Kings Row

1942 film directed by Sam Wood

Kings Row is a 1942 film about the dark side and hypocrisy of provincial American life as seen through the eyes of five children as they grow to adulthood at the turn of the century.

Directed by Sam Wood. Written by Casey Robinson, based on the 1940 novel by Henry Bellamann.
The town they talk of in whispers.  taglines

Parris Mitchell

  • Something's gonna happen, Drake. Something bad, I don't know what. It's just a feeling I've had lately. Something I can't stop happening, that maybe I'm even responsible for in some way.
  • [in a letter] Of course, Randy, it is a ghastly and terrible tragedy, particularly to have happened to Drake. He lived by his freedom and independence. He will feel, probably already feels, that he's lost both. It'll be your problem to restore them to him. The repairs to the body can sometimes be made in a short space of time. The injury to the mind, to what is called the psyche, this takes longer. The psychic injuries strike at his pride, his initiative, and we shall have to save them if we're to save Drake. Never when I decided to become a psychiatrist did I imagine I'd be writing my first prescription for my dearest friend. As soon as he's well enough, he must find an interest outside of himself. Some job to do that will force him to depend upon himself and make his own decisions. The helpless invalid complex must be avoided at all cost. In fact, he must be made to feel that since he was making a living for himself he will, of course, go on making a living. I've written to the bank instructing them to turn over to you the small Tower estate that was left me. Use it to make some sort of a new beginning for you. I don't care if it's real estate or chicken farming, so long as it is something that will take his mind off himself and make him realize that he's still some use in this world. I feel so helpless being way over here. I rely on you. You must obey my instructions faithfully.

Randy Monaghan

  • I didn't marry Drake out of pity, Parris...I never loved anyone else. Even in school I never had crushes on boys. I liked them or I didn't. They said naughty things to me and that was all. Aside from that, they treated me as one of themselves. Then that day I saw Drake at the station, well, he simply went to a place in my heart that had been waiting for him. Drake. Oh, Parris! Tall and laughing and going about with his head up. [she tears up] Then after his accident, I knew I had to ask myself a question and answer it. I'd loved Drake wholly. What about that now? What was left of it? I was half afraid I might love him less. That something I couldn't help, something physical, might turn me away from him. There was my question staring at me. Then, in one of your letters, there was a sentence, 'You must remember now, that Drake lives in a new world and that his relationship with it and with everyone in it will be changed.' I knew that applied to Drake and myself, too. An episode of youth and fun had closed, and with it had gone all the demands, forever. I knew then that I didn't love him any less, only differently. With an overwhelming, new, calm feeling, Parris, that so completely took the place of the old excitement that it would last forever.

Drake McHugh

  • [after awaking to find his feet have been amputated] Randy, Randy - Where's the rest of me...?

Dr. Alexander Q. Tower

  • Well, Mitchell, I don't know at all your approach to medicine. Perhaps you regard it as an opportunity to become one of those bedside manners with a list of proper pills to give the patient - particularly when you don't know what is the matter with him. Or perhaps your aim is to become an eminent carpenter with a knife and a chisel and a saw. Perhaps even you'll flow over with the nobility of relieving humanity's suffering. I'll tell you my approach to medicine! It is a game in which man pits his brains against the forces of destruction and disease. In the beginning I don't expect you to participate in the game. You'll only listen and accept. You will study and you will make notes and you will memorize... and you will do all this only because I tell you to.
  • And in diagnosis, you must never underrate the value of subconscious observation. Instinct, if you want to call it that. Or, more properly, intuition. It's what makes a born physician.

Madame Marie von Eln

  • I only know that you have to judge people by what you find them to be and not by what other people say they are.
  • He mustn't know, Anna....Don't cry, Anna, for me. It will be worse for him. My troubles are almost over and his are just beginning. Growing up is so difficult, Anna. The disappointments and the heartbreaks. The frightening problems. The meannesses and the cruelties of the world. How often I have wished that his mother be lived, or his father. Or that I were his mother. It isn't fair that a young boy should be brought up by an old woman who will leave him when he needs her most. What's going to happen to him?...I've done my best to make him into a gentleman. And my best to provide for his future. For the rest, everything must be pleasant for him until he goes away. I will try to live until then.

Col. Skeffington

  • [about the dying Madame von Eln] When she passes, how much passes with her! - a whole way of life, a way of gentleness and honor and dignity. These things are going, Henry, and they may never come back to this world.
  • [referring to Drake] Funny thing, I sort of like that boy. Bold as brass, but he's the only young man in town beside Parris Mitchell who has grace enough to say 'sir' to his elders.


