Joan: Are you a friend of Biswangers?
Ned Merrill: They’re not even on our Christmas card list.
Joan: Then what are you?
Ned Merrill: I’m an explorer.
Joan: No, I mean, what are you doing here?
Ned Merrill: I’m swimming home.
Joan: You, uh, you married?
Ned Merrill: What’s that got to do with it?
Joan: Are you divorced? What?
Ned Merrill: Do you wanna come with me?
Ned Merrill: A long a river of sapphire pools.
Joan: I never heard anyone talk like you.
Ned Merrill: Come with me. Be my lover.
Joan: Oh. That I’ve heard before.
Ned Merrill: Not from me.
Joan: You’re no different than any other guy.
Ned Merrill: Oh, but I am. I’m a very special human being.
Rachel, Rachel was Paul Newman’s directorial debut, which he also produced, from a novel published two years earlier. The film comes alone right after 1967 – the year cinema changed forever – as well as right in the midst of the sexual revolution. It’s a film that could never have been made under the production code, one that touches on so many taboos, that at the time were rarely discussed in the home, let alone on the big screen. I first saw it on Paul Newman day during TCM’s Summer Under the Stars in 2010. My mother and I watched it together and we were blown away with how moving it was. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, though it didn’t win any: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Estelle Parsons, Best Actress Joanne Woodward and Best Picture. Though Newman as producer received a nomination, he was not nominated for Best Director – this was a year where two of the Best Director nominee were not for Best Picture nominees: Stanley Kubrick for 2001: A Space Odyssey and Gillo Pontecorvo for The Battle of Algiers. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Romeo and Juliet and winner Oliver! William Wyler also did not receive a Best Director nomination for his work on Funny Girl, though he still holds the record for most nominations, with a whopping twelve. There be many SPOILERS after the cut.
Eleanor: And when you die, which is regrettable but necessary, what will happen to frail Alais and her pruny prince? You can’t think Richard’s going to wait for your grotesque to grow.
Henry II: You wouldn’t let him do a thing like that.
Eleanor: Let him? I’d push him through the nursery door.
Henry II: You’re not that cruel.
Eleanor: Don’t fret. We’ll wait until you’re dead to do it.
Henry II: Eleanor, what do you want?
Eleanor: Just what you want, a king for a son. You can make more, I can’t. You think I want to disappear? One son is all I’ve got, and you can blot him out and call me cruel? For these ten years you’ve lived with everything I’ve lost, and loved another woman through it all, and I am cruel? I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice!
Walter Chalmers: The Organization. Several murders. Could do us both a great deal of good.
Bullitt: Look, Chalmers, let’s understand each other. I don’t like you.
Walter Chalmers: Come on now, don’t be naive, Lieutenant. We both know how careers are made. Integrity is something you sell to the public.
Bullitt: You sell whatever you want, but don’t sell it here tonight.
Walter Chalmers: Frank, we must all compromise.