Noises Off...

Synopsis: Lloyd Fellowes is the director of a theatre company. He's desperately trying to get his production together, despite the best efforts of the cast, the crew, and Lady Luck. We follow the production from final rehersals, through opening night, and onto the tour: as with any group of actors forced to work closely together for any great length of time, romances and arguments are bound to break out. Quite often, what's happening on stage is nothing compared to what's happening backstage....
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): Peter Bogdanovich
Production: Buena Vista Pictures
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

"Noises Off..."

[doorman] Curtain's going up.

Curtain is going up!

Curtain's going up.

[man] A big Broadway opening.

Everybody who's anybody in New York

is inside this theater tonight.

Everybody but one man.

This man. Me!

Lloyd, where are you going?

Didn't you direct this?

I just have to...

- One of two things.

- [Lloyd] One thing, get out of this theater.

Mr. Fellows,

anything wrong with your seat?

- It's facing the stage.

- No, just go ahead.

It's gonna be a disaster.

I can't just sit there and watch.

Five seconds,

and we still haven't got a laugh.

I'm not running away.

I'm just not a person who gets a kick

out of watching an automobile crash.

Particularly when it's my automobile.

It'll be the worst catastrophe

Broadway's ever seen.

They'll forget their lines,

the set will fall down.

None of us will

get out of New York alive.

They've got big pictures of us in the lobby.

I'll get on a plane.

I should've got on a plane

when we first opened in Des Moines.

I should've got on a plane

before we opened in Des Moines.

I should've got on a plane

at the dress rehearsal,

as soon as that curtain went up

at the beginning of Act I.

As soon as that damn phone rang,

and Dotty came on

with that first plate of sardines.

[phone rings]

[woman] Hold on! Hold your horses.

Oh, Lord love a duck!

Shut up, I'm on my way.

It's no good you going on.

I can't open sardines

and answer the phone.

I've only got one pair of feet.


Yes, but there's no one here, love.

No, Mr. Brent's not here.

He lives here, yes, but he don't live here

now because he lives in Spain.

Mr. Philip Brent,

the one that writes the plays,

only now he writes them in Spain.

Nope, she's in Spain, too.

They're all in Spain.

Am I in Spain?

No, I'm not in Spain, dear.

I look after the house for them,

only I go home at 1:00 on Wednesdays.

So, that's where I am.

No, because I got a nice plate of sardines

to put me feet up with.

And they got color here

and it's the Royal...

What's it called?

You know, the horse race.

Where'd the paper go?

If it's about letting the house,

then you'll have to ring the house agents

'cause they're the agents for the house.

Squire, Squire, Hackham

and who's the other one...

No, they're not in Spain.

They're next to the phone in the study.

Squire, Squire, Hackham and...

Hold on, I'll go and look.

Always the same, isn't it?

Soon as you take the weight off your feet,

then it all comes on your head.

And I take the sardines.

No, I leave the sardines.

No, I take the sardines.

[Lloyd] You leave the sardines

and you hang up the phone.

Yes, right. I hang up... the phone.

[Lloyd] And you leave the sardines.

I leave the sardines?

You leave the sardines.

I hang up the phone

and I leave the sardines?


We've changed that, have we, dear?

- No, dear.

- That's what I've always been doing?

I wouldn't say that, Dotty, my precious.

How about the words, dear?

Am I getting some of them right?

Some of them have a very familiar ring.

It's like a slot machine up here.

I know that, Dotty.

I open my mouth and I never know

what's going to come out.

Three oranges or two lemons

and a banana.

Anyway, it's not midnight yet.

And we don't open till tomorrow.

You're holding the receiver.

I'm holding the receiver.

"Squire, Squire, Hackham".

And "hold on". And noises off.

Squire, Squire, Hackham

and hold on, don't go away.

I'm hanging up the phone.

Always the same, isn't it?

Put your feet up for two minutes

and they all come running after you.

Hold it!

My housekeeper, yes,

but this is her afternoon off.

Hold it, Larry. Dotty!

We've got the place entirely to ourselves.

Hold it, Brooke.


Come back?

Yes, and go out again

with the newspaper.

The newspaper?

Oh, the newspaper.

Hang up the phone, you leave the sardines

and you go out with the newspaper.

- Here you are.

- Sorry, hon.

Don't worry about it, hon.

It's just the tech rehearsal.

It's the dress rehearsal, Garry, hon.

- When was the tech rehearsal?

- When's the dress? We open tomorrow.

We're all thinking of it

as the tech, aren't we?

- All those words...

- Don't worry about the words!

And that accent.

It's coming out like oranges and lemons.

Your words are fine. Your words are better

than the... you know what I mean.

- Isn't that right?

- Sorry?

Okay, so he's the... fine!

But, dear, you've been

playing this kind of part for...

Jesus, you know what I mean!

All right, Garry and Brooke are off.

Dotty is holding the receiver.

No, but here we are. We're all thinking,

"My God, we open tomorrow.

"We had two weeks to rehearse. We don't

know where we are, but here we are"!

That's right, sweetie! Isn't it?

Beautifully put, Garry.

We've got to play Des Moines

this week, then Pittsburgh,

and then God knows where, and where

else, and so on, for God knows how long.

We're all feeling pretty much...

- Aren't you?

- Sorry?

Anyway, you're off

and Dotty's holding the phone.

Sometimes you have

to come right out with it.

- I know.

- Thanks.

So, you're off.

Let me just say one thing,

since we've stopped.

I've worked with a lot of directors.

Some were geniuses, some were bastards,

but I've never met one who was

so totally and absolutely, I don't know...

Thank you, I'm very touched.

Now will you get off the f***ing stage?

- And Brooke?

- Yes?

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Marty Kaplan

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the founding director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of the impact of entertainment on society. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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