sure of it, my darling.
I was sure of it.
You know, I found it
a perfectly charming evening.
.. was a perfectly charming performance.
The costumes were delightful,...
.. but for me... Oh!... it was the acting!
Would you excuse me a moment?
- Miss Mabel.
- Good evening.
- Shouldn't you be in bed?
- Lord Goring!
Father always tells me to go to bed
so I'm giving you the same advice.
Passing on advice is the only
sensible thing to do with it.
- It's very kind of you to offer.
- Don't mention it, Miss Mabel.
But the role of elder brother is being
more than adequately performed...
-.. by my elder brother.
- Oh, really?
Yes. Charming and delightful
performance it is, too.
I think you ought to go to bed
straight away, Miss Mabel.
You're always ordering me around.
I think it's most courageous of you.
Especially as I'm not going
to bed for hours!
Darling, you will write, won't you,...
.. to Mrs Cheveley...
.. and tell her that you cannot
support this scheme of hers?
I might see her.
Perhaps that would be better.
Oh, no, Robert,
you must never see her again.
Darling, I know this woman.
We were at school together.
I didn't trust her then
and I don't trust her now.
She must know at once
that she has been mistaken in you.
Now, all your life...
.. you have stood apart from others.
To the world, as to myself,...
.. you have been an ideal, always.
Be that ideal still.
- No answer.
Oh, I love you, Robert!
Oh, love me!
Love me, Gertrude.
Love me always.
So, what brings you back to London
after all these years?
Business or pleasure?
I have some business
with your friend Sir Robert Chiltern...
.. which is, of course, a great pleasure.
And what is it brings you here tonight?
- I came because you asked me to.
- And because you were curious.
- Why did you ask me?
- I was curious also.
To see whether you'd come.
And you did!
I see you are quite as wilful
as you used to be.
Far more. I have greatly improved.
I've had more experience.
Too much experience can be
very dangerous, Mrs Cheveley.
- Why don't you call me Laura?
- I don't like the name.
- You used to adore it.
- Yes, that is why.
.. it was so nearly Laura Goring.
It has a certain ring, don't you agree?
- We were quite well suited.
- Well, you were poor, I was rich.
It must have suited you very well,
until you met the Baron, who was richer.
That suited you better.
- Have you forgiven me yet?
- My dear woman,...
.. it's been so long now
that I'd all but forgotten you.
I really must go.
I have a pressing engagement.
Really? Well, as you know, I hate
to stand between a man and his affairs.
- Bunbury, for goodness sake!
- I can't believe it.
- You are a deserter!
- I didn't say I was getting married.
I was debating the virtues
of the marital state.
Short debate, sir!
We're a dying breed, old man.
We must stick together.
Would you excuse me, gentlemen?
Play the next hand without me.
And now I think it's time
you knew the truth.
That all these riches,...
.. this wondrous luxury...
.. amounts, finally, to nothing.
.. over other men...
.. is the one and only thing worth having.
This is what I call
the philosophy of power,...
.. the gospel of gold.
So now the question arises...
.. how you become powerful.
I mean, you... personally powerful.
Yes, thank you.
The answer is simple.
.. is information.
Information is the modern commodity...
.. that can shake the world.
And I happen to know...
.. it's well within your grasp.
And you believed what he said?
I believed it then and I believe it now.
You've never been poor.
You've never known what ambition is.
Well, by now, Lord Radley
was a Cabinet minister...
.. and, as the Baron well knew,
I was working as his personal secretary.
One night, as usual,
I was the last to leave the office.
Later that evening,
I wrote the Baron a letter...
highly confidential information,...
.. highly valuable information
regarding the financing of the Suez Canal.
- A Cabinet secret?
In a subsequent transaction,...
.. the Baron made for himself
three quarters of a million pounds.
I received from the Baron £ .
You were worth more, Robert.
No. No, no.
I got exactly what I wanted.
I entered straight into Parliament
Well, I've never looked back.
Is it fair that some act of youthful folly...
.. should be brought up against me
all these years later?
Robert, life is never fair!
Perhaps it's a good thing
for most of us that it's not.
Now, what does Gertrude
make of all this?
My dear Robert,
secrets from other people's wives...
.. are a necessary luxury in modern life.
But no man should have a secret
from his own wife.
