Tom & Viv (1994) Script



Maurice, catch!

Quite a spark, Maurice!

Oh! Whoo!

♪ ...When the day is dawning

♪ And all through the wibbly wobbly walk

♪ they get a wibbly wobbly feeling in the morning.

♪ They all walk the wibbly wobbly walk

♪ all talk the wibbly wobbly talk

♪ all wear the wibbly wobbly ties

♪ and wink at all the pretty girls with wibbly wobbly eyes.

♪ Oh they all smile the wibbly wobbly...

Hey, how about over there, look?

God's sake, Viv!

For God's sake, Viv! It's not funny!

Exactly how long have Tom and Viv been courting?

Oh, minutes. Absolute minutes.


You can't really want to go back to America.

What would you do?

Most likely become a professor.

Write learned papers on obscure philosophers.

I don't know... melt into the stones of Harvard, I suppose.

No Doris, he's my fancy man.

Whatever 'e chooses is all right by me.

I suppose he is quite safe, this Eliot chap. - Safe?

I can't imagine what you mean. Tom is a brilliant scholar.

Rather Viv's type then.

I never want to see the States again.

I want to live in Europe and write poetry.

I love you.

I love you more than life itself.

I'd do anything for you. Oh dear.


I know all that.

You don't have to be so wet about things.

I'm sorry.

It's all right, Tom.

It's perfectly all right.

I don't think this is quite the right place.

It's not that I don't want to.

Are you sure?

It's just that... when we do...

I want it to be perfect.


Nothing in the world must go wrong.

Are you a virgin, Mr. Russell?

Not exactly.

Is Tom, do you suppose?

Very probably.

I am.

Awful thing the dreaded sex business.

Vivvie's not though. Not what?

A virgin.

Forgive me Maurice but, are you doing a survey of some kind.

Survey? Into sexual habits.

Ah, no.

You see, there was a spot of bother last year.

Vivvie took rather a shine to a chap, Mums found out, put a stop to it.

Awful scenes, bed without dinner, house arrest, you know the kind of thing.

I wouldn't want to go through all that again, with Tom. - No.

I'm sure Tom's intentions are entirely honourable.

Not sure about Vivvie's, though.

You can stay in the house.

Mum and Dad are away, there's nobody there except the staff.

And the house is absolutely stuffed with cigarettes, so we can be as decadent as we like.

And the season's coming up.

Ascot, Goodwood, the Russians at Covent Garden.

But I don't know these places, Viv.

What a wonderful time I'll have showing you.

But I don't have any clothes.

Cor blimey, ain't you a bore?

I'll buy you some, you ninny.

Oh darling, you're going to have to learn to make an absolute arse of yourself.

We're going to get married, be broke, we may even starve, it'll be absolute hell.

But it'll be worth it, because we have this love.

And nobody else has it.

This is my one chance of happiness, Maurice and I'm taking it and I'll need the car.

Yeah but Mum and Dad are coming home, they'll kill me.

What am I gonna tell them?

For God's sake Vivvie, you can't!

Oh God. You're eloping, aren't you?

Well where are you getting married? What am I gonna tell them?

Oh God. There'll be an almighty row, I know it.

And I'll get all the blame.

Viv wants it this way, no fuss.

Look, Tom...

There's only one rule in our family. Sort of unspoken, kind of thing.

You have to be kind to Vivvie.

I will be, Maurice. That I promise you.

No, no. I mean especially kind.

Careful handling... "this-side-up" kind of thing.

You see, the thing is, you grow up trying not to notice certain things.

The scenes, the closed doors...

A family of mutes...

But Mum's always said it's not Vivvie's fault.

Not her fault at all and that's right, she's right, you know.

Maurice, I don't think I follow.


Well listen, Tom... man to man...

There isn't anything beastly between you and Viv, is there?

Nothing in the... in the medical way.


I think I can reassure you on that point, Maurice.

I'm perfectly healthy.

Uh well, perhaps it's all right then. I'm sure it is.

Oh, I forgot.

Won't be long.

If you wouldn't mind hurrying, my husband's waiting.

Um, yes.

The one's anodyne, the other bromide, Miss Haigh-Wood?

Mrs Thomas Eliot.

You know Mrs Eliot, you must never mix them?

Yes I quite understand. Ma'am...

Excuse me for asking, but this is what you were recommended, is it?

The anodyne is 60% spirit of ether and the bromide 90% alcohol.

You think there's been some mistake?

Sir Frederick Lamb is the King's personal physician.

Oh no Ma'am, no, I know.

It's just...

You will be careful, won't you?

I will. Thank you.

Louise, Ma'am. Louise?

What's happened Maurice, where are they?

Is it too late? Why didn't you stop them?

Who is he?

I'm going out.

Will you come?

Forgive me, Tom.

There is nothing to forgive.

Where are you going?

I don't know.


Oh please Tom, don't leave me.

Oh God, Tom, please. Vivvie, don't.

I can make you happy, my darling.

I can. I can. Don't.


Let me try and make you happy.

No, there is...

There is no need to say anything.

I disgust you.


Do I?

Mr Eliot, I'm terribly sorry, but I wonder if you could help us.

Mrs Eliot?

Vivvie? It's me.

Thank you.

Vivvie, why?

Why did you leave me?

