The lives of upstairs guest and downstairs servants at a party in 1932 in a country house in England as they investigate a murder involving one of them.

Mrs. Wilson: What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? Its the gift of anticipation. And I'm a good servant; I'm better than good, I'm the best; I'm the perfect servant. I know when they'll be hungry, and the food is ready. I know when they'll be tired, and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves.
[after maintaining her iron reserve throughout the whole film, Mrs. Wilson goes to her room and closes the door. A few minutes later, Mrs. Crofts goes in and finds her collapsed on her bed, sobbing uncontrollably]
Mrs. Croft: Don't cry, Jane. They'll hear you.
[Mrs. Wilson can't stop crying]
Mrs. Croft: Come on. You did what you thought was best for him at the time. I see that now.
Mrs. Wilson: Lizzie... I've lost him, Lizzie. I've lost him, he'll never know me. My boy...
[sobs]
Mrs. Wilson: Oh, my boy!
Mrs. Croft: [putting a hand on her shoulder] At least your boy is alive. He's alive. That's what matters.
[Mrs. Wilson touches her sister's face, and hugs her, crying softly]
Mrs. Wilson: I'm the perfect servant; I have no life.
Morris Weissman: How do you manage to put up with these people?
Ivor Novello: Well, you forget, I make my living impersonating them.
Dorothy: I believe in love. Not just getting it, but giving it. I think that if you're able to love someone, even if they don't know it, even if they can't love you back, then it's worth it.
[Morris Weissman is asked about his upcoming movie project]
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Mr Weissman.
Morris Weissman: Yes?
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Tell us about the film you're going to make.
Morris Weissman: Oh, sure. It's called "Charlie Chan In London". It's a detective story.
Mabel Nesbitt: Set in London?
Morris Weissman: Well, not really. Most of it takes place at a shooting party in a country house. Sort of like this one, actually. Murder in the middle of the night, a lot of guests for the weekend, everyone's a suspect. You know, that sort of thing.
Constance: How horrid. And who turns out to have done it?
Morris Weissman: Oh, I couldn't tell you that. It would spoil it for you.
Constance: Oh, but none of us will see it.
Constable Dexter: Inspector, there's a broken coffee cup down here.
Inspector Thompson: Dexter, they have people to clear these things up. You get on with your own job.
Mrs. Croft: He's very full of himself, I must say. Doesn't eat meat. He's coming to a shooting party and he doesn't eat meat.
Mrs. Wilson: Now now Mrs Croft. We don't want to be thought unsophisticated do we? Mr Weissman's an American. They do things differently there.
Constance: Tell me, what happened to William's little maid? I never saw her again after that dinner.
Mary Maceachran: Elsie?
Constance: Hmm.
Mary Maceachran: She's gone.
Constance: Aw, it's a pity, really. I thought it was a good idea to have someone in the house who is actually sorry he's dead.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Difficult colour... green.
Robert Parks: [has just kissed Mary, long pause] Ooh. I've been wanting to do that ever since I first set eyes on you.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: If there's one thing I don't look for in a maid, it's discretion. Except with my own secrets, of course.
Maid: Do you think he's the murderer?
Robert Parks: It's worse than that - he's an actor!
Elsie: Why do we spend our time living through them? Look at poor old Lewis. If her own mother had a heart attack, she'd think it was less important than one of Lady Sylvia's farts.
Mary Maceachran: They said Sir William was planning to cut Lady Sylvia out of his will in favour of Miss Isobel.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: That's nothing. In the new will, Sir William left Lady Stockbridge 100,000 pounds. Sylvia thinks it's a huge joke, especially since she won't have to pay it.
Henry Denton: You Brits really don't have a sense of humor do you?
Elsie (Head Housemaid): We do if something's funny, sir.
Mr. Jennings: Mr. Meredith.
Barnes: Hmm?
Mr. Jennings: You haven't seen Commander Meredith anywhere, have you?
Barnes: No.
Mr. Jennings: He never came downstairs and he's not in his room.
Barnes: Mr. Jennings, I've washed him and dressed him. If he can't find his way to the drawing room, it isn't my fault.
Bertha: I can't stop thinkin' about those girls. The ones that got, you know...
