Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Tootsie (1982)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Tootsie (1982)

In director Sydney Pollack's popular, cross-dressing comedy:

  • the scene of obnoxious and unemployed actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) with agent George Fields (Sydney Pollack) who insisted no one would hire him: ("Nobody in Hollywood wants to work with you either. I can't even set you up for a commercial. You played a tomato for 30 seconds - they went a half a day over schedule because you wouldn't sit down..YOU WERE A TOMATO. A tomato doesn't have logic. A tomato can't move")
  • the first entrance or appearance of Michael dressed in drag as 'Dorothy Michaels' on a crowded street (seen in extreme telephoto) before auditioning and being cast on the daytime soap opera Southwest General
  • the scene of 'Dorothy's' screen test when producer Rita (Doris Belack) asked: "I'd like to make her look a little more attractive, how far can you pull back?" and the cameraman responded: "How do you feel about Cleveland?"
  • the dining scene of 'Dorothy' coming onto his unsuspecting, confounded and dismayed agent George Fields at the Russian Tea Room and then revealing himself as Michael: "It's Michael Dorsey"
  • the scene of Michael when caught by insecure casual girlfriend Sandy Lester (Teri Garr) dressed in nothing but his skimpy black briefs when he attempted to try on her clothes, and then pretended he wanted to have sex with her ("Sandy... I want you"), although she might have thought he was a transvestite
  • Dorothy's yelling with a man's voice at a cab: "TAXI!"
  • the scene of soap actress April Page (Geena Davis in her film debut) startling Dorothy by wearing nothing but skimpy underwear
  • also 'Dorothy's' many ad-libbed edits to the soap opera script, like hitting leading man co-star John Van Horn (George Gaynes), dubbed "the tongue", over the head with folders to prevent him from landing a kiss
  • later, in a classic moment, Dorothy made a funny Freudian slip and told April: "What kind of mother would I be if I didn't give my girls tits... tips?"
  • Michael's continuing marvelous impersonation of the no-nonsense, alter-ego female hospital administrator Dorothy Michaels on the soap opera, when she retorted to the show's amoral and sexist director Ron Carlysle (Dabney Coleman): "Ron? I have a name it's Dorothy. It's not Tootsie or Toots or Sweetie or Honey or Doll....No, just Dorothy. Alan's always Alan, Tom's always Tom and John's always John. I have a name too. It's Dorothy, capital D-O-R-O-T-H-Y"
  • and the character of Les (Charles Durning in an against-type role) - the lonely widower father of beautiful co-worker and soap star Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange), who fell in love with Dorothy, and spoke about his view of the sexes: "You know, I can remember years ago there was none of this talk about what a woman was, what a man was. You just were what you were. And now they have all this stuff about how much you should be like the other sex, so you can all be more the same. Well, I'm sorry, but we're just not, you know?...Not on a farm, anyway. Bulls are bulls, and roosters don't try to lay eggs....You know, my wife and I, we were married a lot of years. People got it all wrong, you know. They say your health is the most important thing. But I can lift this house off the ground. What good is it? Being with someone. Sharing. That's what it's all about."
  • the near-'lesbian' kiss between Julie and Dorothy
  • and his droll playwright roommate Jeff's (Bill Murray) many one-liners: (ie. "You slut!")
  • Sandy's outburst to Michael when he revealed he loved someone else: "I never said I love you, I don't care about I love you! I read The Second Sex, I read The Cinderella Complex, I'm responsible for my own orgasm, I don't care! I just don't like to be lied to!"
  • the final, live-taped TV episode performance when Michael revealed his true identity by tearing off his wig and eyelashes to prove it - to the stunned shock of almost everyone; in his revealing speech in the stunning scene, Michael began by admitting that he wasn't the daughter named Emily Kimberly on the 'soap opera' - but her brother Edward Kimberly: "...It was this brother who, on the day of her death, swore to the good Lord above that he would follow in her footsteps, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just owe it all up to her. But on her terms. As a woman. And just as proud to be a woman as she ever was. For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I'm not. (in a deep voice) I'm Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I'm not mentally ill, but proud and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself" - (including Jeff's comment at the end: "That's one nutty hospital")
  • his final confession to Julie on the streets of NYC: ("I was a better man with you, as a woman, than I ever was with a woman as a man")


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