Friday, June 10, 2016

a present for Paula

INTERIOR - Drawing room - Day

Gregory calls to Paula, and goes out the door.  Before following him out, Nancy hurries to the big mirror, leans forward to have a critical glance, and presses at her hair-do in the front.

In the hallway, Paula is descending the staircase.  Wearing a long white dress, with elaborate decoration, and a festive hat, she carries a parasol, a pamphlet, and a small, elegant drawstring purse.

Gregory speaks to her -- This is our new housemaid.

Paula sees Nancy and says, How do you do?

NANCY:  I'm all right, ma'am.

GREGORY:  You can go now, Nancy.

~~  Very good, sir.

She exits.

GREGORY (to Paula) -- She seems a nice girl.

PAULA:  I'm glad.  I hope I haven't kept you waiting.  I had to go back for the guidebook.

GREGORY (with loving admiration):  You look like a summer's day.

PAULA:  Because I'm happy!  We're going out, and I'm going to show you London!

She takes his arm and they walk a couple of steps.  But he wants to stop and talk a minute.

GREGORY:  Do you know what day today is?

~~  Yes.

GREGORY:  Three months ago today...we came out of that little church by the lake, man and wife.  I have a present for you, Paula.

He takes out a jewel case, opens it, to show a classic cameo brooch on velvet.

PAULA (delighted) -- Where did you find anything so beautiful?

GREGORY:  It belonged to my mother, and before that to her mother...and now it belongs to you.

PAULA (in a rapture) -- I shall wear it always!  (She hugs him.)  Always, my dear.

She hurries over to a mirror, and goes to pin the brooch onto her dress.

PAULA (continued) -- How sweet of you to give me this.  Oh, it -- (she can't get it attached properly)

GREGORY:  I'm afraid the pin is not very strong.

She murmurs, "No."

GREGORY:  I'll have it mended.  You'd better not wear it until I have.  You might lose it.  You know, you are inclined to lose things.

PAULA (with a surprised smile, and a light little laugh) -- I am?  I didn't realize that.

GREGORY:  Just little things.  I'll put it in your bag for safekeeping.

----------------------- He takes the elegant little drawstring bag and holds up his hand containing the brooch, for her to see, and then drops it gently into the bag.)

GREGORY (continued) -- There.  Now, you'll remember where it is.

----------------- Paula looks startled and a little indignant with him all of a sudden -- she is surprised that he imagines she might forget the brooch...)

PAULA (in a serous and surprised tone) -- Don't be silly.  Of course I'll remember.

GREGORY:  I was teasing you, my dear.

Her smile returns.  They go out the front door, where a carriage, horse, and driver await.  They depart happily for the Tower of London.

INTERIOR - Kitchen - Day

Nancy and Elizabeth, working.

NANCY:  What's the matter with the mistress?  She don't look ill to me.  Is she?

ELIZABETH:  I don't know.  Not as I can see.  But the master keeps telling her she is.

INT. - Tower/London - Day

Gregory and Paula are with a tour group, listening to a guide speak.  Paula reaches into her purse -- a frown and a worried look appear on her face; she feels around in the drawstring bag with one hand, glances about surreptitiously, and quietly moves away from her husband and the tour group.

She locates herself out of anyone's sight, and searches in her white bag.  She looks worried and upset.  There's something she wants to find in the bag, but cannot.

She moves again, further still from the group of tourists and goes around a corner into another room. 

Her husband cannot see her; nor can the tour guide or the other people in the tour group; in a moment she moves out of sight of the CAMERA, and now we, the audience, lose sight of her, as well.

In the dark, shadowy room, there's a patch of light on the wall at the left, and we can see Paula's shadow, as she continues to search, a little more frantically, inside the purse.

Gregory enters the scene, sees the shadow on the wall, and he turns to look, and speaks to her.

"Oh, Paula -- There you are.  I wondered what had become of you."

(Paula turns her smile to him, and hides her anxiety.  She speaks with an attitude of eager devotion.) -- "It was so close in there.  Let's go out into the sunshine!"

{Gaslight, 1944.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay written by John Van Druten; Walter Reisch; and John L. Balderston.  Directed by George Cukor.  Produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr.}


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