In Mank (2020), Herman and Sara later attend an election night watch party at the Trocadero Nightclub. He wants to go double or nothin' on California Gubernatorial election to which L.B Mayer reacts on it:

L.B Mayer: You really will bet on anything. Keep your money. I'm happy enough just to nail that utopian son of a bitch to the wall.

Thalberg turns to Mank and says:

Thalberg: I told you. Your obligation was canceled out of gratitude.

What "obligation" did Mank made ?

1 Answer 1


Your obligation was canceled out of gratitude.

I see that as just a way to say: "you don't owe him anything anymore", or "he forgave you".

During Upton Sinclair's race for governor of California in 1934, Mank refused the MGM chief Louis B. Mayer's order to hand over a donation to Sinclair's Republican opponent. That's clearly an offense, something that should make you a debtor (especially regarding LBM management style, over-protective et over-directive, almost micromanaging some stars). He was not ther man you wanted to say no to, better have him on your side than on the other's.

In this scene, I believe that "just to nail that utopian son of a bitch to the wall" was enough of a victory for him, and that he needed no more for the moment, and no need for more money. Let's forget about all the rest and enjoy the moment.

  1. NY Times about Mank
  2. Louis B. Mayer wikipedia page

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .