I noticed that the classic film, Dinner at Eight, based on the Kaufman and Hart play was on TCM this afternoon, with about 20 minutes. I turned it on, not disappointed that I'd missed most of the film but happy that I hadn't missed the ending. And by ending I mean the last 30 seconds. I stuck around and waited for those last 30 seconds because they're that good. Perhaps among the best final 30 seconds of any movie, perhaps among the final line.
Marie Dressler gets to carry most of the gold -- from one of film's greatest double-takes, to one of the best-ever examples of slow-taking your time to set up a joke, to delivering one of the most classic final lines ever in a film. But Jean Harlow's nonchalant innocence shows the value of a straight man and having the proper set-up.
I'm sure most of you all have seen it. But even if so, it can't be seen too often. It just doesn't get much better than this. When you've got the ending nailed to ground, say good night and get off the stage.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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