Ladies in Black (2018) Script

Watch your step. Thank you. Watch your step.

Morning. Morning. Oh! Excuse me.

All set for the week? Going to be busy.

Don't I know it.

Hi, Patty, hi, Fay. Hi.

Good weekend? All right.

Frank take you out?

Took himself out. He went fishing.

This is where I'm going to start you off.

Strewth! Look at that!

I think I might leave you with these ladies. You follow me.

I hope she's better than the one we had last Christmas.

Morning, Miss Cartwright. Morning, Miss Cartwright.

Miss Baines, Mrs Williams, this is Miss Miles. Um...

L-Lisa. Lisa... Miles.

She'll be helping you out with the Christmas rush and the sales.

Right, there we are. These ladies will show you the ropes.

Right, then. I hope you like hard work.

It's very nice to see you here. Have a lovely day.

Have you, have you got a list?

Oh! I'm sorry. Excuse me. Sorry.

I was really hoping you could adjust the darts.

I'm afraid we can only do hems at the moment.

Oh! In the racks over there.

Make sure you arrange them according to size.


Would you have this in an SW?

Oh, I'm not sure. It's my first day.

Bloody staff don't know anything these days.

Don't know where they find them.

Oh, I'm sorry. Don't worry, madam.

Uh, Lisa!

Miss Miles!

Bucket and mop please, dear.

In the storeroom.

Where did you meet him?

He works with Myra's boyfriend. Reckoned he was irresistible.

Have I got news for him.

Ugh, he was all over me.

They only want one thing... All of them.

Maybe not all of them.

What do you mean?

Oh.. Nothing... Frank's just a bit...


Just left school, have you, Lisa? Done the Inter, have you?

No, the Leaving.

The Leaving! How old are you?

I'm sixteen... I'll be seventeen in February.

I'd been working in the shoe factory for two years when I was 16.

Are you going to be a teacher?

Oh, no.

What then?

I'm going to be a poet.

A poet!

I don't reckon there'd be much money in that.

Um, well, I mean, I'd like to try to be a poet. Or an actress.

An actress!

Like at the Tivoli? In the chorus line?

Well, no, no, I meant more real theatre, you know...

Uh... Shakespeare, Eugene O'Neill, Moliere...

Molly who?

Never heard of her.

Mind your step.


Good afternoon, ladies.

A beautiful day, is it not?

How lucky we all are to live in such a place.

Ah! You must be the new jeune fille.

Soon you will come to me.

Some help I can use during this season.

Who's that?

Magda. One of them reffos.

Refugees. Migrants.

Comes out here and lords it over us with some cock and bull story about a fashion job in Paris before the war.

Tell you what, she looks all right, though...

Must be 45 if she's a day.

She's older than my mum.

Well, apart from those two that boss me around, there's a lady called Miss Cartwright, and a Mr Ryder and a migrant called Magda.

“New Australians” we're supposed to call them.

The other two don't like her. Why not?

I don't know. They think she's a bossy boots.

Bossy boots... Well, I'm off.

How'd you go, love?

Good, Dad. Lots of carrying things.

Good for you. Build you up.

Have a look at you, you're like an underfed canary.

All right! See you in the morning.

Bye. Hooroo.

This came for you.

Dad'll have to sign this. Do you think he will?

We'll think of something. It's not going to be easy, but it's just a matter of picking the right time.

Mm. All right?

Your dad's all right. He... sometimes needs a bit of--

Careful handling?


Help me with this, will you, dear?

Zip that up for me, will you?


Um... I, um... I don't think it's going to fit.

Oh, nonsense. I always wear this size.

I don't--

Undo... undo it! I don't--

What did you do? I...

Now, now, Mrs Wentworth, do try to hold still.

You better clear off, we'll sort this out.

I'm sorry! I'm sorry!

I can see the problem.

Oh, Mrs Wentworth, we've had so much trouble with zippers lately.

They make them in Melbourne, or Japan, or somewhere.

Oh there! Oh, thank you!

What happened? The new assistant.

I know it may be a bit unfair, but perhaps we should dismiss that young girl.

Mrs Wentworth will be on the warpath.

Her family have shares in Goode's, you know.

Oh, I don't think she'll make a fuss, Mr Ryder.

She'll be a laughing stock if word gets around about what size dress she was trying to squeeze into.

And word could get around, I suppose, Miss Cartwright.

It could, Mr Ryder. It could.

You don't like the lunch room?

Oh... not too much. It's nicer out here.

Must be a good book.

Oh, it is... it's wonderful.

I'm just finishing it. You can borrow it if you like.

It's pretty big, I dunno.

What's it called?

Anna Karenina.

Is it a romance? I like romances.

Well... sort of.

Come on, we'd better get back. Oh, yes.

It's um, it's by Tolstoy. It's set in Russia.

Russia!? Yeah!

You can't read Russian. Oh, no, no, it's a translation.

Oh! Yeah!

I'm sorry, but the fact is that when I got it home and tried it on, it just wasn't really my colour.

It's just not me.

I see. Ooh, Lisa, those go by the lift.

And, uh, what about the sales books I asked you to check?

You've got to add the totals page by page, then compare them with the receipts.

Yes, I've done that.

Oh! Miss? My dress?

Yes, well, you can exchange it, madam, but not if it's been worn.

It hasn't been worn.

Very well. Third floor for exchanges, madam.

Liar. Of course.

Oh, look out. Here she comes-- Miss Croatia 1938.


Today is the day I am stealing your little schoolgirl slave for a few hours. Oh, no, no, you're not.

Can't you see that we're run off our feet?

Quite so, but we are all our feet run off.

But Miss Cartwright has said that we can keep Lisa all week!

I have cleared the matter with Miss Cartwright.

Come, Lisa. I will show you how we do things in Model Gowns.


Well, bugger that.

She knew we needed the extra help this week.

Typical. Thinks she owns the place.

Yeah. Typical.

Do you have this in any other colours?

Certainly, madam.

These frocks are all unique, and are all only by the best designers.

This, for example, is Hardy Amies.

