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Friday, 23 November 2007
?Mit the drinking, mit the cha-cha, mit the no napkins.?
Well, possibly with a two-year-old posting at a related website:
"Yes, "The Apartment" is wonderful [after a poster named "Interested" insisted, in mr.-buttinsky fashion that she has not been able to shake, that that movie was superior to "Some Like It Hot"] , not only because of Jack Lemmon (Andover and Harvard, an unusual combination in the early 1940s) and Shirley MacLaine (at her youngest, sweetest, most pre-crystal-therapy-ish), but also Fred MacMurray doing an excellent imitation of the late Peter Jennings as hard-hearted womanizer. But when one is comparing one wonderful Billy Wilder-I.A.L. Diamond film with another, also wonderful film, which is like comparing "The Singing Detective" with "Lipstick on Your Collar," aren't such comparisons odorous, as Mrs. Malaprop once said to Mrs. Calabash -- wherever you are.
[Posted by: Hugh at December 24, 2005 6:37 PM]
As to the quiz about the mirror,  Bud Baxter (the character played by Jack Lemmon) is sad because the mirror is in a compact that Fran lends him, and he recognizes it as being the one he had found left in his apartment – the “apartment” – after one of Mr. Sheldrake’s illicit rendezvous, so that the girl in question must have been nice sweet Miss Kubelik. And she further  explains to nice Mr. Baxter her refusal to fix the mirror because, she thinks, it is emblematic of her, not in the "brittle crazy glass" high-falutin’ Herbertian sense ("Turn Herbert's picture to the wall, mother") but rather in the sense of a semi-fallen woman, strung along by the awful Mr. Sheldrake, played so wonderfully by Fred MacMurray (were he alive today, he could do a great Peter Jennings in a televised life of the ABC Great Man, especially Jennings when he was cuckolding a much older, and supposedly beloved, newscasting colleague, dying of cancer).
Here's another quiz about the same movie. What is the best line in the whole movie? Hint: it is not uttered by Jack Lemmon, or Shirley MacLaine, or Fred MacMurray.
Sorry, time’s up. I’m going to answer my own quiz. You see, I'm a jesting pilot and my plane must take off very soon, so I can't stay for an answer. 
The speaker of the best line in the movie is that  nice refugee neighbor Mrs. Dreyfuss, wife to Dr. Dreyfuss, who brings some nice chicken noodle soup and a “glass tea” (or “glez tea”) in on a tray, and complains about the habits of the resident male: "Mit the drinking, mit the cha-cha, mit the no napkins."
It is a brilliant line, in a movie with brilliant lines. But what did you expect from Billy Wilder and I.A.L. ("Interscholastic Algebra League" – as we used to know him at Boys High in Brooklyn, back in the ‘30s) Diamond? Only the best.
“Mit the drinking, mit the cha-cha, mit the no napkins.”
God, I wish I’d written that.
Posted on 11/23/2007 1:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
23 Nov 2007
Hugh Fitzgerald

The comment needs, I see, to be repeated:  

"I never read that posting to which you give a link, nor the comment to it by Paul Blaskowicz, in which he mentions a Mrs. Steinschneider who reminded him of the Mrs.-Dreyfuss character. I committed that admittedly-memorable line to memory before you, young whippersnapper,  were born. I've already hinted that I was a neighbor of I.A.L. Diamond in Crown Heights. We atttended P. S. 67 together. And before that, earlier in the same decade,  I spent time with Billy Wilder in Vienna, where, funnily enough, he taught me to play the tin-whistle I had bought at Danny Ryan's -- oops, soorry, I mean at his grandfather, Paddy Ryan's -- music shop in Tipperary. I cannot understand why you refuse to take that in.

23 Nov 2007
Send an emailMary Jackson
You just did. But I wrote it here first.