Mrs. Croft: Well, I'm not surprised, the way you carry on. Just see it never happens to you, that's all.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: So what's the gossip in the servant's quarters?
Mary Maceachran: Um, nothing my lady.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Nonsense. Come on, out with it.
Mary Maceachran: Well, is it true that Sir William could have married Lady Stockbridge if he'd wanted to?
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Is that what they're saying?
Mary Maceachran: Only that Lord Carton was after Sir William for one of them but he didn't care which.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: What would you say if I told you, they cut cards for him.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Where's that wretched Mabel.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Has anyone checked her outfit? She's probably in black velvet with a feather in her hair.
Lavinia Meredith: She's in the morning room looking perfectly normal. Don't be such a snob aunt Constance.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Me? I haven't a snobish bone in my body.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): God, look at this, machine made lace.
Barnes: Hark at her!
Elsie (Head Housemaid): I hate cheap clothes. They're twice the work and they never look as good.
Morris Weissman: You're providing a lot of entertainment for nothing.
Ivor Novello: Morris... I'm used to it.
Robert Parks: Can't a man hate his own father?
Robert Parks: My name is Parks... Robert Parks.
Mary Maceachran: Nobody can stab a corpse and not know it.
Robert Parks: Really? When was the last time you stabbed a corpse?
[repeated line]
Inspector Thompson: I'm Inspector Thom...
Henry Denton: I have a date with a hot glass of milk.
Mary Maceachran: What's Lord Stockbridge like?
Robert Parks: He thinks he's God Almighty. They all do.
[on Sir William's death]
Ethel: Why would anyone want to kill Sir William?
Mrs. Croft: Well, he wasn't exactly Father Christmas.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Please tell me you haven't come with condolences.
Constance: Tell me, how much longer are you going to go on making films?
Ivor Novello: I suppose that rather depends on how much longer the public want to see me in them.
Constance: It must be hard to know when it's time to throw in the towel... What a pity about that last one of yours... what was it called? "The Dodger"?
Ivor Novello: The Lodger.
Constance: The Lodger. It must be so disappointing when something just *flops* like that.
Mary Maceachran: What will Lady Sylvia do now?
Lewis: If I were her, I'd set up in London as a glamorous widow with all the gentlemen chasin' me for my money!
Constance: They're rather a mixed bunch. That Mr. Weissman's very odd. Apparently, he produces motion pictures. The Charlie Chan Mysteries. Or does he direct them? I never know the difference. Mary! I suppose it's fun having a film star staying but there's always so little to talk about after the first flush of recognition. And why has Freddy Nesbitt brought that awful common little wife of his? Isabel only asked him because another gun dropped out; that's no excuse to inflict her on us all. Mary... Tomorrow, I'll have breakfast in bed, and then get straight up into the tweeds. What shirt have you brought?
Mary Maceachran: The green with the pink stripe.
Constance: Oh no dear, no. No, that's quite wrong. Always something very plain for country sports - the one I wore today will do.
Mary Maceachran: But it's soiled.
Constance: Well you can wash it, can't you?
[last lines]
Constance: Could you imagine someone being hanged because of something I said.
Mary Maceachran: I know. And what purpose could it possibly serve?
Henry Denton: Who is it?
Lottie: Oh, I'm ever so sorry, sir.
Henry Denton: Sorry for what?
Lottie: I'm supposed to get the fire lit without waking you.
Henry Denton: Why does everyone treat me as if I were one of these stupid snobs? I spent half the week downstairs with all of you.
Lottie: You can't be on both teams at once, sir.
Jeremy Blond: Face it. You're a younger son with the taste of marquess and the income of a vicar.
Arthur: Something funny about that bloke.
George (First Footman): His accent for a start.
Constance: Do you think he'll be as long as he usually is?
Constance: Bought marmalade? Oh dear, I call that very feeble.
Constable Dexter: Sir, someone's traipsed a load of mud in down here.
Inspector Thompson: Not now, Dexter, please.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Oh, don't worry about him. He's just an American staying with us.
George (First Footman): I'm desperate for a fag.
[Many years ago, Sylvia and Louisa cut cards to decide which of them would marry Sir William. Louisa lost]
Constance: Anyone care for a game of bridge after dinner? Louisa, how about you?
