The Spanish Prisoner

1997 film by David Mamet

The Spanish Prisoner is a 1997 neo-noir film about an employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process who is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.

Directed and written by David Mamet.
Can you really trust anyone?  (taglines)

Jimmy Dell edit

  • You now have a Swiss bank account if anybody asks. Crédit Nationale Du Génève code name 'PADDY'. Lavish awkward gesture. All of fifteen Swiss Francs in it, but if you ever want to impress anybody, they can find out you have a Swiss account. But, Swiss law prohibits the bank from revealing the balance. Thus are all men made equal.
  • I'm a problem solver, with a heart of gold.
  • Always do business as if the person you're doing business with is trying to screw you, because he probably is. And if he's not, you can be pleasantly surprised.
  • Good people, bad people, they generally look like what they are.

George Lang edit

  • Worry is like interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due.
  • We must never forget that we are human, and as humans we dream, and when we dream we dream of money.
  • I put a thief in my mouth to steal my brain.
  • Nobody going on a business trip would have been missed if he never arrived.
  • Beware of all enterprises which require new clothes.

Susan Ricci edit

  • Who in this world is what they seem to be? Who?
  • You never know who anybody is, except me. I am who I am.

Other edit

  • Mr. Klein: If we all do our jobs, we will each be rewarded according to our just desserts.
  • FBI Team Leader: It's an interesting setup, Mr. Ross. It is the oldest confidence game on the books. The Spanish Prisoner. Fellow says him and his sister, wealthy refugees, left a fortune in the home country. He got out, girl and the money stuck in Spain. Here is her most beautiful portrait. And he needs money to get her and the fortune out. Man who supplies the money gets the fortune and the girl. Oldest con in the world.

Dialogue edit

George Lang: The Process. And by means of the Process, to control the global market.
Businessman 1: And this Process is complete?
George Lang: It's near completion.
Businessman 1: "Near completion."
George Lang: Very near. This team which Mr. Ross — the Team. The Team. And I think, if I may, uh, Mr. Klein, it would not be amiss to state that both the work and the inspiration for the process was —
Mr. Klein: Thank you, George. I know you'll understand when I say that's neither here nor there. These gentlemen have come down to hear the good news.
Joe Ross: The good news is control of the market.
[The Businessmen interrupt him.]
Joe Ross: Obviously, we don't want to get too specific, for security reasons. So, my task today is to tell you those things which I can in laymen's language. I think I can break it down sufficiently to give you a pretty firm idea of —
Mr. Klein: The Process, yes.
Businessman 2: How long can we hold on to it before the competition steals it?
Mr. Klein: Well, we defend it. Of course. Tooth and nail. This is a proprietary process.
[The Businessmen engage in cross-talk.]
Joe Ross: Without the data, without our actual data, without the formula, the Japanese, or anyone else, for that matter, would have nothing. Should you give us the go-ahead, their actual — [He hesitates and looks at George.]
George Lang: The legal issues are these. We have both the de facto and the de jure copyright of that process. It was developed by —
Joe Ross: Even if they should engage in piracy, their search and development time —
George Lang: — their catch-up time —
Joe Ross: — would put them back — George?
George Lang: Three?
Joe Ross: Three to five years.

Jimmy Dell: I think you'll find that if what you've done for them is as valuable as you say it is, if they are indebted to you morally but not legally, my experience is they will give you nothing, and they will begin to act cruelly toward you.
Joe Ross: Why?
Jimmy Dell: To suppress their guilt.

Jimmy Dell: Do the American thing.
Joe Ross: What's that?
Jimmy Dell: Marry a rich widow.
Joe Ross: We used to say, a nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store.

[Jimmy pulls a gun on Joe]
Joe Ross: You don't have to do this.
Jimmy Dell: I enjoy doing it, actually. But I appreciate your concern.

Susan Ricci: [being arrested] Can you help me? You're the Boy Scout. Can I be your good deed for today? Can't you help me, Joe?
Joe Ross: I'm afraid you're gonna have to spend some time in your room.

Taglines edit

  • Can you really trust anyone?
  • It's the oldest con in the book.

Cast edit

External links edit

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