She invariably finds it out.
If I were to tell her, Arthur, I would lose
the love of the one woman I worship.
I couldn't tell her,...
.. but it... did strike me
that perhaps you might...
Well, perhaps you might...
.. talk with her.
- Oh, really?
- Not to tell her, of course.
But... just to talk with her.
It's just that Gertrude can sometimes
be a little... hard-headed.
You are her oldest... and closest friend...
.. and I just thought talking
with you might perhaps...
- Soften her head a little.
Well, it has been known.
Thank you, Lady Chiltern,
that was most inspiring.
Oh, I'm so glad.
Well, I must say, Arthur,...
.. I'm delighted to find you showing
such a keen interest in women's politics.
Oh, yes, very keen.
I had a bit of a late night last night.
So I gather. I'm so glad to see you.
- Are you?
I wanted to talk to you about Robert.
He seems a little distracted of late,
a little anxious.
You've noticed it, too?
I suppose I...
Yes... In a way.
I mean,... the life that he's chosen
for himself, by its own nature,...
.. must hold innumerable stresses,
full of countless compromises.
What I mean is, once a man
has set his heart and soul...
.. on getting to a certain point,...
.. if he has to climb the crag,
he has to climb the crag.
If he has to walk in the mire...
Well, then, he has to walk,
my dear Gertrude, in the mire.
Of course, I'm only talking
in the most general terms...
.. on a subject about which
I know absolutely nothing.
I thought those were
your favourite subjects, Arthur.
Oh, yes... No...
Supposing a public figure, any public
figure, my father or Robert even,...
.. had, years ago,
written some foolish letter to someone.
What do you mean by a foolish letter?
I mean, a letter
gravely compromising one's position.
I'm putting an imaginary case, of course.
I cannot help but feel, Arthur,
that you are wanting to tell me something.
What I really want to say, dear Gertrude,
is that if for any reason...
.. you are ever in trouble,...
.. come to me at once and know that
I will help you in every way I can.
.. you are talking quite seriously.
Oh, you must forgive me,
it won't occur again.
I like you to be serious.
Gertrude, please don't say
such dreadful things to Lord Goring.
Seriousness would be very unbecoming.
Pray be as trivial as you can.
I should like to, but I'm afraid
I'm a little out of practice this morning.
Besides, I really ought to be going.
Oh. Will you be there tonight?
- I've received no invitation.
- Well, you have now.
I'm sorry, Mabel,
I'm not in the mood for modern art.
You don't mind, do you,
if Arthur escorts you in my place?
As long as he promises
not to be too serious.
I've observed a worrying trend.
I swear on my life to be utterly trivial
and never to keep my word.
- Then I shall be delighted.
- Then so shall I.
My dear Gertrude, thank you.
You will remember what I said,
Yes,... but I still don't know
why you said it.
I hardly know myself.
Goodbye, Miss Mabel.
Lord Goring... What dreadful manners
you have, leaving just as I arrive.
- I'm sure you were badly brought up.
- Mm, I was.
- I wish I had brought you up.
- I'm sorry you didn't.
It is too late now, I suppose.
I shouldn't think so for a moment.
.. until tonight, then.
My dear Sir Robert,
I was not a little disappointed...
.. to receive your letter...
.. and to learn that my proposition
held no interest for you.
Perhaps I have failed to present it
in sufficiently persuasive terms.
Another time, perhaps.
Yours sincerely, Laura Cheveley.
PS - If I should be in the neighbourhood,...
.. I might just pay my respects
to your charming wife.
I wonder whether the matter
would be of any interest to her.
.. won't you sit down?
I can't help feeling
that this disturbing new thing,...
.. this higher education of women,...
.. will deal a terrible blow
to happy married life.
The higher education of men is what
I'd like to see. Men need it so sadly.
They do, dear. But such a scheme
would be quite unpractical.
I don't think man has much capacity
He's got as far as he can...
and that's not far, is it?
With regard to women, dear Gertrude,
modern women understand everything.
Except their husbands. That is
the one thing they never understand.
A very good thing too, dear, I dare say.
It might break up
many a happy home if they did.
Not yours, I need hardly say, Gertrude.
You have married the perfect husband.
And now, dear ladies,
I had better set forth.
I haven't time
to be idling around here all day.
