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A Delicate Balance

CastKatharine Hepburn, Paul Scofield, Lee Remick, Kate Reid, Joseph Cotten, Betsy Blair
Year released1973
Spoiler alert
Blog entry

Agnes tells her husband Tobias, “What I find most astonishing, aside from that belief of mine... the belief that I might very easily, as they say, lose my mind one day.”
Tobias: “There is no saner woman on earth Agnes.”
”We’ll all go mad before you.”
Agnes: ”... not that I may go mad, but...”
“... some autumn dusk go quite mad... sees his Agnes mad as a hatter...”
”Nothing to do with the poor old thing but put her in a bin somewhere...”
Tobias toasts: “To my mad lady, ribbons dangling.” (0:03)

Agnes: “It must be instinctive, I think, or reflex...”
”What would you do were I to spill my marbles?”
Tobias: ”Put you in a bin somewhere...”
Agnes: “It won’t be simple paranoia...” (0:07)

Agnes: ”... and I promise you as well that I shall think good thoughts, healthy ones, positive, to ward off madness, should it come by, uninvited.”
”You have the hope only of growing even older that you are in the company of your steady wife, your alcoholic sister-in-law, and occasional visits from our melancholy Julia.” (0:11)

Tobias tells Agnes’ sister Claire, “But it would have to be an act of passion, out of my head and all that.”
Claire: ”I just can’t see you playing the role, that’s all, outraged, maddened into action...”
Claire imagines what he might say to the judge: ”’I have absolutely no recollection of it.’”
Tobias: ”Why don’t you go back to your thing, your alcoholics thing?”
Claire: ”Anonymous.” (0:15)

Claire asks Tobias, “Shall I tell you what happened the last time I climbed the steps to that fancy alkie club...?”
”... when memory takes over and corrects fact...”
Referring to Agnes: ”Warn me when she’s coming, and I’ll act drunk.”
”You want to know what it’s like to be an alkie, don’t you boy?”
“So, the guy you’re spending your bottles with starts you going to old AA, and you sit there in the alkie club, listening to the better ones, not recovered, ‘cause once an alkie, always. You better remember that, or you’re gone the first time you pass a saloon.”
“But I am not an alcoholic.”
“It would be so much simpler if I were an alcoholic... I am a alcoholic. My name is Claire and I am a alcoholic.”
Tobias: “My name is Claire, and I am an alcoholic.”
Claire: ”A alcoholic.”
Tobias: “A alcoholic.”
Claire: ”My name is Claire, and I am a alcoholic.“
“One lady... said, ‘Well you’ve taken the first step dear.’”
“She didn’t say the first step towards what. Sanity, insanity...”
“But it hooked me, the applause...”
”Until I learned... that I was not nor ever had been a alcoholic...” (0:21)

Claire tells Agnes and Tobias, “But I’m not an alcoholic.”
Agness: ”If you want to kill yourself then do it right.”
Tobias: ”She is not an alcoholic, she says.”
Claire: ”I am not an alcoholic.”
Agnes: “If you are not an alcoholic, then you are beyond forgiveness.”
”If we change for the worse with drink then we are an alcoholic.”
Claire: “I shall be an alcoholic...” (0:31)

Claire: “The question, unless I”m going deaf from all the alcohol...” (0:43)

Agnes tells her daughter Julia, “There’s a book out, I believe, a new one, by one of the 30 million psychiatrists now practicing in this land of ours...” (0:51)

Tobias tells Julia the news: “Small wars, large anxieties... a teenage marijuana nest, not far from here. I never had marijuana in my entire life.”
Julia: “I’ve never had any marijuana either.” (0:53)

Julia tells Tobias, referring to her brother, “May his soul rest.”
“The compulsives you can get somewhere with, the illusion of getting...”
“You can have the illusion...“
Referring to her ex-husband Charlie: “Because he seemed so like what Teddy would have been. (0:56)

Agnes tells Edna, “Teddy had just died, I think, and it was an unreal time for a number of us, for me. Poor little boy.“
”... when Teddy died.” (1:19)

Tobias tells the others, “I wonder if, before a concert, one of you would mind telling me why my daughter is upstairs in hysterics.” (1:22)

Tobias tells Agnes, “... and all the insights won’t be worth a damn.”
“... an insight into all the reasons, all the needs.”
Agnes: “... when you came home drunk...the cook who did a better dinner drunk than sober...” (1:36)

Agnes tells Tobias, “That’s an illusion you have.”
Agnes: “When Teddy died we could have had another son.” (1:41)

Agnes tells the others, “What I find most astonishing, aside from my belief that I will one day lose my mind...” (2:11)

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