Mar 212010

Last night I watched a movie called A Good Woman adapted from Oscar Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan. Very witty, packed with aphorisms. But it was also fun to look at the play and the script (this is not a movie script but a transcript just to give you an idea). The movie doesn’t seem to have gotten such good reviews, but the side dialogue crackled on occasion. Take a look at it if you get the chance.

Here are a few aphorisms I lifted from the play this morning:

I can resist everything except temptation.

Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.

Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones.

But my experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don’t know anything at all.

…nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretion.


  3 Responses to “Plays, movies, and aphorisms”

  1. My Japanese company once paid me to watch this movie and pick out good one-liners to be used in a promotional phrase book (the phrasebook was shaped like a fan — you get how cute that is if you’ve seen the movie).
    Some of the lines I chose were:

    When people call something an experience, they usually mean it was a mistake.

    It takes practice and skill to live without regret.

    Crying is the refuge of plain women. Pretty women go shopping. (interesting how they changed this from the original)

    • Everyone, this is Lilie, a former student of mine dating from before the Flood, at least in the Pre-Cambrian–actually from my days teaching in the Skidmore College writing program.


  2. Wilde is the master of the aphorism —

    Fox-hunting: the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible.

    She was a peacock in everything but beauty.

    Rules are like pie crust: made to be broken.

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