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The Importance of Being Earnest

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What wonderfully blue eyes you have, Ernest! They are quite quite, blue. I hope you will always look at me just like that, especially when there are other people present. Mr. Worthing! Rise, sir, from this semi-recumbent posture. It is most indecorous. Mamma! I must beg you to retire. This is no place for you. Besides, Mr. Worthing has not quite finished yet. Finished what, may I ask? I am engaged to Mr. Worthing, mamma. Pardon me, you are not engaged to any one. When you do become engaged to someone, I, or your father, should his health permit him, will inform you of the fact. An engagement should come upon a young girl as a surprise pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be. It is hardly a matter that she could be allowed to arrange for herself. And now I have a few questions to put to you, Mr. Worthing. While I am making these inquiries, you, Gwendolen, will wait for me below in the carriage. Mamma! In the carriage, Gwendolen! Gwendolen, the carriage! Yes, mamma. You can take a seat, Mr. Worthing. Thank you, Lady Bracknell, I prefer standing. I feel bound to tell you that you are not down on my list of eligible young men though I have the same list as the dear Duchess of Bolton has. We work together, in fact. But I am quite ready to enter your name should your answers be what a really affectionate mother requires. Do you smoke? Well, yes, I must admit I smoke. I am glad to hear it. A man should have an occupation of some kind. I have always been of opinion that a man who desires to get married should either know everything or nothing. Which do you know? I know nothing, Lady Bracknell. I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. What is your income? Between seven and eight thousand a year. In land, or in investments? In investments, chiefly. That is satisfactory. What between the duties expected of one during one's lifetime and the duties enacted from one after one's death land has ceased to be either a profit or a pleasure. It gives one position but prevents one from keeping it up. That's all that can be said about land. I have a country house with some land, of course, attached to it about fifteen hundred acres, I believe; but I don't depend on that for my real income. In fact, as far as I can make out, the poachers are the only people who make anything out of it. You have a town house, I hope? A girl with a simple, unspoiled nature, like Gwendolen, can hardly be expected to reside in the country. Well, I own a house in Belgrave Square but it is let by the year to Lady Bloxham. Lady Bloxham? No, I don't know her. Oh, she goes about very little. She is a lady considerably advanced in years. Ah, nowadays that is no guarantee of respectability of character. What are your politics? Well, I am afraid I really have none. I... I am a Liberal. They count as Tories. They dine with us. Or come in the evening, at any rate. Now to minor matters. Are your parents living? I have lost both my parents. To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness. Who was your father? Well, I am afraid I really don't know. The fact is, Lady Bracknell, I said I had lost both my parents. It would be nearer the truth to say that my parents seem to have lost me... I don't actually know who I am by birth. I was... Well, I was found. Found! The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentleman of the most charitable and kind disposition found me, and gave me the name of Worthing, because he happened to have a first-class ticket for Worthing in his pocket at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It is a seaside resort. And where did the charitable gentleman who had a first-class ticket for this seaside resort find you? In a handbag. A handbag? Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a handbag. A somewhat large, black leather handbag with handles to it. An ordinary handbag in fact. In what locality did this Mr. James, or Thomas, Cardew come across this ordinary handbag? In the cloakroom at Victoria Station. It was given him in mistake for his own. The cloakroom at Victoria Station? Yes. The Brighton Line. The line is immaterial. Mr. Worthing I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred, in a handbag whether it had handles or not seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? May I ask then what you advise me to do? I need hardly say I would do anything in the world to ensure Gwendolen's happiness. I would strongly advise you, Mr Worthing to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over. Well, I really don't see how I can possibly do that, Lady Bracknell. I can produce the handbag at any moment. It is in my dressing-room at home. I really think that ought to satisfy you, Lady Bracknell. Me, sir! What has it to do with me? You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter a girl brought up with the utmost care to marry into a cloakroom and form an alliance with a parcel. Good morning, Mr. Worthing!

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 3 seconds
Country: Spain
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Teddy Baird
Director: Anthony Asquith
Views: 537
Posted by: pilarmham on Oct 31, 2013

Hilarious scene from the 1952 film.

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