Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thought for the day...

“... it is always the simple that produces the marvelous.”
~ Amelia Barr


Cool words for writers - sitzfleisch


German word meaning “sitting” and “meat”. Writers need to have this - the ability to endure sitting around and doing your thing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Film Breakdown - Horror - The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)


1. 0:40 - Opening credits. Ends: 0:00:40

2. 2:35 - A naked man swims across what looks like a lake in the dead of night. He swims towards a neon sign on the bank which advertises The Puritan Hotel. A small powered raft creeps out of the darkness... a woman sits alone, scanning the dark surface of the water. The man treads water as the woman pulls up alongside of him... he apologizes for what he said to her and claims he was drunk. Marcia (Margot Kidder) listens to him and responds sympathetically - it has clearly happened before. She invites him to enter the boat and as he does so, she attacks him with an oar. Unconscious, he sinks to the bottom of the lake.
Ends: 0:03:15


3. 2:07 - A naked, sweating Pete (Michael Sarrazin) is woken from a nightmare by his naked girlfriend. She is concerned by his restlessness and frightened by his changed voice (she says). He lights a cigarette and jokes that he’s really a Jekyll & Hyde personality. She calls him Professor and talks about her students - it’s likely they’re both teachers. As she leaves to shower, Peter writes notes in a bedside journal. Ends: 0:05:22


4. 0:49 - Peter is lecturing a room full of students when mid-sentence he experiences a shooting pain in his side. He cuts the lecture short.
Ends: 0:06:11

5. 2:25 - Peter is being examined by a doctor and questioned about his symptoms. It is revealed that he’s had this attack of pain three times already in the past six months. The doctor still can’t find anything wrong with him - x-rays are still showing everything as normal. Peter is given a mild sedative and he lays there alone in the examining office... he experiences images of architecture, a couple out on a ride in the country, intimate moments between strangers (possibly of a different era entirely)... Ends: 0:08:36


6. 1:14 - Peter is talking to what might be a psychiatrist. He’s told that it is normal for people to dream but Peter argues it’s always the same people, the same locations etc; the exact same dream. As Peter claims he’s almost afraid to go to sleep for fear of their returning, the doctor prescribes something to alleviate his anxiety. Peter appears frustrated at being given pills for his problem - the doctor tells him that there’s someone on his campus undertaking studies in parapsychology... this man - Dr. Samuel Goodman - might be able to help. Ends: 0:09:50

7. 2: 32 - Match cut over to what is presumably the office of Dr. Samuel Goodman (Paul Hecht) who is verifying some of the details in Peter’s dreams. Peter hands over his journal and the parapsychologist puts it away. He then gives Peter the tour of his facilities. We see first hand how several sleeping subjects have their vital signs monitored. Ends: 0:12:22

8. 1:42 - Peter drives through town during a bright, sunny day when he sees a luxury car showroom... in the window is displayed a vintage automobile which attracts Peter’s curiosity. He enters the showroom and makes his way over to a beautiful vehicle similar (if not identical) to the one in his dream. A salesman approaches him and talks about this particular car, the Cord super charged Sportsman convertible - and reveals they stopped making these in 1937. Ends: 0:14:04

9. 1:07 - Peter and his girlfriend are relaxing at home when he gets a call from Dr. Goodman - though very short-notice, Peter is asked to come in immediately because there’s an opening in the sleep lab’s patient schedule. His girlfriend is very disappointed. Ends: 0:15:11


10. 1:32 - Montage - Peter is wired-up to monitors by Dr. Goodman and one of his students. Peter - aka “number seven“ - is bid a good night and left alone in the dark. Peter’s girlfriend misses him in their lonely bed. The lab’s monitoring machine registers very little activity for patient number seven. A now dozing Peter experiences more images - a small house in a forest, a young couple having sex (always different women - not Marcia), a naked man jumping off a small pier and swimming in a lake. The techs in the sleep lab comment on the fact that patient number seven hasn’t dreamt anything as yet. Meanwhile, Peter’s visions continue... a building, a couple playing tennis, a bridge, a statue etc. Ends: 0:16:43

11. 1:06 - At lunch the following day, Peter talks to his girlfriend at the University. She asks how it went and Peter doesn’t know - he thinks Goodman is avoiding him since he hasn’t seen nor heard from him since the sleep monitoring began. Suddenly we see Peter again as patient number seven - we see his visions of an orange stained-glass window in a church, period architecture, a child running down the stairs while a woman plays the piano. In the lab, Dr. Goodman gets up off his chair to take a look at the readings from patient number seven. There’s nothing to see. Ends: 0:17:49


12. 1:07 - Goodman and Peter take a walk through the campus during the daytime. Peter is told he’s not dreaming at all. It’s more of a psychic experience but definitely not a dream of any kind. Ends: 0:18:56

13. 1:55 - Peter walks into an Occult store; lectures are being held inside, as well as there being a book store with quite a number of customers. He inquires about reincarnation and is directed to an entire section devoted to this subject. Ends: 0:20:51

14. 3:06 - Peter and his girlfriend are having dinner out; he’s frustrated by his dreams or visions. On their way home, Peter speculates that the man in his dreams was the man that he once was... his girlfriend is puzzled by his embracing the reincarnation theory. Back at home, Peter installs a tape recorder next to his side of the bed... he asks her to record whatever he says in his dreams as the other man. Later, we witness a sweating Peter mutter in his sleep and a wide-awake girlfriend turning on the tape recorder as requested. We hear Peter speak as the male victim of the murder, as we again see the same night-boat recapitulation sequence from the start of the story. Ends: 0:23:57


15. 2:16 - Match cut on Peter’s scream over to Dr. Goodman hearing the tape recording of the same event. Peter is distraught - he can’t eat, sleep or even face his students any longer. Dr. Goodman asks if he’d consider hypnosis... Goodman tells Peter to lie down and it’s clear they’re to try suggestive hypnotherapy. Peter is relaxed into a trance... he is ordered to forget all about his troublesome dreams as they are robbing him of energy and sleep. Ends: 0:26:13

16. 1:23 - A visibly relaxed Peter sits alone one night at home, enjoying a cold martini. He watches tv when suddenly some imagery of a New England town is shown... Peter recognizes some of the architecture from visions in his dreams. He calls out to his girlfriend Nora (Cornelia Sharpe) and goes over to the telephone and begins dialing the tv station.
Ends: 0:27:36

17. 1:51 - Peter is reviewing the show’s footage with Dr. Goodman at the tv station. None of the tv personnel know which town the footage came from - it’s just listed as a Massachusetts town. Outside, Dr. Goodman confirms that Peter’s dreams have returned, triggered by the imagery of the tv show. Peter has never even been to New England, but believes he has actually lived in that particular town in some previous life. Dr. Goodman reveals he has an open mind on reincarnation - it has never been proven, nor disproved. Peter is committed to proving the town of his dreams exists and that he’ll find it. Ends: 0:29:27


18. 7:18 - Series of shots - Peter and Nora fly to Massachusetts and drive to a place called Farmingham. The two have lunch and Nora comments on the fact that she would have liked to take in the sights; Peter however seems more focused in getting to where they’re headed and Nora seems bored. Peter and Nora check into a hotel for the evening. Peter’s hip suddenly begins to shoot pain (as it has done previously). Later, in their room he feels a lot better. However, Nora has had enough and feels they should give up trying to look around the big state. The next day while driving yet again, Peter stops on a bridge overlooking a small town - he thinks it might look familiar. While driving through that town, many images from his dreams start to match the sights surrounding them. He guesses that the statue in his dreams is a short distance away... however, once there it turns out to be a demolition site; no statue. Nora therefore remains unconvinced and wants him to take her to the airport. She’s through traveling around. Ends: 0:36:45

19. 0:28 - Peter and Nora say their goodbyes outside the airport building. She hopes he finds what he’s looking for. Ends: 0:37:13

20. 1:08 - Peter drives alone through the streets of the large town, still searching for more points of recognition. He eventually parks his car and walks over to a small wooded area... and sees the statue of his dreams before him. Ends: 0:38:21

21. 1:04 - Peter enters a police station and stops just inside the front entrance. He imagines what will transpire if he goes in front of the desk sergeant with his cockamamie story of looking for any information about an unknown victim from an unknown era. Peter leaves the police station before talking to anyone. Ends: 0:39:25

22. 0:47 - Peter checks into a large hotel and casually chats to the hotel employee about looking for a lake. He eventually hears that he must be referring to Crystal Lake, near which was the Puritan Hotel on the North shore. However, it is now called the Crystal Lodge. Ends: 0:40:12


23. 1:36 - Match cut to the view of the lake with the sign-posted Crystal Lodge Hotel. Peter sits in his rental car, overlooking the lake. He makes his way over to a small gas station, and while the attendant fills-up his car, Peter chats to the old-timer about murders in the area. The conversation goes around to the 1940’s and the attendant talks about the ”Brady case“. A man was allegedly killed by his wife on the dock and bled to death when his genitals were cut off... the wife however wasn’t convicted and eventually remarried. Ends: 0:41:48