A customer wearing one of these creations knows that she will not meet another wearing the same, which is so terrible a thing to happen to a woman.

You might find the same frock at Georges in Melbourne, but who goes to Melbourne?

And we do not keep different sizes of the same model because?

Then the frock wouldn't be unique?

Quite so.

This is perfect for one of our younger society matrons, perhaps to attend a ball at the Trocadero.

It is by Elizabeth Arden. The Americans are so moderne.

This... I would like for myself, it is so very well cut.

See the detail.

But I am not at my best in the English style.

I cannot understand it, but all English women are made in shape of a pear.

Now the French... Jacques Fath, Chanel, the great Dior, cut to fit a woman with bosoms and hips, but they make her look slim nevertheless, that is artistry.

I suppose these are very expensive.


They are fantastically expensive.

And such cost, as you may one day appreciate, is part of their charm.

Model Gowns?

Well... I thought they were all model gowns at Goode's.

Oh, no, most of them are un-model gowns.

They come in all sizes and anyone can buy them.

Anyway, no-one has the same clothes you do because I make them.

So they're unique too, aren't they?

I mean, just think of that lovely pink frock I made you.

The one with the frills.

That's right, Mum.

Well, I thought you liked it, Lesley.

Oh, I... I do, Mum.

I was just thinking that most of the Model Gowns are...evening frocks.

Ah... oh, well... that's another story.

Well, I suppose I could try my hand at that if you wanted to go to a ball.

Hm? Oh, you'd look just lovely. You would.

Oh, thanks, Mum.

Patty? I'm home.

What's for tea? Steak.

Steak again? Yeah, it's all you ever want.

Got you chops, you said it was all bone.

Yeah, too right it was.

I'm done in. Been on a roof all day.

Bloody hot. We got some beer?

Yep. In the fridge.

Come on, get up, get up!

Not against the rail!

Get out of there!

Come on, there you go, there you go!


Roughie, my backside, huh?

Won a few quid on that!

Dad? Yeah?

Dad, I need you to sign this form.

It's for a Commonwealth scholarship.

If I get it, it means the Government will pay my fees to Sydney University.

It's, it's just, just there.

Look! I've told you before. No daughter of mine-- is going to university. That's right.

I know, Dad, but--

Ed, she mightn't even get the scholarship.

Just sign it for her school.

Just for their records, that's all.

Here we go, here we go. Ed?

Please, Dad.

Please, Dad.

Just sign it, Ed.

Just for their records, that's all.

Just... just, Dad, please. Ed?

Give a man a break, will you?

Just for their records.

All right, there you go, there you go.

Go on, go on. Oh, no, he's off the bit.

Get up! Oh, you...!

Oh! I knew I shouldn't have put it on the nose.


You didn't see me going to any bloody university!

And I turned out all right, didn't I?

it's Bradman!

If Keith Miller had've concentrated on his batting, instead of being an all-rounder, he'd have been the best of them all.

Bugger Bradman and all that lot!

Keithy Miller!

Same again, Myra? G & T.

Fay? I'm fine, thanks.

Well... I gotta see a man about a dog.

What do you think of him? Myra, he's bloody awful!

He's talked about nothing but cricket for an hour.

Come on, he's not so bad.

Ray said that he sells more insurance than anybody around Parramatta, and he's got a new car!

I don't care about his car.

He'll get more and more pissed and he'll crawl all over me like a mountain goat. I'm sorry.

I'm doing my best.

You're the one who wanted to meet some nice blokes.

I know, I know. I do, I just...

These blokes, I don't... I dunno-- Fay!

Come off it!

These aren't bad blokes. Really. I mean, what do you expect?

They're gonna kiss your hand and throw their coats over drains?

Use all the hot water, Miss Baines, and there'll be none left for anyone else.

I didn't use it all, Mrs Fairbrother.

Hope not!

Isn't this wonderful, Bob, darling?

Yep. Hunky dory!

I just love to dance with you.

I'd like to keep on dancing with you forever.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we just kept on dancing and dancing and never did anything else?

We'd sure get tired!

Bob, you're so funny!

I can feel the muscles in your arms.

I bet you could pick me up and carry me out as if I were a feather.

I could carry 20 like you.

I don't want you to carry 20, just me!

Oh, Bob, I'd wish you'd carry me off to some unknown green island.

Somewhere with palms and coral and mermaids and harps.

Wouldn't you just love it, Bob?

Thank you.

I drink this only until they learn how to make coffee in Australia.


You've fallen in love.

C'est magnifique.

It's... it's different.

Younger designer but it's also too... too small for these big Australian girls.

How much is it?

One hundred and fifty guineas.

C'est bien, if we do not sell it before Christmas, it will go on sale at 75 guineas.

Seventy-five guineas!

Hm. C'est la vie.

There will be more dresses.

Well, I don't see any problem, Mrs Williams.

You seem completely healthy.

Perhaps it's your husband. My husband?

Get him to come in for an examination.

Maybe it's him who's-- No, he wouldn't like that.



Tell me... how often do you have... relations?

Relations? Mm.

Not that often. He's tired. Sometimes.

Perhaps that's the problem.

With... without... proximity... there's no chance of...

beautiful cocktail dress...

The changing rooms are just, just behind you.

Oh, bloody hell. What a day!

You did all right, kid. Didn't she?

Yes. She did all right, all right.

You're not buying something from Goode's, are you?

It's too expensive.

Staff discount. What is it?

Oh, just a little thing. Thought it might suit me.

Well, I never.

Frank! I didn't hear you come in.

You're early.

Boss said to knock off early to do some Christmas shopping.

Why are you dressed for bed? It's only six o'clock.

It's new... the night-dress.

I'm just trying it on.

It didn't cost much, not with the staff discount.

I'll take it off now.

I'll help ya... take it off.

"Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night.

What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?"

Crikey, where have you been?

We're busier than a one-armed bricklayer.

Mrs Williams, Christmas is not the best time for lateness.

Sorry, Miss Cartwright, the alarm didn't go off.

It's the first time I've been late since Mum's hysterectomy.

