Friday, July 15, 2016

the R.S.V.P.

INT.  Dalroy ballroom - Night

Lady Dalroy asks Brian Cameron about Paula Alquist's husband, Gregory Anton.  "Who is he?  What does he do?  Where does he come from?"

Brian uses this as an opportunity to circuitously return to his original request to be seated next to Paula.  Leaning in and smiling in a charming manner, he says, "Put me next to her tonight, and I'll find out for you!"

Lady Dalroy agrees, but then is handed an envelope -- she opens it, reads, and tells Brian, "Oh, it looks like you'll have to sit next to the Pritchett girl after all -- the Antons can't come."

Cameron glances at the envelope in Lady Dalroy's hand.  "Letter from her?"

LADY DALROY:  From him.

Cameron's brow darkens.  "Him?"

~~  Yes, she's ill.  Very tiresome of her.

She hands him the letter, and hurries off to supervise arranging things.


INT.  Anton house - Night

The staircase.  Paintings on the wall, at left.  Banister leading up, at right.  The SHOT is from below, looking UP, as Paula descends the steps, wearing a white, billowy "parfait" of a dress, with a flowered ornament on her hair.  Her white gloves end just above the elbow.

The background music is neither dire nor light and bouncy -- it is -- watchful, questioning, with keening clarinets.

She carries an exquisite white evening bag, and a fan. 

The gown has a train. 

She does not look sick.

Arriving at the foot of the stairs, she turns to her left (audience's right) and walks.  Her head is held high, and her whole body seems to radiate determined courage.

Jewelry about her neck shines through a shadow.  Strings of beads "waterfall" from one delicate cup-sleeve, then trail across the front of the dress, and end anchored in a jeweled ornament on the gown's bodice.

On the left, a shadow on the wall in the background.  To the right, the wall is brightened with light and on the wall, the shadow of the banister spindles is at a tilted angle, under three framed pictures.  Into the light she walks, and opens a ponderous set of double doors.

{Gaslight, 1944.  Charles Boyer; Ingrid Bergman; Joseph Cotten.  Dir. - George Cukor}


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