Thursday, 25 January 2007

FROM HELL: 5/5

First of a couple of scenes from Alan Moore's FROM HELL scripts that the movie people liked enough to include in the FROM HELL film.




Chapter 5
PAGE 5.
PANEL 1.
ONCE AGAIN, THE PAGE IS DIVIDED UP INTO THREE HORIZONTAL PANELS, EACH TAKING UP A FULL TIER. IN THIS FIRST PANEL WE HAVE A CLOSE UP SHOT OF POLLY NICHOLS, ASLEEP, TO MATCH THE IMAGE OF THE SLEEPING WILLAIM GULL THAT CLOSED OUR LAST PAGE. SINCE THE NEXT SIX PAGES DEPEND TO SOME DEGREE UPON THE RHYTHM OF THE ALTERNATING CROSS-CUTS BETWEEN GULL AND POLLY, MAYBE IT WOULD LOOK GOOD IF YOU FOUND SOME SIMPLE VISUAL WAY TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THE WORLDS OF THE TWO CHARACTERS. PERHAPS, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU COULD UTILIZE A LOT OF EMPTY WHITE SPACE IN THE IMAGES OF GULL, WHILE WITH THE SHOTS OF POLLY YOU COULD MAYBE USE THAT LITHOGRAPHIC CRAYON OR WHATEVER IT WAS THAT YOU USED IN CHAPTER 2, WHICH WOULD GIVE A FLICKING DARK-LIGHT-DARK-LIGHT-DARK RHYTHM TO THE VISUAL PROGRESSION OF IMAGES. AS EVER, IT’S ONLY A SUGGESTION AND THE END RESULT IS UP TO YOU. HOWEVER YOU DECIDE TO HANDLE IT, THIS PANEL SHOWS A CLOSE UP OF POLLY, ASLEEP. NOW, I CAN’T FIND ANY REFERENCE TO EXACTLY WHERE POLLY STAYED ON THE NIGHT OF THE 29TH /30TH OF JANUARY, ALTHOUGH IT WOULD SEEM THAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN IN EITHER THE COMMON LODGING HOUSE AT THRAWL STREET, OR IN THE COMING LODGING HOUSE AT FLOWER AND DEAN STREET. BASICALLY, WE CAN TAKE OUR PICK. WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHOW, IF IT SEEMS RIGHT TO YOU, IS THE PRACTICE OF “SLEEPING ON A CLOTHESLINE” WHICH WAS SEEMINGLY COMMON IN THE DOSS HOUSES OF THAT PERIOD. THE VAGRANTS UNABLE TO AFFORD EVEN THE LOWLIEST BED FOR THE NIGHT WOULD PAY A PENNY TO SLEEP SITTING UP IN A ROW AGAINST THE DOSS HOUSE WALL WITH A LENGTH OF CLOTHESLINE STRETCHED OUT IN FRONT OF THEM TO STOP THEM FALLING FORWARD COMPLETELY IN THEIR SLEEP. I’D LIKE TO INCLUDE IT BECAUSE OF THE STRANGENESS OF THE IMAGE, AND ALSO BECAUSE IT WOULD PROVIDE A MORE STRIKING CONTRAST WITH THE IMAGES OF WILLIAM GULL AWAKENING TO A SUNNY, WELL-FURNISHED BEDROOM IN BROOK STREET. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF YOU HAVE A BETTER IDEA, OR A DIFFERENT DEPICTION THAT YOU’RE MORE COMFORTBALE WITH THEN PLEASE STICK IT IN. IF YOU DO DECIDE TO GO FOR THE CLOTHESLINE IDEA, HOWEVER, THEN WHAT WE SHOW IS AS FOLLOWS: HERE WE SEE A CLOSE UP OF POLLY, WHO IS SITTING WITH HER BACK TO THE DAMP AND STAINED DOSS-HOUSE WALL, WHICH IS OVER TOWARDS THE RIGHT OF THE PANEL. SHE IS ASLEEP, FULLY CLOTHED, AND THE UPPER HALF OF HER BODY SAGS FORWARD AGAINST THE STOUT ROPE OF THE CLOTHESLINE, HER HEAD NODDING DOWN ONTO HER NARROW, BIRD-LIKE BREAST. PERHAPS A THIN STRAND OF SOUR DROOL ESCAPES ONE CORNER OF HER MOUTH AND SETS OUT ACROSS THE BIG ADVENTURE OF HER CHIN. HER EYES ARE CLOSED AND HER FEATURES SLACK. HER HAIR IS AWRY, WITH THE MOUSEY STRANDS ESCAPING WHISILY FROM THE BUN OF HER HAIR THAT IS SLOWLY LOOSENING AND UNRAVELLNG AT THE BACK OF HER HEAD. SHE IS RIGHT AT THE END OF THE LINE OF SLEEPERS, AND THUS THE ONLY ONE THAT WE CAN SEE HERE. TO THE LEFT OF THE PANEL, WE CAN SEE WHERE THE END OF THE CLOTHESLINE IS FASTENED TO EITHER A POST OF A RING IN THE WALL. A PAIR OF MALE HANDS ARE ENTERING THE PANEL FROM OFF, UNTYING THE KNOT THAT HOLDS THE CLOTHES LINE WITH DEFT AND PRACTICED FINGERS. THE INTERIOR OF THE DOSS HOUSE ROOM HAS A MIASMIC AND SOOTY DARKNESS, ALTHOUGH CHINKS OF MORNING SUNLIGHT FALL UPON THE WORN THREADS OF POLLY’S CLOTHING FROM SOMEWHERE OFF PANEL, WHILE SHE DREAMS ON. UNCONCERNED WITH POLLY’S DREAM, THE HANDS OVER TO THE LEFT OF THE PANEL CONTINUE TO UNTIE THE ROPE THAT IS HOLDING UP HER SLEEPING FORM.
No Dialogue