24. 0:57 - A recapitulation scene now finds us seeing Peter walk through the town’s streets while his V.O. talks to Dr. Samuel Goodman (probably on the phone). Peter says he is sure this is the place but wonders what was his name, where did he live, who was Marcia, why did she kill him etc? We then see Peter in his hotel room, lying on the bed with the phone in hand... Sam Goodman and he are talking and Peter speculates that Marcia is probably still alive, she would perhaps be in her 50’s. Ends: 0:42:45

25. 0:43 - We again witness Peter’s visions. The stained-glass window, the child running through the home etc. Peter is asleep but sweating profusely and mumbling in his sleep. Ends: 0:43:28

26. 0:49 - The following morning, Peter is driving through a residential area when he suddenly sees the home in his dreams; it is unmistakable. Watching the house from his vantage point in the rental car, Peter smiles a little to himself. He drives over to the house and gets out of his car. Ends: 0:44:17

27. 1:45 - Peter makes his way to the front door of the mystery house and rings the bell. He is watched next door by a girl in her driveway washing her car. When he gets no response, Peter is told (by her) that nobody is home. The old lady, Mrs. Curtis who lives there, is away and has been for years. When Peter feigns interest in old houses, the girl offers to show him inside the house... she knows of a secret entrance and disappears into this and reappears at the open front door for him. Ends: 0:46:00

28. 2:53 - Peter enters the house. Suzy introduces herself as he walks around and recognizes the stained-glass window and the staircase. He walks upstairs and Suzy follows him into a boy’s bedroom... Suzy poses provocatively on the bed for Peter but he’s oblivious and reads the details off the the wall-mounted diploma. He thanks Suzy and leaves. Ends: 0:48:53


29. 3:27 - Peter walks into the offices of a newspaper. An employee looks through the 1940’s archives for mention of ”Curtis“.... and finds a Jeff Curtis, deceased Sep 27th 1946. The employee sets up the microfilm reader for Peter. Now alone, Peter scans the pages of the newspapers going back to that date and sees the headline. While he reads the front page article reporting the death of Jeff Curtis, we hear V.O. of a conversation between reporters discussing the case... we thus hear the back-story of the victim’s life... how the widow and infant daughter buried Jeff Curtis after the accidental death. Peter takes a printout of the article. While signing out of the newspaper office, he inadvertently signs the log book as Jeffrey Curtis. Ends: 0:52:20

30. 1:00 - Peter drives to an address he got out of the phone directory. He parks outside the large, opulent home but sees nobody there. While waiting, a police car crawls by and an intimidated Peter drives away. Ends: 0:53:20

31. 1:32 - A large cemetery finds us watching Peter read the engraved names of head stones. He finds the one he’s looking for. Ends: 0:54:52

32. 1:26 - Back outside the large, opulent home Peter sits in his car and sees a young woman in tennis gear exit the house. She drives off in a station wagon and Peter follows her in his rental car... all the way to a nearby country club. Ends: 0:56:18


33. 2:59 - Peter secures himself a temporary membership at the country club in order to play some tennis. In the Pro shop, Peter inquires after Jeff Curtis and is told in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t such a nice guy. Outside on an empty court, Peter spots the young woman he followed in his car and introduces himself. She is Ann Curtis (Jennifer O’Neill) and they play tennis. After their game, they have a drink together. Ends: 1:00:06

34. 3:53 - In the evening, Peter calls on Ann and the front door is opened by Marcia who welcomes him into their home and offers him a drink. While they chit-chat waiting for Ann, Marcia reveals that her deceased husband played tennis but went to war and seldom played after that - apparently he’d been injured by shrapnel in the hip which caused him some pain. Peter nervously taps his glass and Marcia reveals her husband had the same habit. Ends: 1:03:59

35. 1:05 - At dinner together, Peter and Ann discuss her father and mother. Ends: 1:05:04


36. 0:23 - Marcia Curtis sits at home, drinking large vodkas neat.
Ends: 1:05:27

37. 1:15 - Peter drives Ann home after their restaurant dinner. It appears as though Peter has to restrain himself from being anything but a gentleman... he walks her to the front door and says goodnight.
Ends: 1:06:42

38. 1:46 - Peter and Ann play tennis at their club. Standing watching them is Marcia, who appears a little unsteady in her chair as she sits there smoking her cigarette. The Pro shop attendant (an old acquaintance) appears alongside Marcia and says hello - they talk about Peter and the attendant reveals that Peter was asking a lot of questions about Jeff... seems Jeff was a friend of Peter’s father (or so Peter told him). Once alone, Marcia hears Peter call out something to Ann and it is identical to something Jeff once said to Marcia. She is a little distraught. Ends: 1:08:28

39. 0:56 - Peter enters his hotel room in the evening. Once inside, his phone rings... it’s Sam Goodman and he’s been trying to contact Peter. The latter reveals he’s just played tennis with his daughter and that his wife was watching... needless to say, Sam is amazed and wants all the details. Peter agrees to do so, providing it’s just between the two of them. Ends: 1:09:24

40. 1:55 - Ann is preparing food in her kitchen; her mother Marcia enters and it turns out Ann is going out on a picnic with Peter. Marcia is already drinking and breakfast hasn’t even been served as yet. They begin an argument - Ann accuses her mother of drinking when previously she had been doing so well... Marcia tells her to quit being a nursemaid but Ann counters that’s the reason she came back to the house to be with her. Marcia then warns Ann about Peter - she believes he’s after something, she doesn’t know what, but it’s her instinct, warning her to beware of him. Ann doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Ends: 1:11:19

41. 0:56 - Out on their picnic, Ann and Peter lie on a blanket and talk. She reveals that she’s just gotten over a divorce, after which she decided to come back home and be with her mother for a while. A ”while“ has now been 10 months. They kiss and Peter is somewhat repelled... Ann is upset but Peter tries to explain it’s his fault and if he tried to explain, she’d think he was crazy. Ends: 1:12:15

42. 0:34 - Marcia lies in bed and accepts a tray from Ann; she asks if Ann could take something to her grandma and Ann says she’ll be busy playing tennis with Peter. Marcia pleads somewhat and says Ann hasn’t visited her grandmother for some time... Ann agrees to the chore. Ends: 1:12:49

43. 2:56 - Peter accompanies Ann to visit her grandmother at an expensive retirement home. Ann’s grandmother is being fed lunch by one of the staff members but it’s pretty obvious she’s out of it memory-wise and doesn’t recognize Ann. Suddenly, the grandmother turns and calls Peter ”Jeff“ and moves over to hug him. Everyone else is surprised and Peter doesn’t say much, though he does hug the old lady and calls her ”mother“. Ends: 1:15:45


44. 1:02 - Ann is extolling the virtues of Peter to her mother... he apparently made an old lady very happy. Peter, Ann and Marcia are having tea together. Marcia can’t understand how Peter could be mistaken for Jeff - Peter can’t explain it either. Ends: 1:16: 47

45. 1:21 - Ann drives Peter past Crystal Lake and points out that her father drowned there. They stop near the family cottage and view the lake. Peter asks if they can go into the cottage and Ann agrees. Inside, Peter has a flashback and sees Jeff there with Marcia. Ends: 1:18:08

46. 2:11 - Montage - Banjo music plays and Peter and Ann square-dance with a group of people from the town. Back at her home, Marcia drinks her vodka, but washes down a pill she’s taken out of her medicine cabinet. Meanwhile, Peter and Ann continue to dance. Ends: 1:20:19


47. 2:35 - After their dance, Peter and Ann leave and decide to go for a drive. She knows of a great spot. Down by the lake, both stand watching the night view of the town... Ann reveals that her father proposed to her mother at that spot. Peter kisses her. They undress and have sex under the moonlight. Jerry Goldsmith’s composed score swells in the background. Ends: 1:22:54

48. 1:59 - Back at her mother’s house, Ann offers Peter a coffee. She’s about to go to the kitchen when she spots her mother passed out on the sofa. Ann runs over to Marcia to verify she’s alright... Peter offers to leave but Ann tells him it’s okay and to please stay; this has happened before. Later, alone together in the kitchen, Ann reveals that Marcia has been drinking heavily since Ann was a baby; probably because of her father’s death and not being able to get over it. Peter comforts her. Ends: 1:24:53

49. 1:56 - Dr. Samuel Goodman arrives at the airport and is met by Peter. They have a drink and discuss his case. Goodman is very excited, believing as he does that Peter’s story proves the existence of reincarnation. Goodman wants very much to document the whole case but Peter wants to wait a while. Peter reveals that the images - or hallucinations - have disappeared with the exception of the lake dream... that one keeps coming back. Goodman advises that sometimes the best thing is to reenact or play-out the fantasy and it often disappears. In his opinion, that’s why the other dreams have gone away. Ends: 1:26:49