Everything okay?

You look like the cat that ate the cream, I must say.

Everything's fine. I just overslept.

Thank you. Mm-hm.

You're with us today, remember?

No sneaking back to Dracula's hideout.

I just thought he might have got a bit of overtime.

He's not usually late.

He called up this afternoon.

Said he didn't feel too good.

Oh... well... Look, don't worry, love.

There'll be some explanation.

He's probably down at the pub with a few mates.

Excuse me. Thank you.


Is the beast from the Balkans trying to steal you again?

No, she's invited me to lunch on Saturday.

With her and her husband.

She's got a husband? Well, evidently!

Well, I hope you like frog's legs and fish eyes and sheep's testicles, because those reffos eat all kinds of horrible things.

Oh! Find me a right foot, will you? Thank you.

Isn't it glorious? Mm-hm.

It's just lovely. Mm.

I am happy.

Be happy... always.

It's a good choice!

Lisa, may I present my husband, Stefan Szombathelyi.

He's a Hungarian but not, alas, a count.

But you can't have everything.

Stefan, this is Lisa Miles.

My most capable junior temporary sales assistant.

I am enchanted to meet you.

Oh! Oh, Lisa.

I suppose you haven't heard we Europeans are always kissing.

Some wine?

We have been amazing to discover very fine Australian wine.

Um.. Oh, perhaps some lemonade.

Oh, lemonade, yes. Thank you.

So, Lisa, tell me, do you like to read novels?

Oh, yes, I do. I just finished Anna Karenina.

I haven't decided what to read next. There are so many to choose from.

Oh, how true. And the number always grows, I assure you.

Perhaps your next choice should be something quite different.

Um... Emma. Have you read that yet?

No, I haven't!

Oh, well, that is settled, then.

Jane Austen, I assure you, is as great a genius as Tolstoy, whatever they say.

You will let me have your opinion in due course, yes?

Yes, I will.


That will be Rudi. Such a sense of timing. Like no-one.


Lisa, put more.

More? Yes.

Ah... lunchtime... I have such a sense of timing.

Like no-one. But... I have brought a cake.

So, tell us, Rudi, we've been discussing Jane Austen.

Ah... What do you think of her?

Well, my opinion has yet to be formed, -as I have not read one word. Ah, a philistine!

No, the truth is I am rather infatuated with Charles Dickens.

You see, he is much better in English than he is in Hungarian.

So I am reading again what I read so long ago.

Dickens in Serbo-Croat I never read. And I don't care.

His books are stupendously long. What was he thinking?

I don't have time!

Magda prefers Vogue. Vogue and Agatha Christie too.

That's true. Tell me, what do you think?

Hm? Of the cake.

Oh, it's wonderful.

I must say that in Melbourne, where I have been living, there are many better cake shops than Sydney.

In Melbourne, they have more need of cake, having more or less nothing else.


So what's going on? Out with it!

Frank's disappeared.

I knew something was up. Since when?

He didn't come home on Thursday. He wasn't at work on Friday.

They don't know where he is, either.

I called the police, and they said not to worry.

They said people do it all the time.

That I should call if he's not back in a week.

You two have a fight? No!

Well, I dunno... he was always a bit on the peculiar side.

I know. You and Dawn and Joy you didn't... you don't like him!

I've never said that. But you wouldn't call him a live wire.

He's just shy. That's all.

Growing up on the farm. He didn't have anyone to talk to.

He's always been very... inhibited.

Listen, Patty... I'll tell you this.

No-one understands men.

We don't understand them and they don't understand themselves.

They do these stupid things.

But they always come back, in the end.

They can't really manage by themselves, men can't.

He'll be back... Or he'll have me to answer to.

So, may I? I was just...

I was just wondering how it would look... if we tried this.

They love to talk in their barbaric Hungarian.

I thought you were Hungarian.

Me? No. I am Slovenian.

I suppose you do not know what it is, Slovenian?

Can you take it off?

Yes, I do! Ah, Slovenia is part of Yugoslavia.

The capital city is Ljubljana.

You are a genius. No!

I never met before an Australian who had even heard of this place!

Stefan and I, we met not in Europe, but in Australia.

In one of your migrant camps.

Not such a lovely place, but it was paradise after what we had been through.

I see.

Mm. Stefan and I, we met learning English together.

We can speak German, but... it's not our favourite language.

There... it's much better.

Lisa... can you see without your glasses?

Oh, yes, I only really need them for reading.

So, why do you wear them always?

I suppose because I'm always reading.

Can we take them off?


You have beautiful eyes.

So, one last thing... lipstick, I think...

It's a nice pink... and you can keep it.

It's suitable for a jeune fille.

You have so slim a figure. Hold on.

I envy you this much. You should make the most of it.

There, turn around.

You look charming.

And with a bit more experience, Lisa, you could be enchanting.

How do you feel?


Hello, Mum! Look!

Lesley, I thought you told us you'd be home by four o'clock.

Oh, Magda gave me this and this belt, do you like it?

Well... um, goodness-- I'm sorry I'm late, but we went for a walk and Magda told me about Slovenia before the war.

Oh! And we talked about books and Stefan made us a lovely lunch.

Who's Stefan?

He's Magda's husband.

Oh, right... he made the lunch?

European men like to cook.

Oh! Didn't know that.

I like to drink. I'm off to the pub.

See you in a couple of hours.

Uh, Lesley, I had a telephone call from that Magda.

That Mrs Zombie something or other.

To say you were on your way which was very nice of her but, um, she tried to tell me that your name was Lisa.

She didn't seem to know your name.

Uh... well, that's what they call me at Goode's.

What do you mean? Your name is Lesley.

But I don't like Lesley.

But that's your name. Lesley!

But I want to be Lisa. And I will be. And I am!


How do you think it feels to have your own child telling you that she wants a different name?

What's wrong with “Lesley?” Lesley's a lovely name.

Oh, Mum... I just... I just wanted a real girl's name.

“Lesley” is a boy's name.

No, Lesley's a girl's name too, it's spelt differently.

But it sounds the same, and that's what counts.

