Tuesday, December 31, 2013

to have and have noir


Last Saturday night I looked up film noir on the internet, read some articles, and exited more confused than ever.

Am not really confused, however...I know noir when I see it.

But when you read about it, it's like -- people speak, type, argue, refute, expound, and after a while you are only hungry and tired.

A U.K. publication had a list of the [heavily sarcastic-ized] "top ten" films noir...(too many "Top Ten" lists -- it has become meaningless...)

and I didn't agree with all films listed on their "Top Ten" anyway, nor do I see a need for nine of them to be not-as-good as the "Top" one.

So  my list of ten "Core" noir films reads as follows
(and they're all good, they are not listed 1st "down to" 10th, or 10th back up to the -- oneth -- or whatever.  They're all good; they're listed alphabetically.

----------------------

Big Sleep, The

Body Heat

Double Indemnity

Killers, The

Lady in the Lake

Laura

Maltese Falcon, The

Out Of The Past

Sweet Smell of Success

Third Man, The

----------------------------

The Postman Always Rings Twice is another noir; there are two versions of that.   Also, Chinatown.  Sunset Boulevard is certainly noir, I think.  Alfred Hitchcock's movies Notorious, Strangers on a Train, and Shadow of a Doubt all have a strong noir influence, or styling.  To Have And Have Not, Casablanca, and Key Largo have visual and dialogue style elements which borrow from, or "channel" film noir.

How many of these movies did Humphrey Bogart appear in?
The Big Sleep
The Maltese Falcon
To Have And Have Not
Key Largo
Casablanca.

In the 70s there was an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show where Rhoda says something like, "We're going to a film festival -- four Humphrey Bogart pictures -- all of them The Maltese Falcon."  Something like that...When I heard that the first time, I was in -- probably -- junior high -- and my parents sort of chuckled -- they thought that was funny, and I was wondering, "What?  Why is that funny?  I don't get it...all the same movie?"

And of course all of Humphrey Bogart's movies are not the same, they're different, & they're all good, but the characters he played, after his career was established, tended to be similar, and the above-mentioned films along with some others that could be considered noir, had enough similar elements that people who have seen them could laugh at the line, "four Humphrey Bogart pictures -- all of them The Maltese Falcon"...

I think someone tried to explain it to me, but they weren't much in an explaining-mood, we were watching the show, and I didn't get it.  But I do now.

======================

In Body Heat, after Matty Walker shows Ned Racine the chimes, at her house on the waterway, they begin a relationship which includes physical intimacy.  They are passionate and intense, desirous; it has the excitement of the new and unknown; they relate with abandon; it's as if they are the only two people in the world.

Next morning Ned is walking to his office -- on a sidewalk, crowded with pedestrians, the heat of the day already upon them.  He's dressed right, and properly "put together" yet there's a sense, viewing him, that he's a little tired.  He's wearing sunglasses.

His office is modest; the outside reception area with his secretary -- behind that, his own small office.

The secretary says, "Some messages for you," pushing them forward on her desk.  When Racine walks up to her the secretary says in a low voice, "Mrs. Singer."

He looks back, over at a sofa -- an older lady sits there, clutching a walking stick.  Racine sets the stack of messages back down, whips off his sunglasses and strides across the room, turning his full solicitous charm on the client.

RACINE
Mrs. Singer, I would have gladly come to your house.

MRS. SINGER
Oh no, the doctor said I should walk, and I did have some shopping.  Not that that quack knows what he's talking about.  Mister Ray-seen, I'm just not sure his testimony is going to be useful.

RACINE
Don't worry; we'll find a doctor who's more understanding.
(change of tone)
Is it bad today?

MRS. SINGER
Oh!  You can't imagine!  Nothing can re-pay me for the pain I've been through.

RACINE
(as he ushers Mrs. Singer into his office)
How well I know.  We'll sue those reckless bastards dry.  Oh, excuse my language.

MRS. SINGER
(looking back up at him)
Oh no, don't apologize!  You have to have an attitude like that, these days...!

As Ned follows her into the office he mimics Mrs. Singer's pounding gesture with her cane and hunches his shoulders & puts his head a little forward, like "yeah let's go get 'em!" for the benefit of the secretary. ...
------------------------------
-----------------------

It's kind of like --
After the Night Of Love, it's
Back To Reality, such as it is.

