Nothing, it seems to me, is more beautiful than the love that has weathered the storms of life

old weathered tree trunks

The love of the old for the old is the beginning of things longer

THE STRANGER:
That they call you “Darby and Joan.” [She looks at him.] Nothing, it seems to me, is more beautiful than the love that has weathered the storms of life. The blossom that flowers in the heart of the young, as in those days when first you met him, so handsome, so kind, you remember? —that too, is beautiful, the love of the young, for the young. It is the beginning of life. But the love of the – forgive me – of the old for the old, that is the beginning of things longer.

MRS. TOMPKINS:
Yes, I remember your voice: it was always the same. [She turns and looks at him.] But it is you only I seem to remember – nothing about you —no time, no place. I suppose it will come back to me.

THE STRANGER:
And if not, we will not trouble. The meeting-place of friends is in the heart.

MRS. TOMPKINS:
[She looks at him, smiling.] You always thought well of me. I remember that.

by Jerome Klapka Jerome (2 May 1859 – 14 June 1927)
The Passing of the Third Floor Back

Beautiful Reruns

Do you like beautiful, old-fashioned dialogue?

The Passing of the Third Floor Back is a play that was made into a movie in 1918 and 1935.

A New York Times reviewThe 55th Street Playhouse Offers a Film Version of Jerome’s ‘Passing of the Third Floor Back.’

The movie, listed on IMDBThe Passing of the Third Floor Back, 1918, and again: The Passing of the Third Floor Back, 1935. The user comments on the 1935 edition made me want to find this movie – their description makes it sound like it would be right up the alley of old movie buffs.

On a hunch, I looked into the director, Berthold Viertel. He was one of many talented exiles and emigrants who were involved with European film before the outbreak of World War II. Some were Jewish and in fear for their lives, some were wary of the German propaganda machine. Though America took them in, employment was often hard to come by, even for the great ones. Vertiel’s home in the U.S. became a gathering place for other creatives like himself.

It will take some digging to find your own copy of the movie, but a book containing the script is available on Amazon – see The Passing of the Third Floor Back and Other Stories.

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