When talking about classic film one of the most important topics discussed is the dialogue and the quotes that are exchanged. The dialogue is an essential feature in a plethora of vehicles from the golden age of cinema. Some films rely solely on the dialogue to carry them through while other productions contain innumerable memorable quotes that have continued to evoke a large impact in today’s popular culture.
Bette Davis is one star who has certainly had a fair share of reciting exceptional monologue. In a career spanning over fifty years and with a resume that consisted of 125 acting credits, Bette Davis uttered a diverse range of quotations and perpetual soliloquy’s that have left an indelible mark on cinema history.
While we can all agree that “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”, the famous line spoken by Bette as Margo Channing in All About Eve is the most memorable line that Bette has ever said on screen, it’s true to say that almost every quote uttered by Bette Davis has since been honered in some way, whether they are listed in AFI’s 100 favorite movie quotes of all time or their continually referenced in various sources today, they are all a distinguished feature in her films.
Take for example, “I think I’ll have a large order of prognosis negative.”, which was spoken by Bette Davis as Judith Traherne in Dark Victory. That is a quote that has left a lasting impression in the lives of audiences worldwide, and was prominent enough to requisite a place in AFI’s most notable quotes from the thirties. However it didn’t acquire enough points to attain a spot on AFI’s 100 favorite quotes of all time.
Judith Traherne is a young vehement Long Island socialite who has a passion for horses and parties. Judith suffers from severe headaches, double vision and dizziness, but totally dismisses the fact that she maybe ill. When she has a lapse and falls off a horse and later plummets down a flight of stairs, her friend Ann ( Geraldine Fitzgerald ) is alarmed and insists that she see a doctor, who refers her to a specialist Dr. Frederick Steele ( George Brent ). At first Dr. Steele is reluctant to consult with Judith as he’s amid closing his New York office to relocate to Vermont where he plans to conduct brain cell research. However he decides to meet with Judith, who is initially uncouth and contentious towards him.
After meeting with her, Dr. Steele realizes that Judith is gravely ill. Worried he puts his career plans in abeyance so he can commit his time to Judy’s health. After some controversy, it is determined that Judith needs to undergo an operation. Following the surgery it is discovered that Judith is dealing with an incurable malignant brain tumor.
Even though death is imminent, Steele insists that Judith retains her vivacious spirit and decides to withhold the truth from her by letting her believe that the surgery was successful, but Judy’s contented nature doesn’t last once she discovers that her diagnoses has been concealed from her.
This rather preposterous catchphrase plays a relevant part in Dark Victory and is cemented as one of the films main staples. Shortly after Judith learns that she is facing the final chapter of life, she meets Dr. Steele and Ann for lunch at an opulent restaurant. At this stage, Steele and Ann are unaware that her fatal illness has all been exposed to her through her medical history records, so Judy with her flamboyant aura decides to address the situation to them by snatching a menu from a waiters hands and dramatically emotes her feelings with her grandiose delivery of, “I think I’ll have a large order of prognosis negative.”
The dialogue in Dark Victory really epitomize the character of Judith Traherne and how she metamorphoses herself from a voluptuous flighty socialite to a dignified character who inhabits a serene mind as she realizes that her untimely demise is fast approaching.
In addition to, “I think I’ll have a large order of prognosis negative.”, Dark Victory also showcases an eminent concoction of dialogue and quotes, which include:
Nothing can hurt us now. What we have can’t be destroyed. That’s our victory – our victory over the dark. It is a victory because we’re not afraid.
I’ve never taken orders from anyone. As long as I live, I’ll never take orders from anyone. I’m young and strong and nothing can touch me.
Dark Victory is a 1939 classic that stars Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart and Geraldine Fitzgeralnd. It is directed by Edmund Goulding, and produced by David Lewis and Hal B. Wallis with the screenplay by Casey Robinson.