I take the pills for my head, the tummy comes back.

I take the medicines for my stomach, the headaches come back.

So sometimes I take them all together.

I know I shouldn't, but...

You know, you mustn't leave me like that.

You must talk to me.

I never know what you're thinking.

I know I can make things right for you, Tom, I know I can make you happy.

I promise.

But we have to get used to each other.

We have to be kind to each other.


Darling Tom.

Good morning, Annie. Morning Ma'am. Sir.


Has it been very ghastly, Maurice?

Totally blistering, absolute tongue lashing all round.

I think they...

They're in the...

I won't excuse what we've done.

I haven't even told my family back in the States.

But I can assure you, Vivienne is my life now, I love her completely.

Tea? Thank you.

I really, sincerely, did not mean to hurt you.


Uh, please.

Why don't you do something sensible with that hat and brolly?

Yes, of course.

Thank you.

Is Vivienne pregnant?

No. No she is not.

After her money? Are you a Johnny-come-lately?

A cad? A bounder?

No, I don't think so.

Any money or prospects? I have $100 a year from Harvard.

I am... well, actually, was studying the philosophy of F.H. Bradley, I don't know whether you know him...

The very last thing my husband will want to hear about is someone else's philosophy.

I have published one small book of poetry.

Got a roof?

A tutor of mine, the honourable Bertrand Russell has offered us accommodations in his flat in Soho.

It's... small.

In fact it's in the attic...

Bertrand Russell, the pacifist villain?

The one the newspaper wallahs call the most hated man in London?

That sounds like him, yes.

If I can put your minds at rest, I recently have received an offer for six lectures on French symbolism.

So, to be precise... you have $2 a week... you intend to share an attic with the most hated man in London... and you might be giving a few lectures on French percussion instruments.

In the meantime, the whole of Europe is at war with the Kaiser.

Nothing could make me feel more secure.

How was the wedding?

Of course, Eastbourne's proudest boast is that you won't find one shop window on the front.

It reminded me of Forest Park in St. Louis.

Did it really?

Was the weather kind? Very bracing.

Had you a sunny room?

Hardly had time inside to find out.

Ho-ho, bliss.

"Dear Mrs Haigh-Wood, thank you for your cheque to cover the damage to room 86.

Throughout this whole episode I may say that Mr Eliot behaved with considerable forbearance."

Before Vivienne rushed you headlong into this, did she tell you anything?


Nothing at all?

I really am rather proud of you.

I don't condone anything, but all in all I feel you've behaved very well.

And you are discrete, I sense that.

Yes, I think you're going to make a wonderful member of the family.

Bertie Russell says that war is a crime.

He says that killing in uniform is merely licensed murder.

Oh thanks very much.

What do you think, Tom?

Not at the dinner table please, Vivienne.

Of course.

Millions of young men are going to die and it mustn't interfere with the cream of broccoli.

Good lord, is that what it is?

Bertie Russell says war must be abolished.

Bertie's Tom's friend.

He paid for all my dance lessons.

Your friend wants to go to bed with me, did you know that, Tom?

He seems keen, even if you're not.

That's enough.

You should tell him what it would be like.

These are my men, Tom and Bertie. But they can't always communicate.

I unlock their minds!

Could you hear yourself shouting in there, could you?

Now... very calm.

Very still.

Have you taken your medicine?

How often is Granny visiting you?

I thought Granny was dead. Very well then.

How often do you get the curse?

Two or three times. In a month?

Sometimes in a week.

Tom's not quite what I imagined a poet to be.

Was he a virgin? He most certainly was!

It can't be easy for a new husband.


Have you enough ST's?

Yes Mummy, I have enough sanitary towels to make a patchwork quilt.

In two colours. Please Vivienne, try not to be vulgar.

There is never any occasion for it.

Life is quite vile enough as it is.

Oh it's all right, Mummy.

You don't have to worry anymore.

Because whatever else happens, I've got Tom.

He's mine.

And you can't stop it now.

"You see here on the sill is a boot mark, a heavy boot with broad metal heel... and beside it is the mark of the timber-toe."

Ah, a wooden-legged man of course...

There's always a wooden-legged man!

Was there one in the last one?

"There has been someone else, a very able and efficient ally.

Doctor, could you scale this wall?"

Yes, but not quite the same without that Moriarty chap, though.

Here we are, Vivvie!

"I looked out the open window The moon shone brightly on that angle of the house.

We were a good sixty feet above the ground, but look where I would there was no foothold, nor as much as a crevice in the brickwork..."

Oh, careful!


Ha, ha, ha!

You can't fall over my feet.

Ha, ha, ha!

I never know... when it's going to strike.

It's overwork, as the doctor says.

No, you think you write best when you get sick so you make yourself sick, you know you do.

And you can't expect to teach and give lectures... and write book reviews and articles... and write your poems and not get sick, Tom.

Poetry is a mug's game.



Without a shadow of a doubt.

Hello, Maurice.

I say, I had no idea philosophers danced like that.

The most hated man in London? What do you know.

He's been very good to us. We couldn't have done without him.

I've come to say goodbye, Tom, just had orders.

Gallipoli next. I envy you.

Yes. Well you did try.

If they wouldn't have you, well it's their loss. - Physically unsound.

That's me, Maurice.


Cigarette? Yes, please.