50. 1:54 - Peter is dozing by the pool at the country club. Ann asks if he’ll come for a swim but he sleepily declines. Above him, Marcia sips her drink and watches Peter. While Ann is swimming, Peter begins to sweat in his sleep and mumble. Eventually, Peter’s voice changes to that of Jeff and Peter’s tortured body is used to reenact the attack on Jeff that night out on the water of Crystal Lake. Marcia is distraught at hearing Peter/Jeff’s mumblings. Ann runs to Peter and tries to wake him... eventually he does and reassures Ann that he’s okay. But Peter does turn and look back at Marcia... who promptly drops her drink and flees the country club. Ends: 1:28:43

51. 2:55 - Back at the house, Ann runs up to Marcia’s room but her mother who won’t let her in; Ann leaves. Marcia lies in a bath of hot water and we see her flashbacks of that night. Jeff is ripping off his & her clothing and is sexually assaulting Marcia in the lakeside cottage. V.O. of their argument can be heard - it appears that a philandering Jeff was bringing women back to the cottage and Marcia found out about it. Despite the violence of the flashbacks, Marcia in her bathtub is aroused enough to masturbate to the vintage memories. Ends: 1:31:38


52. 2:20 - Peter meets Sam Goodman in a bar; he specifies to Goodman that he wants the whole case to die as a secret between them both. Sam is upset but Peter reveals that he wants to marry Ann. Peter is going out to the lake and get rid of that last dream, once and for all. Ends: 1:33:58

53. 0:32 - Ann enters her mother’s bedroom but there’s no sign of her. Jeff’s photo portrait lies to one side, its glass shattered. Ends: 1:34:30

54. 2:25 - Peter is in his hotel room packing a towel and some items of clothing when there’s a knock at his door. It is Marcia and she walks into his room and asks point-blank ”Who are you?“... she asks how Peter could know what they said out in the lake and he grabs her and shouts ”because I was there!“. Marcia flees from the room in horror. Peter now makes moves to leave the room and his phone rings... he ignores it and leaves. Ann is on t the phone and leaves a message for Peter.
Ends: 1:36:55

55. 3:05 Montage - Marcia drives erratically through the night streets. Peter is at the lakeside and lets himself into the cottage. Marcia is speeding down a freeway, dodging in & out of traffic. Peter walks towards the lake in his swimming trunks and dives into the black water. Marcia sits at the wheel of her idle car and she relives the last meeting with Peter in his hotel room. She eventually looks up and finds herself at the cottage - and all the lights are turned on. More flashbacks relive her last humiliating encounter with her husband Jeff. Peter swims across the lake in the dead of night.... he’s bobbing in the water when he hears the faint sound of a boat’s engine come out of the darkness. Ends: 1:40:00

56. 2:35 - Marcia is at the back of a small boat motoring across the lake. She cuts the power and all is silent. Peter is in the water, but a few feet away... Marcia asks Peter why Jeff had to come back? Peter wants to talk to her but Marcia now has an automatic weapon in her hand. She calls Jeff a monster. Marcia wants to save their daughter Ann, afraid Jeff is going to do to her what he did to Marcia. She points the gun to herself and Peter swims hard towards the boat to try and stop her. As Peter climbs into her boat, in almost the same exact pose as Jeff on that fateful night, Marcia is distracted and turns the gun to him and pulls the trigger. There’s a loud report of gunfire and Peter falls back into the lake. He sinks to the bottom. Ends: 1:42:35

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thought for the day...

“Moderation is the center wherein all philosophies - both human and divine - meet.”
~ Benjamin Disraeli


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thought for the day...

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Albert Einstein


Monday, August 20, 2007

Film Breakdown - Mystery - Between Two Worlds (1944)


1. 1:00 - Opening credits. Ends: 0:01:00

2. 4:41 - An overhead announcement system addresses passengers about to board their America-bound ships out of Wartime London (WW II). In the event of an air raid, they are encouraged NOT to ask any questions. The last group to be called are eager to board and get underway; taxies and buses will shuttle them to the docks.


An impatient businessman named Lingley (George Coulouris) inquires about two of his employees with whom he’s become separated - he tries to exert his influence in getting them found in order to be with him... however, he is told to sit down and wait patiently.


Henry Bergner (Paul Henreid) - a former concert pianist - is at the front desk inquiring about immediate passage to America; however, he is told that as an Austrian citizen, his exit permit could take six months to process and he cannot leave before then.

The members of the final boarding group are called. Henry stands to one side and watches them leave without him. Then an air raid siren goes off! The passengers in the last group have already left the building and now the remaining staff scramble to take cover in the shelter. Ends: 0:05:41

3. 1:11 - Outside, the car has filled up with the final group and they’re about to leave when a woman named Ann Bergner (Eleanor Parker) runs up to them; she is looking for Henry.

Lingley shoves her aside and the car takes off. Just then the invading bombers drop their ordnance and the street explodes; the large car containing the passengers is obliterated.


Knowing that Henry wasn’t in the destroyed car, the woman enters the building but he’s no-longer there. Ends: 0:06:52

4. 0:55 - Montage - Henry arrives back at his flat; Anne rushes through the London streets. Henry sets up a gramophone record and plays some music while he sits in a chair. Anne finally arrives at their flat.
Ends: 0:07:47

5. 2:03 - Anne admonishes Henry for attempting to leave the country - leave her - by trying to book steerage at the Steamship Office. She notices towels and assorted clothes sealing the vents and the windows; Henry is trying to commit suicide by gassing himself. Henry tells Anne they should never have met, never have married - he’s incapable of working or using his hands. He wants her to live on without him. She insists they go everywhere together. The sound of bombs landing on London can be heard outside. The hiss of escaping gas from the gaslight seeps into their room. Ends: 0:09:50


6. 1:32 - The steamship blows its horn announcing its departure. Henry and Anne walk down a corridor - slightly confused - inside the ship and slowly make their way to a lounge area where other guests are seated inside. Ends: 0:11:22

7. 0:06 - A stewart named Scrubby (Edmund Glenn) tends to the group of passengers in the lounge. Ends: 0:11:28


8. 1:19 - Henry and Ann look in from the outside (through the glass) and witness Scrubby verify everyone’s ticket. Ann is shocked to discover that she personally witnessed those same people die in the street explosion during the bombing raid. Henry and Ann discover what has happened at the exact same time - they are all dead. They know they are sailing but not where. Henry takes Ann inside an empty room to get out of the cold. Ends: 0:12:47

9. Henry spots a grand piano up on stage in the empty room. He is drawn towards it and sits down. He begin to play a melody and Ann joins him on stage. Henry is amazed to see that his hands are now steady - he can play the piano once again! Ends: 0:15:26


10. 2:02 - Scrubby smiles to himself as he hears the piano music play in the other room. Scrubby is tending the bar and a couple sits there... they are a cynical reporter Tom (John Garfield) and his companion Maxine (Faye Emerson) who is an actress.


A little further away stands the Rev. William Duke (Dennis King) and Mrs. Midget (Sara Allgood). The priest tells the older lady that he isn’t feeling well and is going to his room to lie down for a spell. She isn’t surprised, after all they’ve been through today. They’re both confused and cannot remember very much - this is soon remedied by Scrubby who approaches the couple and suggests the sea air might be responsible.


Over by a table, the upper-class couple sit alone. He is Ben (Gilbert Emery) and his wife Genevieve (Isobel Elson) appears irritated by the piano music. Ben feels the exact opposite - it reminds him of a different era and he’s quite enjoying himself. Ends: 0:17:28

11. 3:42 - Over by the bar, Maxine proposes that she and Tom break off their relationship. She accuses him of being a broken-down newspaperman who drinks too much. Lingley makes an entrance and wants to speak to Scrubby... apparently he’s upset that his employees aren’t on board. Scrubby assures him they are not on-board and he won’t be needing them. Lingley is upset, all the more so when Tom begins a confrontation. As a reporter, Tom happens to know that the missing members of Lingley’s staff are - in fact - bodyguards. Lingley tells Tom to mind his own business and asks Scrubby to bring him brandy.
Ends: 0:21:10

12. 1:28 - Tom is suspicious about something Scrubby said to Lingley. He is further confused when Scruffy tells him there will be no charge for his drinks at the bar. Ends: 0:22:38

13. 1:37 - Maxine makes her way over to Lingley and asks if he’ll mind her joining him. Ends: 0:24:15

14. 4:03 - Henry and Ann are no longer alone. Though too preoccupied with his piano playing to notice, a passenger has joined Henry and Ann and is secretly enjoying the sound of music. He is Pete and is a Merchant Marine going home to the United States.