I just wanted a proper girl's name for when I grow up.

I've been a child for so long now.

I just want to be grown up.

Oh, Lesley...

If you only knew what being grown up can be like... you wouldn't... wish it to be any faster than it is.

Oh, Mum. Please don't cry, Mum.

Yeah... I suppose I always knew that I'd lose you some day.

Oh, no, you'll never lose me.

I'll stay with you always.

But you can't say that, sweetheart.

Because you'll marry, you'll go abroad.

You can't stay with me always...

I'm just being selfish, I suppose.

No, you're not.

Even if I do marry or go away, I'll still come and see you.

Often. Well, I hope so.

Of course I will.

And you can keep on calling me Lesley, if you like.

I'll see...

I might manage to call you Lisa sometimes, but that depends.

Right, but now something more important - your dad's dinner.

You know, that belt does look very nice on you.

I hope you thanked Magda properly for that.

Of course I did.

Your little Australian schoolgirl is most charming.

I can see you are going to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.


If I do a good deed for once in my life I cannot see the humour.

Perhaps she reminds me a little of...

Of? Myself... before the war.

Really? I find that hard to believe.

She's so... Innocent... and naive, I know.

Do you think I was always très sophistiquée?

Well... yes.

I can assure you that's not the case.

Stefan. Mm-hm?

This is most odd.

When I called Lisa's mother, she didn't seem to know the name of her own child.

“Lesley” she pronounces it.

This Australian speech is very bizarre.

What can be expected?

They're the descendants of convicts.

Their accent comes from the lower classes of England.

“Lesley”... “Lesley”... “Lesley”?

“Lesley”, “Lesley”.




Oh! It's only place in town with decent coffee.

Owned by? Russian reffos.

A relative of the Tsar, they say.

Hm? From the court of St Petersburg to Pitt Street in Sydney. Now, I only have 20 minutes. What?

Rudi needs assistance. Oh!

I wish to find a girlfriend.

I know very few people here in Sydney.

I look to you and Stefan for help.

Well, I can think of no-one at the moment.

I think you have to arrange this for yourself.

I am not fussy.

No, you want only a beauty, less than thirty years old, cultivated, if not also rich.

Certainly I will want a beauty. Cultivated, well, I have heard there is such a thing, but...

What do you mean? Naturally, we are cultivated, we reffos, we “new Australians”. We are famous for it!

It's our most despicable quality.

Oh, no, you misunderstand me.

This time I am not looking for a reffo.

I want an Australian girl.

An Australian?!

Some of them are very beautiful. Have you not noticed?


The cultivated ones have gone away.

They've gone away? Hm-mm.

Where have they gone?

They have gone away to London, sometimes they go to Paris...


To Paris or New York, Rome.

Hm. And if you find one here... she is saving her fare, I guarantee it.

Well... then...

I shall take an uncultivated one and cultivate her myself.

But a nice, strong, healthy, available Australian girl.

Well, I can think of no-one with all of these qualifications.

Maybe you should give yourself a thought, hm?


What are you doing for Christmas?

Oh, I don't know.

I might go to Melbourne, to my brother's.

Melbourne? I thought you said his wife was a cow.

Yeah, she is. She doesn't do a thing!

She's got legs like tree trunks too.

Why don't you come to the Blue Mountains?

Mum and Dad have retired up there.

Yeah, that might be nice... thanks.

Then there's always a good New Year Eve's party at the Hydro.

Oh, I forgot, you're off blokes. No, I'm not, just... some blokes.

Look, what are we going to go to?


I reckon the The Nun's Story. Audrey Hepburn, she's gorgeous.

God, it look serious. Can't we see something funny?

Oh! I'm All Right Jack. What about that?

Ugh, I don't know.

On The Beach, Gregory Peck! Oh, he's divine!

Oh... he really is.


My mother sent you some scones.

And I told her that you probably wouldn't like them but, um...

I love scones.


That is... really, really kind. Please thank your mother.

Very kindly. May I wish you and your family happy Christmas.

Now, Lisa, perhaps you can help me with a small problem.

Rudi has decided that he wants an Australian girlfriend.

No! No, don't worry, not you. Oh, no, no...

Um... you are much too young and too clever for him.

No, someone older and perhaps not too particular.

Magda... there is someone.

Oh, no, not Miss Cartwright!

Lisa, this is not what he has in mind.

No. Not Miss Cartwright, no.



She is about thirty or less, but not bad.

She's rough. She has no style.


It's been a wonderful effort once again.

Another record Christmas for Goode's, I'm sure.

Congratulations. Thank you all very much.

And happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

Well... another year gone. Yes.

My life slowly ticks away at Goode's.

Merry Christmas, Miss Cartwright.

Merry Christmas, Mr Ryder.

I suppose you'll spend it with your family?

Oh, yes.

My dear mother passed away this year, as you know.

But I have some delightful nephews I shall spend the festive season with.

Miss Baines.

I would be really charmed if you would join my husband and I on New Year's Eve at our flat in Mosman.

Me? New Year's Eve?

There will be many people, and Lisa will be there.

Ah, so you will not feel like a complete stranger.

Oh, but I might be in the Blue Mountains... for New Year's Eve so...

So. I believe they have trains. You do your best.

Here... it's address.

Oh, Rudi... here's your healthy Australian girl. Poor lamb.

All right, Lesley, you're champing at the bit, so away you go.

Okay... um, this one is for you, Mum.

Thank you, sweetie.

And, Dad, I believe this one is for you.

Oh, thanks, love. All right.

And so, this one must be for me?

Yes, the big one's yours. Great!

To Dad, Merry Christmas from your loving daughter Lisa xx Lisa?

Oh, they smell beautiful. Thank you.

No worries, Mum.

Aw... The Australian Bloodhorse!

It's great, love, thank you! It's great!


What, don't you like it?

Of course I do, Mum, um...

I was just wondering about the colour...

Oh, but you've always loved pink. And these frills.

Ever since you were a little girl, you've loved them.

Yes, yes, that's right, Mum. It's terrific. Really.