{excerpts, dialogue and description, Body Heat film and screenplay, written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan, 1981}

-30-

Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm not tough; I'm weak


Matty Walker gets out of her car and goes toward the house; Ned Racine, concentrating, exits his own car, & follows her.

INT.  ENTRY HALL - NIGHT

Inside it's dark until Matty calmly, casually, in-control, presses an "on" button of a lamp on a table behind the door.  A small area is lighted; Ned glances around and says with low-key irony, "Just like my place."

She leads the way up a flight of stairs, across a hallway, up some more stairs, to a set of French doors opening to a porch, or deck, where the chimes are.  He follows her.  On the way, she turns on several lights -- no overheads, just lamps on tables (carefully chosen by interior decorators).

As she opens the French doors, commandingly, Racine asks, "No help?

MATTY:  She goes home nights.

(Matty's voice is husky, sultry -- the voice itself is low, but the attitude it invariably conveys is "above it all"...)

RACINE
You're not nervous here alone?

She looks at him as though she barely understands the question.

MATTY
No.

EXT.  SECOND FLOOR PORCH - NIGHT

The TINKLING is distinct out here.  Matty and Racine come out onto the porch.  There are about thirty wind chimes of various, lovely designs -- crystal, metal, wood hanging at intervals from the rim of the wide porch awning, completely encircling Matty and Racine.

Halfway down the long lawn is a white gazebo.  Beyond it, the waterway is shimmering in the moonlight.  At the edge of the water is a small boat house.

Racine walks along under the chimes, looking up at them, touching them, pushing them so that they swing and make the tingling sounds.  A smile plays across his face.  He looks back at Matty.

RACINE
You do have chimes.

He looks out at the boat house.

RACINE
What's that?

-- A gazebo.

-- No, out there.

-- Boat house.

-- What's in it?

-- Boat.

Racine looks at her.  She looks out on the distant water.

MATTY
It's a mess, really.
(a little breathless)
There's a row boat, a lot of lounge chairs...things like that.

He's been making his way around the circle of wind chimes, around the edge of the porch, from the end of the porch where she isn't, towards the end of the porch where she is.  All the way 'round, his right hand is idly, gently tapping and pushing wind chimes.  He approaches the area where Matty is standing.  His hand runs out of chimes...he slowly, hesitantly reaches his right hand toward the side of her face. 

She does not look at him.  His hand gets closer.  His hand is almost close enough to where he may be about to caress her face just ever-so-lightly, when she leans her face a little to the left, and her face sort of caresses his hand, for about two seconds, then she quickly turns away from him and walks toward the doors leading back inside.

MATTY
I think you should go now.

RACINE
(still standing where he was -- now there's a big space between them)
I just got here.

MATTY
(from the doorway)
You've seen them.  Please go.

He looks disappointed and starts walking in her direction.

The next shot is EXTERIOR at the front door where they originally came in.  She's standing outside with her back to the open door.  He comes out the door and stands looking down at her. 

MATTY
Thank you.  I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have let you come.

He looks at her a minute.

RACINE
You're not so tough after all, are you?

MATTY
No, I'm weak

----------------------- and she kisses him lightly yet deliberately on the lips and swoops herself back into the house, in one extended movement -- closes the door and -- click -- locks it, and looks at him through the window.  You just see her eyes.

[The first time I saw this movie, I was like, "Wwwwhhhhaat is this??"]

Ned walks to his car, his footsteps making scrunch-crunch sounds in the gravel.
At his car, he leans on it, and looks up at the chimes on that second-floor porch.
The tinkling-dinging of the chimes.
Breeze increases, and the chimes-sound goes up in volume.

Ned Racine changes his mind and goes back up to the front door, and looks through the window.  Matty is standing back from the door, over at the bottom of the stairs in the hall.  She is looking directly at the front door.  Frozen to the spot.

Racine tries the door.  It's locked. 

[She doesn't make a move to open the door for him.  She doesn't make a move to turn off the lights and go upstairs.  She doesn't make a move to call the police.  She just stands staring out at him, looking sort of -- I don't know -- proud, and very ready to place an order for something....]