Louisa Stockbridge: Oh, I don't think so. I've rather gone off cards. I've never been very lucky with them.
Sir William McCordle: Me too.
Mary Maceachran: Mr. Parks...
Robert Parks: Robert.
Mary Maceachran: Robert. When you said you'd surprise me, you didn't mean anything by it, did you?
Robert Parks: Why? Don't you like surprises?
Mary Maceachran: What do I do with her Ladyship's jewels?
Elsie (Head Housemaid): This way. George is in charge of the safe, he's the first footman and you want to watch where he puts his hands.
Lavinia Meredith: It makes you sound desperate.
Anthony Meredith: Well, I AM fucking desperate.
[Constance's car is pulled over to the side of the road]
Morris Weissman: Hello? Is everything all right? Are you ok?
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Am I *what*?
Mary Maceachran: Where's Mrs Croft?
George (First Footman): Always eats with her own staff.
Mary Maceachran: Does she take her pudding to Mrs Wilson's room? Our cook does that.
George (First Footman): Fat chance, they hate each other.
[talking about Lady Sylvia]
Mary Maceachran: What was her family like?
Elsie: What you'd expect: toffee-nosed and useless. Her father was the Earl of Carton, which sounds good except he didn't have a pot to piss in.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: What *are* you wearing?
Isobel McCordle: Don't you like it? You bought it.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Did I? How extraordinary of me.
Lewis: You should know to pack your woollies when you come to this house.
Constance: Mabel is so clever to pack light. Why should one wear a different frock each evening, we're not in a fashion parade.
George (First Footman): You naughty, naughty girl.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: He's still got that vile little dog, I see.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Yes, the ones we hate last forever.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Are any of the others getting up for breakfast? The women, I mean.
Mary Maceachran: I think Lady Lavinia may be.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: That settles it. Come back at half past eight. I'll get dressed. It's the greatest bore, of course, but I don't want to miss anything.
Arthur: George has had his revenge on Mr. Denton- hot coffee in the lap.
Baron Raymond Stockbridge: Do you really have to go back to London?
Anthony Meredith: I am afraid so, Raymond. When you're ruined, there's so much to do.
Sir William McCordle: Yes, there is, isn't there? Moan, moan, moan.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Mrs Wilson, a major crisis has arisen. I've just found out that Mr Weissman won't eat meat and I don't know what to do and I can't ask Mrs Croft. I simply don't dare.
Mrs. Wilson: Oh, everything's under control your ladyship. Mr Weissman's valet informed us as soon as he arrived so we've prepared a special version of the soup, he can eat the fish and the hors d'oeuvres, there'll be a welsh rarebit for the game course, I'm not sure what we're going to do about the entree but we'll think of something.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Thank you Mrs Wilson. Ten steps ahead as always. Which one of you is Mr Weissman's valet?
Henry Denton: I am, your Ladyship.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Are you indeed. Yes. Well. Thank you for your...
[pause while she takes a good look at him]
Lady Sylvia McCordle: efficiency.
[leaves]
George (First Footman): [to Denton] You're all set then.
Isobel McCordle: Is Rupert here?
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Yes.
Isobel McCordle: Shall I go and say hello?
Lady Sylvia McCordle: No. I don't think so.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): George?
George (First Footman): They're coming in a minute. The dressing bell's just gone.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): I'm going out of my mind up there. I've read all my magazines twice. You couldn't pinch something out of the library for me? I don't care if it's Horse and Hound, as long as I haven't read it.
[On the phone, discussing casting for his movie]
Morris Weissman: What about Claudette Colbert? She's British, isn't she? She sounds British. Is she, like, affected or is she British?
[everyone starts clapping after Ivor has finished a song]
Constance: Please, don't encourage him
Probert: I'll murder that dog one day. Look at that. All over his waistcoat.
Raymond Stockbridge: Well, I think it's ridiculous. I'm here to shoot.
Louisa Stockbridge: Darling, it's a relief for me to sit next someone who isn't deaf in one ear.
Raymond Stockbridge: I'm sorry?
Constance, Countess of Trentham: The time to make up your mind about people is never.