Well, I suppose you'll both be wanting something from me now.

It's a bit hard for me to go Christmas shopping when I work all night and sleep all day.

Hang on... what have I got here?

Come over here, darl.

There you go, sweetheart. Thanks, Dad.



Thanks, Ed. No worries.

Well... what do you say we go down to Manly for a swim before we go to Aunty Gert's?

Huh? What do you reckon? Sounds good?

Yep! Sounds good to me!

Go! Go! Go!


"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty."


Oh, come on, Pat. What's it say?

“Laugh and the world laughs with you.

Weep and you weep alone.” What's wrong with Aunty Patty?

I think she's crying. Is she really?


Auntie Patty's not feeling well.

Bad luck, Frank having to be away.

Bit of a dark horse, that Frank.

Frank's not a dark horse. Frank's a dill!

At least we know one thing. What?

It couldn't be another woman. He's no Casanova.

Come on, Mother.

Just a little bit of Christmas cake.

I got it at Goode's!

Come on.

Have another one!

I would like to propose a toast to this country.

I still cannot believe my fate.

To the Commonwealth of Australia!

To Australia!

It is so beautiful here. It really is...

Are you happy? Oh, of course not.

What a very vulgar suggestion.

Are you? Oh, dear, I hope not.

I'm not saying that I'm going. I'm just thinking about it.

It's a bloody mad idea.

What's that, dear?

Oh, Fay's thinking about going to a New Year's do in Sydney.

Oh, that's a bit of a trip, dear.

Thank you.

We're going to the Hydro! Remember?

Who's going to be at Magda's party? Are you meeting someone?

No! I won't know anyone. I think they'll all be Continentals.

Continentals! Gosh, it's getting worse!

They'll all be jabbering on, you won't know what they're saying.

One of them might be a count, you never know.

A count?! Yeah, like--

I wouldn't count on that.

I mean like Count Vronsky. What's wrong with Australians?

So, Lisa, please pay attention.

Because of the New Year parties, a lot of ladies will be coming in asking for dresses at the sale prices... before the sales.

And you'll let them have them?

Not on your life.

But in Model Gowns... always polite.

You can say...

"No, madame, I regret it is not possible."

And, "I am so sorry."

Then they buy it, not to look cheap.

Every time.

Is that still here?

Yeah, so... maybe it will be in the sale. Half price.

Seventy five guineas. Perhaps you have a rich uncle?

I'm afraid not.

So, Mum, what about the collar? Can we take that out too?

Well... yes. Yes?

And don't you think a belt would be nice?

Oh, yes, a belt might be nice. Yeah!

Just here. Um...

But... what about the frills? I'm not too sure about--

No, but you've always loved the frills.

Of course! Of course I like them, I was just...

There's a lot of detail in those frills.

Yes, but they do make the dress a bit long, don't you think?

It's just, it might be a bit too long for me, yeah?

We could maybe take it up a bit?

Yeah! Yeah?

All right, we'll take it up.


Oh, let me admire you!

Oh, you look charming this evening!

Welcome, Lisa! Have some punch. Thank you!

I made it myself! Oh!

I think you try it at least just once in your life.

But be careful, he put atom bomb in it!

Oh, okay! Come and meet...

Eva! Eva and Laszlo... Nice to meet you.

And their son Miklos... Michael, as he's insisting we call him.

He's proper Australian.

And he's even forgetting his Hungarian.

Miklos, this is Lisa. Hi.

I hear you've just done the Leaving.

Yes. Magda told me, of course.

She said you're a great help at the fashion store.

She is my tower of strength. She is clever, huh!

She's going on to do great things.

I've just done it too. The Leaving.

Oh, yes. Are you going to university?

I, I don't know... results in nine days.

Yeah, nine days. Yeah!

Fay... you look beautiful!

Oh, thank you. I'm sorry I'm a bit late, I had to catch a train from the--

You came to my home.

No, it's really delightful. Ah, so, who do you know?

No-one. No, Lisa!

Lisa? Yes, I know Lisa.

Ah, this is Sandor. Hello.

And Maria and uh, Bela, uh, and there is Stefan.

But uh, he's deadly, he's handing out atom bombs.

Um, here's Lisa, here's Lisa.

How are you?

So let her talk to Miklos, who is called Michael.

Uh, this is Rudi, he's Hungarian.

Rudi! This is Fay, she is Australian girl, not a refugee from Europe.

Uh, do you... do you speak English?

Of course.

And Hungarian and German. And some French and Russian.

A drink?

Can you give me some punch? I have some catching up to do.

Matchmaking is a strain.

The Serbs and the Croats are not yet fighting.

Lisa is talking to Miklos. Michael, Michael!

Fay and Rudi are dancing.

Oh, okay!

Bye. Bye.

Lesley... Lisa, we've been worried.

Why, Mum? Well... it's so late.

Mum, it's New Year's Eve. Yes, I know.

But with people we don't know, your dad's been anxious.

Too right! Who brought you home?

Mr Foldes. Just him?

No, Mum, his wife and son were there too.

Foldes! What kind of name is that?

They're Hungarians, Dad.

Hungarian? God, country's full of bloody foreigners!

But, Dad, we all came here from Europe sometime.

Crikey! Here we go. Now I'm getting a history lesson, am I?

Now, you better get to bed, Lisa. Get some sleep.

Yes, all right, Mum.

I should have gone to mass this morning.


Too late now.

Well, there is a midday mass.

I need some rest.

I'm sure God will understand.

Stefan. Hm?

I think perhaps in one year, maybe one year and a half, we must look for premises in Woollahra.

Even better - Double Bay.

European fashions, huh?

Exclusive fashions, expensive.

Goode's doesn't know the meaning of the word.

Sorry! That's quite all right.

Thank you. Thank you.

Rudi?! Huh?

Are you looking for a frock? Of course!

What do you think? This one suits me?

Yeah! Rudi, you can't stay here.

Miss Cartwright will have a fit.

In fact, my dear Lisa, I wish to speak a few words to Fay.

Oh, she's gone to morning tea. Oh, wait, there she is.

