Monday, 12 February 2007

FROM HELL: 5/23

This page of FROM HELL script is the one following the page I showed yesterday as I want to give you the sequence leading up to the first murder. In itself there is nothing significant or special about this page, but note Alan's observation about the appearance of the women's outdoor dress in panel 1, as I referred to this problem back on jan 29 while remarking on the treatment of costume in the movie. I've drafted an essay about the general difficulties of reconstructing a period authenticity, which will show up here sometime soon. There were a number of pages in From Hell which were simply detailing actual evidence and we used them to mark blocks of time. Again the wide silent panel at he bottom is part of that, a sequence of pages ending in large silent panels chiming the next hour in turn, as described yesterday. Alan used the same effect leading up to the Mary Kelly murder at the end of chapter 9, with the measured pacing creating an oppressive feeling of foreboding, with everything locked into an unalterable pattern.

CHAPTER 5 PAGE 23 (886 words)
PANEL. 1
NOW A SEVEN PANEL PAGE IN WHICH WE SHOW WHAT’S GOING ON WITH POLLY. THERE ARE THREE PANELS ON EACH OF THE TOP TWO TIERS AND THEN ONE BIG PANEL TAKING UP THE BOTTOM TIER, AS ON OUR LAST PAGE. IN THIS FIRST PANEL, WE ARE IN THE WHITECHAPEL ROAD, LOOKING ACROSS IT TOWARDS THE CORNER OF OSBORNE STREET. (WHERE, INCIDENTALLY, ANOTEHR PROSTITUTE NAMED “FAIRY FAY” HAD BEEN FOUND STABBED TO DEATH DURING THE CHRISTMAS WEEK OF 1887.) IN THE FOREGROUND, VISIBLE ROUGHLY HALF FIGURE AND FACING SLIGHTLY AWAY FROM US TOWARDS THE CORNER OF OSBORNE STREET IS A WOMAN THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE, ALTHOUGH SHE WEARS THE TRADITIONAL DARK CLOTHING AND BONNET, AMLOST A UNIFORM FOR THE WOMEN OF WHITECHAPEL IT WOULD SEEM. SHE IS HOLDING UP ONE HAND IN GREETING AS SHE CALLS OUT TO THE FIGURE STANDING ON THE CORNER OF OSBORNE STREET, SMILING AS SHE DOES SO. THIS WOMAN IN THE FOREGROUND IS NAMED EMILY HOLLAND, WHILE THE FIGURE ACROSS THE STREET IS POLLY NICHOLS, WHO HAS BEEN HEADING DOWN THE WHITECHAPEL ROAD. SHE PAUSES OUTSIDE THE GROCER’S SHOP ON THE CORNER OF OSBORNE STREET (JUST OPPOSITE THE WHITECHAPEL CHURCH ACCORDING TO PAUL BEGG IN JACK THE RIPPER: THE UNCENSORED FACTS)) AND LOOKS BACK OVER HER SHOULDER TOWARDS US IN SURPRISE AS SHE HEARS THE WOMAN’S VOICE. NEARBY, THE CLOCK SET INTO THE TOWER OF CHRISTCHURCH SPITALFIELDS RINGS THE CHIMES FOR HALF-PAST-TWO.
EMILY: Polly?
EMILY: Wherever are ye goin’, woman? It’s half past two!

PANEL 2.
CHANGE ANGLE SO THAT NOW POLLY IS IN THE FOREGROUND, FACING SLIGHTLY AWAY FROM US TOWARDS EMILY HOLLAND AS THE OTHER WOMAN COMES ACROSS THE WHITECHPAEL ROAD TOWARDS HER. POLLY, OBVIOUSLY STILL SOMEWHAT THE WORSE FOR DRINK, SMILES CHEERFULLY AT HER IN GREETING AS SHE SPEAKS.
POLLY: Oh, ‘ello, Emily.
POLLY: I’m off to earn me doss money. Won’t take me long. I’ve made it three times today already, and spent it!

PANEL 3.
CHANGE ANGLES SO THAT EMILY HOLLAND IS NOW HALF FIGURE TO HEAD AND SHOULDERS IN THE FOREGROUND. SHE FACES SLIGHTLY AWAY FROM US TOWARDS POLLY AS SHE SPEAKS, PERHAPS INDICATING BEHIND HER WITH HER THUMB IN THE DIRECTION OF RATCLIFFE DOCKS. LOOKING BEYOND HER WE SEE POLLY. POLLY’S EYES WIDEN AS SHE LISTENS TO WHAT EMILY IS SAYING, AND A LOOK OF STARTLED SURPRISE SURFACES THROUGH THE DRUNKEN FOG OF HER FEATURES. EVERYTHING AROUND THE TWO WOMEN IS DARK.
EMILY: Well, good luck.
EMILY: Meself, I just been watching that fire dwon by George’s-In-The-East…
POLLY: What?

PANEL 4.
REVERSE ANGLES AGAIN SO THAT POLLY IS HEAD AND SHOULDERS IN THE FOREGROUND, FACING SLIGHTLY AWAY FROM US TOWARDS EMILY, WHO IS LOOKING TOWARDS US FROM THE NEAR BACKGROUND. WE CAN STILL SEE POLLY’S EXPRESSION, HOWEVER, WHICH IS ONE OF UNEASY BEWILDERMENT AS SHE LISTENS TO WHAT EMILY IS SAYING. PERHAPS SHE EVEN RAISES HER FINGERS TO HER LIPS IN AN UNCONCSIOUS GESTURE, IF THAT DOESN’T LOOK TOO STAGEY. EMILY HOLLAND, FACING TOWARDS US FROM BEYOND, SEEMS OBLIVIOUS TO POLLY’S EVIDENT UNEASE, AND IS STILL SMILING ENCOURAGINGLY. SHE IS STARTING TO TURN AWAY FROM POLLY, AS IF ABOUT TO LEAVE. PERHAPS SHE INDICATES HER ROUTE WITH ONE THUMB AS SHE INVITES POLLY TO ACCOMPANY HER.