Pete is very cheerful and chatty; he notices Henry and Ann’s glumness and tries to reassure them because he believes they’re worried about the journey across the ocean and the danger from submarines. Pete tells them his wife Connie is expecting him, together with a new baby. Henry and Ann’s mood does not improve... they are incredulous and ask if Pete “knows”? Pete doesn’t know what the devil they’re on about. As Henry ponders just how to spell it all out for Pete, they are interrupted by the arrival of Scrubby who tells them that dinner is ready and about to be served. Once Pete has left the room, Scrubby tells Henry and Ann that nobody else “knows” and that’s how it should remain... they all have to find out for themselves. Ends: 0:28:18

15. 1:49 - A restless Tom smokes outside on deck and strikes up a conversation with the elderly Mrs. Midget who sits outside taking in the night air. She claims she loves nature, has always wanted a cottage by the sea. However, she’s always lived in the city. Tom takes her down to dinner. Ends: 0:30:07

16. 1:44 - Henry is gung-ho to tell the other passengers about the truth about their circumstances. Ann pleads with him to do as Scrubby wants... to say nothing and have everyone find out in their own way, in their own time. Henry doesn’t think it is right; besides, what can they do to them for disobeying? Ann points out that she and Henry can still get separated. They sit and kiss... and are interrupted by Maxine, who passes them on her way to dinner. Maxine wants to know if it’s true... the way love feels, that is. She wants to know if it’s all it is cracked-up to be. Without waiting for an answer, the unhappy Maxine moves on, away from Henry and Ann. Despite Ann’s reluctance, Henry persuades her to accompany him to dinner with the others. Ends: 0:31:51

17. 4:40 - Dinner time finds our passengers at a single large table in the Grand Dining Saloon. Pete is trying to cheer everyone up, but nobody seems interested. Henry and Ann enter the room and Tom is curious to know who they are... he then remembers Henry as having been rejected for passage at the Steamship Office. Pete announces that his wife has given birth to a daughter. The Rev. Duke comes in for dinner, having overslept. He announces to everyone that his big plan is to travel everywhere and speak to people... he’s been stuck at home in his parish for long enough. Ann hears this and runs out of the room - the agony of these poor people all being so optimistic, yet not knowing what fate has actually befallen them is too much for her to bear in silence. Henry runs out after her. Everyone at the table is mildly curious but Tom alone is starting to suspect something sinister. Ends: 0:36:31


18. 3:16 - Henry joins Ann outside on the deck. She is distraught about the ultimate fate of these passengers who carry on with their plans in blissful ignorance. Now Lingley joins them outside... seems he’s real keen (still) to have a bodyguard and to that end offers Henry money to take Lingley’s gun and provide this service. When Henry refuses, Lingley simply ups the offer price. Behind Lingley, henry sees Scrubby nodding secretly to take Lingley’s offer. Henry accepts and Lingley leaves to have his after-dinner coffee. Ann admonishes Henry for accepting the job as bodyguard... Henry defends himself by asking what difference can it make? She counters that she and Henry are different from all the rest... they are suicides. It is at this point that they detect the presence of Tom on the staircase; seems he has heard everything. When Henry pleads with Tom not to say anything to the others, Tom is incredulous... of course he’ll not say anything! He relishes the thought of knowing all this while they do not! Ends: 0:39:47


19. 6:43 - Maxine the actress is on deck after dinner. She is alone but looks through the window into the bar and contemplates the sight of Lingley. She’s almost thinking that hooking-up with him would be her ticket out of the small league and into the big-time. She enters the bar area but sits away from everyone else, though she catches Lingley’s eye. Benjamin and Genevieve sit together at a nearby table... Genevieve asks Ben to invite Lingley over to their table. Meanwhile, Lingley asks Scrubby to supply his room with champagne & caviar for two. Seems he has plans for this evening and pays Scrubby to keep quiet. Genevieve prods Ben further to invite Lingley over to their table, but instead Ben walks over to another table and sits with Rev. Duke and Pete the Merchant Marine. Lingley makes a move to head towards maxine but is intercepted by Genevieve who asks if he’ll join them for a game of Bridge. Genevieve admits they need a fourth player but when Mrs. Midget volunteers to asks Tom Prior, Lingley panics at the thought of sharing an evening with the nosy reporter. Genevieve mocks Mrs. Midget somewhat, as though the lower-class woman is somehow attempting to fraternize with high-class people of means. This is witnessed by Tom who can’t resist but to mock Genevieve Cliveden-Banks in return. Genevieve is insulted enough to leave. Tom then starts on Longley, hinting very strongly that he’s no-longer important. Lingley too leaves and this time Pete wants to know just what Tom is selling. Tom talks in more riddles and performs a card trick for the men at the table: Pete, Rev. Duke and Ben... all are suitably impressed but Tom simply explains it all away with more riddles and cryptic remarks. Tom leaves the men and exits the bar room.
Ends: 0:46:36

20. 5:07 - Lingley has joined Maxine out on deck. He seems conflicted (or is it shyness?) and asks her to join him for supper. She’s not sure if she should accept but he tells her she won’t regret it. He knows exactly what she wants and will make sure she gets it. He begins a monologue, telling her how much he needs her. As he is about to make his move, Tom appears out of the shadows and claps his appreciation for the show. Lingley threatens Tom but leaves upon Maxine’s insistence. Alone together, Tom and Maxine chat. He asks her if she knows just what she’s doing. Ends: 0:51:43

21. 1:34 - Back in the Bar, the Rev. Duke and Pete approach Tom who enters the room and heads for a drink. They proposition him to perform some of his card tricks at a gathering they have planned (to cheer everyone up). Tom agrees to help entertain everyone. Ends: 0:53:17


22. 11:30 - When everyone is assembled in the piano room, Tom takes the stage and holds everyone captive with a showman-like speech. Tom asks Henry for the cash (obtained from Lingley) and sets it on fire. Everyone is amazed, but only because they figure no sane person would do such a thing. They don’t know that Tom knows things such as cash no longer have any meaning. Lingley challenges Tom (he’s worried about the cash) and inadvertently volunteers himself to be in the next act. Tom takes Lingley’s gun from Henry and points it at Lingley; he shoots point-blank into Lingley’s chest! Lingley collapses.. then gets up when he cottons-on to the fact that he has not been shot. Lingley wants to know how Tom did this! Tom admits it was simple... he was dead in the first place! The others make polite laughter but it’s clearly nervous laughter.

Pete decides the fun & games are over. He orders everyone back to their cabins. Perhaps he already suspects that what Tom has stated is true - if so, he’s in denial. Tom suggests that any skeptics should question Henry and Ann standing in the corner. They “know” and can verify what he’s claimed. Henry claims it is all a mistake but Scrubby now enters the room and verifies everything. Each passenger now deals with the impact of this... everyone resigns themselves (eventually) to the news. Scrubby advises them all to simply accept everything; it is all quite simple. All that remains is the “examination“. This gets a reaction from everyone. The Examiner will asks question, judge and set them all on their separate roads for eternity. Maxine leaves. Mrs. Midget asks the Rev. Duke for a prayer... he can’t think of one, though he does remember a few lines of truth that meant a lot to him. He recites these lines and everyone stands in quiet. Ends: 1:04:47

23. 4:45 - Henry helps Scrubby set the chairs in one of the rooms. Ann sits quietly towards the back, out of their way. Henry wonders over to Ann and asks himself why he is helping Scrubby; it just seems so natural. Ann quizzes Scrubby about how many trips he has made on this boat... he reveals five thousand, ten thousand.. he can’t remember. He is about to reveal his story when the sound of the launch approaching can be heard. the Examiner has arrived.

Scrubby summons the others and asks that they take their seats. Lingley is super polite and even invited Mrs. Midget to sit with him. Genevieve offers Mrs. Midget the same courtesy. Mrs. Midget however sits away from them. Lingley asks for everyone’s attention - seems he has a proposal... to offer to speak to the Examiner on behalf of everyone. He needs their blessing though. Most refuse and hearing the bells toll, Tom rubs it in to Lingley that it is Judgement Day.
Ends: 1:09:32

24. 7:19 - The Examiner (Sydney Greenstreet) arrives and motions everyone to sit down. He is big and imposing, dressed in white. He greets Scrubby warmly.

He next asks about ”bunny“ and it turns out he’s referring to Rev. William Duke, who recognizes The Examiner and walks over to greet him warmly also. The Rev. is told he’ll have to change in this world - he’ll have to mingle, walk around, meet everyone. This is exactly what we know the Rev. wanted to do when we first met him (almost).

Lingley approached the Examiner and attempts to exert some influence. When it’s obvious this won’t work, he all but threatens The Examiner. When he’s dismissed summarily, Scrubby approaches him and asks that Lingley follow him. When Lingley protests that he has yet to be judged, Scrubby confirms that this has already taken place. We hear Lingley’s backstory and he’s told that here you can’t buy anything. Lingley is led away by Scrubby. Though never stated, the implication is that he’s not going to Heaven.