PANEL 2.
NOW A SHOT OF WILLIAM GULL. WE HAVE PULLED BACK FROM OUR CLOSE UP IN THE LAST PANEL ON PAGE FOUR, AND NOW WE CAN SEE MORE OF THE LARGE BEDROOM. THE BAND OF SUNLIGHT THAT WE SAW PROGRESSING UPWARDS ACROSS GULL’S BELLY HAS NOW REACHED HIS FACE, AND HIS EYES OPEN. HE PERHAPS EVEN STARTS TO SIT UP A LITTLE, PROPPED UPON HIS ELBOWS AS HE LOOKS AROUND THE ROOM AND ORIENTS HIMSELF. BESIDE HIM, AND FURTHEST AWAY FROM US AS WE LOOK TOWARDS THE BED HERE, MRS. GULL SLEEPS SOUNDLY, RESTING ON HER SIDE AND FACING AWAY FROM US. AS GULLS EYES MOVE ACROSS THE ROOM HIS FACE HAS NO EXPRESSION. THE ROOM IS LIGHT, AIRY AND EXQUISITELY FURNISHED, ACCORDING TO THE TASTES OF THE TIME. THE SUNLIGHT FALLS IN SLATS ACROSS THE PATTERN ON THE WALLPAPER. BESIDE THE BED, ON GULL’S SIDE, RESTING ON THE BEDSIDE TABLE, ARE A PAIR OF SMALL, WIRE-RIMMED READING GLASSES, A BOOK WITH A MARKER BETWEEN ITS PAGES, AND A BAG OF GRAPES.
No Dialogue

PANEL 3.
WE CUT BACK TO POLLY IN THE DOSS HOUSE. HERE, WE HAVE PULLED BACK A LITTLE FROM OUR SHOT OF HER AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE, SO THAT NOW WE CAN SEE HER SITUATION MORE CLEARLY. WE CAN SEE THE OTHER VAGRANTS SITTING TO POLLY’S LEFT, TOWARDS OUR RIGHT IN THIS PANEL. THEY ALL SIT FACING US, AND ACROSS TO THE LEFT OF THE PANEL WE CAN SEE THE LOWER HALF OF THE MAN WHO HAS JUST UNTIED THE CLOTHESLINE, LETTING IT GO SLACK. AS HE DOES THIS, THE SLEEPING PAUPERS ARE ONCE MORE SUBJECTED TO THE NORMAL COURSE OF GRAVITY, AND ALL TOPPLE FORWARDS WITH A START, POLLY INCLUDED. HER GUMMY EYES COMING OPEN AS SHE WAKES TO FIND HER FACE PRESSED AGAINST THE FLOOR BOARDS. THE PANEL IS ARRANGED SO THAT POLLY IS OUR VISUAL FOCUS, WITH MOST OF OUR ATTENTION UPON HER AS SHE IS RUDELY AWAKENED IN THE CUSTOMARY FASHION. THE EXPRESSION CAUGHT BRIEFLY IN HER OPENING EYES IS ONE OF A SORT OF DISAPPOINTED BEWILDERMENT.
No Dialogue

Labels:

21 Comments:

Blogger Aaron said...