Hello. Hello.

Fay, I've came to ask if you will risk an outing with a “reffo”.

On Friday night.

Please think about it.

Oh, I... I don't need to think about it.

Then I will call you on Thursday night.

Oh, no, no phone calls. My landlady, she's a real old battleaxe.

Don't worry, I will smother her in Middle European charm.

Soon she will be looking forward to my calls.

Oh... well...

I should, um... Oh, sorry.

It has been a madhouse here.

Did I see that Hungarian wolf prowling around?

I think he's asked Fay out.

Well, I have something to say but I don't want to translate it.

It's still there.

But I won't be responsible if you rob a bank to buy it.

And it could sell, very soon, at 50 guineas.

Oh, please don't say that. Please don't sell it.

Lisa, that is a promise I could never make.

Fifty pounds for a dress! I've never spent--

Guineas. 50 guineas. That's 50 pounds, 50 shillings.

Oh, that's even worse. You could buy ten dresses for that.

Not like this one, Mum. Oh, I don't know, Lesley.

Lisa. Lisa.

I don't know what's happening to you. It's that Magda.

Now someone called Michael's called you up. Now, who's he?

Get the oven door, will you?

Ah, he's a boy. Just done the Leaving.

His father drove me home on-- Oh, yes, on New Year's Eve.

But you said he was Hungarian. He sounded Australian.

Well, he was born here.

Oh, well, in that case, I suppose he is Australian.

I suppose so.

Get me a sherry, will you? In the cabinet, in there.

So, who was that director? Réné Clément. Really charming.

Oh, I'm sorry. It's just, it's so sad.

I've never seen a French film before.

Then I have arrived just in time to rescue you.

We shall see them all, Les Enfants Du Paradis, La Règle Du Jeu, Pépé le Moko.

Are they all sad?

No, not at all, some are most amusing.

Perhaps this wasn't a good choice.

No, no, no, no, it was. I loved it.

The Nazis conscripted me when they occupied Hungary.

They had me work the railway lines.

Not at all...pleasant.

I escaped to Romania and hid there for the remainder of the war. How is the goulash?

Oh, it's delicious. Go on.

After the war, I was a bureaucrat in Budapest.


What a line... I should, I should write a song.

But... the Communists were no improvement on the Nazis...

So... I escaped to the evil capitalist west... during the uprising in 1956.

Oh, I've heard of that.

First Italy, then England and now... Australia.

This is where I intend to make money.

This is... the country of opportunity.

Perhaps I am to be...

Australia's first Hungarian ex-communist millionaire.


Tell me, do you prefer Liszt to Mozart or Beethoven to both?

I'm not sure.

Well, I will take care of that, if you will permit me.

You are very musical or you could not dance so well.

What about books?

Oh, I've just finished reading Anna Karenina.

Lisa lent it to me.

Remarkable. I have found an Australian intellectual.

And Magda told me they were all in England.

Thank you. Thank you, dear.

Fay... Fay!

Gee, look at that.

Looks like he just wandered in from the sheep show.

Oh, Patty!

Oh, darling!

No, please, move away, we must attend to this lady.

She's my wife!

Oh... Gracious.

Well, it's good that you're here. You can take her home.

Patty, can you hear me?

I have Sal volatile. It never fails.

Just nice and slow.

Oh, go to hell!

Now, now, now, shh. You've had a shock. Just be quiet.

Tell him to go to hell.

Yeah, I've been to hell.

I've just got back, but I couldn't find my key.

Gotta get my house keys off ya.

Fainted? Hm-mm.

Right in the middle of Ladies' Cocktails.

Her husband was there, too. What was he doing there?

Don't know.

Well, that sounds very odd to me.

I wonder why she hasn't had children.

You should see her husband. Now, Lesley...

Lisa... what do you know about that?

Well, he's completely gormless.

Yes, well, so are lots of men.

But it doesn't stop them from becoming fathers.

Well, I grew up in Bendigo, in Victoria.

But my dad died when I was 11 in the war in New Guinea, so...

We moved around a lot after that.

I had to leave school as soon as I turned 15 and find a job.


You Australians are a mysterious people.

No-one would guess that this is a place that people can also suffer.

It is the constant sunshine.

It hides everything but itself.

Where have you been?


Wagga? Wagga Wagga?

Yeah, Wagga Wagga.

Phil O'Connell. Remember him?

He was always asking me to go down and give him a hand with the pub.

So I thought... over Christmas, New Year's.

You didn't bother telling me, of course.

I'm only your wife. I wouldn't worry, would I?

I wouldn't have to go tell lies for you at Wonda's Tiles, or turn up at Goode's feeling sick and terrible!

And why are you back now, anyway?

I suppose you ran out of clean shirts!

Well, I tell you what... you can clean your own bloody shirts from now on!

I'm sorry. I should've thought.

Just had my mind on other things.

Yeah?! Like what, for instance?!

I just felt... after that night, you know, you...

I thought you wouldn't want to see me again, for a while.

That night?

With the night dress?



Frank. Yeah?

That's what's been bothering you?


That's why you shot through? Yep.

Frank... Yeah?

That was wonderful... That night...

I just know, the way I carried on, it was... a bit-- It was wonderful.

You know what? What?

I am so hungry.

Why don't you go down the street and get us some fish and chips?

I'll call Mum when you're out. And don't be long...

I'm starving!

Yeah, well, all right then.

So that was okay, that night?

I'll say it was!

We have heard nothing from Rudi. I wonder why.

Well... He is obviously engaged elsewhere.

Correct. Did you see who he left the party with?

The prettiest girl? The Australian girl. Fay.

Fay is an adult. She can look after herself.

She is a naive Australian girl, experienced no doubt only with clumsy Australian men.

And Rudi is a wolf of a different colour.

This is melodrama.

The reality probably is that both are at a loose end.

It suits them for the time being to see each other.

For a woman, it is never only for amusement.

The heart is engaged, so it may be broken.

And it will be my fault.

Nonsense. You merely introduced them.

Now the ball is in their court.

Hm? You are crossing the bridge before the horse has bolted.


