Wednesday, July 27, 2016

why is he dogging my footsteps??

"Shot transition" is what they call it in movies, when they leave one scene and go to a different one -- one minute you're in Ingrid Bergman's bedroom, and the next minute you're out in a chilly, damp London street. 

Free Encyclopedia online tells us, "Most commonly this is through a normal CUT to the next shot. 

Most films will also include selective use of other transitions, usually to convey a tone or mood, suggest the passage of time, or separate parts of the story.  These other transitions may include DISSOLVES, L CUTS, FADES (usually to black), MATCH CUTS, and WIPES."

In the next sequence from Gaslight, to be described here, there's an unusual method of Shot Transition applied, and I don't know what they would call it. 

Out on the street, Gregory Anton drops his cigarette to the pavement and the CAMERA DOLLIES IN for a CLOSE-UP of the cigarette. 

While the shot is tight on that cigarette, the weather and lighting change, around the cigarette -- "suggesting the passage of time," as they say -- then the CAMERA DOLLIES back away from the cigarette and we have the new scene, at that same location on the wet sidewalk.


INT.  Bedroom - night

GREGORY:  ...Who is he, someone from the past?  Someone you refused, perhaps?

PAULA (wearily, almost like she's in a trance of exhaustion and distress) -- I never met him.  I have no idea who he is.

GREGORY:  Who is he?  Why is he dogging my footsteps?!

PAULA:  I don't know that he is.

She tilts her head back and gazes up toward her husband's face.  She's keeping a fa├žade of calm.

GREGORY:  You lie!  Why do you lie to me?

He lunges forward and puts his hands on her shoulders.

Paula keeps still and steady, and closes her eyes after saying with equanimity, "I never lie to you."

He takes his hands off her, and steps back.

GREGORY:  I'm sorry.  I should not have said that.  I know you never lie to me.  I believe you.  You're not lying.
It's worse than lying.
You've forgotten!  You've forgotten him as you forget everything!
But perhaps I'm wrong to try to handle this myself.  The case is one for people who know about those things.  Paula -- we shall have visitors -- and shortly.

PAULA:  A doctor?

GREGORY:  Two.  I believe two is the required number.

With his coat over his arm, he leaves, walking out of the shot.

CLOSE-UP on Paula, as she contemplates the horror, and the unreality.

EXT.  Antons' house - night

By the tree with the forked branches, in the dark, we can see the black top hat of Brian Cameron, who is still in the same spot, watching the house.

Anton comes out, and walks.

Cameron watches him.

Anton hears a slight sound.  He stops walking, and calls out, "Yes?"

There's no answer, and no more sounds, no movement -- just silence.  So Gregory Anton walks on, taking out a cigarette.  The only noises are his footsteps.

He passes Number Five, and stops in the dark and fog, to strike a match on the iron fence-post, and light his cigarette.  A noise begins from ahead of Anton, getting louder -- coming this way.  BAM-BAM-bambambam...

From Anton's point of view, we see a policeman emerging out of the dark murk, playing drummer, casually, on the iron fence posts with his nightstick.

He is Constable Williams, Cameron's buddy.

MED. CLOSE SHOT:  Gregory Anton's face.

He looks somewhat alarmed; then, when he can see that it's his neighborhood patrolman walking the beat, his face relaxes, with a concentrated effort.

GREGORY:  Oh -- it's you, Constable.

CONSTABLE WILLIAMS:  Good evenin' Mr. Anton, sir.

They pass each other, going in opposite directions.

GREGORY ANTON:  Nasty night to be out, isn't it?

WILLIAMS:  Very nasty, sir, indeed.

Gregory Anton continues walking, smoking his cigarette.

He turns a corner, walks briskly down a sidewalk, by another building.  You can hear a kitten "mee-oo" twice somewhere in the dark night.

Anton turns another corner, takes a couple of steps, then dodges back against the outside wall of a building,

and backs into a recess in that wall.  Then he drops his cigarette to the pavement, and walks off in a different direction. 

(As the CAMERA DOLLIES IN for a CLOSE-UP of the cigarette, we can only see Gregory's walking feet, in dress shoes, exiting the SHOT.)

Then there's that unusual Transition to indicate passage of time, with the light and amount of moisture around the cigarette changing -- and you know that it is a little later, now.

And two men walk into the scene:  Brian Cameron from the lower-left, and Constable Williams from background to foreground, coming towards the viewer.  They stop, at the cigarette, look down at it.

CAMERON:  Where'd he go?


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