Downstairs - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Downstairs Reviews

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July 9, 2016
john gilbert stars in and also wrote the story
½ October 27, 2014
"If we criticize--I mean downstairs--we are no longer servants. We have broken our code. You know, as servants, we don't produce a living, it's done for us. As long as we are able we serve them as well as we can. But if we are old, or sick, we are taken care of." "And if they go wrong, we just close our eyes to it, huh?" "You don't have to listen unless you want to stay here.... When they go wrong! What right do we have to say whether they are right or wrong! If a servant is out of order, yes, I understand that. Life downstairs is very simple. But up there, the rules are different. And I have no contact but service, and no feeling but deep loyalty, and affection."

"Now you just wait a minute. I don't deserve to have you and me go out a smash. I found out for the first time in my life--for the first time!--that there are more than two kinds of feelings in the world. Is that my fault? There's a kind of way of making love that drives you mad and crazy, so that you don't know what you're doing. Are you gonna throw me out in the street because I never knew this before?" "Now you stop this kind of talk! And stop it right now! You learned something vile, from a rat. And you forget that you're my wife, that I love you, and you bring him in here." "All right. You good, good man. I'll stop this kind of talk. You believe exactly what you want to believe. But you listen. Whatever's happened, some of it's your fault! Some of it. You think you can make love in the same frozen wary you do everything else, and you think that's all I should have any wish for. Well I tell you plain and straight right now, it's nothing of the kind. I meant no harm. I don't want anything but you in my home. But if you're gonna be so good and so perfect and so unforgiving, that I can't have that, then I thank heaven I found there is something else, something that makes you so dizzy you don't know what's happened and you don't care. Now you go ahead and believe anything you like!"

It's almost a story of the undoing of a very dutiful butler--and it would have been better if it had been. But instead, the trouble-making, declassed/lumpen chauffeur (the illegitimate son of an aristocrat and a servant) gets what he deserves (sort of), and the old order is restored. Anyway, it's a more truthful though less charming account of servants and aristocrats (in Austria) than that typically provided by Lubitsch.
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