Bernard And Doris

Synopsis: Sympathetic look loosely based on the relationship between tobacco heiress, Doris Duke (1912-1993) - think Duke University - and her shy butler, Bernard Lafferty. The icy and mercurial Duke fires her butler for serving a chilled cantaloupe; the agency sends Lafferty, formerly household staff to Liz Taylor and to Peggy Lee. He's an alcoholic, fresh out of rehab. He gradually becomes Duke's gay alter ego as she romps through life sleeping with young men, making shrewd decisions quickly, managing her fortune and orchids as Lafferty manages her New Jersey estate. With a wine cellar to die for, Bernard falls off the wagon. Can he pull himself together when Doris needs him?
Director(s): Bob Balaban
Production: HBO
  Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 29 nominations.
102 min

Ugh. What is this?

- Cantaloupe, ma'am.

- It's ice cold.

I'm terribly sorry, ma'am.

I'll get you another.

And what will you

do with this?

Hm? What will you

do with this one?

I... I... I'm not sure, ma'am.

Throw it out, ma'am?

Did you pay for it?

- Just get out.

- Yes, Miss Duke.

- Don't come back.

- Ma'am?

You're fired.

- Now you're fired.

- Yes, ma'am.


Uh, I have a 2:
00 appointment.

The name is Lafferty.

Bernard. That's it there.

If they don't have figs,

well then just get apricot.

If they don't have apricots,

get whatever's in season.

If they don't have anything

in season, go wherever it is in season.

I'll take that sherry now,

thank you very much.

There's enough dried up

things in this house

without adding fruit

to the whole...

Get me my sherry.

Good evening, Miss Duke.


Who the hell are you?

I'm here about the job,

from the agency.

Here, these are my references.

- Get me a sherry.

- Yes, ma'am.

Excuse me, ma'am,

there's something...

- New butler.

- Ma'am?

- You don't leave until I tell you to.

- Yes, ma'am.

Oh, you can go.

Ah, you. Come.

- Right there.

- Yes, Miss Duke.

- Just here?

- Yes.

- Will that be all, ma'am?

- Yes.

Wait, who the hell

are you, anyway?


I assume you have credentials?


"Elizabeth Taylor,

Peggy Lee... "

What, you have a thing

for entertainers, Mr. Rafferty?


Beg your pardon, Miss Duke,

it's Lafferty

with an "L."

It says that you haven't

worked for six months.

I had a... a wee health problem.

Drugs or alcohol?


I assume it's under control?

I assure it's all in the past now.


Well, Mr. Rafferty, I really

don't care what you do

on your own time, just don't let me

catch you drinking my wine.

Yes, ma'am.

Thanks, Miss Duke.

I've seen this attitude before,

believe me.

"Oh, she'll never know that these olives

had fur growing on them.

Let's just clean them off

and put them in her martini. "

Well, here's the news...

ladies and gentlemen, from now on,

I am Miss Duke's eyes and ears.

I am the enforcer

of standards.

And if this household

has not met those standards

by the end of the week,

then I'll be making a few changes.

Do I make myself clear?


Right then, let's get

this place cleaned up.

Thank you.

Uh, Nancy?

- Not good.

- Yes, sir.

Come on, baby,

get back here.

Ben, where are you?

I'm missing you.

Good morning, sir.

- Rafferty?

- Good morning, Miss Duke.

Uh, the new gardener,

what's his name?

His name is Patrick, ma'am.

- Is he married?

- I don't believe so.

What's his sexual orientation?

I'm afraid I don't know.

Well, have him wash

his hands and come up.

You haven't forgotten the appointment

at 1:
00, have you, ma'am?

Pick something out

for me to wear.

Of course, ma'am.

That would be Patrick first,

then the outfit.


$150,000 to the Duke

University Primate Center.

$300,000 to the Foundation

for Southeast Asian

Art and Culture.


Right. Oh, incidentally...

Vice President Bush

wants to honor you

at his next fundraiser.

I think you should consider it.

