Saturday, 17 February 2007

FROM HELL: 5/24

Continuing our build-up to the first murder in FROM HELL, from Alan Moore's scripts for the book. This is Chapter 5 page 24, in which the murderer and victim, having been been seen separately on the previous pages, now come together in the same scene. Alan has Polly Nicholls singing the well known and very old song, Green Grow the Rushes, o. In the endnotes to the book Alan offers explanations for some of the lyrics of the song. A summary can also be found at the Wikipedia entry. He wrote that he used it because it seemed exactly the kind of simple popular song that someone might be humming to herself while strolling drunkenly down the street and also because it contains a darker and more ancient resonance appropriate to the undertones he hoped to establish in the scene.

CHAPTER 5. PAGE 24 (838 WORDS)
PANEL 1
THIS PAGE IS ALSO A SEVEN PANEL JOB, WITH THREE PANELS ON EACH OF THE TOP TWO TIERS AND THEN ONE BIG HORIZONTAL PANEL TAKING UP THE BOTTOM TIER. THIS IS THE PAGE UPON WHICH THE DIVERGENT PATHS OF GULL AND POLLY FINALLY DRAW TOGETHER. A HALF HOUR HAS PASSED SINCE WE LAST SAW POLLY, AND IT IS NOW THREE O’CLOCK. WITH HER DRUNKEN WEAVING AND HER FREQUENT STOPS FOR REST, POLLY HAS ONLY PROGRESSED A LITTLE WAY DOWN THE WHITECHAPEL ROAD SINCE WE LAST SAW HER. AS WE SEE HER HERE WE ARE LOOKING DOWN ON HER FROM SLIGHTLY ABOVE AS SHE WEAVES DOWN THE DARK STREET AWAY FROM US, SINGING DRUNKENLY TO HERSELF. THERE IS NOBODY ELSE ABOUT BUT HER.
POLLY: I’ll sing you nine songs, Green grow the rushes –o.
POLLY: What are your nine songs?

PANEL 2
NOW WE HAVE A SHOT LOOKING AT THE ROOFTOPS OF WHITECHAPEL ROAD, WHICH WE SEE DOWN TOWARDS THE BOTTOM OF THE PANEL. ABOVE THEM, FILLING UP THE REST OF THE PANEL, WE HAVE A VIEW OF THE CLEAR NIGHT SKY ABOVE THE EAST END. IMMEASURABLY DISTANT IN SPACE AND TIME, THEY CONTINUE TO WORK THROUGH THEIR ETERNAL PERFECT CLOCKWORK MOVEMENTS, REMOTE AND INDIFFERENT. WE CAN SEE ORION, THE HUNTER. NEAR TO HIM WE CAN SEE THE PLEIADES; THE SEVEN SISTERS. POLLY’S BALLOON ISSUES QUAVERINGLY UPWARDS FROM OFF PANEL BELOW AS SHE WALKKS THE NIGHT STREETS BENEATH THE STARS.
POLLY: Nine for the nine bright shiners…
POLLY: Eight for the April rainers…
POLLY: Seven for the seven stars in the sky…

PANLEL 3
NOW A SHOT THROUGH POLLYS’ EYES, LOOKING DOWN AT HER FEET AS THEY PLOD ACROSS THE UNEVEN COBBLES AND PAVING SLABS, AVOIDING THE FOUL LOOKING PUDDLES. ALTERNATIVELY, WE COULD SEE A PAVEMENT LEVEL VIEW OF POLLY’S FEET AS SHE TREADS THE DARK STREETS. IN EITHER EVENTUALITY, HER QUAVERLY SPEECH BALLOON ISSUES FROM OFF PANEL AVBOVE AS SHE CONTINUES HER SONG.
POLLY (OFF): …and six for the six proud walkers!
POLLY (OFF): Five for the symbols at your door, and four for the gospel makers!