Morris Weissman: [after Jennings suggests Mr. Weissman choose his own breakfast items] Oh, like cafeteria style?
Baron Raymond Stockbridge: The Englishman is never waited on at breakfast.
Morris Weissman: Well, that's interesting, because an American is. I'll make a note of that.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Did you have an dreadful journey?
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Yes, simply dreadful.
Constance: Mary, I don't think I'll wear that shirt after all. The other one's warmer, that's all I care about.
Lavinia Meredith: I don't care what's changed or not changed as long as our sons are spared what you all went through.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Not all. You never fought, did you, William?
Sir William McCordle: I did my bit.
Louisa Stockbridge: Of course you did.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Well, you made a lot of money but it's not quite the same as charging into the cannon's mouth, is it?
Constance: Awfully long repertoire.
Barnes: Short arse.
Inspector Thompson: Well, you see, this is why we have rules and regulations, isn't it?
Lord Stockbridge: [to Commander Meredith] When a man's as short as you are, it must be difficult to gauge the height of the birds.
Mrs. Croft: He was a hard-hearted randy old sod.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): [while serving at dinner and interrupting Lady Sylvia] That's not fair! Billy...
[Elsie exits quickly]
Robert Parks: Here we go again.
Mary Maceachran: That's just it. I've never done a real houseparty before. Not properly anyway.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): How come you got taken on as a countess lady's maid if you've got no experience?
Mary Maceachran: She wants to train me. She said she didn't care about experience.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): She didn't want to pay for it, you mean.
[at the banquet dinner table]
Sir William McCordle: And why shouldn't I be interested in films? You don't know what I'm interested in.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Well, I know you're interested in money and fiddling with your guns. But I admit it: when it comes to anything else, I'm stumped.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): Now, that is not fair, Bill is...
[Realizing that she spoke out of turn, Elsie quickly leaves the room]
Mary Maceachran: Her Ladyship says Sir William loves his shooting.
Elsie: Yeah, he does. Can't hit a barn door but he does love it. Sweet, really.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Far be it from me to contradict Louisa.
Mary Maceachran: Don't do anything I wouldn't do.
Elsie (Head Housemaid): At least I know that gives me room for manoeuvre.
Morris Weissman: Thank you, Mr. Jennings.
Mr. Jennings: It's just Jennings, sir.
Morris Weissman: Then thank you, just Jennings.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: It's absolutely glacial in here.
Robert Parks: What's your name?
Mary Maceachran: I think here I'm called Trentham.
Robert Parks: [laughs] No, I meant your real name.
Mary Maceachran: Oh. Mary. Mary Maceachran.
Robert Parks: Blimey. What does Her Ladyship call you?
Mary Maceachran: Well, she should call me Maceachran now I'm a lady's maid. At least that's what my mother says. But Her Ladyship can't pronounce it, so she just calls me Mary.
Robert Parks: I don't blame her.
George (First Footman): What's the matter with you?
Albert: I just thought *I'd* be dressing Mr Novello.
George (First Footman): And now you won't get to see him in his underdrawers. Better luck next time.
Constance, Countess of Trentham: Could we possibly get on before I *freeze to death?*
Raymond Stockbridge: Do stop snivelling - anyone would think you were Italian.
Louisa Stockbridge: I didn't expect anything half as exotic.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Mrs Wilson, absolute crisis. I've just found out that Mr Weissman won't eat meat. I don't know what to do and I can't ask Mrs Croft. I simply don't dare.
Mrs. Wilson: Everything's under control your ladyship. Mr Weissman's valet informed us as soon as he after he arrived so we've prepared a special version of the soup, he can eat the fish and the hors d'oeuvres, there'll be a welsh rarebit for the game course, I'm not sure what we're going to do about the entree but we'll think of something.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Thank you Mrs Wilson. Ten steps ahead as always. Which one of you is Mr Weissman's valet?
Henry Denton: I am, your Ladyship.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Are you indeed. Yes. Well. Thank you for your...
[pause while she takes a good look at him]
Lady Sylvia McCordle: efficiency.
[leaves]
George (First Footman): [to Denton] You're all set then.
Constance: Has anyone checked her outfit? She's probably in black velvet with a feather in her hair.
Constance: Seems much more than just background music.

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