Ned moves over to a window.  He tries that, it's locked, he looks in, she's in the same place, watching him, with the same look only more so.

Next window is also locked...

--------------------------
==============
And at that point in the movie, the Ned Racine character, he -- well -- he, I guess, takes a step in courtship, makes a declaration-of-intentions, expressing it through -- uhm -- well -- property damage.

{excerpts Body Heat, written - and - directed by Lawrence Kasdan}

-30-

Friday, December 27, 2013

I don't know who you think we're going to fool


--------- [excerpt, Body Heat screenplay, written by Lawrence Kasdan]------------ NED RACINE:  I'll follow you.  I want to see the chimes.

MATTY
You want to see the chimes.

RACINE
I want to hear them.

She looks at him.

MATTY
That's all.  If I let you, then that's all.

RACINE
I'm not looking for trouble.

(They're in agreement.)

MATTY
This is my community bar.  I might have to come here with my husband some time.  Would you mind leaving before me?  Waiting in your car? 
(her manner is a little less confident) --
I know it seems silly.

RACINE
I don't know who you think we're going to fool.  You've been pretty friendly.

She gives him a look and then slaps him hard !  Everyone turns toward them.

MATTY
(steadily)
Now leave me alone.

She stands up, takes her purse and her cigarettes, and walks to a conversation area further into the cocktail lounge, & sits on a sofa, alone.  Racine watches her with amazed eyes.

[end Screenplay excerpt]

===================
------------------------------

It is a shocking moment when Matty Walker slaps Ned Racine across the face in the Pinehaven Tavern.  They're sitting side-by-side at the bar, their conversation has been congenial -- fun -- and the scene seems intimate -- or -- "friendly" as Ned has pointed out -- "You've been pretty friendly"...When people who haven't seen the film in a long time watch it, they gasp when she slaps him -- Smack! -- the first time I saw it, in the theater, I gasped ... "Oh!"

And she commands him, firmly, "Now, leave me alone...!"

Seeing it the first time, I wondered, at that point, if this interaction between these two people was over.  Would Matty Walker drive home alone?  And would Ned drive himself back to his apartment, in a large, old house in Miranda Beach?

Well in the next shot, the audience sees Ned driving his car, headlights on against the darkness -- is he driving home, ticked-off at having been on the receiving end of non-fatal but certainly-surprising violence?

No -- you see he's watching up ahead with singular focus, and up ahead is a car, turning on the blinker, for a left turn at a residential property.  Ned's car follows.

The screenplay says,

"The drive is canopied by heavy trees, the vegetation crowding the road with a primeval lushness.  The headlights create sinuous welcoming shadows.  It is as though Racine were entering some separate, parallel, jungle world.  Eventually the house comes into view.

RACINE (O.S.. -- [Offscreen])
Jesus."

===========
-------------

He watches her as she opens her driver's-side door.  Her legs.  The skirt's hem is just below the knee.  She drops her cigarette and places the toe of one high-heeled shoe on it and puts it out.  She notices him looking at her and drops her gaze.

It's Florida, so there are palm trees.
The house is big; some of the windows have those -- what are they called - ? - those hooded, rounded cloth things over-top of them.
John Barry's low-key, jazzy, mildly-suggestive music adds to the atmosphere. 
It's incredibly tense, for the viewer.

It's a-lotta-house, and the Husband who can afford All-Of-This..."only comes up on weekends."

Well -- she married him!  What's the deal?  Is he mean or cruel to her?  Or is she just bored?  Or is she truly so magnetically attracted and drawn-to this small-town lawyer?  Or is she one of those people who is never satisfied...?  Is she careless?  Reckless?  (No -- she does not seem careless or reckless, she seems intense and controlled underneath the veneer of calm disillusion...)

Matty Walker is young -- thirty-ish -- and when Ned Racine flirts with her and she flirts back, you kind of assume maybe her husband is somewhat older than she.  (At any rate, he's had Time to Make All This Money ...)

Out there where the two cars are parked, you can begin to hear the tinkling-dinging of Matty's chimes.

---------------- You're the one that doesn't like to talk about the heat.  Too bad.  I'd tell you about my chimes.

-- What about them?