The Examiner motions to Henry and demands that Henry join The Examiner and his new apprentice, Rev. Duke. When Ann attempts to join him, the Examiner states he is to come alone. Henry refuses to abandon Ann but she encourages him to do as he’s told and join the two other men. It appears they’re all going into an adjacent room and have each passenger enter individually. Ends: 1:16:51

25. 22:04 - The Examiner and Rev. Duke enter the adjacent room. Henry enters and is told to sit to one side while the two other men take their place at the table.

Genevieve enters, all smiles and super polite. So refined. She says she’ll be brief - what she wants is a villa. A large one. The Examiner reassures her that she will have what she’s asked for... in fact, he’s to give her a castle. She’s very pleased and gets up to leave. She invites them all to dine with her at her castle. However, it’s at this point that the Examiner reveals that this will be impossible... nobody will ever be able to come and see her. She is to be alone for all eternity. The Examiner accuses her of adultery and as she’s hurt Ben, it’s unlikely he’ll want to join her in her castle. She claims Ben never knew; however, Scrubby has fetched Ben from the other room and Ben is there to testify at Genevieve’s trial that ”he always knew“. Ben won’t be joining her at her castle. She puts her brave face on it and leaves the room.

The Examiner gets up and motions for Ben to get going. All of his old friends are already waiting for him. This comes as quite a surprise to Ben. He can now play golf forever. He leaves the room. Tom barges into the room and demands his trial.

Before he does anything, The Examiner talks to Maxine who enters where the group was sitting... she is dressed in very sombre clothing, quite distinct from what she was wearing earlier. The Examiner says goodbye to Maxine; she has muddied herself but she’s got hope there. She leaves, escorted by Scrubby.

Tom offers The Examiner double-or-nothing... he wants to gamble. If Tom wins, he wants a real death. If he loses, he’ll do whatever The Examiner says as judge. The Examiner takes a card and Tom draws... but loses. Tom shuffles again... the Examiner takes a car... and Tom loses (he tries to cheat but it doesn’t work here, with The Examiner). Tom is resigned to his fate. The Examiner tells him there’s no catch - he can leave whenever he wants. There is just one thing though... he will see himself for what he really is. He can fake things no longer.

Mrs. Midget enters and offers to look after Tom. This is what he needs; looking after. The Examiner offers her the very thing she wanted - a little cottage by the sea (with a garden). She’s happy but Tom cannot join them. Mrs. Midget gives up the cottage in order to follow Tom and help him out. Tom walks away, claiming he’s not worth the sacrifice. She leaves with Tom well ahead... The Examiner reveals that she is Tom’s mother. This is why she wants to help him... she abandoned him as a child. She leaves.

Pete is beckoned into the room by the Examiner. He has nothing to talk about - he feels he got a raw deal and is really upset. It’s not fair. The Examiner tells Pete he’s here for the best of reasons - protecting his country from evil. Also, he reassures Pete that eventually everybody winds up there... it’s only a matter of time before he sees all his loved ones. The prospects cheer him up considerably. The Examiner tells him we make our Heaven or Hell for ourselves on Earth, and only bring it there once it has already been established. Some people waste their time on Earth, while others (looking at Henry) toss their lives aside. Pete however used his life as it was intended... for him - here - there will be nothing but peace and joy forever more. Pete leaves. Ends: 1:38:55

26. 4:33 - The Examiner makes a move to leave. The Rev. and Henry ask what is to become of Henry...? And Ann? The Examiner says his work is done. What about their trials, asks Henry? The Examiner tells him there will be no trial for him. They took matters into their own hands. Henry’s wife (Ann) will join The Examiner in going ashore.

Scrubby approaches Henry and reveals that he too took his own life - they died the same way. Their fate as suicides is to venture back & forth, on this ship or others like it. That’s the penalty. Henry runs to Ann in the next room and feels guilty that they cannot be together. Ann cannot leave him here alone. Henry wants her to go ashore. Ann refuses... she will not leave Henry. The Examiner and the Rev Duke leave. Scrubby goes outside and appeals to The Examiner to do something... he must speak up on their behalf. Won’t The Examiner help them somehow? The Examiner leaves.
Ends: 1:43:28

27. 2:25 - Scrubby rejoins Henry and Ann in the big empty room but leaves to talk among themselves while he cleans up by the bar. Henry is mystified by what he hears as breaking glass; Ann can’t hear anything. He leaves the room and Scrubby warns her to not let Henry be by himself for too long. Henry begins to play the piano next door. Scrubby tells Ann to go to Henry - to stay close to him. Ends: 1:45:53

28. 3:49 - Ann enters Henry’s piano room. Henry is moody & depressed but Ann tells him they’re together and that’s all that matters. Henry stops playing... again he can hear that noise, the noise of breaking glass. Henry leaves the room - he needs to think outside. He leaves. Scrubby warns Ann not to leave him alone... to call him back. She eventually agrees and steps outside. Henry has disappeared! She pleads with Scrubby to do something. he tells her it is useless... he knows what has happened. Henry has gone back. She looks for him. Ends: 1:49:42


29. Dissolve to the gramophone record playing in Henry and Ann’s flat. The window has been shattered and Henry lies on the floor, seemingly dead but he stirs and jumps up. He runs over to the window, then over to the unconscious Ann. He pleads with her to wake up - the raid broke their window and the fresh air has saved them! He wants her to come back to him. She wakes up. They’re alive... there’s so much to do, so much to live for. They kiss.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Film Breakdown - Action - V for Vendetta (2005)

1. 1:30 - An unseen female V.O. narrates the story of Guy Fawkes, a man we see in 1605 trying to blow up the English Houses of Parliament. He is captured and executed, having failed to achieve his goal. The story we are about to witness is of a similar man (she says); a man she will never forget. Ends: 0:02:10

2a_man_in_mask.jpg 2b_Attractive_woman.jpg

2. 2:05 - In two separate dwellings, a man in a mask and an attractive woman are getting ready for the evening. While dressing, the woman listens to a blowhard on tv - Lewis Prothero - pontificating the current political groupthink... behind him, the symbolic clock face of Big Ben, no-doubt representing the Houses of Parliament in Westminster (aka the government). As the rant continues, the attractive woman switches-off the tv... she has had enough. Meanwhile in the other home, the masked man disguises his weapons. They both have plans to go out; in fact, the woman is late for something. Ends: 0:04:15


3. 4:50 - Outside it is evening and a streetwide Public Address System warns everyone of a curfew. The attractive woman - fearful of arrest - ducks into an alley to avoid someone up ahead. In so doing, she collides straight into a threatening stranger and his equally creepy buddy. The subtext here is clearly one of sexual violence. When she attempts to defend herself, the head creep brandishes an official-looking shield and hides behind the power of the law (the last refuge of scoundrels). They are so-called Fingermen. As they prepare to pounce on the woman, the hero - our man in the mask - calmly appears to the rescue. The creeps attack him and the masked man more than capably defends himself, quickly incapacitating them all. 

He introduces himself to the woman as "V", a letter annoyingly underscored by his adopting dozens of phonetic "V" alliterations in his monologue... this serves to define character (he is smart, articulate, capable etc) and to bury exposition. "V" is the protag (Hugo Weaving) and his goal it to topple the government. 

She reveals herself to be Evey (Natalie Portman) and from now on she represents the audience's POV. She is invited to attend a rooftop concert and reluctantly accepts. Ends: 0:09:05

4. 1:55 - The night view is of the London skyline and on cue after midnight (it now officially being Nov 5, Guy Fawkes day), "V" reveals a conductor's baton and mimics conducting an orchestra. Evey thinks he is insane. However, we soon hear the thunderous "1812 Overture" by Tchaikovsky playing loudly and it is clear that "V" is both playful and smart enough to have hacked into the government's Public Address System. The population - now suitably awakened - are all witness to the symbolic destruction of the Old Bailey central criminal court. Ends: 0:11:00


5. 2:05 - We now see who is in charge of the country, a larger-than-life figurative Big Brother. Addressing representatives of his administration via a large screen, Fascist dictator Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt) wants a progress report from various branches of his government. They nonchalantly discuss the cover up of our protag's destructive activities, lest the government admit to terrorism and dissent being active. The police are represented by Finch (Stephen Rea) who isn't committed to the Chancellor's dictates. Ends: 0:13:05

6. 1:00 - The state television station is given orders to broadcast a news item explaining the destruction of the Old Bailey as a premature demolition. Nobody believes the public will buy this story. Evey is shown to be working there as a sort of personal assistant. Ends: 14:05

7. 0:20 - Finch gets a lead on Evey and the police spring into action. Ends: 14:25

8. 0:30 - Evey tends to Gordon Deitrich (Stephen Fry) at the tv station. Apparently he's a mild-mannered celebrity and it turns out the Evey had a date with him which she did not keep because of the altercation with the Fingermen. Ends: 14:55