I should be idling somewhere else shortly
or I shall fall behind.
No, I'll see myself out.
No doubt you have
many pleasant reminiscences...
-.. of your schooldays to talk over.
Goodbye, my dear.
Wonderful woman, Lady Markby,
Talks more and says less
than anybody I ever met.
- Now, Gertrude...
- Mrs Cheveley,...
.. I think it is right to tell you...
.. that I wish you never to return
to this house again...
.. and never to attempt
to contact my husband.
I see that after all these years
you've not changed.
- I hope I never will.
- Life has taught you nothing.
A person who has once been guilty...
.. of a dishonest action may be guilty
a second time and should be shunned.
Would you apply that rule to everyone?
Yes, without exception.
Then I am sorry for you, Gertrude,
very sorry for you.
I thank you for your sympathy,...
.. but it is your departure I would prefer.
Gertrude, I don't mind
your talking morality.
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt
towards people whom we dislike.
You dislike me, I am aware of that,
and I have always detested you.
And yet I have come here
to give you some advice.
I hold your husband
in the hollow of my hand...
.. and if you are wise
you'll make him do what I tell him.
How dare you class my husband
Leave my house! You are unfit to enter it!
Your house? A house
bought with the price of dishonour,...
.. everything paid for by fraud.
Ask him what the origin of his fortune is.
Get him to tell you how he sold
to a stockbroker a Cabinet secret.
Learn from him
to what you owe your position.
It is not true!
.. tell her it is not true!
Go at once.
You've done your worst now.
Dear Sir Robert, Lady Chiltern,...
.. unless you meet my terms,
I think you'll find the worst is yet to come.
You have until half past ten tonight.
Tell me it is not true.
- Let me explain...
- Tell me it is not true!
- Let me tell...
- No! Don't come near me!
- Don't touch me!
- Listen to me!
How could you?
How could you do that, Robert?
You've lied... to the whole world!
- You... you will not lie to me!
- Gertrude, please, I must tell you!
Don't say anything!
You were to me...
.. something apart from common life.
A thing noble, pure.
The world seemed to me finer...
.. because you were in it...
.. and goodness more real
because you lived.
I-I suppose I should... go...
Ah, my second buttonhole, much better.
You know, Phipps,...
.. a really well-made buttonhole
is the only link...
.. between art and nature.
Yes, my lord.
I don't think I quite like this one.
Well, it makes me look a little old.
Makes me almost in the prime of life,
I don't observe any alteration
in your lordship's appearance.
- You don't?
- No, my lord.
Hmm, very well.
Oh, my God!
How delightful to see you.
- Take my cloak off.
- Is it worthwhile?
Of course, sir!
You see, I recently made a resolution
not to have visitors on Thursday...
.. between and pm.
Glad to hear it. Can't stand interruptions.
- No draught, I hope, in this room?
- No, sir.
I feel a draught, sir, I feel it distinctly!
So do I, sir. A dreadful draught.
Why don't you go home?
I will come and see you tomorrow.
We can talk about anything then.
No, I have called with a definite purpose.
I'm going to see it through
at all costs to my health or yours.
Put my cloak down, sir.
I hate seeing things through, Father,
especially through someone else's eyes.
Afraid I don't follow you there.
As far as I can make out, you seem
to follow me everywhere, Father.
Good evening, Arthur.
My dear Robert, the fact is
I really am horribly busy tonight.
But, Arthur, I must speak with you.
Gertrude has discovered the truth?
Yes, I'm afraid she has.
Come in, Robert. But if you wouldn't
mind waiting for a short while,...
.. I am right in the middle of giving
my performance of the attentive son.
- Oh, I'm sorry.
- Mmm, so am I.
When you left this afternoon,
my life fell apart.
My love is in ruins.
I need you after all.
I am coming to you now,...
A lady is coming to see me
on particular business.
- Show her into the drawing room.
- Yes, my lord.
This is a matter of the gravest importance.
No-one else is to be admitted.
Tell them I'm not at home.
I understand, my lord.
- Yes, Father.
Good evening, Phipps.
How nice to see you again, madam.
His lordship is engaged at present
with Lord Caversham, madam.
How very filial.
His lordship told me to ask you,
.. to be kind enough
to wait in the drawing room for him.