That was always a scene that stayed with me long after finishing the book. I remember just looking at that and thinking how awful a position you would need to be where you are paying someone to put a rope up so you won't fall over.

No park bench to lie down on. Just a ton of others all sitting up to maximize bodies on a bench.

Ugh.

25 January 2007 10:32:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

I hated that film. Jove, did I hate it. I actually paid to see it.

Goddamn.

Today, copies of BACCHUS: EARTH, WATER, AIR & FIRE; IMMORTALITY ISN'T FOREVER; and 1001 NIGHTS OF BACCHUS arrived. I will be reading Bacchus for the next couple days.

25 January 2007 5:02:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your blog and work, eddie -- just wondering if you had any comments on this bit of news posted on the Cerebus Yahoo! group:

========
Effective as of December 31st, 2006 Gerhard has parted ways with
Aardvark-Vanaheim and long time partner Dave Sim.

Dave is still in the process of gathering the funds necessary to buy
out Gerhard's 40% share of the company, but this will not affect the
publication of future Cerebus volumes or, presumably, Following
Cerebus (which is experiencing its own in-house delays at Win-Mill
Productions). In fact, the proofs are in for the fourth printing of
Form & Void and soon we will see the first Cerebus book *not*
printed by Preney Press.

As a result of the split, Gerhard will not be attending the SPACE
convention in Columbus, OH this year. Bob Corby has been notified
and will be adjusting the website accordingly in due time.

Sorry I couldn't say anything earlier, but with SPACE approaching
and people trying to finalize plans I asked Dave, and he said it was
OK to announce it.

I have exchanged emails with Gerhard. He seems like he's doing well,
but is understandably keeping his distance a bit while the reality
of the situation settles in.

On the plus side, Dave sounded *much* better today on the phone - a
dramatic improvement (while it will probably take a little while for
his hearing to get back to normal).

Beyond that, I'm not at liberty to discuss any details of the split.

-Jeff

=========

…and a note from Gerhard in response to someone else's question:

=========
Well, as you may or may not know by now, I will not be attending SPACE anymore. It was a pleasure meeting you guys and thanks for all of your support over the years.
...and now for something completely different,
Gerhard

25 January 2007 5:52:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

Heh heh.

Divorces are almost always messy.

25 January 2007 6:54:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

while I was dithering about thinking what to say, you got in there and said it for me, James.

so i'll just sign my name to what you said
Eddie

25 January 2007 6:59:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

ps enjoy your Bacchus
Earth Water Air and Fire is a favourite of mine. ...

I was going to say something about it, a brief anecdote, but I had better let you read it first.

let me know

Eddie

25 January 2007 7:01:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Don Murphy said...

Hemlockman

Why did you hate the film so much? Apart from the parts that went over your head, it was certainly smarter than most Hollywood films and at least TRIED at something whether it fully succeeded or not. YOu said HATE which is an extreme and active emotion. Why ?

25 January 2007 10:47:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Andrew J said...

Uh, let's try to limit the name calling, shall we?

25 January 2007 11:38:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Don
something i never got around to asking you.
I was looking at it yesterday while trying to find the scene with the rope in the dosshouse (above).
there is a very long tracking shot near the beginning of the movie. It goes through the alleys, stops at the kerb where Mary Kelly is standing then tracks along with her up to the point where she is cornered in the alley by the gangsters.
I can't see the joins, but i presume they must be there... how many parts spliced togther there? two or three?
it's a clever piece of business.

25 January 2007 11:43:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

...mind you, for those that have a softness for it, there'd be a great comfort to be had from the company in sleeping like that...

Then again, it would have done for my neck, so I guess I'm lucky I'm not a grinding-poverty lower-class Victorian prostitute in Whitehall.

26 January 2007 6:26:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

Finished EARTH, AIR, WATER & FIRE last night.

For what it's worth: what comics I buy, I buy online because I can't stand to go into comic book shops. They're all full of superhero stuff and it all depresses me. (Keep in mind I used to own several comic book shops). Inevitably, I generally find I can't locate anything in these places that I want to read (purchase), and so I leave empty-handed and generally in a grumpier mood than when I arrived.