-- The wind chimes on my porch.  They keep ringing and I go out there expecting a cool breeze.  That's what they've always meant. 
But not this year. 
This year it's just hot air. ...

-30-

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I'm going home - I'll take you - I have a car - I'll follow you


"Cherry -- make it two..."

In the movie Body Heat, I like the way the character Ned Racine orders things.

To the bartender:
"Bourbon, any kind, on the rocks..."

To the snow cone vendor:
"Cherry, make it two."

Kathleen Turner in the role of Matty Walker seems distant, and commanding; solemn, disillusioned.

As Ned Racine, William Hurt is the lord of understatement -- his lines are laid down deadpan, with unmatched diffidence.
"This is the only joint in Pinehaven."

Beneath the exteriors of both these characters waits desire, an implied challenge. ...

[excerpt - script] - I think I'll get out of here now.  I'm going home.

RACINE
I'll take you.

MATTY
I have a car.

-- I'll follow you.  I want to see the chimes.

-- You want to see the chimes.

-- I want to hear them.

(looks at him) -- That's all.  If I let you, then that's all.

-- I'm not looking for trouble.

[Body Heat, screenplay written by Lawrence Kasdan]

Bourbon any kind on the rocks

-30-

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

this is the only joint in Pinehaven


Nagging, tedious, middle-class propriety nibbles around my head complaining -- or protesting -- "you can't write about a movie like Body Heat at Christmas-time...!  There are some not-very-nice actions and intentions, in that film.  Not very Christmas-y.  Cannot we stick with "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men" for at least one sacred day out of the year - ??"

My answer to that is, this blog wants to continue a discussion it's been having, about film noir and 1981's Body Heat, and we do not subscribe to the idea of being nice for one religious holiday out of the year, and then rotten for the other 364 days of the year, so --
Merry Christmas
Peace - earth - goodwill - men
and now --

back to greed, illicit passion, and conspiracy. ...

Three things -- a statement, a caveat, and a "little story."

Statement:  As we discuss Body Heat here, I do not "recommend" that anyone "see it," because -- you never know what people want to watch and what they don't -- they can read about it here, and decide for themselves if they want to view the movie sometime.

Caveat:  Body Heat is not a movie for children, or "for the whole family." 

"Little story":  in a feature on the B.H. DVD, Ted Danson says, "Oh -- I have a little story."  (He played Lowenstein, the assistant prosecutor who dances soft-shoe steps in his spare moments.  This film came out about a year before "Cheers" began its TV run....)  His little story is that his mother never saw Body Heat, and he only discovered this fact a few years before the DVD feature interview -- probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 - 2007...All that time, since 1981, Danson had thought that his early film roles before Cheers had been viewed by his mother in the theater, but recently she had admitted to him that she never saw most of B.H. because she was disturbed by the sexual content and she walked out.

------------------------------
[Body Heat excerpt]-------------
EXT.  PINEHAVEN TAVERN - NIGHT

INT.  COCKTAIL LOUNGE

Dark.  Almost classy.  The place is half full.  Matty is drinking at the end of the bar, her cigarettes next to her glass.  The bar chairs near her are empty.

Racine comes in, looks around, walks over and sits in the seat next to her.  She looks up, surprised.

MATTY
Look who's here.  Isn't this a coincidence?

Racine looks at her, almost as though he can't place her.  But he doesn't push that effect hard.  He lights a cigarette.

RACINE
I know you.

MATTY
You're the one that doesn't like to talk about the heat.  Too bad.  I'd tell you about my chimes.

RACINE
What about them?

MATTY
The wind chimes on my porch.  They keep ringing and I go out there expecting a cool breeze.  That's what they've always meant.  But not this year.  This year it's just hot air.

RACINE
Do I remind you of hot air?

The Bartender has come up.

RACINE
Bourbon, any kind, on the rocks.
(to Matty)
You want another?

She thinks, then nods her agreement.  The Bartender moves away.

MATTY
What are you doing in Pinehaven?

RACINE
I'm no yokel.  Why, I was all the way to Miami once....

MATTY
What's your name, anyway?

RACINE
(offers his hand)
Ned Racine.

MATTY
Matty Walker.