So, how's the old poetry business?

It isn't a business, it's a mug's game.

In fact, I've been thinking about getting a regular job.

Gosh. Well it's advisable for a poet to have... to, to lead a commonplace life if he's to do his work.

Yes, yes well...

I must say, I can't quite get used to having a poet in the family.

Sort of, married to my own big sis and such. - Fratris.

What? Brother-in-law.

Ah. Sorry, my Greek's not up to much.

It's Latin! Ah. Squelch.

Listen, Tom...

Man to man...

There isn't anything... awful between you and Viv, is there?

Nothing. Nothing at all.


I say, good luck with you two.

It'll all turn out massive fun in the end. Massive.

That's the ticket.

Three out of four junior officers don't come back, Tom.

Say cheerio to Viv for me, will you?

Yes, of course.

Tom, how wonderful you look.

♪ ...That the boys are out upon a holiday

♪ You'll notice half a dozen fellows when they're on the spree

♪ In half a dozen minutes, they are full of jollity.

♪ And they all walk the wibbly wobbly walk

♪ All talk the wibbly wobbly... ♪

Blank! Who has the question?

Blank. - Ah. Ah, the bishop.

Approximately how many teeth has a turtle?

40? Hopelessly wrong!

The Bishop of Oxford is out!

A turtle has approximately no teeth at all, you're out, out!

Give his bishopric to someone who knows something!

♪ ...All wear the wibbly wobbly ties

♪ and wink at all the pretty girls with wibbly wobbly... ♪

Who has the question?

Blank! Blank!

Minus 40 degrees Centigrade, is the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit True or false?

False! True, you're out!


♪ ...Oh they all smile the wibbly wobbly smile

♪ When the day is dawning

♪ All through the wibbly wobbly walk...


A lady when asked her age replied she was 35 not counting Saturdays and Sundays.

What was her real age?

I think she was...

60! Wrong!

Tom may answer.

Come on, for the cleverest man in England.

Come on, come on.


What was that?

49? Correct! Correct!

I declare Tom Eliot the cleverest man in England!

Ah, the benefits of an American education.

Well done, Tom.

Why are you glaring at me?

How dare you look at me like that!

Why give them the pleasure?

They'd have been perfectly happy for you to lose.

We cheated.

Don't be so sanctimonious!

For an American, you really are a god-awful snob!

Why do you take them so seriously?

I mean this whole way of going on is ridiculous! - Viv, stop it!

Stop it, you're play-acting! It'll be over by the end of the war.

And good riddance! If you're over-awed by their company then you shouldn't have come! It isn't good for your nerves.

They were showing off!

And you were showing off you wanted to win, I know you did! Not by cheating.

No, I know.

You wanted to be honestly, truly, genuinely superior as only an American who knows nothing about anything can be.


I don't think you're very well.

I've known this sort all my life and not one of them is fit to tie your shoelaces.

Daddy should never have done it.

You're not a money-lender. It's a disgusting idea.

Hardly that. A banker.

I'll be working at Lloyd's.

Of course, you won't even consider it.

My poetry has sold about 200 copies.

What kind of income do you imagine that gives us? - You're an artist!

We could always borrow some more money from Bertie he doesn't mind a bit.

I've already accepted the position.

Your father has been immensely kind.

Can't you see what they're doing to you?

They want to bury you, they want to drag you down.

I have no idea who you are talking about.

How can you work when you are locked in some dungeon of a bank all day?

I shall work at the bank in the day and write at night nothing could be more straightforward. But what can I do?

What use can I be if you're away all day, how can I help?

You do help. All the time.

With everything.


Bertie has offered to take me to the seaside.

What do you think about that?

Well you know I can't come.

Of course not. What could I expect?

Important affairs at the bank, I suppose.

Well Vivvie, you must go, if you want to.

It'll be good for you.

Telegram, Mr Eliot.

Please come Tom, she's very low.

An influenza's settled on her chest. I am sorry.

Viv and I, I want you to know that I have absolutely nothing to reproach myself with.

Of course you haven't, Bertie.

You're our closest friend.


I'm here.

I'm sorry to be a nuisance.

It's an awful bore, dying. Nobody's dying

I did so want to help you with your poetry.

You will.

You do. You're in every line.

I can't do it without you.

I know.

Can I help you with anything?


Perhaps you can.




Have you seen my shoes?

Uh, there's no tea left.

Shall we make out a shopping list? - And my trousers, I seem to have mislaid them.

I need a cheque.

You should still be convalescing.

3 pounds should just about do it.

I'll buy you some chocolate as a treat. Viv, it's time I went.

Well goodbye, then! Well...

I can't very well go to work without my trousers now, can I?

Viv, where have you put my clothes?

And my briefcase, where is it?

I'm afraid they've gone.


A great poet shouldn't have to work in a squalid little bank he should be here, writing poems, where I can help him.

You know we can't afford to live that way.

Now Viv, please, I must go.

Is Mr Eliot going to work today?


What if it reads...

"What'd you get married for, if you don't want children?"

I think it's better.

Yes. Yes it is.

Good morning, Bishop. Good to see you.

So good of you to come. Not at all.

Please, right this way.

Viv? - I suppose you just happened to be in the area?

I've asked the Bishop to call, Viv.

Vivvie, I'm sure you have a million things to do.

Oh I see, you want to be alone.

Well if you like, I could go up to the roof and see how long I could dangle in the air.

If I'm intruding in any way... Not at all.

I believe the sale is still on at Selfridges.

I thought we were working on your poems today, Tom.

It's very good of you to devote so much time to an unbeliever, Bishop.

I hope you don't think my husband's looking for religion.

No, what Tom wants is boredom.

A boring and conventional life.

He mistakenly thinks he needs it for his work.

Oh and if you can arrange it the egotistical little shit would like to be a saint.

And I don't normally use words like that.

Here, at the base of the brain, there is the pituitary gland.

Now we know it is linked to instances of dementia.

Here, in the lower stomach there is unceasing colic.

We're certain that there is a link between the gland and the colic.

She feels heights of enthusiasm and then sudden great falls of emotion. Indeed.

Well unfortunately... she has what I call... intestinal catarrh.

She cannot control her menstrual life.

Apart from the drugs that I am already prescribing her there's little we can do to control the symptoms.

May I ask about the marriage?

We love each other.

I see.

And there are no problems? Beyond what I imagine must...



Do you intend to have children?



We have never discussed it.

I think I should tell you that your wife's condition will not improve, it may worsen.

What do I tell Vivienne? As little as possible.

With a patient like this it's important not to... burden her with details.


Maurice, home at last! And not dead, either!

Oh my dear fellow, how did you survive all that shooting?

Oh, simple really, just ducked when I saw the bullets coming!

Well you look, you... you sound different, you look...

How do I look Maurice? The spitting image of a banker.

A true blue, English banker!

Well, my dear fellow, we must celebrate!


Shall I send out for some champagne?

Oh gosh no, the old firewater's just the ticket!

So, how are you both?

We couldn't be happier.

Viv goes dancing, twice a week.

Me too, sometimes.

Saturdays at the theatre.

That's us.

And how are you, Maurice?

Oh, pretty fair.

Looking all over for a job.

No-one wants to employ me.

Don't you think that's a bit off?

After all, I have just won the bloody war.

It's called "He do the Police in Different Voices"

One thing you need, it's a catchy title.

Oh of course, it's a work in progress.

It might help if you try to imagine Tom's poetry as a smashed vase.

Ah, naturally.

You have to understand that Tom quotes from many different sources.

The main character, the prophet Tiresias has just seen Athena's body quite naked and it's such a frightful shock to him that he can think of nothing but rats in a sewer.

Vivvie, I really don't think it needs...

Is there anything more I need to know before I hear the poem?

Other voices emerge...

The Duchess from Webster's Malfi.

She'd made a reckless marriage to Antonio.

Her family go to every length to stop it there's a moment where she brushes her hair and he cannot bring himself to touch her, the horror engulfs...

That's not what I meant at all.

It is. Of course it is!

He, he quotes from Dante.

A soldier makes a hasty marriage.

Soon after the wedding he discovers he's made a hideous mistake...

Vivvie please, this is really unnecessary.

Oh, is that the time?

Charles dear, it is time for your medicine.

But I'll miss the poem. I think it is time, dear.

'He do the Police in Different Voices'

"My nerves are bad tonight.

Yes, bad. Stay with me.

Speak to me, why do you never speak? Speak.

What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?

I never know what you are thinking. Think."

"I think we are in rats' alley Where the dead men lost their bones."

"What shall I do now? What shall I do?

"I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street with my hair down, so...

What shall we do tomorrow? What shall we ever do?"

There it is.

More wine, madam?

Tom looks rather bloody.

There's nothing wrong with Tom that separation from his wife couldn't cure.

She reeks of ether.

If she had any conception of his significance, it would be less alarming.

The drain on his energy must be... I know, unimaginable.

I don't keep a line that Viv hasn't proofed.

I rely on her completely, she's my first audience.

Of course. She's a writer, too.

Considerable talent. Really?

I'll send you some of the things, shall I?

You do realise of course, what she's doing to you?

To your reputation? What she might do to your work.

You're wrong. You're quite wrong.

You have no idea, you don't know her.

She has... an uncanny understanding of certain things.

I haven't made her happy.

Some moments in life... decisions... are irrevocable.

Perhaps one can become moral... only by being damned.

She's often in a lot of pain.

I must take care of her.

That's what I must do.

Of course Virginia thinks Tom should leave me.

She refers to me as a bag of ferrets.

It's my nerves you see, "writer's insight." Well she should know.

Lenoard has her in and out of the looney bin every couple of months.

They all hate me because I've got Tom and they all want him.

Ottoline's desperate for an affair with Tom!

Lawrence says, Ottoline's vagina is like a bird's beak.

I know he's always been totally disgusted, but...

A bird's beak!

Why is there never any wine?

They all admire Tom's mind. I am his mind.

Ma'am? Oh, good.

What time are you meeting Lady Botwell?


Six o'clock at the Grafton, wasn't it? Er, yes.

See you there then, shall I?

You know how good I am at breaking the ice, which will need some handling, so...

Why don't you go to the private bar?

I'll meet with her and then I'll send a waiter over and you can be introduced.

You don't want us to meet with her together?

It's not that, it's just...

I just... need some time with her alone.

Some time with her alone?

Who gave you the title to The Wasteland?


