Tuesday, June 28, 2016

very pretty this afternoon

EXT.  Thornton Square - Day

A portable music thing (organ grinder?) goes down the bricked street, playing a quaint tune of the time.  It is a very English scene.

CAMERA DOLLIES CLOSER, and UP, to a window enclosed on the outside by an ornate iron balcony, and covered on the inside with decorative sheer curtains.  Paula Anton is looking out.

MEDIUM LONG SHOT, as she looks up and down the street, and then turns back into the room, dropping the curtain.

INT.  The Antons' sitting room

Paula walks through, past furniture so heavily carved, cushioned, decorated -- it's like Victorian-on-steroids.  Big voluptuous drapes hang in portentous billows in an archway between rooms, in the background.

In the foreground, Gregory sleeps in a chair, his head back.  Paula passes, and glances down at him -- (doesn't want to wake him).

She moves toward the fireplace, bends down to look in it, then straightens up and reaches for a metal thing to her left -- it clunks against something else; at the sound, Paula looks back at her husband in the chair, hoping she has not disturbed him.

Looking a little dejected, she sinks down to sit on an elaborate, shiny-plush loveseat.

Her husband speaks, still with his eyes closed, and Paula turns her head sharply, startled, and looks toward him.

GREGORY:  If you want coal on the fire, Paula, why don't you ring for the maid?

PAULA:  I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to wake you.  Go back to sleep, dear.

GREGORY:  No, Paula.  Now that you have wakened me, we might as well be comfortable.  Ring for the maid.

She rises from her seat quickly.

PAULA:  I can put it on myself.

GREGORY (sharply) -- Paula, we've had this subject out before.

(She stops, still, mid-motion.)

GREGORY (continued) -- Please, pull the bell cord.

Reluctantly, with a sigh, she takes a few steps past the fireplace, and tugs twice on a fabric cord.

PAULA (a sigh of let-down in her voice) -- It seems so unnecessary.

GREGORY:  What do you suppose the servants are for?  Answer me.  What do you suppose the servants are for?

PAULA (wearily) -- To do things -- to serve us, I suppose.

GREGORY:  Exactly.

She turns around, from the mantelpiece, and looks toward him, and speaks more strongly, with feeling.  Her small dangling earrings quiver and dance.

PAULA:  It's only that I think we should consider them a little.

She goes to him, faces him, and speaks, softly -- "Oh Gregory, don't be cross with me."

GREGORY:  I'm not cross with you.  Oh, I'm tired, it's a lot of things...

He gets up and walks toward the fireplace.

A KNOCK at the door.  Nancy the maid enters, her face wearing its "default" expression of insolence overlaid with a thin veneer of rote "respect."

NANCY:  Did you ring, sir?

GREGORY:  No.  Your mistress rang.  Go on.  Well go on my dear, why don't you tell Nancy what you rang for?

PAULA (her voice barely above a whisper) -- A little coal on the fire please, Nancy.

NANCY:  Very good, madam.

BACKGROUND:  At left, Nancy getting the coal; at right, Gregory, looking towards her.
FOREGROUND:  at left Paula, facing the CAMERA, her eyes glancing to one side.

GREGORY:  You're looking very pretty this afternoon, Nancy, do you know that?

NANCY:  I don't know it at all, sir, I'm sure.


{Gaslight, MGM.  1944.  Director:  George Cukor.  Screenplay by John Van Druten, John L. Balderston, Walter Reisch.  Music composed by Bronislaw Kaper.  Starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten.  Also featuring Angela Lansbury and Dame May Whitty.}


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