His lordship will come to you there.
- Lord Goring expects me?
- Yes, madam.
Are you quite sure?
His lordship's directions...
.. on the subject were very precise.
No, I don't care for that lamp.
It is too glaring. Light some candles.
Marriage is not a matter...
.. of affection, sir,
it is a question of common sense.
But women who have common sense
are always so curiously plain.
I'm only speaking from hearsay.
No woman has any common sense
at all, sir.
- It is the privilege of our sex.
- Quite so.
And we men are so self-sacrificing
we never use it, do we?
- I use it, sir! I use nothing else!
- Mmm, so my mother tells me.
It is the secret
of your mother's happiness.
What was that?
Nothing, Father, nothing.
You are heartless, sir,... very heartless.
Oh, I hope not, Father.
When you left this afternoon,...
.. my life fell apart.
I am coming to you now,...
There we are, madam.
Thank you, madam.
I'm afraid his lordship's
not at home this evening, my lady.
- I'm sorry, Lady Chiltern.
- Not at all.
As you keep saying!
- Is she in there?
- Yes, my lord.
Oh, my dear fellow.
I'm sorry, Arthur,
I didn't know where else to go.
I don't know what to do, Arthur.
.. last night you were telling me...
.. how much Gertrude means to you,
how much you love her.
More than anything in the world.
There is a wide gulf...
.. between us now
and I fear I shall never bridge it.
I fear she will never forgive me.
Surely there must be some sin
in her past life, any sin,...
.. weakness, perhaps, that might
help her to understand yours.
I don't believe Gertrude knows
what weakness is.
But she loves you, Robert.
She cannot but forgive you.
I feel certain, if she could hear you now,...
.. the regret you feel about your past.
I feel certain that she would pity you.
Perhaps, even at this moment,
she is pitying you,...
.. praying that she might
once again be in your arms.
God grant it, but I doubt it.
There is something else
I need to tell you about, Arthur.
The debate on the Argentine canal
is to begin at . .
I have made up my mind
what I'm going to say.
I... have decided...
What was that?
- I heard a noise from next door.
- No, no, you didn't.
Is there someone there?
- Robert, you are unnerved.
There is no-one. Sit down, for God's sake!
Do you give me your word of honour?
Let me look for myself!
- If there is no-one there...
Robert,... there is someone in that room.
I do apologise,...
.. but I must state
she is guiltless in this matter.
She is... scheming, devious and deceitful.
- I beg your pardon?
- And you!
You are false as a friend...
.. and treacherous.
- Good evening, Lord Goring.
So how the devil
do you explain her presence here?
To be quite honest I can't...
I take it you two have been...
planning this for some time!
We have never planned anything!
You can't have forgotten, we were
engaged for at least three weeks.
- Yes, but...
- Why did you break it off?
You seem to be...
entirely well suited to each other!
- Robert, I give you my word...
- No, sir.
Oh, no, sir.
You have lied enough upon your...
word of honour.
I appear to have caused
something of a commotion.
Goodnight, Sir Robert.
.. you've come here to sell me
Robert Chiltern's letter.
To offer it to you on condition.
How did you guess?
- What is your price for it?
- My price.
I've arrived at the romantic stage.
When I saw you the other night
at the Chilterns',...
.. I knew you were the only person
I'd ever cared for,...
.. if I've ever cared for anybody, Arthur.
.. on the morning of the day...
.. that you marry me,
I will give you Robert Chiltern's letter.
That is my offer.
- Are you quite serious?
My dear Mrs Cheveley,...
.. I'm afraid I should make you
a very bad husband.
I don't mind bad husbands.
I've had two. They amuse me immensely.
Here is a chance to rise
to great heights of self-sacrifice.
I think you should.
The rest of your life, you can spend
contemplating your own perfections.
I do that as it is.
For the privilege of being your wife,...
.. I am ready to sacrifice
the greatest prize in my possession.
.. you loved me once.
You asked me to be your wife.
Ask me again.
Ask me now.
My dear Mrs Cheveley...
My dear Lord Goring.
I'm going to give you some good advice.
Never give a woman anything
she can't wear in the evening.
I don't seem to be able to stop myself.
I'm going to tell you...
.. that love...
.. about which, I admit, I know so little...
Love cannot be bought,
it can only be given.