Who wrote half your begging letters and did your correspondence when you were ill?


Lady Botwell is the daughter of a draper from Whitby.

She's no more breeding than a rabbit.

You don't know the difference between a trumped-up title and real breeding and I do!

Shall we say the Grafton at six then?


Excuse me.

Morning, all.

Oh God, my head...

You heard all that, I take it?

Gosh no, I can listen to people all night goes in one ear, flies out the other kind of thing.

Is that right? Nothing in the middle to hold it up.

For God's sakes, you insufferable oaf!

Help us.

The trust-fund accounts for everything, Mrs Haigh-Wood.

What about Viv?

What is she to be told?

I don't want to over-burden her.

She doesn't understand money.

Charles had the greatest confidence in you.

Viv will be taken care of just as she always has been without fuss.

Where is she, anyway? Selfridges I think.

Have I missed anything?

There you are. Looking so lovely.

So... how much has Daddy left?

What's my share? I'm the eldest child.

We were just talking about Mum's life and her evenings.

She's going to be jolly lonely now, so I've proposed we should all play more bridge.

Oh by the way, Tom and I can't go on living in that awful little hole in Crawford Mansions.

Tom is quite famous now and there's a house in Chester Street which would be quite perfect for him.

And we need a motorcar.

What's this?

It's a list of property holdings and investments.

Houses? In Manchester and London.

I didn't know we had a farm in Anglesey.

So um, what is it when we add it all up?

The trust was set up to protect the estate against taxes one does not "add it all up", that's just the point.

So what's my share?

I have to be independent, you know.

Tom's family won't let me inherit anything from him they're quite adamant about that, so I have to know where I stand.

You see, your father didn't want you to bother with any awful papers so what he's done is... he hasn't said anything about you in the will.

You are all tenants of the trust the trustees have power of attorney.

And who are they?

Maurice and myself.

Oh, so it's alright? The house and the car?

Darling, leave it to the boys.

They know best.

I have a right to some of Daddy's money.

Viv, there's no money to share as such...

Viv, please, please, are you sure you wouldn't like to go home?

The solicitor will arrange everything.

Oh, the solicitor, what else does the solicitor have to arrange?

Does the solicitor know that Tom and I sleep in separate rooms?

And that I've driven him to it? You have not.

And divorce.

Tom's friends say we should divorce. There's been no talk of divorce.

And does he know that there are times when I'm not allowed in the same room as you?

Particularly when the Bishop of Oxford calls.

Tom wants me baptised into the Church of England.

Now if a big baby wants to stick his head into a bowl, it's called baptism.

If I want to do it? It's called shampoo.

And, and, has the solicitor taken into account Tom's sandwiches?

Sandwiches? God knows I'm tired of making them!

God knows he takes them each day into the office and then dives round to a little church in the city and ploughs through the cheese and pickle on his knees?

I mean what do you suppose is the legal position on sandwiches?

Oh I see, I'm ill again, am I?


No I can hear myself.

I know perfectly well what I'm saying.

Let's just pretend I never came in.

Just carry on as before.


By the way, I've been thinking that I might toddle off to Africa.

Try my luck, so to speak.

Well there doesn't seem to be much opportunity in England these days does there?

Thank you, thank you very much.

This next poem is called Marina.

The title will of course be quite clear to anyone familiar with Shakespeare's Pericles.

No poet can truthfully tell you the origin of a poem however personal a poem may seem.

What makes it a poem will not derive from the fact that it is personal.

Poetry is not an expression of emotion but an escape from emotion.


Oh Mrs Eliot, hello.

Won't be a moment.

Rooms came with the job, Ma'am. Night nurse.

First time they've ever given the position to a woman.

I'm so pleased for you, Louise.

My husband's reading to some friends in our new house.

You should be there, Ma'am.

Oh, I know them all off by heart.

It's his fifth book of poems.


700 people bought the last one.

Proper best seller.

Sometimes I feel you're my only friend, Louise.

But you know so many people. Oh it's Tom they come to see!

What about your family?

Oh well they just say um... poor Tom, he's got his hands full.

I'm glad about Mr Eliot, though being so busy and important.

Oh he's in a spin alright, yes.

Ever since he left the bank and took the job in publishing everyone wants to see him.

Like bees round a honeypot, I hardly ever see him now.

Isn't that awfully difficult?

Oh I never think about it, Ma'am.

Just something for idle hands.

As we have discussed before, the uneven flow from the pituitary glands somehow feeds down to the ovulation cycle.

But in addition to this Vivienne has what I prefer to call... a febrile disease of the mind.

And that is why I have asked Dr Miller here today to explain the condition.

In fact, we consider it a secondary form of mental disease.

And it is notorious in attacking young women of exceptional gifts.

The patient fails to understand her social position and her duty to society.

She becomes vulgar and impulsive and frequently shows a rebellious disregard for propriety.

And it is this condition the law and the medical professions define as moral insanity.


Technically, yes.

Thank you.

Hello, T.S. Eliot's office.

Mr Eliot, please.

Who is this?

Who's speaking please?

Would you tell him his wife is calling?

One moment, please.

I'm sorry Mrs Eliot but Mr Eliot isn't... your husband's not here just now.

I know perfectly well he's there!

And working too hard to keep you in a job, that's what he's doing! Now...

Is this some deliberate attempt to provoke me?