She takes his hand and shakes it.  Racine reacts strangely to her touch and doesn't let go right away.  She gently frees her hand, then refers to his look as she picks up her drink --

RACINE
Are you all right?

MATTY
(with a relaxed smile)
Yes.  My temperature runs a couple degrees high, around a hundred.  I don't mind.  It's the engine or something.


RACINE
Maybe you need a tune-up....

MATTY
How'd you find me, Ned?

Racine gives her a look.

RACINE
This is the only joint in Pinehaven....

MATTY
You shouldn't have come.  You're going to be disappointed.

Racine looks out over his drink.  Several of the men in the place are looking at them.

RACINE
What'd I do?

MATTY
(indicating Racine's chair)
A lot of them have tried that seat.  You're the first I've let stay.

RACINE
(spotting a few more)
You must come here a lot.

MATTY
Most men are little boys.

-- Maybe you should drink at home.

-- Too quiet.

-- Maybe you shouldn't dress like that.

-- This is a blouse and skirt.  I don't know what you're talking about.

-- You shouldn't wear that body.

--------------------[excerpts -- Body Heat -- author Lawrence Kasdan]

-30-

Monday, December 23, 2013

cherry make it two


By the snow cone vendor.

MATTY
You want to buy me something?  I'll take one of those.

RACINE
What kind?

MATTY
Cherry.

RACINE
(to Vendor)
Cherry, make it two.
(to Matty)
You're not staying in Miranda Beach.
I would have noticed you.

MATTY
Is this town that small?

RACINE
(a small laugh, then he speculates for a moment)
Pinehaven.  You've staying up in Pinehaven, on the waterway.
(she gives him a look, surprised)
You have a house.

MATTY
How'd you know that?

RACINE
You look like Pinehaven.

-- How does Pinehaven look?

-- Well tended.

-- I'm well tended, all right.  Well tended.
(she looks away from the ocean, and back at him)
What about you?

-- Me?  I need tending.  I need someone to take care of me.  Rub my tired muscles.  Smooth out my sheets.

-- Get married.

-- I just need it for tonight.

-------------------- [excerpt -- Body Heat script, written, Lawrence Kasdan]

In one of the special features on the DVD, Lawrence Kasdan discusses his aim to have each character in the movie have "something worth doing."  And to let each character "surprise us with their humanity" -- I think is how he puts it.

And he succeeded, at that.  Each character does surprise us (the audience) with their "humanity"....Like, there are people in this film who -- they aren't like anyone you would hang around with, and they aren't like anyone you know, and yet you find them interesting, and you are amused by them, and you kind of like them, even if you do not like some of the things they do....So -- it's weird, that way.  Interesting.  "Satisfying," as Lawrence Kasdan would say.

An early-career Mickey Rourke appeared in Body Heat -- I read an article by a professor who said when her students watched the movie, none of them recognized Mickey Rourke, though they all knew who he was...!  Something's "off" with his face, now -- I don't know, boxing or something...

But in this film, when he tells Racine (portrayed by William Hurt), "Are you ready to hear something?  See if this sounds familiar.  Anytime you try a decent crime, there's fifty ways you can f--k up.  If you think of twenty-five of them, then you're a genius.  And you ain't no genius."  (smiles)  "You remember who told me that?"  When he sits there on his bunk in his mechanic shop, and gives his attorney back his own advice...!  ...you remember who told me that...? 

He was good.

Later in the 80s I attended or rented 3 or 4 or 5 more movies just because they had Mickey Rourke in them.  And they were disappointing; I wouldn't watch any of them again.  Well -- they weren't Body Heat. 

After she says "Get married" and Ned answers,
"I just need it for tonight"
Matty Walker laughs unexpectedly, and spills some of the snow cone on the front of her dress.
[screenplay excerpt]

MATTY
Oh -- nice move, Matty.
 
RACINE
Matty.  I like it.  It's right over your heart.
 
-- At least it's cool.  I was burning up.
 
-- I asked you not to talk about the heat.
 
-- Would you get me a paper towel or something?  Dip it in some cold water - ?
 
-- Right away. ...

