Wednesday, June 22, 2016

something mysterious there

EXTERIOR - Thornton Square - Day

Brian Cameron (played by the actor Joseph Cotten) stands, looking at the Antons' house.

The neighbor Mrs. Thwaites bustles up the sidewalk towards him, all cheery energy and perpetual curiosity, carrying a bag of bread crumbs to feed the birds.

MRS. THWAITES:  Yes, that's it.

CAMERON:  I beg your pardon?

MRS. THWAITES:  I said that's it.  That's the Alquist house.  It happened in the drawing room, upstairs.  That window.  I live just across the square.  My name is Thwaites, Mrs. Thwaites.

CAMERON:  How do you do?

~~  How do you do?

CAMERON:  Perhaps you could tell me, has the house been occupied long?

MRS. THWAITES:  About four or five months now. 
(to the pigeons) -- Come along.

BRIAN CAMERON:  You don't happen to know who's living in the house, do you?

~~  Yes.  A foreign couple.  Anton's the name.  Something mysterious there.

CAMERON:  What do you mean, mysterious?

MRS. T - Never have visitors...never go out anywhere.  At least, she doesn't.

CAMERON (looking across the street) -- I think you're wrong.

The lady is absorbed in scattering bread for the pigeons, as the birds flutter softly about, and she tries to toss a bit here, and there, so they all get some.  She's distracted by this, then looks back at Brian Cameron:  "Wrong about what?"

He's watching a grand front door across from him, in the background of the SHOT.  A woman comes out.

CAMERON:  About her not going out.

MED. CLOSE SHOT:  Paula, as she nervously walks away from her front door, past the "9" on the post.  She looks around, she appears resolute to go somewhere, but then she turns back to her front door which is closed.  She presses a doorbell, and waits, looking down.

MRS. THWAITES (to Cameron) -- How very surprising.

The DOOR is opened, by Nancy.

NANCY:  Oh, it's you, ma'am.  I never knew you'd gone out.

PAULA:  I just went for a walk, but it looks as if it might rain -- so I thought I should have my umbrella.

~~  Of course, ma'am.

Nancy gets an umbrella, and hands it to Paula, asking, then, "Suppose the master comes back and asks where you've gone?"

~~  Tell him I just went for a walk.

~~  By yourself, ma'am?

~~  Of course.  Why not?

~~  Suppose the master asks where?

PAULA:  Tell him I just...

Paula stops talking and thinks, her eyes looking troubled and anxious, glancing left and right. 

Then, with some inner collapse of nerve and confidence, she turns her back on the street and goes back into the house, hurrying up the stairs, as Nancy reaches for the door and quietly closes it.

MED. TWO-SHOT:  Thwaites and Cameron

MRS. THWAITES:  Now do you see what I mean?  Goes out, goes back, goes in.  Odd.  Definitely odd.  It's an odd household, too.

That maidservant, most impertinent.  I can't get a thing out of her.  She won't talk to me...though she would quick enough if I wore trousers.  The way she carries on with that policeman on the beat.  It's scandalous!

She turns her attention back to London's pigeons, and Mr. Cameron, looking thoughtful, heads off down the street.


{Gaslight - 1944 - MGM - George Cukor}


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