Get me the chairman at once, I want to speak to Mr Faber immediately!

I'm terribly sorry, but I'm under strict instructions not to allow anybody... Oh for God's sake!

I am coming over this instant!

I am opposite this building and I am going to make the most awful stink you ever heard.

I only wanted to leave a small bar of chocolate for my husband.

Anything for me?

Thank you.


I thought I'd take you by surprise!

A very pleasant surprise indeed.

How very good of you to visit.

We'll be undisturbed here.

What has she done?

Hurry, yes.

I'm so sorry...

I'll never do it again, I'll be good.

Leave me, leave me.

Oh I'm so ashamed.

I'll be good.

I'm sorry.

Forgive me. Tom...

Don't look at me.

What is it that you want?

I want nothing.

That's precisely what you have.

You can't go on like this, neither of you.

What is it that you want?

I am married to a woman that I love...

but everything we do together falls apart.

I crave companionship... but I am completely alone.

I'm sorry Madam, there's a private ceremony.

I'm sorry I can't do that. I'm Mr Eliot's wife I've a right to be here! I'm sorry, the bishop's...

Ephpheta, quod est... Adaperire...

In Odorem suavitatis...

Please excuse me!

I, Thomas, renounce the devil and all his works.

The vain, pomp and glory of this world... the carnal desires of the flesh.

I believe in the Holy Ghost the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints... the Remission of Sins, the Resurrection of the Flesh... and everlasting life.

Ego te baptizo in nomine patris.

Madam, please!

Et filii...

The door is locked! et spiritus, sancti.


It's only 6 o'clock.

I'm going to Communion.

I thought you might stay a while.

I can't.

I um...

I, I seem to be...

I seem to be free today if there's any work you need typing up.

I have a secretary who does all that.


Why Vivienne! Hello Vivvie!

Hello, Vivienne.

No, no you've made a mistake you're confusing me with that other woman who is so like me.

She's always getting me into terrible trouble.

How absurd! And if you don't go away this minute!

Don't be silly, you are Vivienne Eliot!

I am not Vivienne Eliot.

I never have been, is that clear?

Yes! Yes it is.

Is it? Yes it's perfectly, perfectly clear.

Huge mistake, of course. You are not Vivienne Eliot.

One simply has to fight tooth and nail to get a cab at this time of day.

Dear Mr Eliot, thank you for your reply of the 16th.

The faculty is naturally delighted that you have accepted the chair of poetry at Harvard University.

Tenure will be for one year commencing September, 1932.

Would you be kind enough to relay your travel plans so that arrangements for suitable accommodation can be made?

Yours sincerely, G.T. Lowell, President, Harvard University.

Oh look, there he is!

Hello! There she is!

Dear friend!

Great white hunter!

Dear Vivvie, look at you, you look marvellous! - And you're huge!

Tom my dear fellow, marvellous to see you!

Look at you, look at you both!

So, how's England treating you, Tom?

Aces all round. New house, new car.

Same wife!

Tell us about Africa.

Well uh, totally huge, swimming with gin and elephants. - Yes.

Natives speaking English to a man.

Oh Tom I must tell you, I met this American filly in Mombasa and she was actually reading one of your books.

Oh, splendid! Ecstatic, who'd have believed it?

Right here. - 'Oh God', I said, 'that's old Tom, the frartris!'

Well, worked wonders in the old courtship front.

Knew poetry would come in useful one day. I'm glad to be of use, Maurice!

I say, super motor!

So, what have you two been up to?

Oh, endless parties.

All Tom's friends come over.

Students banging on the door at all hours for autographs.

And bishops by the truckload!

Oh, Tom's one of us now, British citizen. Hoorah!

Welcome aboard!

Thinking about kids next, I shouldn't wonder! - Oh, I don't know about that!

We do have cats, though.

Both still crazy about chocolate? Absolutely mad about it.

Ah, you both sound so happy!

We are.

That's it?


Mums, Tom's whole career is at stake.

He gives lectures to the Archbishop at Lambeth Palace.

All that'll go up in smoke! Maurice, please.

No, no. Short memory these top people.

Tom can't take her anywhere. He's terrified in case she causes another awful scene.

I mean, she's sending letters around town accusing all and sundry of trying to seduce him!

Ask Tom! Thank you, Maurice.

First the letters, then the car and my teeth will never be the same again.

Sometimes she gets car sick.

I know it's not an excuse, but you might have told her about America.

I left the letter where she could see it. I thought it best.

So the first thing she knows of your going to America for who knows how long, is a letter on the dining room table?

I can't pretend anymore.

She's sick.

All the doctors say the same thing.

She's running around town with a knife in her handbag!

What knife?

The poor sod only has to say 'meet the wife' and a brigade of these Bloomsbury wallahs stampede mad-dog for the Causey!

Think of the scandal, Mums if she goes too far.

Where is Viv?

I sent her off to Harrods.

Mums, this is Mr Janes, who we were talking about earlier.

He was a policeman and... Maurice, please.

Mr Janes is a medical officer with the Association of Private Practitioners.

What does a medical officer do?

It's purely hypothetical.

No final decision's been taken.

Well, Mrs Wood... Mrs Haigh-Wood.

I observe the lady of whom we speak and report to the family.