Randy Monaghan: Trouble is your pants are too tight. Take 'em off, why don't you?
Parris Mitchell: I can't. I haven't got anything on under them.

Dr. Alexander Q. Tower: Oh, have you read this?
Parris Mitchell: Yes, sir. I didn't understand it entirely, I'm afraid.
Dr. Alexander Q. Tower: Well, it's a new field. They've even a new word for it: psychiatry.
Parris Mitchell: It's something I never thought about. I mean, for a doctor to want to cure diseases of people's minds instead of their bodies. I suppose it's a pretty big field, sir.
Dr. Alexander Q. Tower: Maybe too big. Maybe a hundred years off.

Dr. Alexander Q. Tower: In the 13th Century, man was happier and more comfortable in his world than he is now. I'm speaking of psychic man and his relationship with his whole universe.
Parris Mitchell: I get it, sir. Everything was so simple then
Dr. Alexander Q. Tower: That was it, Parris. That was it. But in this modern complicated world, man breaks down under the strain, the bewilderment, disappointment, and disillusionment. He gets lost, goes crazy, commits suicide. I don't know what's going to happen to this world in the next hundred years or so, but I can guarantee you life isn't going to get any simpler. Worry and doubt bring on a bellyache. Mankind's building up the biggest psychic bellyache in history.
Parris Mitchell: Well, you were saying that man gets lost. It seems to me that these lost people have kind of fooled themselves clear out of the world of reality. And the right way is to fool them right back in again, like catching a rabbit that's strayed out of its pen. You get his attention on something else and he doesn't see the gate and the first thing he knows, he's back home again.

Drake McHugh: What's the harm in a little kiss?
Randy Monaghan: A little kiss? Suppose we find out?

Dr. Henry Gordon: It was most unbecoming of you to go about parading your feelings, whatever you think they are.
Louise Gordon: You monster, you fiend! [he slaps her to the floor] I'll let the world know what you are if it's the only thing I'll ever do. Tomorrow, tomorrow I'll tell everyone. I know what you are. I know all about you and your operations.
Dr. Henry Gordon: You're going to bed at once.
Louise Gordon: I will not, I'm going to tell.
Dr. Henry Gordon: Louise, listen to me. I cannot permit my daughter to make an hysterical spectacle of herself. Now, go to your room and don't you come out of it again until you have my permission.
Louise Gordon: I will tell, I will tell, I will tell! I'll tell them.
Dr. Henry Gordon: This is enough of your willful tantrum. If you persist, there is one thing I shall have to do.
Louise Gordon: What?
Dr. Henry Gordon: If you utter one more word of the kind of nonsense I've heard from you, I shall commit you to an asylum.
Louise Gordon: You wouldn't dare.
Dr. Henry Gordon: I've only to go to that telephone in the hall there and have you in a cell, behind bars in one hour.
Louise Gordon: I'm not crazy and you know it.
Dr. Henry Gordon: I don't know anything of the sort.
Louise Gordon: You mean, you actually think... You really...
Dr. Henry Gordon: I could think nothing else when you make these insane accusations.

Randy Monaghan: I didn't ask to come into your life, did I?...All right, but then you owe me something. You owe me yourself...I want you to trust yourself entirely to me for a while, until you're up and around.
Drake McHugh: I can't ever be up and around.
Randy Monaghan: What has happened is terrible, but you're alive....You're alive and I love you. We're going to do that, but I'd made up my mind about it a long time before this happened. Then after you got hurt, I just had to figure out how, that was all. Remember once you said something about marrying me? Well, I got mad because I guess I'd been a little hurt. I knew you'd never thought about it until just then. Then I shouldn't be blaming you even that much. You never thought about much of anything in those days until you had to. Then, later on, you came down here. Remember the morning you came to ask Pa to help you get a job? Well, I made up my mind that day that I'd marry you, as soon as the right time came around. I guess I was convinced inside by then that you did wanna marry me. I knew I wanted to marry you...So, now the right time has come. We'll get married, and then we'll work out some way what we'll do afterwards.

