Brigid: You've been playing with me. Just pretending you care, to trap me like this. You didn't care at all. You don't love me!
Spade: I won't play the sap for you!
Brigid: Oh you know it's not like that. You can't say that.
Spade: You never played square with me for half an hour at a stretch since I've known you.
Brigid: You know down deep in your heart and in spite of anything I've done I love you.
Spade: I don't care who loves who!! I won't play the sap for you. I won't walk in Thursby's - and I don't know how many other's - footsteps. You killed Miles and you're going over for it.
Brigid: How can you do this to me, Sam? Surely, Mr. Archer wasn't so much to you as... [crying]
Spade: Listen. This won't do any good - you'll never understand me - but I'll try once and then give it up. When a man's partner's killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him, he was your partner, and you're supposed to do something about it. And it happens we're in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed, it's - it's bad business to let the killer get away with it. Bad all around. Bad for every detective everywhere.
Brigid: You don't expect me to think that these things you're saying are sufficient reasons for sending me to the...
Spade (interrupting): Wait'll I'm through. Then you can talk. I've no earthly reason to think I can trust you, and, if I do this and get away with it, you'll have something on me that you can use whenever you want to. Since I've got something on you, I couldn't be sure that you wouldn't put a hole in me some day. All those are on one side. Maybe some of them are unimportant - I won't argue about that - but look at the number of them. And what have we got on the other side? All we've got is that maybe you love me and maybe I love you.
Brigid: You know whether you love me or not.
Spade: Maybe I do. Well, I'll have some rotten nights after I've sent you over, but that will pass. If all I've said doesn't mean anything to you, then forget it and we'll make it just this: I won't because all of me wants to, regardless of consequences, and because you counted on that with me the same as you counted on that with all the others.
He won't play the sap for her. Mostly because all of him wants to. That Sam Spade. He's got some grit. Annoyed as he is about it, he's seen what he's seen, and he won't play the sap for her, he says, repeatedly, almost as if to firm it up for himself. He thinks she could well put a bullet in him, but the main reason he's not falling for it any more is that he wants to. All of him wants to.
I think Sam Spade was getting laid a lot. Philip Marlowe sure was. Before I put the dog to bed for the night I'd gotten to the part in which he has his close-the-bookstore-early rendezvous with the young woman he shares the pretty good bottle of rye he has in his pocket, out of paper cups. What we really love in The Big Sleep is his thing with Mrs. Rutledge, of course. But the bookshop girl is pretty good stuff too, in its way.
But I digress. Don't I.
Ladies and gentlemen and genderrebels and comment spam robots, I say unto you emotional opportunism. I speak before you of pretend. Not pretension. Some hypertension. Variety platter, kinds/shades/contexts of pretend. Throw in the setting aside of that particular spot of speaking of what goes on within, and everything can get surreal and floaty, when not heavy and dragging, or otherwise just can't-be-good. It can't be good. Why are you making such a big deal of this? You might try to ask yourself that, or imagine another slinging such query atcha, but you know. Cuz really. I mean, really.
Both those movies from tonight are way better for character and interpersonal relations, even in their stylized ways, than Hitchcock's parlor-play film Dial M for Murder, which I just watched in chunks over a few days, through last night. It's entertaining in its plot twists and some of its shots, but I think the only character in that movie with a palpable soul is the inspector, and his is pretty lite. I don' t believe any of their passions.
I've seen all three films before, btw. More than once each.