Thank the gods of Olympus for the internet.

Proceed with anecdotes.

26 January 2007 9:19:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Mikel Midnight said...

EARTH, AIR, WATER & FIRE is probably my favorite single Bacchus story, with its wide range of emotions underneath a vague pallor of unease.

I still don't understand why Hermes was not considered part of the new pantheon while Bacchus was, however.

26 January 2007 1:01:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Don Murphy said...

Eddie

No joins- the Brothers designed it to be one shot. A real pain in the ass to block it but that wanted to start out showing off.

Andrew- what names ? Wakey wakey?

hemlockman- my question still awaits

26 January 2007 7:04:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Don
it really is a hell of a shot. I remember being stunned by it on first viewing. Later I started thinking there must be trickery. it's a damned good opening. I salute you and the brothers Hughes for pulling it off. There are other parts that were very well staged too. Like the doss- house scene above. The movie takes the time to show the whole miserable place before closing in on the clothesline sleepers. In retrospect, i wish I had done that too.

As for hemlockman's question. If somebody has a beef about the movie, I'd have thought you'd want to silence them rather than make them talk. He obviously never considered that the movie's producer was listening. Regular people don't realize what sensitive souls we are, beginning each day by scouring the internet to make sure nobody's saying bad things about us. At least when I find something bad I just go away and cry into my pillow instead of forcing them to go into details about it. But it's good to know you're around and you're human. People do forget that.

James,
Earth Water, Air and Fire. I'd sold it as a four part story. And i had my old pal Kublick helping me write it. We fell out during the third part after I had the eyeball kid go mad and kill all the villains ina two page scene, with one whole 24 page part still to go. I thought it would get us out of that James Bond cliche where there has to be a huge big showdown at the end with countless unnamed people throwing themselves onto the ground dead like some kind of little boys' cowboys and Indians game. Kublick thought I was an idiot, so he excused himself and his name doesn't appear on the fourth part. Of course , now I'd set myself a hell of a challenge to keep it lively.

Mikel,
can't recall exactly about hermes. I siuspect it was because he was off-side with Hephaestus, whose idea the whole thing was... no? hard to remember but isn't he throwing rivets at hermes in Doing the islands when hermes goes to retrieve him from the bottom of the sea? i don't have a copy near at hand. I think if i read it now it would be like reading another person's book

eddie

26 January 2007 7:34:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Don Murphy said...

Eddie

I may be a sensitive soul and a delicate flower like Susan would say, but I doubt I am human. On the other hand, I'm really not hurt or offended. You must know as an artist not everyone will like everything you do. Just as many people have not liked FROM HELL as have told me it is their favorite pic I have been involved in.

What I do resent are internet fools who spew shit and then refuse to back it up. Maybe Hemlockman is not one of these people- I do not know. He said he HATED the film. That's harsh- there is so little I hate in this wonderful world. If he HATES it (an extreme, active emotion) he no doubt has MANY reasons why and should elucidate them. Often times though, people don't have reasons, they just spew venom which is why they should be ignored. In this case, it surprised me when he spewed that on your blog and then does not back it up. I mean, I know you have many feelings about the film, some mixed but one of them is NOT hate. So if this guy HATES it enough to tell you on your blog, it is reasonable to ask for back up. Or so I think.

26 January 2007 9:25:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

Augh. Writing with someone else. I can see how there would be problems. I co-edited an anthology and that was bad enough--there were some mild disagreements over stories to be accepted and others to reject. I have collaborated on short stories and those were easy enough. But something as detailed and labored over as a BACCHUS tale...wow.

26 January 2007 9:58:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Andrew J said...

I remember I once sent a letter to Wizard criticizing some comic Jeph Loeb had done, and they apparently forwarded it to him since he replied to me personally. It was quite a paradigm shift to think that I was talking about someone's work and not just a piece of art ripe for criticism.

27 January 2007 1:46:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

I'm considering making a compilation of all the Bad Things people have said about me online.

27 January 2007 5:46:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

there's a page in After the Snooter titled
'Bastards i have been called'
and I managed to fill all nine panels.

28 January 2007 12:39:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey...I own that original page!!

Mark McMurray

28 January 2007 9:05:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

And now you've got the script.

Anyone else who wants the script that goes with a page they have, just ask.

(I'm missing a couple of chapters though, for reasons not yet figured out...)

Eddie

28 January 2007 9:45:00 pm GMT-5  

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