9. 0:20 - Finch and the other cops break into Evey's apartment. They discover her employer is the tv station BTN. Ends: 15:15

10. 0:50 - A mysterious set of boxes are delivered to BTN and Evey witnesses their contents - the same masks worn by "V" and this portends something ominous to her. Ends: 16:05  

11. 0:20 - Finch and the other cops descend on BTN and aim to arrest Evey. Ends: 16:25

12. 1:54 Series of shots

- 0:05 Evey prepares to flee the tv station
- 0:20 "V" arrives at BTN with bombs strapped to his chest
- 0:04 Finch & the other cops finally arrive outside BTN 
- 0:09 "V" has secured himself a studio with hostages
- 0:07 Evey senses something is up and calls for the elevator
- 0:01 "V" sets off the BTN building's fire alarms
- 0:01 Evey hears the alarm and can't now use the DOWN elevators
- 0:04 Finch and other cops cannot now use the UP elevators
- 0:02 "V" sabotages the studio doors so they won't easily open
- 0:17 The BTN building employees begin to evacuate
- 0:04 Staff are perplexed at being unable to enter "V"s studio 
- 0:06 Finch & other cops are hindered by evacuating employees
- 0:34 Finch spots Evey and she flees/hides
Ends: 18:19

13. 0:16 Nationwide tv coverage is disrupted. Ends: 18:35

14. 3:20 - "V" uses an emergency system to broadcast a previously taped msg throughout the country. In it he he addresses his grievances with the government and promises a revolution on this day NEXT year. Ends: 21:55

15. 1:10 - Just as "V"s message concludes, the police and/or staff at BTN break through the studio in which "V" and the hostages are cornered. However, inside everyone is now wearing masks and other clothing identical to that worn by "V". This pays-off the previously setup delivery of mysterious boxes. Improvised filming of the hostage rescue captures the accidental shooting of a hostage. Ends: 23:05

16. 1:55 Series of shots

- 0:30 "V" has left an explosive device in the control center
- 0:38 "V" makes his escape by masquerading as a hostage  
- 0:10 "V"s bomb is disarmed safely
- 0:37 Evey rescues "V" from arrest by attacking a cop but is knocked unconscious in the process
Ends: 25:00

17. 0:50 - Using the improvised filmed footage of the hostage rescue, the government falsely issues a televised Special Emergency Report of the death of the terrorist "V". Ends: 25:50

18. 0:25 - Finch & the other cop watch surveillance of Evey's involvement in coming to "V"s aid. Ends: 26:15

19. 3:30 - Evey wakes up in "V"s home. She is told she will stay there for a year until his plan comes to fruition. Ends: 29:45

20. 0:31 - Finch & the other cop go over Evey's family history of revolutionary activities. Ends: 30:06

21. 2:42 - "V" cooks Evey a simple but decadent breakfast. He relays to her his revolutionary ideas (e.g. People should not be afraid of the government). Ends:  32:48


22. 1:56 - The voice of London, Lewis Prothero, the blowhard on tv we saw right at the start gets his cummupance from "V" who murders him at BTN. "V" calls him Commander and there's clearly some personal history between the two. Ends: 34:44

23. 1:50 - Finch investigates Prothero's murder. Evey is implicated because it was her employee pass used to gain access to Prothero's quarters. The government decide to hush up the murder and instead pass it off as a natural death. Ends: 35:34

24. 1:02 - "V" practices sword fighting. Evey watches him. They watch an old B/W swashbuckler movie together. Ends: 36:36

25. 0:32 - Finch and the other cop find some sordid history on Prothero. Ends: 37:08

26. 1:46 - "V" and Evey are watching tv when the announcement is made about Prothero's death. "V" admits to murdering him and Evey is shocked. Ends: 38:54

27. 1:41 - Finch's research shows Prothero's involvement with the Larkhill Detention facility. Ends: 40:35

28. 2:36 - Every tells "V" the story of her family. Ends: 43:11

29. 0:37 - Finch decides to get harcopies of the Larkhill facility's tax records. Ends: 43:48

30. 0:40 - "V" asks for Evey's help with a theatrical skill. Ends: 44:28

31. 0:25 - Finch finds that an ordained Bishop was the highest-paid employee at the Detention facility. Ends: 44:53

32. 3:05 - Every dresses-up as a young girl to gain access to the lecherous Bishop's sleeping quarters. She reveals to him that she set him up and that "V" is on his way there to murder him. The Bishop thinks this is a game. "V" does indeed arrive and Evey flees from "V"s captivity. Ends: 47:58

33. 1:39 - Finch investigates the Bishop's murder but is told to back off the Larkhill investigation by the menacing Creedy who threatens him. Ends: 49:37

34. 2:34 - Evey turns up unexpectedly on Gordon Deitrich's doorstep. He gladly gives her sanctuary from the authorities, revealing he is gay, anti-government and hoards banned artifacts in his home. Ends: 52:11

35. 0:56 - Finch attends the Bishop's autopsy. The Coroner rules it as death by poison. Finch asks the Coroner to help identifying an extinct fresh rose left at the crime scene. Ends: 53:07

36. 0:32 - The cops spot a pattern in "V"s killings... the victims were all once officials of Larkhill. There is only one ex-official unaccounted for but their whereabouts is unknown. Ends: 53:39

37. 0:12 - The Coroner removes something from what looks to be a home safe. Ends: 53:51

38. 0:15 - The cops are attempting to trace the missing ex-official when they discover it to be the Coroner. Ends: 54:06

39. 2:32 - "V" makes his stealthy visit to the Coroner. She has been expecting him and he's there to kill her. The cops are on their way but by the time they arrive, it is too late. The Coroner is dead and she now has her very own rose. Ends: 56:38

40. 0:59 - Alone, Finch reports to Chancellor Sutler and relays the events leading up to the death of the Coroner. Finch reveals that the Coroner left a written journal, explaining what happened at Larkhill. Sutler orders him to keep all details to himself as it concerns National security. Ends: 57:37


41. 2:40 - We hear the female V.O. of the Coroner reading from her journal. We see the Aushzwitz-like nature of the Larkhill Detention centre and in particular the story of the prisoner in Room V.  Ends: 1:00:17


42. 1:16 - Gordon cooks Evey some breakfast; she is shocked to see that what he prepares is identical to what "V" prepared for her at his home. Ends: 1:01:33

43. 2:31 - Finch studies news articles of the infamous virus outbreaks that gave rise to the current government's rise to power. We learn that the outbreak caused the deaths of over 100,000 citizens... Finch suspects the government may have had some involvement in the outbreaks known as St. Mary's and Three Waters. Ends: 1:04:04

44. 0:39 - The government is concerned about the apparent panic of the general population towards acts of terrorism. Ends: 1:04:43

45. 2:57 - Possibly inspired by Evey's plight and/or courage, together with frustration over his own bouts with the censor at the tv station, Gordon decides to air an episode of his talk show which has not been pre-approved. Nor would it be, as we witness his vicious lampooning of the Chancellor. Evey is horrified but Gordon doesn't believe he'll get more than a fine at best from the authorities. Ends: 1:07:40

46. 1:58 - Government authorities break-in to Gordon's home. Evey hides under the bed and witnesses Gordon's violent arrest, mirroring precisely what she saw the night her parents were arrested. She makes her escape and is almost successful when she herself is captured. Ends: 1:09:38

47. 1:01 - Evey is interrogated. Ends: 1:10:39

48. 1:36 - Montage of Evey being "processed" in detention; hair shaved off completely, showered etc. Ends: 1:12:15

49. 2:10 - We don't know how long she has now been there. Alone in her cell, Evey finds a concealed note from the previous occupant. We hear the female V.O. of that prisoner tell her own story of how she came to be arrested (she was gay) and incarcerated. Ends: 1:14:25

50. 0:35 - Evey is water tortured to reveal facts about the terrorist known as "V". Evey reveals nothing. Ends: 1:15:00

51. 1:11 Evey is back in her cell and continues to read the previous occupant's secret notes. Again we hear the female V.O. of that prisoner relay her continuing story while we see it played out. Ends: 1:16:11

52. 0:21 - Evey continues to be tortured for information about "V"; she reveals nothing because she knows nothing. Ends: 1:16:32

53. 2:14 Evey is back in her cell and continues to read the previous occupant's secret notes. Again we hear the female V.O. of that prisoner relay her continuing story while we see it played out. Ends: 1:18:46

54. 2:21 - Evey is questioned for what she's told is the final time. Unless she talks she will be shot. She refuses to reveal anything and the guard is ordered to take her out and have her shot. Ends: 1:21:07

55. 4:53 - Inexplicably, Evey is told she is "free". In a daze, she leaves her cell and into "V"s home. Her entire incarceration was engineered by "V" and her cell was somewhere in his house. Evey is very upset but makes her way outside into the cleansing power of the falling rain (not unlike "V"s baptism by fire). Ends: 1:26:00