Drake McHugh: Say... No, I guess, we couldn't....That land down by the creek you're so crazy about.
Randy Monaghan: Oh, I don't know why we couldn't. You've got brains. Of course, you'd have to tell me everything to do, I'm only a woman.
Drake McHugh: Do you think we should try it?
Randy Monaghan: You're the boss. Oh, let's, Drake. We can do anything together. We're just a young couple starting out. Others have started on borrowed money.
Drake McHugh: Wouldn't old Parris be surprised if he came home and found us all set up in business? His money doubled or maybe tripled.
Randy Monaghan: Hey, go easy.
Drake McHugh: He wouldn't be ashamed of me then, would he?...He'd be proud of me, wouldn't he, Randy?...He'd be doggone proud of me, wouldn't he?

Louise Gordon: [about Drake] My father cut his legs off, Parris...I was there...I was too late. If I hadn't been too late - I'm not crazy, Parris...You must find out about it. There was a man who helped my father, maybe he'd know. I don't believe it was necessary. My father did it on my account.
Parris Mitchell: Do you realize what you're saying? A horrible accusation.
Louise Gordon: You've got to believe me, I kept a list. He always talked about his operations, other doctors don't do that. He thought it was his duty to punish wickedness wherever he found it. He was a fanatic like my mother, he used to talk to her. I think she knew, too...Nearly always he'd say their hearts were too weak for chloroform. But their hearts were not too weak to be cut to pieces. And with Drake, he had a double purpose. He hated him because of me.
Parris Mitchell: But your father's dead, it's all over and done with.
Louise Gordon: I want to tell. I want them all to know...I want to destroy his memory!
Parris Mitchell: Have you thought what terrible harm you would do? Perhaps someone you love. You used to love Drake. To be crippled is terrible enough, but to find out it was unnecessary...We'll not say a word about this to anyone. For a little while. We'll keep it a secret between us, you know, until we're sure. I'll come and talk to you every day, whenever you want. If you want me to help you, you must put yourself entirely in my hands.

Randy Monaghan: [about Louise] She'll come again or someone else will. That kind of news always gets home. Then what?
Parris Mitchell: If it should ever enter Drake's mind that this whole catastrophe was anything but an accident...
Randy Monaghan: What would happen?
Parris Mitchell: I think the whole structure we built up for him would topple down again. This time we couldn't rebuild it. He'd be gone.
Randy Monaghan: Louise has got to be kept quiet, Parris.
Parris Mitchell: I can silence her, Randy.

Parris Mitchell: Stick your chin out, Drake.
Drake McHugh: Why?
Parris Mitchell: You're gonna get the worst wallop you ever had.
Drake McHugh: Yeah? Who's gonna do it?
Parris Mitchell: I am.
Drake McHugh: Start swingin'.
Parris Mitchell: It's something about you and Louise Gordon and her father.
Randy Monaghan: [interrupting] Parris!
Parris Mitchell: She was here today, Louise was. She wanted to tell you and I wouldn't let her.
Randy Monaghan: Parris, you can't. You said yourself...
Parris Mitchell: I've just come from the Gordons. I've sent Louise out to tell anyone she pleases. But saying it to you I've saved for myself.
Randy Monaghan: [begging] I won't let you Parris, please, if you have any heart.
Parris Mitchell: I'm not your friend now, you're not mine. I'm your doctor. And you're my patient. It's as if I'd taken you in the operating room and I had the scalpel in my hand which may make you - or destroy you.
Drake McHugh: What's this all about, kid?
Parris Mitchell: My grandmother used to say, 'Some people grow up and some people just grow older.' I guess it's time we found out about us, you and me. Whether I'm a doctor, and whether you're a man. You know the kind of man I mean, Drake.

Parris Mitchell: I don't know if you can take it, Drake.
Drake McHugh: Give it to me.
Parris Mitchell: Dr. Gordon cut off your legs. I don't know if it was necessary. He was that kind, a butcher, who thought he had a special ordination to punish transgressors. With you he had a double incentive because of Louise. Heaven knows what else. The caverns of the human mind are full of strange shadows, but none of that matters. The point is he wanted to destroy you, oh, not literally. He wanted to destroy the Drake McHugh you were. He wanted to see you turn into a life-long cripple, mentally as well as physically. That's all there is, Drake. Now, if you turn your face to that wall...
Drake McHugh: [after a long pause, he chuckles] That's a hot one, isn't it? Where did Gordon think I lived, in my legs? Did he think those things were Drake McHugh? Spout that poetry again, Parris. I never was any good at poetry. What was it you wanted, honey? To build a house? We'll move into it in broad daylight. And we'll invite the folks in, too. For Pete's sake, let's give a party. I feel swell.


  • The town they talk of in whispers.
  • Have YOU been to KINGS ROW



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