Such a wonderful country... and so empty!

We must keep its existence a secret, or all those bloody reffos will come racing down here from Europe.

Now for one of your... famous sandwiches.


Not bad!

Are they different from continental sandwiches?

Yes... but the principle is the same.

What are you thinking?

Oh, nothing...nothing much.

Well, you remember I was going to tell you the rest of my story.

Your disgraceful past. Yes.

Am I going to be shocked? I think so.

Proceed. Shock me.

Well, when I was about 16, I wanted to be a ballet dancer.

But my mother had no money for proper lessons, so...

Um, when I was about 18, I ended up in this... nightclub.

Horrible. Yes.

And after a while I, um...

I met this man, Mr Marlow... and, um, he was a businessman.

He was older... at least 45.

He rented a flat for me... in Kings Cross...

And, um... and he would visit... and...

Were you in love with this Mr Marlow?

Oh... no.

And does this Mr Marlow still feature in your life?

Believe me, Fay... the Pope in Rome does not have me high on the list being considered for sainthood.


Six, seven, eight!

And out, in, hip!

Hip! Hip! Step, cross, shoulders, and... around!

And flick!

Jump, kick, step, step!

And one!

Step, lunge, straight line!

Diagonal! And around!

First group!


Big finish! And slow!

Thank you, ladies! Okay, girls.

I suppose it could be worse. Take a break!

Another run-through at six.

So I think it was good at the top this time.


But, um, the middle section needs a little bit of work.

Ah, want the old job back, Fay?

Not right now, Gerald.

That was good, darling. Thanks!

So, how are things with your Continental?

Good. What's his name?

Rudi Janosi. How do you spell it?

Ah... J-A-N-O-S-I . What?

Well, he could change it, you know.

Quite a few of them do that.

Rudi won't.

Rudi says the best thing to do if there's anything unusual about you is to... brazen it out.

You want to be careful.

You haven't known him long. I don't want to see you get hurt.

I'd rather be hurt by Rudi than the types I used to know.

Well, at least with an Australian you know where you are.

Well, that's not too hot if you don't want to be there.

At least with a Continental you're going somewhere new.

Yes. And it could be dangerous.

Life is dangerous.

You should hear some of Rudi's stories.

We live in a cocoon here.

We don't know how lucky we are.

I'll bet he knows how lucky he is.

He put the hard word on you yet?


Do you love him, Fay?

Yes. I reckon I do.

Come here.

I can't eat a thing.

Lisa? Hm?

Have you found that one in madam's size yet?

Um... No, we don't seem to have it.

That girl's off with the pixies.

Oh, you know why? No, why?

Why, her exam results come out tomorrow.

Well, tonight if she goes down to the Herald building about 11.

Here you are, madam.

Hey, Ed, haven't you got a girl that's just done the Leaving?


Well, they've finished setting the results.

Get your tail down there. Have a look, see how she went.

I'll look after this for a bit.

Oh, no need to bother, mate. Don't be a spoilsport.

Look, I'll go and check for you. It's a big day for her.

What school was it? She goes to North Sydney Girls.


Sorry, excuse me. Sorry, excuse me.

I got four A's and a B!

Is her name Lesley? Yeah!

Listen to this!

Five A's and first-class honours in English and History.

That sounds all right, doesn't it?

Jeez, you're a cool one, Ed.

It's bloody great, that's what it is!

Yeah! Huh!

Well, I should get back to work.

I hear your daughter's distinguished herself famously!

Congratulations! Wonderful news!

Good on ya, mate!

I suppose she'll be off to Sydney Uni?

You must be very proud, Ed.

Yeah, well-- Nice one, Ed!

I'm not sure about that, I'm not sure about the university.

Well, surely you wouldn't waste brains like that.

And you tell her to come and see us if she wants a cadetship.

Congratulations, mate.

But first, university's the thing.

Both my girls are there.

Having the time of their life.

What do ya reckon, Ed?

Someone in the family's got some brains, hey?!

Thanks, mate.

Mum! I know. Your father telephoned.

Oh, gosh! What did he say?

Well, nothing much.

He was suffering from shock or he wouldn't have phoned.

Oh, Lesley... Lisa! This is the proudest day of my life!

Mine too. So far.


Yeah, what? Would you like some more toast?

Put the bloody tray down and come over here.


Whose name is also Lesley!

Oh, my young friend, this is a most happy day!

Oh, thank you. Oh.

What's going on? Is she, are you engaged?!

Oh, tush, at her age? God forbid, no.

She has obtained most magnificent results in the Leaving Certificate.

Good on you, Lisa! Thank you.

Congratulations! Oh, thank you so much.

Stefan sends his love, but we were not surprised.

I read it in the Herald this morning, it's fabulous!

Congratulations, Lisa. Oh, thank you so much, Mr Ryder.


Your results were no surprise to me.

Thank you.

You're a clever girl, I could see that.

It's a pleasure to work with you, and I'll be sorry when you leave us.

A clever girl... is the most wonderful thing in all creation, you know?

You must never forget that.

So you go to university... and don't pass up any opportunities.

You just go away and be as clever as you can.

It's the best thing you could possibly do... you and all the clever girls in this city and the world.

Now, we'd better get on and sell some cocktail frocks, hadn't we?

Now, Lesley, I can't see what you want with these exams and first-class honours and universities being a girl.

But still... congratulations...

You've done very well.

Thanks, Dad.

So, what do you want to do now?

You know what I want to do.

Well, I'll think about it... if you get that scholarship.

Oh, she'll get it all right, with that pass.

Well, if you do, I'll think about you going to university, okay?

But, if I do decide you can go, I don't ever want to hear you mixed up with these... libertarians and those bloody communists they've got there, you'll be out of this house in a shot, understood?

Yes, Dad.

Oh, I'll get it.

What's this?

Oh! That's, uh, salami. Lisa suggested it.

All those bloody reffos she's got to know.

Huh! Salami?

Reckon I could get used to that.

We out of beer?

No, Lisa suggested that too.


It was Michael Foldes.