56. 3:15 - Evey is leaving "V". He would like to see her again before the upcoming Nov 5 and she promises to do so. Once she has left, "V" is upset at what he found himself forced to do to her. Ends: 1:29:15

57. 1:15 - The Chancellor is very upset... the promised Nov 5 date looms closer and Creedy and the others are no closer to capturing "V". Chief Inspector Finch speculates an attack on Parliament could come from the underground, but The Chancellor ridicules this notion. The Chancellor issues orders to remind  the public why they need their (this) government. Ends: 1:30:30

58. 0:40 - Tv news is broadcast detailing nothing but bad news. War around the world, water shortages at home, avian flu etc. The general public react contemptuously. Ends: 1:31:10

59. 0:53 - Finch gets a lead on a man named Rockwood, a contact with some possible intel on Larkhill. Ends: 1:32:03

60. 4:12 - Finch and his partner meet the secretive Rockwood at a virus memorial site. Rockwood tells the cops the story of Sutler, Creedy etc and the nature of the virus which stemmed from the blood of the Larkhill victims. Prothero's pharmaceutical company helped develop the cure and made them all wealthy. Rockwood asks Finch & the other cops to keep Creedy under surveillance and Rockwood will reveal more. Ends: 1:36:15

61. 1:41 - Creedy is propositioned by "V", citing The Chancellor's ultimate lack of trust in him. Surely Creedy knows he's being monitored? "V" posits that after the destruction of Parliament, Sutler will sacrifice Creedy in an effort to deflect blame. "V" proposes to surrender to Creedy in exchange for Sutler. If/when Creedy accepts this proposition, he is to mark the front door of his home with a chalk "X". Ends: 1:37:56

62. 0:29 - Every is in her home and watches the same swashbuckler movie she enjoyed with "V". Ends: 1:38:25

63. 0:57 - Finch comes to find that the man known as Rockwood has been dead for some time. He's been duped and likely it was "V" masquerading as Rockwood to spoonfeed Finch with planted information.  Ends: 1:39:22

64. 0:23 - Evey sees a child graffiti a wall with "V"s insignia. Ends: 1:39:45

65. 0:27 - Sutler is angry at Creedy for his continuing lack of results in finding "V". Ends: 1:40:11

66. 1:09 - "V" assembles an unseen pattern of dominoes. Hundreds of thousands of unsolicited parcels containing "V"s signature mask and costume are delivered to countless homes. Chaos begins in the country. Creedy makes his chalk cross on his door. Ends: 1:41:20


67. 2:52 - Finch tells us that he can't help feeling that everything that has happened so far is somehow related. A chain of events that went back to the time before Larkhill... a perfect pattern, laid out. We see "V" has assembled his dominos in a pattern. Finch believes that with so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. We see a fingerman murder a child wearing "V"s mask in the public street... the public turns on the fingerman in a symbolic sign of disobedience. "V" flicks the first domino in his pattern and we see the cascading pattern tumble before him - the pattern of his name "V". Ends: 1:44:12

68. 0:29 - Finch is alone at home. Tonight is "V"s big night, he asks... is everyone ready? Ends: 1:44:41 

69. 4:02 - "V" is at home and gets a visit from Evey; they dance. Sutler is in a complete panic. "V" has something for Evey. Ends: 1:48:43

70. 0:39 - The cops talk about how heavily fortified Parliament is today. Ends: 1:49:22

71. 2:34 - "V" shows Evey the underground train he's been preparing for the last ten years. She begs him to not go ahead with his plan. Ends: 1:51:56

72. 1:41 - Sutler makes a speech that is broadcast nationwide. The homes are empty, as are the pubs; seems no one is listening to their Chancellor. "V" surrenders to Creedy as promised. Ends: 1:53:37

73. 4:07 - "V" gets to see the captured Chancellor; Creedy assassinates him. "V" is defiant and once challenged, kills Creedy and all his men. However, "V" is wounded. Ends: 1:57:44


74. 1:43 - Evey waits patiently underground by the explosives train. A wounded "V" returns. He has planned this day for twenty years, he says... he then dies in Evey's arms. Ends: 1:59:27

75. 2:55 - Crowds descend on Parliament... they're all dressed as "V". The armed troops don't know how to respond; requests for instructions are not returned. Finch finds Evey who has loaded "V" onto the explosives train and is about to let the train travel on its own... he wants to stop her but her conviction disarms him. Ends: 2:02:22

76. 2:09 - Music blares out over the Public Address system. Parliament explodes while everybody in the crowd watches (including characters we knew had died previously). The crowd represents all of us, past & present. And who was "V"? He was all of us too. The fireworks make a majestic "V" pattern. Ends: 2:04:31

PS. This was originally published as a contribution towards a set of articles on the subject of Exposition by Mystery Man.

Great Moments in Cinema... SLEUTH (1972)


55         INT. GALLERY - EVENING                                55

MILO sinks to his knees near the top step. ANDREW passes him
and stands on the gallery by the newel post.

                (terrified and
        Look... I can’t give anything back,
        can I? I mean if it hadn’t been me it
        could have been somebody else. Please
        ... I’ll go away - you won’t never ‘ear
        of me no more... Why, Andrew? Why me?

        Don’t snivel.

        I must know why!

        I’m amazed you have to ask. I hate you.
        I hate your smarmy, good-looking face
        and your easy manner. I’ll bet you’re easy
        in a ski-lodge, and easy on a yacht, and
        easy on a beach. And I knew you’d wear a
        gold charm around your neck, and I bet your
        chest is hairy, and in summer matted with
        sun oil. Above all, I hate you because
        you’re a culling blue-eyed wop - a not one
        of me - a creeping, hairdressing seducer
        of silly women, a jumped up pantry boy who
        doesn’t know his place, and who thinks that
        gentlemen are made by accents and country
        clothes. Did you really believe I would give
        up my wife and jewels to you? That I would
        make myself that ridiculous?

        Why not? You’re not in love with her.

        Whether I love her or not. I found her.
        I’ve kept her. She represents me. And once
        she was in love with me.

                (with a show of spirit)
        And now she’s in love with me, and that’s
        what you can’t forgive. And after me, there’ll
        be others. Are you going to kill them too?
        You’re mad - a bloody madman...

        And you are a young man, dressed as a clown

                                ANDREW (Cont)
        about to be murdered. Put the mask on,

        No... no please... don’t...

        Put it on!

ANDREW takes the mask off the newel post and shoves it on MILO.

        Finally at your moment of dying you are
        yourself - a snivelling dago clown.
        Farewell Punchinello!

ANDREW lifts the pistol to MILO’s head. MILO is shaking with


ANDREW fires point blank into MILO’s head. MILO falls backwards
down the stairway, crashing to the bottom where he lies still.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thought for the day...

"There are often hundreds of ways to look at a problem. Sort through the range of facts, memories, emotions, observations, perceptions, and impressions. Turn the problem around and look at it from new angles." Elaine Dundon, in 'The Seeds of Innovation'   


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Great Moments in Cinema - Basic Instinct (1992)



The black Ferrari is in the driveway. He sits in an unmarked police car on a hillside above the house, watching. It is a bleak, leaden gray day.

Catherine comes out of the house. She is dresses casually. She gets into the Ferrari.


He stays behind her at a safe distance on the winding panoramic highway -- a two-lane mountain road which leads from Stinson Beach into Marin County.


She suddenly starts speeding up on this dangerous road, cutting in and out, passing cars very fast.

He has to start cutting around cars to keep up. This woman really drives.

He cuts out and can safely pass a car without hitting a Grey Lines Tour Bus head-on. Close call: sheer drops on either side.

He looks frazzled.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Handy Reference Book - Good scripts/Bad scripts

Good Scripts, Bad Scripts
1998 by Thomas Pope $14.00 new


(from the back of the book)
...Each chapter deals with a different component of the art of screenwriting - from character development to the nurturing of subplots to the fundamentals of good dialogue - and illustrates it through the virtues or mistakes of a particular film...

(from the Contents page)
Part One: Structure

The Abyss 3
Cutthroat Island 8
Inherit the Wind 14
Singin’ in the Rain 27
Pulp Fiction 40
The Usual Suspects 52
High Noon 60
Citizen Kane 70
Bonfire of the Vanities 80
Last Action Hero 92
Fargo 102
Jewel of the Nile 108
Groundhog Day 119
The Searchers 125
The Verdict 133
Tender Mercies 140
Some Like It Hot 147

Part Two: Character

Prizzi’s Honor 157
The Day of the Jackal 166
Network 175
Chinatown 183
Casablanca 193
Havana 204
Treasure of the Sierra Madre 210
Falling in Love 223

Resources 231

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Great Moments in Cinema - The Fly (1986)



Brundle stands alone at the bar. In the garish neon of the place he no longer looks friendly and cuddly; he is angry, manic and, somehow... predatory.

