'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,


In The Manchurian Candidate Laurence Harvey, as Raymond Shaw, says the word "lovable" many times. He's playing drunk when he does it, but it isn't the drunken part of the act, I believe, that makes the word come out of his mouth the distinctive way it does. The repetition is surely something, and he must be pretty good, Laurence Harvey, to pull it off like he does.

  Years later, I realized, Ben, that... I'm not very lovable.

  No, no. Don't contradict me. I am not lovable. Some people are lovable and other
  people are not lovable. I am not lovable.

  Oh, but I was very lovable with Jocie.

  Ben, you cannot believe how lovable I was. In a way. Then, of course, my mother
  fixed all that. Ben, you don't blame me for hating my mother, do you? ...

  It was the summer, just before I went into the army, and I was bitten by this snake.

He tells Ben, who is Frank Sinatra, the story of his falling in love. And then he goes on.

  You just cannot believe, Ben, how... lovable the whole damn thing was.

  All summer long, we were together. I was lovable. Jocie was lovable. The Senator
  was lovable.

  The days were lovable, the nights were lovable. And everybody was lovable. Except,
  of course, my mother.

His mother, you probably know, was Angela Lansbury, at her most dastardly ever. Oh yes, including Mrs. Lovett. Raymond Shaw spills it to Ben, so sick at the thought of himself he's practically spitting it.

  She won, of course. She always does. I could never beat her. I still can't. I
  wrote a letter... Or she wrote it and I signed it. I can't even remember which. It
  was a terrible, vile, disgusting letter.

  The next day I enlisted in the army. I n--- I never saw her again.

  God knows, Ben, I ... I'm not lovable, but I loved her. I did love her. I do love her.

He breaks down. Ben says "C'mon, kid. It's time for you to call it a night," and gathers him up.

Mostly I recoil at Frank Sinatra, but I like him in that movie.

And the lovable--- "lovable" is never the same after you've seen that movie. For all the intrigue in the rest of the picture, there's so much in that scene, and the way that actor pulls it off, and the cruxy relentless repetition.

I didn't watch the movie tonight. I've just been thinking about it.

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