And I sense it is not in my power
to give to you...
.. nor is it in yours, I suspect,... at all.
Dear boy, you underestimate us both.
.. and not expect return,...
.. that is what lies at the heart of love.
I fear, though,...
.. the notion is a stranger to us both.
.. if we are honest,...
.. it is something we both long for.
.. that it takes great courage to do.
.. that is our dark secret.
Your coming here tonight
is the first whisper of it.
And for that, I admire you.
Give me the letter.
Prove your affections to me
and give me the letter.
And surrender my position of power?
The future of a great man
is in your hands, Mrs Cheveley.
and your power dies with him,...
.. as will any feeling I've ever had for you.
If you ever loved me...
I did love you.
I know, I know.
But not that much.
I know. I must admit
I never thought you did.
Even so, I felt it worth a try.
I understand and respect you
all the more for the attempt.
And I take it you reject my offer?
I fear I must...
.. when, tempting as it seems,...
.. in truth,...
.. it's little more than blackmail.
I... suddenly remembered
you were due to meet Arthur.
At least somebody remembered.
You mean he's not here either?
- Gertrude, are you quite well?
- Me? Yes, of course.
No, I'm not at all.
Could we talk?
All I have learned leads me to reject
and revile him for what he has done!
- And yet...
- And yet?
I have never known such joy...
.. as when I'm with him.
I've never felt so... free...
.. as when I'm lying in his arms.
I'll look out for you at the Commons
where at least I'll see your friend submit.
I wouldn't be too sure.
Come now. We both know
how dearly he values his career.
I look forward to him proving you wrong.
I anticipate it keenly.
- In fact, I'd stake my shirt on it.
- Your shirt?
Indeed, I'd probably wager
my entire wardrobe on his integrity.
Would you stake your liberty?
Mmm, a rather charming little idea
has sprung into my head...
.. and, now I consider it, I discover it
to be a rather charming big idea.
If, as you suggest,
he stands by his principles...
.. and condemns the scheme,...
.. then shall I give you his letter
to dispose of as you choose.
But if, as I project,...
.. he surrenders to my demands
and publicly supports the scheme, then...
- Then I give you my hand in marriage.
- To dispose of as you please.
- You must concede...
.. there is a certain thrill to it.
Concede, too, how elegantly I have eased
from proposal to proposition.
And with barely any loss of face.
I'm most impressed.
We are creatures of compromise,
you and I.
I await your response.
Are you less certain of your friend's
nature when your own future rests on it?
Not at all. I accept your wager
in all confidence.
- You do?
- I do.
Oh, Arthur, isn't it remarkable...
.. how those two little words
can quicken the heart?
Would you do something for me,
to the House of Commons.
I believe there is
an interesting debate there tonight.
I believe the Prime Minister himself
has taken an interest.
And I believe...
.. that its outcome will prove
particularly interesting to you...
.. and to me.
Whatever it may be.
The Honourable Member...
.. for Witney.
- Good evening, Chiltern.
- Good evening, sir.
I beg to ask the President
of the Board of Trade...
.. to what extent he believes...
.. the projected Argentine canal merits
the nation's attention and support.
I believe this excellent scheme
represents a genuine opportunity...
.. to extend our trading routes
and to stamp our authority...
.. on an increasingly
vital portion of the globe.
Didn't expect to see you here.
Neither did I, but I have developed
a sudden, very singular interest...
.. in politics.
- Married yet?
- Ask me again in half an hour.
- The Member for Cheltenham.
I beg to ask the Under Secretary
for Foreign Affairs...
.. to clarify his position
in respect of the proposed scheme.
Hear, hear! Answer, sir!
Let me first of all
thank the Honourable Member...
.. for his articulate contribution
to the debate.
Since I last addressed this House
on the subject,...
.. I have had the opportunity...
.. to investigate this scheme
.. and to grasp fully the ramifications
of our lending it support.
I have to inform the House...
.. that I was...
.. in my original perceptions...
.. and that I have now taken
a rather different view.
I find that now I must agree
with my Right Honourable friend...
.. that this is indeed an excellent scheme.
A genuine opportunity.
.. particularly if you happen
to be a corrupt investor...
A corrupt investor
with nothing but self-interest at heart.
