American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Adam's Rib" (1949)


Doris Attinger Testifies in Court About Her Husband's Murder

Audio mp3 of Address delivered by Judy Holliday


Attinger: So I says, “Listen, Warren.” I says, “You can’t have it both ways, you know, so make up your mind. And don’t try to make some kind of part-timer out of me.”

So he says, “Bite your tongue, fatso!”

So I says, “You coming home for supper?”

So he says, “I’ll write you a letter.”

So I said, “You coming home after?”

So he says, “I’ll put an ad in the New York Times personal column and let you know.”

So I says, “Don’t get too sassy, Mr. Attinger.”

So he says, “And don’t you be looking at me so cockeyed, ‘cause I don’t want to have to shake your head up to straighten ‘em out.”

So I threw it.

Bonner: Threw what?

Attinger: The pot. So he left, mad.

Bonner: And that was the last you saw him?

Attinger: Till later, when I followed him up and caught him muzzling that tall job.


Prosecutor (Adam) Bonner: Objection. 

Judge: Sustained, struck. Jury bear in mind, activity not yet known


Bonner: When you entered Apartment D, what did you see?

Attinger: Them. Clutching.

Bonner: How close together were they?

Attinger: No "close." Together.

Bonner: No space between them.                                                                

Attinger: No space.


Bonner: Where were her hands?

Attinger: On his ears.

Bonner: On his ears?

Attinger: One on each ear. Hey, maybe that’s why he didn’t hear me come in.

Bonner: And where were his hands?

Attinger: Who knows?

Bonner: You didn’t see them?

Attinger: Around her someplace.

Bonner: Did that surprise you?

Attinger: No, I figured.

Bonner: But it enraged you.


Prosecutor (Adam) Bonner: Objection, leading.

Judge: Sustained.


Bonner: When you found them, thus embraced, what happened?

Attinger: Uh, it enraged me.

Bonner: Then what?

Attinger: I pressed the gun.

Bonner: And?

Attinger: Bang?


Bonner: Did you take careful aim?

Attinger: I was too nervous.

Bonner: Did you aim at all?

Attinger:  I was too nervous.


Bonner: Did you at that time intend to kill Beryl Caighn?

Attinger: No.

Bonner: To wound her?

Attinger: No.

Bonner: To frighten her?

Attinger: Yes.


Bonner: To kill your husband, Warren Attinger?

Attinger: No.

Bonner: To wound him?

Attinger: No.

Bonner: To frighten him?

Attinger: No.

Bonner: No?

Attinger: No.

Bonner: In other words, you fired the pistol only to frighten Beryl Caighn.

Attinger: Yes.

Bonner: What was the point of that?


Attinger: I have three children! She was breaking up my home.

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HTML transcription by Rachael Priestly.