Synopsis: Michael Dorsey is an unemployed actor with an impossible reputation. In order to find work and fund his friend's play he dresses as a woman, Dorothy Michaels, and lands the part in a daytime drama. Dorsey loses himself in this woman role and essentially becomes Dorothy Michaels, captivating women all around the city and inspiring them to break free from the control of men and become more like Dorsey's initial identity. This newfound role, however, lands Dorsey in a hot spot between a female friend/'lover,' a female co-star he falls in love with, that co-star's father who falls in love with him, and a male co-star who yearns for his affection.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Sydney Pollack
Production: Columbia Pictures
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 30 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

That's right.

Come on. No, don't stop.

Keep looking!

You don't feel so good now, do you?

See, you let it out. Out!

I feel like an idiot.

Not so fast, not so fast. Slower.


Good, good.

Keep it specific.

Still a little tension in the mouth.

Good, good.

Okay, make her work peripherally.


...Dorsey, is it?

Yes, that's right.

Mr. Dorsey, would you turn

to page 23, please?

Yes, I believe you mean

the first scene...

Sorry, the second scene

of the first act.

Second scene of the first act. Right.

Begin when you're ready.

Yes, of course.

Oh, sweetheart, do you know what

it was like waking up in Paris...

...seeing the empty pillow where...

Wait! Cover your breasts. Kevin is

downstairs! My God, what are you?

I'm a woman. Not Felicia's mother.

Not Kevin's wife.

Thanks very much.

We need someone a little older.

Mom! Dad! Uncle Pete, come quick!

Something's wrong with Biscuit!

I think he's dead!

We're looking for someone younger.

"They have dinner..." Can I start again?

I didn't get kicked off right.

The reading was fine.

You're the wrong height.

I can be taller.

No. We're looking

for somebody shorter.

Look. I don't have to be this tall.

See, I'm wearing lifts.

I can be shorter.

I know, but we're looking

for somebody different.

I can be different.

We're looking for somebody else.

What do you care more

about than working?

The part's the most important thing.

But love sometimes is too.

With improvisation, you're the writer.

When somebody writes a play...

...they decide where the highs are,

where the lows are. Now you do it.

And you may not be high where

they're high in the writing.

You may not be low where they're low.

You may be high on "but."

You may be high on "and."

Of course, they were doing it

for dough...

...the same as everybody

does it for dough.

But the question is in

the last analysis.

What were they doing for dough?

You and me were advancing our

little non-Prussian careers.

So when all hell broke loose,

and the Germans ran out of soap...

...and figured, "What the hell?

Let's cook up Mrs. Greenwald!"...

...who the hell do you

think stopped them?

Pardon me, is my acting

interfering with your talking?

Don't play a part that's not in you.

Don't say "he" or "she" like you did

last week when you were doing Kitty.

When you were doing

Time Of Your Life.

If you can't make the part yourself,

you can't play it.


Quick! Get a priest!

No, sergeant, no priest.

- But you're dying, Count Tolstoy.

- I know.

In the name of the Father,

the Son and the Holy Ghost...

...I commit your soul to God.

- My friends...

- That's super, Michael.

But I wonder if you could move center

stage on that speech, and then die.


The left side of the house

can't see you.

You want me to stand up and walk

to the center of the stage...

...while I'm dying?

I know it's awkward,

but we'll just have to do it.

- Why?

- I just told you. Now do it!

Because you say so?

Yes, love.

Not with me as Tolstoy.

You gotta work.

There's no excuse for not working.

There's no excuse.

There's unemployment.

There was unemployment when

my friends and I started acting.

And it's not changed.

You got 90-95% unemployment.

It's never going to change.

You're an actor.

You're in New York.

There is no work.

But you gotta find ways to work.

Two tortellinis,

a gazpacho with two salads.

Veal chop, medium,

two scrods, an order of chicken!

One scrod underdone.

- What's the rest?

- Baked potato.

- How'd it go?

- Terrible.

- Did you rewrite the last scene?

- I did the necktie scene.

How is it?

It'll change theatre as we know it.

We'll work on it

when we get home tonight.

That's my flounder.

- That is my flounder.

- Robber!

- Ordering:
One flounder...

- That's for the customer!

I eat these things so if the

customers ask if I eat his food...

...I can say, "Yeah, I eat his food."

You rewrote the necktie scene? Good.

- Without the necktie?

- With the necktie.

- With the necktie?

- Yeah, with the necktie.

The necktie's wrong. You take the

necktie out, you got something.

- What's wrong with you?

- What's wrong with me?

What's wrong is it's depressing

to be disagreed with.

It's depression.

Today's your birthday,

and you haven't mentioned it.

Don't start. I'm a character actor.

Age has no effect on me.

- That's very good.

- How does one not be depressed?

Instead of trying to be Michael Dorsey,

the great actor or the great waiter...

...why not just try to be

Michael Dorsey?

I am Michael Dorsey.

What's the payoff?

- Say it like you mean it.

- I am Michael Dorsey. Fine. Okay?


Speech! Speech! Speech!

Wait, wait, wait, wait! Wait a minute.

First a toast.

To Michael Dorsey, who makes you

remember what acting's all about!

Being unemployed!

To Michael...

...who's been my friend for six years.

Was it that long?

And who is my coach.

And he's just great.

He's a great coach, a great actor.

He's a great guy and...

This is a really dumb speech.

Let's get drunk.

Happy birthday!

- How you doing? Michael.

- Patty.

You an actress? Terrific face.

Nice blouse. Who'd you come with?

I don't want a full house

at the Winter Garden Theatre.

I want 90 people who just came out

of the worst rainstorm in history.

These are people who are alive

on the planet...

...until they dry off.

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Larry Gelbart

Larry Simon Gelbart (February 25, 1928 – September 11, 2009) was an American television writer, playwright, screenwriter, director and author, most famous as a creator and producer of the television series M*A*S*H, and as co-writer of Broadway musicals City of Angels and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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