Two for the Seesaw

Synopsis: Jerry Ryan is wandering aimlessly around New York, having given up his law career in Nebraska when his wife asked for a divorce. He meets up with Gittel Mosca, an impoverished dancer from Greenwich Village, and the two try to straighten out their lives together.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Robert Wise
Production: United Artists
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
119 min

(melancholy trumpet solo)

(flamenco guitar,

bongo drums, laughter)

(hum of conversation)

- Hey! Jerry Ryan, glad you could make it.

- Good to see you, Oscar.

Of all the people

I never expected to hear from!

After a month, I got a sudden urge

to see a familiar face.

- I see you're still painting.

- I'm painting, all right.

Jerry, think what could've happened

to my talent if I'd stayed in Nebraska!

New York saved my life.

I paint with my guts now!

- I got a whole new...

- (woman) Oscar!

Kindly look at the spaghetti,

it's gonna stick!

Who cares! Come here.

Sophie, meet Jerry Ryan,

from back home.

An artist for ya - "Who cares?"!

Pleased to meet you, Jerry.

Influence him to look at the spaghetti.

- Sure. Oscar, I'll be fine.

- I'll be right back.

Fix yourself a drink. Mingle a little.

Is the purpose of art to communicate?

Yes or no?

Pardon me. I beg your pardon.

The way you ask is typical of

your attitude. Dogmatic. Conformist.

...making compromises.

You saw my improvisation.

Was the motivation absolutely clear?

Well, truthfully, I did feel

a certain dichotomy.

Your motivation

and the motivation of the...

(general chatter)


(woman) Think you're Rockefeller,

you eat out all the time?

A nice little icebox'll save you a fortune.

I'm trying to do you a favour. Why so

suspicious? With five bucks I'll get rich!

I'll be five bucks less rich, won't I?

What's a cottage cheese salad?

At least a buck, right?

Buy a carton, twenty cents,

put it in the icebox and you're in business.

Change your mind,

gimme a ring, I'm in the book.

Gittel Mosca. M-O-S-C-A, Mosca!

You got a light?

Don the hat, nobody'll know

you're at the wrong party!

Hecky, I've a story saved up for you.

Punchline even.

(Gittel laughs)

You dirty...

(phone rings)

Yeah, hello?



You slob. Slob. Slob.


- Yeah, hello?

- Miss Gittel Mosca?

- It's me, who's this?

- Jerry Ryan. We met at Oscar's party.

- Yeah?

- I lit your cigarette?

You thought I was at the wrong party.

The one with the hat, didn't say anything.

- You must know some talkative hats!

- Huh?

About that icebox you were trying to sell.

Can I stop by and look at it?

Oh, I gave it away to some jerk

Sophie sent over.

I just let him have it.

Why didn't you ask yesterday?

It was too big a move.

Today I decided to change, join the living.

About ten minutes ago.

- Thought I'd start by dropping in on you.

- I haven't got it.

All the same, I thought I'd drop in and...

(sighs) Yeah, well, thanks anyway.



Just a minute, I'm boiling over!

Milk all over the lousy stove!

Yeah, hello? Hello?

Hey, anybody on this line?

- No.

- Huh?


- Hello?

- Sophie, is Oscar there?


That hat-type friend of his,

what's his number?

You got ants in your pants?

Drag your mind up outta your girdle,

see if Oscar's written it down.

Didn't realise you were so delicate.

Wait a minute.

Gittel, it's Circle 5-9970.

You got that?

- 9-9-7-0, yeah.

- Don't be an ingrate, give a thank you.

Very funny, I'll give you a commission.


- Yes?

- I've been thinking about that icebox.

I could take you

and you could offer him a buck.

He might let it go.

He got it for nothing.

- Hey, you still with me?

- I don't know yet.

- How'd you get my number?

- Sophie. Oscar had it.

- The icebox, what do you think?

- I don't think you're calling about that.

- Huh?

- You've nothing better to do.

I've eleven different things

I could be doing!

Different isn't better.

Why aren't you doing them?

How'd I get in the wrong?

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Isobel Lennart

Isobel Lennart (May 18, 1915 - January 25, 1971) was an American screenwriter and playwright. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lennart moved to Hollywood, where she was hired to work in the MGM mail room, a job she lost when she attempted to organize a union. She joined the Communist Party in 1939 but left five years later. Lennart's first script, The Affairs of Martha, an original comedy about the residents of a wealthy community who fear their secrets are about to be revealed in an exposé written by one of their maids, was filmed in 1942 with Spring Byington, Marjorie Main, and Richard Carlson. This was followed in quick succession by A Stranger in Town, Anchors Aweigh, and It Happened in Brooklyn. In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began an investigation into the motion picture industry. Although she was never blacklisted, Lennart, a former member of the Young Communist League, testified to HUAC in 1952 to avoid being blacklisted. She later regretted this decision. Lennart's later screen credits include A Life of Her Own, Love Me or Leave Me, Merry Andrew, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, The Sundowners, and Two for the Seesaw. In 1964, Lennart wrote the book for the Broadway musical Funny Girl, based on the life and career of Fanny Brice and her tempestuous relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein. It catapulted Barbra Streisand to fame and earned her a Tony Award nomination. In 1968, Lennart wrote the screen adaptation, which won her a Writers Guild of America award for Best Screenplay. It proved to be her last work. Three years later, she was killed in an automobile accident in Hemet, California. Lennart married actor/writer John Harding in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1945. They had two children, Joshua Lennart Harding (December 27, 1947 - August 4, 1971) and Sarah Elizabeth Harding (born November 24, 1951). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Two for the Seesaw" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 11 Apr. 2021. <>.

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