Now it is my utter conviction that
this scheme never should have had...
.. or should ever have
any chance of success.
It is a fraud, an infamous fraud at that.
Our involvement would be a political fraud
of the worst possible kind!
.. great nation...
.. has long been
a great commercial power.
Now it seems there exists
a growing compulsion to use that power...
.. merely to beget more power,...
.. money merely to beget more money,...
.. irrespective of the true cost
to the nation's soul.
And it is this sickness,...
.. a kind of moral blindness,
commerce without conscience,...
.. which threatens to strike
at the very soul of this nation!
The only remedy that I can see
is to strike back and to strike now!
- As we stand...
As we stand at the end of
this most eventful century,...
.. it seems that we do, after all,
have a genuine opportunity.
One honest chance...
.. to shed our...
.. sometimes imperfect past.
To start again,...
.. to step unshackled...
.. into the next century...
.. and to look our future...
.. squarely and proudly...
.. in the face.
You must agree,
it has been a romantic interlude.
You might even confess to some faint
and secret regret at its outcome.
For I do indeed feel some slight relief
that, in the end,...
-.. Sir Robert has come to no harm.
Oh, yes, you see, I'm not really
quite as wicked as you suppose.
And a lady must always honour her bets.
Come back with me, Arthur.
Come back to Vienna.
Bravo, Sir Robert.
It seems I underestimated you.
- Sorry if I've spoiled your plans.
- Far more than you realise.
- Some small satisfaction.
- Look, Robert...
- I've nothing to say to you, Lord Goring.
Nor is there anything I wish to hear.
I hope that now you are content.
- That I didn't disappoint you.
- Robert, I...
Let women make no more ideals of men
or they may ruin other lives...
.. as completely as you,
you whom I have loved so wildly,...
.. have surely ruined mine.
I know there is no hope for us now.
I know you can never forgive me.
I almost begin to feel sorry for him.
I can't bear to see so upright and
honourable an English gentleman...
.. being so shamefully deceived.
- And on such positively pink paper.
What are you talking about?
"I need you after all.
I'm coming to you now. "
You stole Gertrude's letter?
Losing a man is scant cause
.. but losing a man to her
is another matter entirely.
It's only right Sir Robert should know,
as indeed he shall,...
.. when the letter arrives at his office
first thing in the morning.
You've got a good man there, Gertrude.
You should try to hold on to him.
It occurs to me this whole business
is really just about you and me.
- Gertrude, I must speak with you.
- Oh, not now.
It's about that letter you wrote to me!
Do come round in the morning.
I can't talk now.
Miss Mabel, about this evening, I...
I beg your pardon?
I gather you are to be congratulated.
Nothing I like more
than to be congratulated.
I find the pleasure immeasurably
increased by knowing what for.
Haven't you heard?
You're to be married. Your father says.
Yes, he does.
Did he, by any chance, tell you to who?
No, but when we saw you
with that woman Mrs Cheeseley,...
-.. we naturally assumed...
- Oh, did we?
Yes, we did.
Well, the fact is your assumptions...
.. are presumptuous.
.. I'm not sure...
.. that I've seen anything
I quite like the look of yet.
In which case, I have something
vitally important to say to you.
To look at a thing...
.. is quite different from seeing a thing.
And one does not see anything
until one sees its beauty.
Do you have something
you wish to say to me, Lord Goring?
No, no, I don't think so.
Then I don't wish to hear it.
I'm sure that nice Mr Trafford
will have something to say to me...
.. and I'm even surer...
I will be quite charmed to listen!
It is a great nuisance.
I can't find anyone else to talk to...
.. and I'm so full of interesting information.
I feel like the latest edition
of something or other.
.. after some consideration,...
.. there's so much to do
there's only one thing to be done.
There comes a time in every son's life
when he must indeed...
.. follow his father's advice.
I shall go to bed at once.
I do hope we see you in the near future,
So do I, but I fear, Lady Markby,...
.. that for me the future
seems strangely uncertain.
And what of the present?
Well, as a very dear friend
once said to me,...
.. "To love oneself is the beginning
of a lifelong romance. "
Goodbye, dear Lady Markby.
London will be the lesser
for your leaving...
.. and sadly lacking in scandal.
Ah, my dear Lady Markby,
my personal favourite is shortly to unfold.