------------------------- [end excerpt]
He goes into a nearby men's room, gets paper towels, dampens them at the sink.
When he comes back out, she has disappeared into the night.
He looks around for her -- not there -- and in disappointment he leans back against the rail, and touches the wet paper towel to the back of his neck.

A jazz-blues saxophoned instrumental -- the Body Heat music by John Barry -- bubbles in, then, and carries through the next few short scenes cut closely together -- Ned driving his red convertible car; Ned lying on his bed, shirtless, with a cold drink in a can; Ned back at the outdoor concert, looking around, wondering if he will see her again. ...the music is laid-back, lounge-y, balmy, voluptuous, insinuating...to paraphrase Mr. Kasdan again -- "satisfying."

-30-

Friday, December 20, 2013

that old feeling is still in my heart


---------------[excerpts, Lawrence Kasdan interview, by Alex Simon, "The Hollywood Interview" site]-----------What did your dad do?
He ran an electronics store, but that's not what he had intended to do.  He'd gone to Brown University and had wanted to be a writer.  He had a very frustrating life and died quite young, and I know it had an enormous impact -- I did not want that to happen to me.  My mother had wanted to write as well, so I grew up in a household where writing was an acceptable thing to do, but there was also a great deal of frustration.  Both my parents were from educated families and there was a feeling in the house, in spite of all the frustration and disappointment, that reading was important, and therefore writing was possible....

From West Virginia, you went on to University of Michigan.
I went there because there was a writing contest there that was the richest college writing contest in the country.  Arthur Miller had won it.  I had no money, so that contest put me through school....During all the student unrest there I was the classic observer.

...After graduating, you went into advertising, right?
I did.  I came out to UCLA to go to film school, but I hadn't gotten into the directing program, I got into the writing program, which I didn't want to be in.  So I went back to Ann Arbor and went to work in a record store, got married, and got a Master's in education, thinking I'd teach high school English.  But when I got out, the market was glutted with education majors and there were no teaching jobs to be found.  It was harder than becoming a movie director!  (laughs)  I met someone in Detroit who owned an ad agency.  Since I was writing screenplays anyway, he asked me to show him some stuff I'd written, and he hired me.  It started five years in advertising, six months of which I liked.  I couldn't stand it, but I had a kid, and I wanted to continue to write screenplays.--------------------- [end Interview excerpts]

= = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = =

In the film Body Heat, after Lowenstein dances his way out the door of Stella's tiny cafĂ© and Ned Racine and Stella laconically trade local gossip, the next scene is abruptly a night shot, EXT. -- an outdoor concert.  They're playing what I'd assumed was 1940s-style "big band" music -- an Internet Comment says the song is "That Old Feeling" (1937)...close...it's hot, an audience is seated for the concert -- there are concession-stands.  Ned walks around, still in his work-clothes -- he carries his jacket; an ocean breeze blows his tie back over one shoulder.  He gives the crowd a casual glance.

A woman in a white dress rises from her seat near the front and walks down the aisle, back toward where Ned Racine is standing.  She walks by him, and heads toward a boardwalk overlooking the water.  He watches her go, then follows.

[excerpt, Body Heat screenplay]
RACINE:
You can stand here with me if you want, but you'll have to agree not to talk about the heat.

She looks at him, and there is something startling about the directness of her gaze.  When she speaks, she is cool without being hostile.

MATTY:
I'm a married woman.

RACINE
Meaning what?

MATTY
Meaning I'm not looking for company.

-- Then you should have said -- 'I'm a happily married woman.'

-- That's my business.

-- What?

-- How happy I am.

-- And how happy is that?

She looks at him curiously.  She begins walking slowly along the rail.  He walks too.

MATTY
You're not too smart, are you?
I like that in a man.

RACINE
What else you like -- Ugly?  Lazy?  Horny?  I got 'em all.

MATTY
You don't look lazy.

He gives a surprised, incredulous, involuntary laugh.

MATTY
Tell me, does chat like that work with most women?

RACINE
Some.  If they haven't been around much.

MATTY
I wondered.  Thought maybe I was out of touch.

She stops again at the rail as a small breeze blows in from the ocean.  She turns her back to it and, with her cigarette dangling from her lips, she uses both hands to lift her hair up off her neck.  She closes her eyes as the air hits her.  Racine watches very closely.

