Thursday, June 9, 2016

not a flighty girl



EXTERIOR - Thornton Square - Day

The Antons' cook, Elizabeth, carrying a large wicker basket over her arm, hurries purposefully along the sidewalk, going back toward Number 9.  Mrs. Thwaites catches up to her.

MRS. THWAITES;  Elizabeth!  I say!  Elizabeth!  Good afternoon, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH:  Oh, it's you, miss.  Good afternoon.

MRS. THWAITES:  Good afternoon.  The house is looking very nice now.

ELIZABETH (a little hard of hearing) -- What's that, miss?

MRS. THWAITES:  I said, the house looks very nice now...from the -- outside.

~~  Yes, miss.

MRS. THWAITES:  I expect you're glad to be rid of the workmen at last.

~~  Yes, miss.

~~  Do you think that Mr. and Mrs. Anton will be ready to receive callers soon?

~~  I couldn't say, miss, I'm sure.  We haven't had no visitors yet.  Master says seeing people isn't good for her.  She hasn't been feeling too well lately.

MRS. THWAITES:  I'm sorry to hear that.

~~  What's that, miss?

~~  I said, this fine summer weather we're having ought to do her good.

~~  Yes, miss.  They're going out this afternoon.  First time for some while.  Good day, miss.

MRS. THWAITES:  Good day.

(She peers into Elizabeth's basket.)
What lovely-looking strawberries!  I never get big ones like that.  I think I'll just taste one for luck.

(She takes a strawberry, and turns and walks away, calling behind her) -- Good afternoon!

DISSOLVE -- from the scene on the sidewalk
TO --

INTERIOR - A corner of a hallway in the Antons' house - DAY

It's dark and shadowy.  A picture on the wall in a gilded, oval-shaped frame occupies a rectangle of light coming from the next room. 

Elizabeth's shadow falls on the light, and the oval picture frame, as she bustles in with her basket.

(VOICE-OVER, from the next room -- the audience cannot see him) --
"If you have your bags, you can start immediately."

(A female Cockney-accented VOICE-OVER, from the unseen room)

"Thank you, sir.  They're downstairs, sir."

GREGORY:  Then everything is arranged.

Elizabeth passes through the hallway, before the oval picture, and turns a corner to look into a drawing room, where she sees Mr. Gregory Anton sitting in a chair, his legs crossed. 

He holds a cigar in his left hand.  He looks up at the woman he's been speaking to, a new maid (played by Angela Lansbury).

GREGORY ANTON:  Your wages will be 16 a year.

NANCY:  Yes sir.  I understand all right, sir.

GREGORY:  Just one more thing...I don't want you to bother your mistress about anything.


If you have any questions, just come to me.

NANCY:  Yes, sir.
That'll suit me, sir.

He rises from the chair and crosses to a bookcase and set of drawers; he puts something into one of the drawers.

GREGORY:  Then you'll remember it.

Your predecessor did not.

That's why she left.

(He locks the drawer.)

Also, Nancy -- it may seem a little unusual...but your mistress is inclined to be rather highly strung.

(He turns to look over his shoulder, toward the doorway from the hall.)

GREGORY (continued) -- Oh, Elizabeth, come in.  (to Nancy) -- This is Elizabeth, the cook.

NANCY (to Elizabeth) -- Hello.
GREGORY (sotto voce, to Nancy) -- You'll find that she's a little deaf.
NANCY (to Elizabeth) -- Hello!

GREGORY:  Elizabeth, this is our new housemaid.  I was explaining her duties to her.  She'll be down in a moment.

ELIZABETH:  Very good, sir.  (to Nancy) -- I'll see you downstairs.

Elizabeth exits the room.

NANCY (her tone and body language ever-so-slightly insolent, as she takes Elizabeth's measure) -- She's a tartar, ain't she?

GREGORY:  What do you mean by that?

NANCY:  You know -- strict-like.  I'm not gonna sleep in the same room with her.  You see the way she looked at me?

GREGORY:  Don't you think perhaps your costume might have something to do with it?

~~  S'matter with it?

~~  Well, it's a little, shall we say, loud?

(He gazes at himself in a large, fancily-framed mirror on the wall, and straightens his tie.)

GREGORY (continued) -- I hope you're not a flighty girl, Lucy.

~~  My name's Nancy, sir.

~~  I'm sorry, Nancy.  Are you?

~~  I don't think so, sir.

~~  I'm glad to hear that.  Your mistress is very particular about everything being very correct.

~~  Is she, sir?

~~  Yes.

He turns around to face her, and says:  "And so am I."

Abruptly he turns back away from Nancy, and toward the door, to exit the room.  Looking expectantly out toward the staircase, he calls, "Oh, Paula"...


{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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