Consider it a parting gift.
Thank you, Mrs Cheveley.
May I see it?
So... that is what you were doing
with that woman Mrs Cheveley?
Well, it certainly didn't look that way.
There's a great deal of difference
between looking and seeing,...
.. isn't there, Miss Mabel?
Oh, my dear Arthur,...
.. what a good friend you are to him.
But the truth is
we're not out of danger yet.
There's a rather popular saying
about frying pans and fires.
Only this time it is you and I
who are to be roasted.
Oh, no, Arthur, I couldn't.
I think it is better
he should know the exact truth.
So you want me to tell him... What?
That I intended a...
A secret rendezvous, yes.
With a single man?
You want me to tell him that?
It's also the truth!
In this case, it may be our best option.
- But I couldn't possibly tell him.
- Then may I do it?
Certainly not. And you must give me
your word that you never will.
You are wrong, Gertrude!
But I will give you my word.
That you will never tell me what,
What does this mean?
Robert, I had meant to
give it to you last night...
Yes, when Gertrude sent it over,...
.. but you left in such a hurry...
So this letter is intended for me?
Well, of cour...
Oh, my goodness, you didn't think...
You couldn't possibly think that...
.. the address on the envelope is yours.
She knew that when you left here
you would come to me at once.
Well, it stands to reason, old man.
It's true, Robert.
I delivered it myself.
You did? Um... you did.
As you will remember, Gertrude,
after my rehearsals, I called in for tea.
When you mentioned the letter,...
.. I remarked I was shortly
to meet Lord Goring...
.. as we had an appointment
to visit the exhibition...
.. at the Grosvenor which, apart from
two studies in grey by Whistler,...
.. was exceedingly forgettable.
And that's exactly what Lord Goring
proceeded to do. Namely forget it...
.. before he even saw it,
for he never appeared,...
.. a fact which I find most upsetting
on behalf of myself and Mr Whistler.
We're both deciding
whether or not to forgive him.
In the meantime, I delivered the letter
to your office this morning.
And, you know, the fact of the matter is...
.. I still haven't heard a word of apology!
I forgive you.
Is this true?
"When you left,...
.. my life fell apart. "
"I need you after all. "
Your life fell apart, Gertrude?
Y-You need me, Gertrude?
Why did you not say that you loved me?
Oh, because I love you!
I do not care what punishment
or disgrace is in store for me!
This letter of yours... makes me feel
that nothing that the world can do...
.. can harm me now!
There is no disgrace in store for you
nor any public shame.
I-I don't understand!
We have much to thank him for, Robert.
When I finished my speech last night,...
.. I felt sure that my future was in ruins.
When you began it,
I wasn't so sure about my own.
I don't know how to thank you.
I'm sure I'll think of something.
In the meantime, I'd be grateful
for the return of my hand.
Miss Mabel, wait!
.. have something very particular
to say to you.
Is it a proposal?
.. yes, it is.
Er, well, I think it is.
- Well, yes or no?
- Actually, yes, I'm afraid it is.
- I am so glad.
- That makes the second one today.
- Oh dear, not...
- Tommy Trafford.
It is one of Tommy's days for proposing.
He proposes on Tuesdays and Thursdays
during the season.
- Ah, but today is Friday.
- I know.
Today is special.
You didn't accept him, did you?
I shall be in the conservatory
under the second palm tree on the right.
Second palm tree on the right?
The usual palm tree.
And then we'll see how you do.
Well, sir, what are you doing here?
Wasting your time, as usual.
My dear father, when one pays a visit,...
.. it is for the purpose
of wasting other people's time.
- Why are you here?
- I've important news for Chiltern.
- A seat in the Cabinet!
- You well deserve it, too.
You have got what we want so much
in political life - high character,...
.. high moral tone, high principles.
Everything that you have not got, sir,
and never will have.
.. cannot accept this offer,
I have decided to decline it.
Decline it, sir?
It is my intention to retire at once
from public life.
Decline a seat in the Cabinet and retire?
I never heard such damned nonsense
in the course of my existence!
I beg your pardon. Will you prevent
your husband from making such a...
I think my husband is right.
I agree with him.
- Good heavens!
- I admire him for it.
I admire him immensely for it.
I shall write at once...
.. to the Prime Minister.