In the event of a crisis, two doctors are obliged to ask the lady two questions of a simple nature.

The next morning I go to the magistrate's court with a petition.


And apply for a notice of committal.

I then convey her into the care of her doctors.

You mean you bundle her into a straitjacket and cart her off to the lunatic asylum.

It is vital that we act together, as a family.

Good evening, sir.

She has locked herself in, I thought I'd better call you.


I think now's the time, Mr Eliot.


I um... took the liberty of calling the doctors.


I see.

I unlocked the door the minute I heard you.

Hello, Viv.

It's all going on out there.

We need to be very calm.

Well there's no need for that.

If you want to go out, do.

I want you to. Thank you, but no.

It's good for you.

You can't stay trapped in here with me.

I do know what goes on in your mind.

Who is it this time, Gert or Daisy?

Ooh you're up to something and no mistake.

Let's be calm, Vivvie.

I keep getting all these horrible formal letters from your lawyer.

I told them I wanted to talk to you.

After all, you are my husband.

We are legally separated.

Oh that's just a form of words, isn't it?

"Whom God has joined, let no man put asunder."

You're an expert on God, aren't you?

We are going to have to talk about things, Vivienne.

Well, we've never done that before, have we?

You have to understand what you have done.

We have to face this together.

The motorcar... the chocolate...

Oh, that!

Those rats at Faber's wanted you all to themselves.

There was no room for me.

I was so angry being locked out.

You see, you have to remember what a success you are.

A famous poet, director of a leading publishers...

I would like some recognition for that.

After all, the poems come out of our lives, Tom.

I'd like to share just an inch of that success.

But... why chocolate?

Because you love it!

Although not quite in that form, I grant you. - And the car?

You really could've killed us.

How are Maurice's teeth? - Fine. Is the car fixed?

Yes. And you and I are still upright, so...

Look, I felt a rush of blood to the head.

I was sitting listening to a string of trivial chatter.

You were vexed by the conversation?

You were leaving me for a year and you didn't have the courage to tell me.

Maurice was asking us questions about ourselves and I heard us telling him masses of lies over and over, you see... you see that... that's why I married you, Tom.

To escape from all that.

But you...

Well Tom, you always wanted to be the perfect Englishman.

All these years Vivvie... right from the start.

All the secrets we had to keep.

Trying not to catch each other's eyes, because we might realise we were strangers.

And always the medicines, the doctors, the experts, the things I was never told and the way people looked at us.

'There go Tom and Viv.'

'What do they say to each other?'

'Whatever do they say?'

I have the doctors in attendance, sir.

Stay out!

What's going on?

Two of your doctors are outside.

They want to come in and take a look at you and make a decision.

At this time of night? They have your best interests at heart What decision?

They need to come in... and ask you a few questions.

You won't let them take me away from you, Tom?

After all, there've been good moments in the past.

We've had our splendid times, haven't we Tom?


Are you ready?

Vivvie darling... if you have a knife... would you give it to us, please?

We know you have a knife, there.

We're being a bit "Ethel M. Dell", aren't we?

There have been complaints.

From whom? Mrs Virginia Woolf.

And you believe them?

Well Mums, um...

I'm afraid it's too late.

I caught up with Mrs Woolf in the ladies room at Victoria station.

I'll show you exactly how I did it.

Like that!

And that!

I bought it in a toy shop.

Oh God...

Now, I believe you have some questions for me?

Tom will tell you, I'm brilliant at puzzles.


Rupert - takes his friends to the opera.

Rupert is sitting next to Charles and on his left.

Daphne sits immediately on Charles' right.

Clarissa sits somewhere to the left of Daphne.

Can you put them in their correct order?

Clarissa is next to Rupert, Rupert is next to Charles, Charles is next to Daphne.

Uh, yes that's correct.


The greasy pole is 10 yards high.

The little brown monkey wishes to climb the pole.

The monkey climbs 3 yards a day.

Each night, he slips back 2 yards.

How many days will it take him to reach the top?



The answer is eight.

A member of the family must sign for the reception order.

The uh, Lunacy Act provides the following.

All Vivienne's bank accounts and credit arrangements at certain shops cease immediately.

She's not allowed to vote, or drive a vehicle or hold any kind of passport.

She has no right of appeal at any time for her release.

After that, everything is at the discretion of the trustees.

But what do we do with Vivvie now?

Well Mrs Eliot will be completely at liberty for at least two or three days until the magistrates can approve the reception order.

Then... she will be committed.

Excuse me.

Oh God... men in white coats.

Mrs Vivienne Eliot, under the Lunacy Act I'm obliged to take you away from here, to a proper place of detention.

How dare you!

Now we're not gonna have a nasty scene in a public place, are we?

I don't see why not.

Stop it!

Are we gonna be more ladylike now, Vivienne?

Dear God!

Pay for the tea, would you? And um, be sure to leave a tip.

Oh, goodbye Louise.



Don't let 'em, Ma'am!

She was the first in her class to audition for the ballet school.

And languages...

Oh, what a gift she had.

It is a very impressive place.

Acres of grass...

Viv will be very comfortable.

And it is just for a while. Yes.

After you came to us, I...

I warned our family and friends.

'He's a bit of a stick but so eager to be like us.'

And then, those Bloomsbury types got hold of you.

You mustn't think that riff-raff is the heart of English life.

