Thursday, July 28, 2016
mystery inside an enigma
Part I. current comment: election
Part II. Gaslight, continued.
Watching / listening to coverage of presidential primaries and conventions and campaigns, several times this year it has occurred to me: what is that saying about the Soviet Union -- it's a mystery inside a [something], wrapped in an enigma...something like that.
Looking it up, we find it's a quotation by Winston Churchill -- from a radio broadcast in October, 1939. "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
There it is.
So -- if Churchill could come back to earth now and comment, might he describe America's 2016 presidential campaign as "a be-in, wrapped in a farce, inside a parody of a reality show"? Possibly...
EXT. Thornton Square - night
MED. TWO-SHOT: Constable Williams and Brian Cameron.
CAMERON: Where'd he go?
WILLIAMS: He didn't get past me as I came through the alley.
CAMERON: He certainly turned in here. You must have missed him in the fog.
WILLIAMS: I'd have heard his footsteps as he passed, Mr. Cameron.
CAMERON: He must've gone into the rear of one of these houses.
WILLIAMS: Yes, but which? And why?
CAMERON: You don't suppose he could have gone into his own house, do you?
WILLIAMS: If he did, sir, that's not against the law.
CAMERON: No, but it's against common sense. Why should he walk out of his own house and all the way around the corner -- just to get back to where he started from?
WILLIAMS: But the service entrance to Number 9 is out front. There's no way into Number 9 from back here.
CAMERON: Well then where did he go?
WILLIAMS: Number 5 is empty. But what would he want to go into an empty house for?
BRIAN CAMERON: I don't know, Williams.
He takes a couple of steps, glances up; a small splash of light from the streetlamp is on his face, in the dark; he repeats softly, thoughtfully, "I don't know..."
INT. Antons' house - night
Background music is soft, weird, slightly dissonant.
MED. CLOSE SHOT -- a hanging chandelier of gaslight cups.
CAMERA is pointed at an angle, and directed up, so the viewer sees the "floating" light fixture, and the cords from it which lead up to the ceiling and to the center of a bulky, scroll-worked decoration in the shape of an eight-pointed star.
CAMERA PANS, left to right, with that same angled view of the ceiling, through a grand doorway, and now Paula's shadow appears in the shot, her head tilted back, to gaze upward.
Little sounds (kah - lpp, scrape, click) are heard.
PANNING further, to another hanging chandelier; this one's smaller, with only four gaslight cups. The PAN SLOWS, as this second chandelier comes into view, and the CAMERA movement crawls left to right, to reveal to us that out of four gaslights, one is brightly lit -- the other three are dark.
CAM. PANS from high to low, coming level with Paula who stands looking up at the lights, her eyes wide. She has taken off her wrap, and is still wearing the evening gown.
CLOSE SHOT: the one flame that's still lit. The view is from just below and to the side -- as if you were up on a ladder, looking up at the gaslight cup from about 12 inches away. The flame shivers down a little, but stays on.
CLOSE SHOT: Paula's face.
She is worried, mystified, frightened, hurt, increasingly desperate.
She shrinks back against the wall and then moans: "Oh -- ooh -- no, no -- Elizabeth! Elizabeth!"
She peels away from the wall and half runs, half hurls herself toward the door to the hallway. She goes out, and leans over the banister, calling, then screaming, "Elizabeth! Elizabe - th!"
A sobbing cry blends with the scream: "Elizabeth! Elizabeth! Eliza - beth!"
Elizabeth is coming up the stairs. Paula steps back, tries to quiet her emotions and fears. She takes a breath.
ELIZABETH: Just coming, ma'am. What is it, ma'am?