RACINE
How 'bout I buy you a drink?

MATTY
I told you.  I've got a husband.

-- I'll buy him one too.

-- He's out of town.

-- My favorite kind.  We'll drink to him.

-- He only comes up on the weekends.

-- I'm liking him better all the time!
(a pause)
You'd better take me up on this quick.  In another forty-five minutes I'm going to give up and walk away. ...
----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
{script excerpt:  Body Heat, written by Lawrence Kasdan}

-30-

Thursday, December 19, 2013

no; do I want to?


INT.  STELLA'S COFFEE SHOP - DAY

Crowded.
A single unit air conditioner is buzzing with flapping things in its breeze, trying to compete with the heat.

LOWENSTEIN:
-- I think I've underestimated you, Ned.  I don't know why it took me so long.  You've started using your incompetence as a weapon.

RACINE
(smiles)
My defense was evolving.  You guys got scared.  Costanza doesn't like me.  What'd I do to him?

LOWENSTEIN
He's an unhappy man.  Thinks he should be in Circuit Court by now.  Here he is in a state with really top-notch corruption and he's stuck with the county toilets.
(drinks from his glass of iced tea)
I'm surprised you weren't in on that toilet caper.  Could have been that quick score you've always been searching for.

RACINE
Maybe Costanza was in on it.  That's why he was mad.

STELLA writes and places separate checks in front of the two men.

STELLA
What's the word from the hallowed halls of justice?  Anything juicy?

LOWENSTEIN
Maybe Stella was in on it.
(finishes his tea)
Stella, when are you gonna get a real air conditioner in here?

STELLA
You don't like it, there are lots of other places.

LOWENSTEIN
They don't have you. 
Gotta go.

He stands fishing for change, but Racine takes his check and places it with his own.  Lowenstein nods and moves for the door.

LOWENSTEIN
You can't buy me.  No sirree, I don't come cheap.

Just before he reaches the door he does a strange thing -- he takes several graceful dance steps in the Fred Astaire manner.

A VOICE
Lowenstein, you're a fag.

Lowenstein spins out the door, where he is blasted by the heavy air.  His body droops as he disappears.

STELLA
Why does he do that?

RACINE
He's pretty good, that's the weird part.

STELLA
Did you hear about Dr. Block?

RACINE
No.  Do I want to?

-- Agnes Marshall.

-- That must have been Mrs. Block's idea, some kind of punishment.

-- You know, that's right?!  How did you know that?  Christ, you are better plugged-in than I am!  So, you must know about Mrs. Block's friend over in Ocean Grove....

Racine winces, gets up, and puts money on the counter.  He lights a cigarette.

"Stella, this is beneath even you.  Things must be slow."

Stella agrees with a shrug as Racine heads for the door.

STELLA
It's the heat.

{excerpt, Body Heat script, written by Lawrence Kasdan}-------------

-----------------------------------
--------------------------
[from Alex Simon interview with Lawrence Kasdan]

Let's talk about your own experience growing up in a small town in West Virginia.
...Not only was it a different and simpler time in the 50s and 60s, but those places were just the way you'd think they'd be....There are real advantages for a child. 

When I was a kid, if you had a bicycle, you owned the town.  And there weren't places you were afraid to go. 

You could go anywhere.  You didn't need a car, or anybody's permission.  My life was in my neighborhood.  You had total freedom.  My kids didn't have that growing up in Los Angeles.

Part of what Grand Canyon is about, is that we have accepted the fact that our city is not our own.  That for people from south-central, for them to go into Beverly Hills and West L.A., the police are on the lookout.  They feel unwelcome, are under threat.  And vice-versa.  Our cities have become these little armed camps.  When you make movies,

you find yourself obsessing over the way the quality of movies has declined, but it's nothing compared to the way society has accepted selfishness and false values....

I loved the movies from the time I was very young.  The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963) were two favorites, but when I saw Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, that just blew my mind.  I knew then that I wanted to make movies.

My brother Mark was at Harvard at the time, had fallen in love with movies himself.  He took me to see it,

and said "Look, this is something that someone has made.  They've written each scene, thought about how to shoot them..."

and that was the first time I'd ever thought about that.  So from that moment on, there was no question in my mind.

-30-