Thursday, June 16, 2016

Angel Street

The movie Gaslight was based on a play titled Angel Street, written by Patrick Hamilton (1904 - 1962), an English playwright and novelist.

In yesterday's Gaslight scene, where Gregory and Paula Anton first see Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotten), some of the anxiety we experience

is feeling for Ingrid Bergman's character who was searching, determined and with some desperation for something in her purse, which she could not find, while they were in the Tower.


INT. - the Crown Jewel room

MEDIUM ONE-SHOT, Joseph Cotten (as Brian Cameron) watching -- in a subtle, covert manner -- as the Antons leave the room.


INT. - the Anton's home in Thornton Square

The house's central staircase.  The cook Elizabeth and the maid Nancy are climbing the stairs (toward CAMERA).  They each carry an arm-load of folded laundry.

Dark shadows occupy the outer edges of the space; a shadow of the staircase's banister hovers over the wall and two firmly closed doors.

The audience's view is on a second-floor level.  To the right, the two women coming up the stairs.  To the left, another flight of stairs extends up to another floor.

Elizabeth and Nancy arrive, central to our viewpoint.

ELIZABETH:  That's the mistress's room.  That's the master's.  We've got all this to see to.  Have you got the sheets there?  I could have sworn that there were more than that, but...


Nancy crosses in front of the CAMERA, her back to the audience.  She is looking with curiosity up that second flight of stairs to our left.  She goes up, to the fourth or fifth stair, and places both her hands on the wide banister, and stares upward to the next floor.

NANCY:  What's up there?

MED. CLOSE SHOT of the top few stairs of the second staircase.  We see in the foreground the top end of the banister, its vertical spindles leading upward like a silent platoon. 

The shot is from down lower, so the viewer is seeing the top of the stairs as if we were in the stairwell, looking up. 

At left, the wallpaper with a strong, intricate, repetitive design.  Over the wallpaper hangs one framed painting at the top of the stairs -- it looks like a woman in a boat at sea, or in a strong wind, or something...

At the right, we see on the landing at the top of the stairs, large boards have been nailed up to cover the entrance.  There are no people in this shot, only the boards, wallpaper, framed painting, spindled banister, and the edges of the two top steps. 

The angle is tipped a little, plus we see from below, so it gives the audience a feeling of being just slightly askew.

ELIZABETH:  Never mind about up there.  The whole floor's been boarded off.

MED. SHOT:  At right, in foreground:  Elizabeth.
At left, in background:  Nancy.
Behind Nancy, and above, we see the wallpaper, painting, and the nailed-up boards, at the thin edge of the shot.

NANCY:  Why?

ELIZABETH:  That's the way the master wanted it.

MED. CLOSE SHOT:  Nancy on the stairs.
Wallpaper, stairs, maid, banister.


She looks up.


She looks down.

MED. LONG SHOT -- the staircase.  Our POV, now, is from above.  To our left, stairs leading to second floor, where the servants are.  (We don't see them, however; in this shot, no people.)  To our right, banister and stairs leading up to the boarded off area.  Center:  we look wa-a-a-ay down to the first floor.

The shadows of two people appear, with sunlight behind them.

{1944 - MGM - Cukor)


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