Who's he? What does he want?

He passed the exams too.

He wanted to know if I'm doing anything tonight.

Well, of course you are!

We're going out to celebrate, aren't we?

A slap-up meal in Chinatown. What do ya reckon?

Dad! Crikey.

I mean, blokes ringing you up and you finished school.

It's hard to keep up with you, Lesley!

Lisa! Lisa.

Oh, God, what next?!

And have a look at ya. Just have a look at ya.

Not bloody bad, hey!

Not bad.


Sorry! That's alright.

Where are we going? It's a surprise.

I want your expert opinion.

You see... there are harbour views.

Maybe you will dislocate your neck, but there are harbour views.

What do you think?

Well, I think it's... I think it's really lovely.

But it's you who has to like it. It's...

I mean, it's your flat. What do you think?

Oh, you... misunderstand me...

Oh, you mean... you mean it's for me.

Just like Mr Marlow, I, uh... Fay...

I stay here and you... Fay.

You visit and-- Fay! Don't be bloody silly!

Not like Mr Bloody Marlow!

There, don't I sound like a true Australian?


No, this is for you.

I want you to marry me.



Marry me?!

But I... I, I mean, I don't, I don't know anything about...

Books, or music, or art or... Bugger that, Fay!

Opera or-- Fay, Fay, Fay, you are honest.

And sweet and beautiful, and I'm going to... love teaching you all about Bach and Mozart, and I love you!

I adore you.

Think about it for as long as you like.

I will give you five minutes at least.

Shall I leave you alone-- No, no, no, no! Don't leave me.

The answer... is yes!

Yes, I will! Yes!


That was Rudi on the telephone. Oh?

He wants to borrow 50 pounds from me.

Oh... Why?

Oh, he wants to buy a diamond ring, or a sapphire.

Oh, is he going into the jewellery business?

Mm... I don't think so.

He wants to buy an engagement ring for Fay.

Are you okay? Yeah!

Uh... engagement ring for Fay?! Hm-mm... yeah.

Stefan... could you pour me a whiskey?

All right!

The whole thing is preposterous.

How can they possibly be happy together?

They have absolutely nothing in common.

At all.

Well, having things in common is not a condition for a happy marriage.

The point is that they are happy together.

It's only the beginning.

The middle and the end must take care of themselves.

At least he has not been trifling with her.

Not breaking her heart as I feared.

But he could do, in future.

I'm happy for them. I wish them well.

Still something of a shock. Well...

One's friends can be shocking.

It's one of their appealing features.

It is not here.

Never let sentiment interfere with business.

To be sentimental about business is to be weak, and to be weak is to fail.

Do you understand?

Yes, I suppose I do. Yeah.

So a man came to buy a present for his daughter.

And he liked the dress very much.

So... So he got it for 50 guineas.

I had given the dress to Yvonne, to be wrapped... and he was telling me how happy it would make his daughter.

And... And?

And I told him that Yvonne had made a big mistake and, um... that the dress had already been sold.

And never again will sentiment interfere with business.

I swear it!

Here it is.

Oh, but, but Magda, it's still 50 guineas and...

I don't have that much money.

Miss Cartwright came here yesterday, and she reduced all the unsold dresses even further.

To? Thirty five guineas.

Oh, Magda!

Thirty five guineas? I...I have, um, the ten from Dad, and my savings and the staff discount... I have 35 guineas!

Perhaps you will be a business woman. There are worse things.

Everything seems to be going smoothly, Miss Cartwright.

True, Mr Ryder, but we'll soon be losing half of Ladies Cocktail.

Really? Well...

Young Lisa will be off to Sydney University, but we always knew she was only a temp.

Correct, but... Mrs Williams.

Expecting. Expecting?

She doesn't look... how do you know?

Years of observing ladies in black, Mr Ryder.

And, uh, Miss Baines...

Yes? She's engaged!

To a Hungarian. Hm.

She's given us a month's notice.

There's still Mrs Symbo... Sym... Magda.

That little boutique is worth its weight in gold.

Don't count on her being around too long, Mr Ryder.

I've heard she's looking for premises of her own.

Oh, well... it's not surprising, I suppose.

Ah, well, they come and they go.

At least... there's you and me, Miss Cartwright.

We're always here. We're the constant ones.

Ah, sorry, thank you.

Please... welcome... come in!

Thank you, very much. Thank you.

Ah, wonderful, come in, come in.

So lovely to finally meet you!


Hi! You look lovely. Thank you!

Lisa! Oh, so beautiful, it looks so wonderful on you.

Well, I suppose it does. Too right it does.

Thank you!

So, can we please sit? Yes, please!

Please! Take a chair.

Here, take this. Thank you.

Excuse me. I think you're there.

So, I have arranged a few delicacies.

Well, I believe that I arranged them.

Well, you did. But I arranged that you arranged them.

Eva, can you do the honours?

Can you do the honours? Of course!

Ah, thank you! Yes.

I know what they are, they're olives.


I have to tell you something...

We are going to be very rich, and have lots of children.

At least four.

Is that all right with you?

Yes...of course it is.

I have found the perfect place. Hm?

It's... in the middle of Double Bay.

"Magda's Fashions".

What do you say?

What can I say? It is so appropriate!

I want to show these Australian ladies the meaning of the word “style”.

And “expense”, I'm sure!

Oh, forgive me, Mr Miles, for being inattentive.

Oh, no worries, mate. Oh, and it's Ed.

Ed? Yeah, Ed.

Ed... Stefan.

Stefan? Mm-hm.


This tastes great, what is it?

Oh, duck liver paté. Sorry?

Duck liver.

Duck liver?

Hm... Strewth!

Just won't think about it.

If I can take everything else that's been happening I guess I can take "duck liver", I suppose.

No more lemonade, Lisa.

In Hungary, you'd have been drinking this for years.

In moderation, of course.

Now, cheers!

So, um. Engineering? Engineering, that's right.

And you? Arts... of course.

Lisa, when you finish university, what will you be?

Um... I'm going to be an actress... or a poet... or a novelist... Or maybe all three!