Oh, that's sweet.

Just tell him my dance card is full.

- Thanks.

- I'll convey your regrets.

Tom, why don't you tell us

how her portfolio is doing?

I know how my portfolio

is doing, thank you.

I'm interested

in computer technology.

That seems hot, really hot.

So buy Intel, buy Microsoft,

maybe Apple?

I don't know, buy all three.

Come in.

Good morning, Miss Duke.

I have your breakfast. Would you

prefer it in the bedroom or?

Oh, just put it right there.

Is madam going somewhere?

She most certainly is.

May I pack you a bag?

Yes, you may.

Right, ma'am.

Um, will it be the Vuitton?


How about this little one here?

That's fine.

And you could put in...

three bed jackets,

three nightgowns,

my gold slippers.

My smalls are right here.

And the Agatha Christie,

wherever that is.

Might it be in the bedroom?

I hope so.

Guess I'll go...

Here it is.

Oh, it's great, you have

the complete Miss Marple collection.

I love it.

A little help with this necklace.

It's a beautiful piece.

Yes, it is.

If I may be permitted, ma'am, I just...


That was a lovely performance.

- What are you talking about?

- At the board meeting.


Simply the flatness

of the landscape.

It... it was extremely flat, yes.

Those men can't help it

if they live in a world of beige.

But you don't, do you?

- What's that, ma'am?

- Live in a world of beige.

Well, I live in

other people's worlds,

so if their world is beige,

then I suppose that...

- that my world is beige.

- Mm-hm.


Why all of a sudden

the Deco coffee pot?

Well, I...

I prefer the Cristoff.

Well, it... it won't

happen again, ma'am.

- I'm sorry.

- I'm sure.

Send the Aubusson back

to Newport.

- It looks dreadful here.

- I will, ma'am.

Make sure they're

not drinking my booze.

And I want him gone

by the time I get back.


Have a safe trip, ma'am.

Good day, sir.

Mr. Lafferty?

Mr. Lafferty?

It's ours, we bought it.

- Yes.

- Oh sure, I know.

- Would you like some?

- No, thanks.

I'm good, thanks.

It's good.

It's from Argentina.

- Oh... great.

- Yes.

- Very good.

- Miss Duke, she like to drink.

- Oh...

- All the time.

I'm sure she does.


- Is she okay?

- No.

Miss Duke?

Get me a damn drink,

will you, please?

Yes, ma'am.

Can I help you up?


God damn it.

Crooks, you know?

Said it was gonna be

three days, maybe four tops.

It's only

a lousy nip and tuck.

- I wouldn't do that.

- All of a sudden tonight she says

to me, "No, I think you should

stay another week. "

- I think you should sit down.

- God.

Ma'am, I wouldn't do that.

"It's not as if money

is an issue," she says.


Money has been an issue

my entire f***ing life.

I think I should

take a look at that.

She's one of those

Nurse Ratched types, you know?

The Nazi in

the white sneakers.

You know what I did?

I just hit her, pow!

Right in the ear.

- Give me another drink.

- I think you should come upstairs.

No, just,

I want another drink.

Ma'am, I think you should rest.

Just give me

the goddamn bottle!

- For Christ's sakes.

- I think you should...

Will you get off of me?

That wasn't very nice, was it?

I'm sorry.

Rafferty, I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

No, it's okay, it's okay.

I just, you know,

sometimes I just...

- I lose control, you know?

- It's okay, Miss Duke.

I know.



My face really hurts.

I can see that.

It really hurts.

- You should get some rest.

- I'm just gonna take...

No, I don't think you should...

Miss Duke, I don't think

you should...


I don't think you should

be drinking with these, ma'am.


Would you please?

Let's get you upstairs.

- I have an extra one. Do you want this?

- I'm good for now.

Oh God, I should call the clinic

and tell them that I'm still alive.

You mean you didn't tell them

that you were leaving?

Well, not in so many words.

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Hugh Costello

Hugh Costello is an Irish writer. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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