If you'll excuse me for a moment,
What is the matter with this family?
There's something wrong here, eh?
Idiocy? Hereditary, perhaps.
Both of them, too.
Very sad indeed.
They're not an old family.
Can't understand it.
I suppose I'd better go back
to the Prime Minister...
.. and tell him Chiltern won't take the seat.
Not yet. I'd rather you took a seat yourself.
- What are you prattling on about?
- Go in there for a while, Father.
Second palm tree to the right.
The usual palm tree.
- I want you to talk to somebody.
- What about?
About me, sir, hmm?
Not a subject on which
much eloquence is possible.
Yes, Arthur. It is Robert
who wishes to retire from public life.
- It was he who first said so.
Rather than lose your love,
he would do anything.
- Has he not been punished enough?
- We've both been punished.
I set him up too high.
Do not, then, set him down now too low!
It is not the perfect but the imperfect
who have need of love.
You seem to know a great deal
about everything all of a sudden.
Oh,... well, I hope not.
All I do know...
.. is that it takes courage to see the world
in all its tainted glory...
.. and still to love it.
Even more courage to see it
in the one you love.
.. you have more courage
than any woman I know.
Do not be afraid to use it.
Thank you, Father.
Can't say I hold out much hope, old man.
.. you have something...
-.. you wish to say to me?
- Um... ahem.
Marry me, M-M...
Marry me, Miss Mabel.
Well, Lord Goring,...
I must say this comes as quite a surprise.
Oh, well, if you need time to consider,
No! No, I don't need time...
I need a reason.
A reason why you think
I should marry you.
Um... a reason, you say?
A good one, yes.
It is enough to know
you would sacrifice it...
.. when I asked.
We have, all of us, feet of clay, Robert.
Women as well as men.
Can it be that...
.. you've forgiven me?
Oh, I-I suppose it must be that.
Hold me, Robert!
Gertrude, my wife!
- I love you.
- I love you.
I love you.
Is that your reason?
I love you.
- Mabel, I said...
- I-I-I know.
.. couldn't you...
.. love me just a little bit in return?
Arthur,... you silly!
If you knew anything about anything,
which you don't,...
.. you'd know I absolutely adore you.
Well, why didn't you mention it before?
Because, dear boy,...
.. you never would've believed me.
What the devil's going on in this house?
Congratulations! If the country
doesn't go to the radicals,...
.. we shall have you Prime Minister!
Thank you. Arthur, I wish there was
something I could do to repay you.
Well, Robert, as a matter of fact, there is.
You are your sister's guardian.
I'd like your consent to our marriage.
- Oh, I'm so glad!
- You wish to marry Mabel?
- It's quite out of the question.
- Oh, Robert!
I have to consider
Mabel's future happiness.
As much as I care for you, Arthur,
I don't think her happiness...
.. would be safe in your hands.
But I love Mabel.
No other woman has a place in my heart.
.. if they truly love each other,
why should they not be married?
I shall tell you.
When I called on Lord Goring
.. Mrs Cheveley
was concealed in his rooms.
I then discovered that they were
at one time engaged to be married.
I'm very sorry, Mabel,...
.. but how can I possibly
allow you to marry him...
.. when he's involved
with another woman?
I'm sorry, Arthur.
It would be wrong of me.
It would be unjust to her.
- But, Arthur...
.. there is nothing I can say.
.. Arthur was as surprised as you...
.. to find Mrs Cheveley there last night.
He was expecting...
.. quite another woman.
Another woman? You mean...
Well, the truth is...
.. the business
about Mabel and Mr Whistler...
You see, that was just...
my friends being kind...
.. and... um... protecting me.
Er, well, the truth is,...
when I agreed to the story...
.. about the letter being intended
for you and... not for Arthur,...
.. you see,...
.. the truth is...
The truth... is...
.. I lied!
I need a drink!
If you don't make her an ideal husband,...
.. I'll cut you off with a shilling.
An ideal husband?
Oh, I don't think I should like that.
What do you want him to be,
then, my dear?
I think he can be whatever he chooses.
You don't deserve her, sir.
My dear father, if we men married
the women we deserved,...
.. we should have a very bad time of it.
You are heartless, sir, quite heartless.
Oh, I hope not, sir,...
.. I hope not.