PANEL 4
NOW WE SEE A FULL FIGURE SHOT OF POLLY AS SHE WEAVES SLOWLY AND DRUNKENLY TOWARDS US DOWN THE LENGTH OF THE WHITECHAPEL ROAD, WHICH WE SEE STRETCHING DARKLY AWAY FROM US INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE BACKGROUND BEHINFD HER. LEGLESSLY PISSED, POLLY CONTINUES TO SING HER SONG, ITS FAMILIAR AND YET ULTIMATELY STRANGE STANZAS DRIFTING ACROSS THE GREY COBBLES AND INTO THE NIGHT. BEHIND POLLY, WAY DOWN THE STREET, WE CAN SEE A SINGLE LIGHT BURNING DIMLY AND BALEFULLY IN THE DARKNESS.
POLLY: Three-ee three-ee, the ri-i-i-i-vals!
POLLY: Two, tow the lily-white boys, dressed up all in gree-een-oh!

PANEL 5
SAME SHOT, WITH US TRACKING ALONG IN FRONT OF POLLY, KEEPING HER THE SAME DISTANCE AWAY FROM US EVEN THOUGH SHE IS STUMBLING FORWARD ALL THE TIME AS SHE SLOWLY PROGRESSES DOWN THE STREET, STILL SINGING AND PERHAPS HOLDING HER BONNET ON STRAIGHT WITH ONE HAND. LOOKING PAST HER AND AWAY DOWN THE STREET WE CAN SEE THAT THE DIM LIGHT IS LARGER AND COMING CLOSER, COMING NEARER TO POLLY. SHE SEEMS COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF IT AND DOES NOT LOOK ROUND.
POLLY: One is one…
POLLY; …and all alone…

PANLE 6
SAME SHOT. WE CONTINUE TO TRACK ALONG WITH POLLY AS SHE LURCHES AND WEAVES TOWARDS US DOWN THE STREET, STILL OBLIVIOUS TOI WHAT IS APPROACHING HER FROM BEHIND. LOOKING PAST POLLY WE SEE THAT THE APPROACHING LIGHT IS IN FACT THAT FROM WITHIN NETLEY’S COACH, WHICH WE CAN NOW MAKE OUT AS A DISTINCT YET SHADOWY MASS AS IT APPROACHES POLLY FROM BEHIND. IT IS VERY CLOSE TO HER HERE, ABOUT TO DRAW LEVEL IN ANOTHER COUPLE OF SECONDS.
POLLY:…and ever more shall be so.

PANEL 7.
IN THIS LAST WIDE PANEL WE SEE A SHOT OF POLLY AS GULL AND NETLEY’S DARK COACH COMES UP LIKE TUNDER BESIDE HER, MUCH LIKE THE DAWN OVER MANDALAY AND OUT OF CHINA. I WANT THIS TO BE DRAMATIC, WITH THE COACH A LARGE AND DARK ENGINE OF THE APOCALYPSE AS IT RUMBLES TO A HALT BESIDE THE STARTLED POLLY. THE HORSES SNORT, AND WE SEE THE WHITENESS OF THEIR EYES, THE STEAM RISING FROM THEIR FLANKS. ATOP THE BOX, GULL AND NETLEY ARE TWO SHADOWY BUT RECOGNISABLE FIGURES. EVEN THOUGH THEIR FACES ARE HIDDEN BENEATH THEIR HAT BRIMS. GULL HAS HIS GLADSTONE BAG BESIDE HIM AS HE SITS. POLLY LOOKS STARTLED, BUT NOT MORTALLY FRIGHTENED. WHAT SHE IS FRIGHTENED OF, AFTER ALL, ARE THE SCABBY HORDES OF THE OLD NICHOL MOB, WHO SHE KNOWS DO NOT TRAVEL IN FINE CARRIAGES. THIS PANEL IS SILENT, BUT I WANT THE PICTURE ITSELF TO CONVEY THE SOUND OF THE HORSES WHINNYING AS NETLEY TUGS BACK VICIOUSLY UPON ITS REINS WITH HIS STRONG, THICK LITTLE ARMS, TWISTING THE HORSE’S HEAD BACK; THE SOUND OF THE LARGE COACH WHEELS CRUNCHING TO A HALT UPON THE COBBLES, THE CLATTER OF HOOVES STRIKING SPARKS FROM THE DARK ROAD.
No dialogue.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

It seems as if she has crossed over (stumbled drunk) into another world of evil and doom, in a way, with that terrible dark as the doorway.

17 February 2007 2:37:00 am GMT-5  

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