PANEL 4.
EMILY: Oh, a big fire broke out down Ratcliffe Highway, at the docks, about one o’clock. It’s still burnin’.
EMILY: Come on..let’s go back to the lodgin’-house together.

PANEL 5.
REVERSE ANGLE AGAIN. EMILY HOLLAND HAS TURNED AWAY FROM POLLY AND IS WALKING TOWARDS US, RESUMING HER STROLL DOWN THE WHITECHAPEL ROAD BACK IN THE DIRECTION OF THRAWL STREET. SHE IS STILL SMILING PLEASANTLY, BUT NOT LOOKING BACK AT POLLY AS SHE SPEAKS. RATHER, SHE IS GLANCING DOWN TOWARDS HER OFF PANEL FEET, AS IF TO MAKE SURE WHERE SHE IS PUTTING THEM AS SHE WALKS. LOOKING BEYOND HER WE SEE POLLY, MORE OR LESS FULL FIGURE AS SHE STANDS ALONE SOME FEW PACES AWAY. SHE GAZES AFTER EMILY AS THE OTHER WOMAN LEAVES, AND SHE WEARS THE SAME LOOK OF UNEASE AND UNCERTAINTY UPON HER FACE AS SHE SPEAKS TO EMILY’S RETREATING FORM.
POLLY: Uh..no. No, me doss money.
POLLY: I have to find it.
EMILY: Suit yerself. Me, I’m off. You take care, now, Polly.

PANEL 6.
NOW WE ARE STANDING JUST BEHIND POLLY AS SHE WATCHES EMILY WALK AWAY INTO THE DARKNESS, SO THAT WE SEE POLLY HALF FIGURE TO HEAD AND SHOULDERS FACING SLIGHTLY AWAY FROM US IN THE FOREGROUND HERE. SHE RAISES ONE HAND IN A FEEBLE LITTLE WAVE TOWARDS EMILY HOLLAND’S DEPARTING FORM IN THE BACKGROUND, BUT HER EXPRESSION IS STILL VAGUELY TROUBLED AND UNEASY. IN THE BACKGROUND WE SEE EMILY, NOW A SMALL FIGURE SOME DISTANCE AWAY AND ABOUT TO MERGE INTO THE DARKNESS. PAUSING ON THE VERY THRESHOLD OF VISIBILITY, SHE TURNS ONCE AND WAVES BACK TOWARDS POLLY AS SHE DEPARTS. SHE IS THE LAST PERSON, OTHER THAN THE MURDERERS, WHO WOULD SEE POLLY ALIVE.
No Dialogue

PANEL 7.
THIS LAST WIDE PANEL IS JUST A TIGHT CLOSE-UP OF A FIRE. WE ARE SO CLOSE IN THAT WE CANNOT EVEN SEE WHAT IS BURNING: ALL WE CAN SEE ARE FLAMES AND SMOKE, AN ALMOST ABSTRACT PICTURE OF CONFLAGRATION. THE FIRE IS HOT AND BRIGHT AND ROARING. WE MIGHT BE IN HELL.
No Dialogue

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8 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

Also, worth noting is your use of stark black and white, which gives a sence of the women being left adrift, helpless, cut off...

12 February 2007 2:38:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Dark clothing made sense, since they had not the means to change them and any washing off of stains had to be done by sponging.

12 February 2007 2:48:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eddie, Steve Bell - a man whom I recall from How to be an Artist wouldn't go for a drink with you for some reason - has dipped a toe in the Hogarth debate in a short article appreciating the old guy.

www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2011191,00.html

If you've been able to see some of Bell's work over the last ten years he's taken to doing 'versions' of great satirical prints as well as famous paitings. Not quite Lichtenstein as he usually names the orginal artist at the bottom, but certainly he's happy to steal/ plagiarise with the best of them. Of course now I can't find an example so instead here's one based on the famous photo of a streaker:

www.guardian.co.uk/cartoons/stevebell/0,,2004462,00.html

Ben Smith

12 February 2007 8:11:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous John C said...

Always loved the last panel on that page. This whole sequence with Polly going to her doom I found to be one of the most memorable in the entire book.

12 February 2007 8:16:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous John C said...

I wouldn't call what Steve Bell does with famous paintings or photographs plagiarism, it's more like quotation, not least because (as you say) he always acknowledges the source. He's frequently done this with older cartoonists as well, using, say, one of Low's famous Second World War cartoons in order to make a point about the present.

Martin Rowson's cartoon in todays edition does exactly this with Millais' Pears' Soap painting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoons/martinrowson/0,,2011279,00.html

12 February 2007 3:54:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

ben, John,
thanks for the cartoon links

I've got more to say on that subject... (Hogarth exhibit)

Eddie

12 February 2007 5:13:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

John
I tried to leave a message at your own blog but it wouldn't let me.

Happy birthday Feuilleton (i'm now at the disadvantage of having to spell that word without having it already in front of me), and jeezis. Your Barney Bubbles post has 27 pictures!!!

12 February 2007 11:46:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous John C said...

Oh, thanks Eddie, and my apologies for WordPress being a swine. Something to do with the captcha (word verification) spam guard, I think. Others have complained about that so I'll look into it.

Yes, the Barney Bubbles post got a bit out of hand. But the poor man has no collection of his oeuvre on display outside a couple of Hawkwind pages so it was the least I could do.

13 February 2007 9:06:00 am GMT-5  

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