Wednesday, June 29, 2016

will that be all

INT.  The Antons' upstairs sitting room - Day

GREGORY:  Tonight is your night out, isn't it?

NANCY:  That's right, sir.

GREGORY:  Whom are you meeting tonight?  You might light the gas, too, Nancy.  I see they've changed the policeman on the beat.  Is his heart going to be added to the list of those you've broken?

~~  I didn't know I'd broken any, sir.

GREGORY:  I'm sure that's not true.  And that complexion of yours -- that's something that's not quite true, either. 

You do it very cleverly, I grant you.  In fact, I was wondering whether you might not care to pass some of your secrets on to your mistress, and help her get rid of her pallor.

NANCY:  Sure.  I'd be very pleased to do anything I can, sir.
Will that be all you're wanting?

GREGORY:  Yes, except tea when it's ready.

~~  Very good, sir.

Nancy exits the room, and then Paula speaks:  "Oh Gregory, how can you talk to Nancy like that?"

GREGORY:  But my dear! - you seem so anxious to regard the servants as your equals.  I thought I would treat her as one.  Besides, I was only trifling with her.

PAULA:  No wonder that girl despises me, the way you encourage her!

GREGORY:  Despises you?  Whatever makes you think that?

~~  Her whole manner!  The way she talks to me, the way she looks at me.

Gregory appears startled, and with emphatic (perhaps even exaggerated) concern, lays aside his newspaper, and stands up and speaks to his wife:

Looks at you?
(he walks toward her)
"Paula -- I hope you're not starting to imagine things again.

You're not, are you, Paula?"

PAULA:  Of course I'm not!

GREGORY:  I hope you're not, but if you start talking about the way Nancy looks at you...

Don't turn away, Paula. 

We must have this out. 

Do you really think Nancy despises you?

Answer me, Paula.  Do you?

(She struggles, in her mind, to consider saying clearly the truth of her impressions, and then reckoning with what he'll probably say back to her.  The tension and conflict show in her facial expression, as she prepares to speak -- knows she must speak...)

PAULA (her refined voice soft, low) -- No, Gregory.

GREGORY:  Well.  I'm glad of that.  It hurts me when you're ill and fanciful.

{Gaslight.  MGM.  Cukor.  1944}


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