Monday, August 8, 2016

always quite soon after

INT.  Anton house - night

Paula Anton and Brian Cameron

CAMERON:  You're afraid you're going out of your mind.  Well I'm here to prove to you that you're not.  To help me do that, you've got to answer my questions.

Tell me, where is your husband now?

CLOSE SHOT:  gaslight on the wall

The flame in the cup with prisms dangling beneath is bright, then it shrinks and goes low.

MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT:  Cameron and Paula

CAMERON:  Where has he gone?

PAULA (nervous and tense) -- He has taken a studio where he can work on his composing.  He can't work in this house.  He has to have it quiet.

CAMERON:  Tell me, is there anyone else in the house now except us and Elizabeth?

PAULA:  No.  Why?

(QUICK SHOT, the gaslight, then back on Cameron and Paula)

CAMERON:  The gas just went down.

PAULA (going toward him, eagerly, with a small, unbelievable amount of relief) - You saw that, too?

CAMERON:  Why, yes!

PAULA;  Oh, then it really happens.  I thought I imagined it.

CAMERON:  That only means that someone else has turned it on.

PAULA:  I thought that, too, but every night, I've been all over the house -- and there's never been another light turned on.  At last I can tell this to someone!  Every night when my husband goes out --

She breaks off in mid-sentence, and turns away from Cameron, looking away from him, then down -- her eyes full of dawning recognition and denial, like waking from  a dream.

CAMERON:  The light goes down?

PAULA:  Yes.

CAMERON:  And then what?

PAULA:  Then I think I hear things.  I watch and wait.  Later on, the gas goes up again.

CAMERON:  And he comes back.

PAULA:  Yes.  (Her eyes look sharp and wild, now.)  Quite soon after.  Always quite soon after.

CAMERON:  You say you think you hear things.  What things?

PAULA:  Sounds.  Noises over my room.

Cameron walks swiftly from the sitting room and through the upstairs hallway.  The stairway banister casts its vertical and horizontal shadows on the wall, across a doorway and a framed painting.  Cameron's tall shadow reaches the crown moulding up near the ceiling.

He opens the door to another room.  Paula has followed him, stands behind him in the doorway.

CAMERON:  What's up there?

PAULA:  A whole floor of trunks and furniture.

[Noises, little CLUNKS.]

CAMERON:  Is that what you meant?

PAULA (suddenly happy and excited that someone else hears the noises, too!) -- Yes!

CAMERON:  Sshhh...

PAULA (her voice modulated) -- But who?

Cameron speaks with slow, serious deliberation, in a tone of the inevitable:  Mrs. Anton.  You know, don't you?  You know who's up there.


{Gaslight, MGM, 1944.  Director:  George Cukor.}


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