It isn't such an achievement to turn gossip into art.

And write nasty novels about one's friends.

The Haigh-Woods have been... buried as far afield as...

Alberta. And Nepal.

Magistrates, counsellors, church wardens.

How unfashionable, yes.

Snigger behind Bloomsbury shutters but that is true British stock.

Goes about its business is quiet about it quite unexceptional.

And, I might add never before has one of us been carted off in disgrace to a lunatics' house.

You swore to us Tom, you would always look after Vivvie.

So now you're famous on a bookshelf.

What do we have left to give you?

I love this family.

I've always wanted to be a part of it.

Family unity... No, please.

I've lived all my life in the hope that Vivvie would be acceptable to someone.

It's not quite the moment to give me the benefit of your mind.

Good night, Maurice.


I'm off.

Day after tomorrow.



So soon.

Re-joining the regiment.

Of course.


I will keep in touch.



Greek. Latin.


It's been splendid knowing you.

I feel I've touched history.

Well... sort of hung on.


What have we done?

Mrs Eliot?

Hi, I'm Captain Todd.

I believe you know Mr Davis, from the border control?

Yes, hello. Hello, Mrs Eliot.

You're an American. That's right.

Seconded by my unit to the Tavistock Clinic as an observer.

I've looking at your case history, I was wondering if we could go over a few things together?


Did any doctor ever mention hormonal imbalance?


When did menopause occur?

Seven years ago.

And since that time, you've had pretty good health?

I have, remarkably, yes.

This treatment you had, I mean... all there is, is this history of headaches, followed by stomach pains and menstrual bleeding.

Yes I suppose you could sum up a quarter of a century of frightfulness in that way.

You see today there are courses of hormone treatment to maintain the uterus.

It's relatively simple.


You're legally separated from your husband?

I'm sorry to say that's true.

Look, Ma'am...

I'm not too acquainted with British law but I understand your husband is a Trustee of your estate and has control over your money.

Is that right?

I mean, could you clarify that?

I have no intention of clarifying anything, I don't know what you're insinuating.

Well it seems to me that you're paying for your own incarceration here.

I mean are you trying to say that in all these years no-one has ever made an application for your release?

No member of your family, no Trustee?

How dare you?

My husband is the sweetest man on earth.

He had borne the most awful lies and vilification with absolute courage he belongs with Kings, covered in raiment.

Look, excuse me...

T.S. Eliot is the greatest living poet in the English language.

Ma'am, I'm sorry, I've never heard of T.S. Eliot.

And you won't belittle me that way.

I gave Tom the title to The Wasteland.

We worked together, side by side for 15 years I am threaded through every line of poetry he has ever written!

And he has my undying love.

He will have it until the last breath leaves my body.

And he knows it.

And nobody can ever take that away.

"The rending pain of re-enactment of all that you have done... and been.

The shame of motives late revealed and the awareness of things ill-done and done to others' harm which once you took for exercise of virtue.

Then fools' approval stings and honour stains from wrong to wrong, the exasperated spirit proceeds.

Unless... restored by that refining fire."

"Where you must move in measure, like a dancer."

This is the National Program.

We now present, what is in effect... Tom!


Ah, Tom, how good to see you!

Hello, Bertie.

How are you and what are you doing?

Cheerio. Bye.

Normal things, for a poet.

Watching enemy planes, avoiding bombs... checking the blackouts. And you Bertie?

I heard about Viv.

I suppose there was no other solution.

Of course, she was always unstable.

You used to say she was a free spirit. Did I?

I don't recall.

Don't think it doesn't hurt.

She's with me all the time every minute of the day.

Ah, my stop.

Goodbye, Bertie. Goodbye.

She is well, Tom?

You have no right to ask that.


There's a visitor for you, Mrs Eliot.


Hello, Maurice.


You look so fit.

That's Africa.

Ooh, tea.

I'll move these.

There you are.

Well, looks pretty ace here.

It is.

They're looking after you well? Oh, five star.

That's the spirit.

How was Africa?

Not bad.

Uh, saw off a few U-boats.

Gin is a bit difficult to come by.

They appointed me chief of police, Lagos.


Had to give it up, though.

Hit a bit of a bald patch.

High commission wanted this victory parade so we held a sunset curfew the night before rounded up every dark blighter we found on the streets and popped them over to the chief magistrate's court the next morning.

No chief magistrate.

I'd locked the rascal up with all the others.

Red faces all round.

Dear old Vivvie.

I want to know how you are.

How it's all gone.

Pretty quiet. Really?

Must have had masses of visitors.

Celebs from the book world.

Not masses.

I mean, you do see chums?

Chums drop by?

You're the first "chum" I've seen since Mummy died.


But there's still old Tom.


Well, he must write, sort of thing?

I haven't heard from Tom in 10 years.

But you are alright?

I mean, you seem so okay.

I'm as sane as you are, Maurice.

Which may not amount to much, God knows, but...

Ah, squelch.

I've learned to cook.

Wait here.

I want you to give this to Tom.

It's his favourite, chocolate fudge.

You know how he loves chocolate.

I've really no idea when I'll see him, I can't promise.

But when you do.


Bound to bump into him, of course.

I have to go now, Maurice.

I don't want to miss supper.

Bye, Maurice.

Chin up.