Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1950


Best Film Speeches and Monologues
Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
Screenshots

All About Eve (1950)
Screenwriter(s): Joseph L. Mankiewicz

The Introduction of Eve Harrington

Theatre critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) narrated the film's opening when he introduced the key characters, especially Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter):

We know her humility, her devotion, her loyalty to her art, her love, her deep and abiding love for us, for what we are and what we do, the theater. She has had one wish, one prayer, one dream - to belong to us. Tonight, her dream has come true. And henceforth, we shall dream the same of her. Eve. Eve the Golden Girl, the Cover Girl, the Girl Next Door, the Girl on the Moon. Time has been good to Eve. Life goes where she goes. She's the profiled, covered, revealed, reported. What she eats and what she wears and whom she knows and where she was, and when and where she's going. Eve. You all know all about Eve. What can there be to know that you don't know?

All About Eve (1950)
Screenwriter(s): Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Perfect Blackmail and Exposure of Eve's Duplicity

DeWitt (George Sanders) blackmailed Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), exposing her lies and treachery privately:

That I should want you at all suddenly strikes me as the height of improbability, but that, in itself, is probably the reason. You're an improbable person, Eve, and so am I. We have that in common. Also a contempt for humanity, an inability to love and be loved, insatiable ambition - and talent. We deserve each other...and you realize and you agree how completely you belong to me?

This was followed by his reaction to her reluctance to go on stage after he "claimed" her: "Couldn't go on! You'll give the performance of your life."

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Screenwriter(s): Ben Maddow, John Huston

"Suppose We Had No Police Force...The Battle's Finished. The Jungle Wins"

Police Commissioner Hardy (John McIntire), pleased that "maybe we're getting somewhere at last" in the fight against crime, held a press conference after the arrest of the duplicitous cop Lt. Ditrich (Barry Kelley) (the one dishonest cop in a hundred). During his impassioned, moralizing speech near the end of the film, Hardy turned on four radio speakers (lined up in a row behind him) that broadcast crime reports (a robbery, two men with guns, a shooting and a strong-arm slugging), and then announced that crime didn't pay.

He created sensational headlines for the media when he melodramatically postulated what the city (or entire world) would be like without urban law enforcement to keep back "the jungle" of career criminals ("predatory beasts...without human feeling or human mercy"):

Let me put it this way. It's not anything strange that there are corrupt officers in police departments. The dirt they're trying to clean up is bound to rub off on some of 'em, but not all of 'em. Maybe one out of a 100. The other 99 are honest men trying to do an honest job. Listen... (One by one, he flipped the switch on police radios behind him that broadcast crime reports)

I know you're police reporters and you hear this all day long, but I want you to listen with your conscience, not just your ears. We send police assistance to every one of those calls 'cause they're not just code numbers on a radio beam, they're cries for help. People are being cheated, robbed, murdered, raped. And that goes on 24 hours a day, every day in the year. And that's not exceptional, that's usual. It's the same in every city of the modern world.

But suppose we had no police force, good or bad. Suppose we had (he flipped off all four radios) - just silence. Nobody to listen, nobody to answer. The battle's finished. The jungle wins. The predatory beasts take over. Think about it. Well gentlemen, three men are in jail [Gus, Cobby, Doc], three men dead [Emmerich, Brannom, Louis], one by his own hand. One man's a fugitive [Dix] - and we have reason to believe seriously wounded. That's six out of seven, not bad. And we'll get the last one too. In some ways, he's the most dangerous of them all. A hardened killer. A hooligan. A man without human feeling or human mercy.




Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Screenwriter(s): Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, D.M. Marshman, Jr.

Dead Man's Opening Voice-Over Narration

Screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) narrated an opening off-screen voice-over about his death as he floated face down in a swimming pool:

Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. It's about five o'clock in the morning. That's the Homicide Squad - complete with detectives and newspapermen. A murder has been reported from one of those great big houses in the ten thousand block. You'll read about it in the late editions, I'm sure. You'll get it over your radio and see it on television because an old-time star is involved - one of the biggest. But before you hear it all distorted and blown out of proportion, before those Hollywood columnists get their hands on it, maybe you'd like to hear the facts, the whole truth. If so, you've come to the right party. You see, the body of a young man was found floating in the pool of her mansion - with two shots in his back and one in his stomach. Nobody important, really. Just a movie writer with a couple of 'B' pictures to his credit. The poor dope! He always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool - only the price turned out to be a little high.

Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Screenwriter(s): Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, D.M. Marshman, Jr.

Delusional Descent Down the Stairs

Top Pick

Silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) presented a demented, delusional speech as she descended her staircase to be arrested at the film's conclusion:

I can't go on with the scene. I'm too happy! Mr. De Mille, do you mind if I say a few words? Thank you. I just want to tell you all how happy I am to be back in the studio making a picture again! You don't know how much I've missed all of you. And I promise you, I'll never desert you again because after Salome we'll make another picture, and another picture! You see, this is my life. It always will be! (In a whisper) There's nothing else - just us - and the cameras - and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up.


Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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Introduction
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