Two large men with tattoos on their arms are arm-wrestling at a small table, egged on by a VOLUPTUOUSLY SLEAZY WOMAN. Beer is sloshing everywhere as the men struggle for an advantage.

The bartender puts a drink down - a double Scotch - in front of Brundle, who is in the process of unwrapping an O’Henry chocolate bar. The bartender winces as Brundle bites off a piece of chocolate then washes it down with some Scotch.

Brundle gets up and, still munching on his bar, begins to drift over to the table and the sleazy woman, whose name is TAWNY.

        Who’s winning?

        Dunno. Hope it’s Marky.

        How come?

        ‘Cause the winner wins me, and I like Marky


        Yeah? Well, I like you tonight. Maybe I’d
        better get involved in this, too.

The two men ease off their wrestling. The biggest one, MARKY, grabs Brundle by the lapels.

        You’re disturbing us.

        I got a hundred bucks says I can beat either
        one of you.

The men laugh. Marky grabs Brundle’s arm and rips his jacket sleeve right off. He folds Brundle’s arm back and displays it to Tawny.

        Like those biceps, Tawny?

                SECOND MAN
        Hey, I know his secret.
        He eats chocolate and peanuts for energy!

They howl in laughter. Brundle pulls out a hundred-dollar bill which has been waddled up in his pocket. He slams the hundred on the table.

        A hundred. And I get to take the lady home
        for the night if I win.

        Says who?

        Hey - an easy hundred, Tawny.

        Yeah, but says who? It’s the idea of it. I
        ain’t no hooker.


Marky ignores her and sits down, ready to rumble.

        C’mon, let’s get it over with.

Having said her piece, Tawny sits down to enjoy the fun.

Brundle sits down opposite Marky. They spend a few minutes gripping and re-griping each other’s hand under the scrutiny of the second man. A few spectators accumulate around the table.

Finally, they’re ready to wrestle.

ON BRUNDLE, as they start.

ON MARKY, confident.

ON BRUNDLE, having no trouble.

ON TAWNY, wondering what’s happening.

ON MARKY, his confidence turning to mush as he meets the steel in Brundle’s skinny forearm.

The tension is building between the two arms; they are shaking.

CU BRUNDLE - he’s doing well but it’s an effort.

CU BRUNDLE’S FINGERTIPS - the hand that’s wrestling. Under the pressure of the fight, a STRANGE, PUS-LIKE SECRETION begins to ooze from under his fingernails and down the back of Marky’s hand. It goes unnoticed in the general sweat and beer.

The strain is enormous. Veins are bulging. Arms are quivering. Muscles are fibrillating. Then SUDDENLY, all the pent-up energy is released with a sickening CRACK! as MARKY’S FOREARM SHATTERS! Splintered bone slices out through the skin of Marky’s wrist and glints in the icy light of the bar.

Marky shrieks in agony. Brundle lets go. Marky holds his arm and stares at it as though it belonged to someone else. His hand dangles at an impossible angle; the piece of cracked ulna looks white as a tooth. The second man and Tawny look on in disbelief.


People begin to gather around. Marky starts to moan as blood begins to well up in a serious way and spill out of the wound onto the table top.

Brundle grabs his hundred dollars in one hand and takes Tawny by the wrist with the other. She’s stunned and she lets herself be dragged out of the bar.

Thought for the day...

“One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”

~ Vincent van Gogh


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Handy Reference Book - Sequences

Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach
- 2004 by Paul Joseph Gulino. $12.00 US new


(from the back of the book)
...explores an often-overlooked tool that can be key in solving this problem. A screenplay can be understood as being built of sequences of about fifteen pages each, and by focusing on solving the dramatic aspects of each of these sequences in detail, a writer can more easily conquer the challenges posed by a script as a whole.

The sequence approach has its foundation in early Hollywood cinema (until the 1950s, most screenplays were formatted with sequences explicitly identified), and has been rediscovered and used effectively at an increasing number of film schools.

This concise, fascinating book exposes a wider audience to the approach for the first time, introducing the concept and then providing a sequence analysis of eleven significant feature films made between 1940 and 2001...

(from the Contents page)

An introduction to Sequences 1
        Why Sequences? 1
        The Origin of Sequences 3
        How a screenplay works 4
        How Sequences work 12

Toy Story 20
The Shop Around the Corner 41
Double Indemnity 64
Nights of Cabiria 80
North by Northwest 97
Lawrence of Arabia 114
The Graduate 145
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 158
Air Force One 172
Being John Malkovich 182
The Fellowship of the Ring 199

Sources 225
Index 227


An INSERT is a technical term whereby a writer documents the vision for a close-up on a prop or special attention to some detail.

The INSERT shot focuses on the one thing and is then followed by a return to the scene.

These are not common in Spec scripts because they’re viewed as unnecessarily technical in nature, provide little/nothing in terms of telling the story and are a type of camera direction. (The exact same thing can be achieved by resourceful use of scene description.)

from “Mission:Impossible” (1996)


ETHAN nods.

        Beyond Charles Bridge there is our
        Embassy. See it? Tomorrow night, if
        anything goes wrong, this guy will steal
        the names of our agents in every country
        all over Eastern Europe. Up for grabs to
        the highest bidders -- third world
        terrorists, arms dealers, drug lords --
        any and everybody who'd love to get rid
        of long term coverts like us, and some
        very dear friends among them. If they're
        exposed, they'll be executed. Come over
        here. Take a look at this.

CLAIRE, who is working at a computer, has pulled up a quicktime
video image in a box on her screen. In it, an old edition of the McLaughlin
Report, the PBS news show, is playing.

ETHAN is distracted by it.


SENATOR WALTZER, a bearded, bespectacled man in his forties,
is holding forth:

                SENATOR WALTZER
        I'll go you one further. I say the CIA
        and all its shadow organizations have
        become irrelevant at best and
        unconstitutional at worst. It's time we
        throw a little light on the whole concept
        of the Pentagon's "black budget." These
        covert agency subgroups have confidential
        funding, they report to no one -- who are
        these people?! We were living in a
        democracy the last time I checked.


ETHAN looks back at JIM.

        You're going to use Walter?

        He's our guy.

Handy Writer's Software - StoryBuilder

StoryBuilder software (Windows)
by Seven Valleys Software - $100 US approx.


Every once in a while you come across writing software which looks useful. Typically what’s available is really no different than what can be gleaned out of a text book, but obviously the benefits of a computer program make it an irresistible option for some. Okay. For me.

StoryBuilder is an old-fashioned Windows program (circa Win 3.1 ?), a self-professed CAD program that helps fiction writers turn ideas into stories. As with any other piece of software, it won’t write your story for you - but it will organize your thoughts and notes. The software helps to develop ideas into (from the package) “...a concept with dramatic problems, living characters, vivid settings and a gripping plot.”

The neat thing IMHO is that you can hop, skip and jump anywhere you want to fill-in whatever it is you know (or think you know) about your story. Everything can be changed; nothing is mandatory. If you’re unsure about choices (goal, theme etc) just about everything has a drop-down list of possible choices from which to choose. And if you select something, you can alter it slightly to make it your own.


Especially useful (if you’re into that kinda stuff) is the ability to define your character’s traits... especially the inner ones, which have been adapted from psychological personality profiles (according to the manual). Of course, it is still up to you (the writer) to use those documented traits and turn them into external actions. But as all of this data comes out in one massive report eventually, it is unlikely to be forgotten. This is especially useful if (like me) you’re fond of cobbling together ideas and putting them away for long periods of time... it’s real easy to come back to a working document a year from now and know exactly what it was you had in mind when you first committed words to paper.


Plot points

These are typically scenes you have in mind when thinking about the as-yet undeveloped story. Establishing these early allows you to avoid forgetting them!



These are typically pretty simple in nature, usually confined to one external problem and one internal problem. But it’s up to you. Especially useful is the ability to jump to the TOOLS section and pull forth plotting aids... the “Master plots” is especially useful for turning a problem into a set of typical plot points encountered in literature.


Who all have we got here?

It’s funny how simple things change - how often has your protag and/or antag changed, even though the story itself has not?


How will it end?

I’ve always envied writers who know their endings the exact moment they think of a story. Often I’ll know what has to happen - or what should happen - but not much else. Perhaps that’s why writing is so enjoyable... you don’t know where an idea will lead and what you’ll find out about yourself.



The twenty or thirty page printout will combine everything you’ve compiled so far. It’s as detailed or as sparse as you want it to be.

There are a few useful features to be found under the TOOLS section... stock scenes especially show the writer what has worked before, though it’s probably best not to mimic those exactly, lest everything comes out a little on the cliche side. Also, Polti’s dramatic situations are there to see & ponder (and if any one of those is selected, it pre-fills the plot points for you).