don't usually reveal FROM HELL
pages and their scripts for three days running, but I've been in a stew trying to get my annual tax scraps together. It was all wrapped up this morning and I was off to see the accountant, the illustrious Mr Tucker, last seen in his sarong and bare feet, his normal working attire, in The Fate of the Artist
. As usual I'm four thousand bucks over in one part, one thousand under in another part, and another part has disappeared altogether. My only excuse is that I was in Chicago in 1899 at the time, working on The Black Diamond Detective Agency
The upshot of it all is that I don't have time to do much here. This one is the next in sequence as we move inexorably toward the first of the Whitechapel murders. You'll notice however that my pictures for it do not in any way whatsoever follow the framing instructions in Alan Moore's script. I will explain at length my reasons for this in an essay of some length and the product of some serious consideration over many years, hopefully to run in tomorrow's post, titled 'The cinematic principle'.
CHAPTER 5 PAGE 26 ( 1,130 WORDS)
NOW WE HAVE A NINE PANEL GRID, THE BETTTER TO REPRODUCE THE SLIGHTLY CLAUSTROPHOBIC ATMOSPHERE WITHIN THE COACH. IN THIS FIRST PANEL WE ARE LOOKING THROUGH GULL’S EYES, SO THAT ALL WE CAN SEE OF HIM ARE HIS HANDS AS THEY HOLD OUT THE OPEN BAG OF GRAPES TOWARDS POLLY. LOOKING BEYOND GULL’S HANDS AND THE BAG OF GRAPES WE SEE POLLY AS SHE SITS ON THE SEAT BESIDE US, TURNING TOWARDS US AND REACHING OUT ONE HAND TO DIP INTO THE BAG AND TAKE A GRAPE. SHE SMILES WITH DELIGHT, ALMOST DISBELIEVINGLY.
POLLY: oh, sir, I loves ‘em. Never can afford ‘em, though.
POLLY: Oh, can I really ‘ave one?
NOW WE REVERSE ANGLES SO THAT IN THE FOREGROUND WE CAN SEE POLLY, SITTING IN PROFILE TO US. SHE HAS HER HEAD TILTED BACK SLIGHTLY AND IS NOT LOOKING AT GULL AS SHE TIPS A COUPLE OF GRAPES INTO HER MOUTH FROM HER UPLIFTED HAND. SHE LOOKS TO BE IN A STATE OF BLISS AT BEING ALLOWED SUCH LUXURY. IMMEDIATELY BEYOND HER GULL SITS TURNED SO THAT HE FACES DIRECTLY AT POLLY AND US. (I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED, INCIDENTALLY, THAT HE HAS TAKEN OFF HIS HAT ON ENTERING THE COACH.) HE SMILES QUIETLY AND WARMLY AT POLLY AS HE SPEAKS TO HER.
GULL: Dear Polly, have as many as you wish.
GULL: Now come, child. Tell me all about yourself. Where were you born?
NOW A SHOT FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COACH, SO THAT WE ARE LOOKING FACE-ON AT POLLY AND GULL, BOTH FULL FIGURE, AS THEY SIT THERE SIDE BY SIDE ON THE SEAT OPPOSITE TO US. WIPING GRAPE JUICE FROM HER LIPS, POLLY LOOKS MOMENTARILY TAKEN ABACK, ALBEIT IN A PLEASANT WAY. SHE LOOKS AT GULL WITH A SURPRISED AND GRATEFUL SMILE THAT IS SOMEHOW POIGNANT. GULL RETURNS HER SMILE WITH A QUIET, GENUINELY WARM SMILE OF HIS OWN, GAZING INTO HER EYES. THE GLADSTONE BAG RESTS BY POLLY’S FEET.
POLLY: Well…nmg… excuse me…
POLLY: Well, sir, I hardly knows where I should start. It’s not often anybody shows an interest.
POLLY: I were born in Shoe lane.
HERE WE CLOSE IN FROM OUR LAST PANEL. SO THAT WE CAN ONLY SEE POLLY SITTING CLOSE THERE WITH THE WINDOW BESIDE HER, THE DARKNESS OF WHITECHAPLE CRAWLING BY OUTSIDE. SHE IS LOOKING TOWARDS GULL, WHOSE HAND ENTERS THE PANEL FROM OFF TO ONE SIDE, HOLDING OUT THE BAG OF GRAPES. POLLY LOOKS INTO HIS OFF- PANEL EYES AS SHE REACHES OUT AND DIPS INTO THE BAG FOR ANOTHER GRAPE. AS SHE ROCKS UNSTEADILY FROM SIDE TO SIDE WITH THE MOTION OF THE COACH, HER BLACK BONNET HAS SLIPPED DOWN SLIGHTLY TO ONE SIDE, SO THAT IT RESTS AT A SLIGHTLY ODD ANGLE, BUT IT IS STILL FASTENED WITH A BOW BENEATH HER CHIN. AS SHE REACHES FOR A GRAPE, HER WEDDING RING GLEAMS DULLY UPON HER FINGER.
POLLY: That’s off Fleet Street. 1851 it was, ‘cause I remember bein’ took to see the exhibition.
POLLY: Another grape? Ooh, can I really, sir?
NOW POLLY IS IN PROFILE IN THE FOREGROUND AS SHE PUTS THE GRAPES INTO HE STARVING MOUTH, NOT LOOKING AT GULL AS SHE DOES SO. POLLY IS ROUGHLY HEAD AND SHOULDERS TO HALF FIGURE AS WE SEE HER HERE. LOOKING BEYOND HER WE SEE GULL AS HE SITS BESIDE HER, TURNED ROUND SO AS TO GAZE AT BOTH POLLY AND US. HIS FACE LOOKS GENUINELY PAINED AND SYMPATHETIC AS HE GAZES AT HER, HIS GRAPES STILL HELD IN ONE HAND. AS SHE RECOUNTS HER TALE, POLLY’S FACE IS MORE OR LESS EXPRESSIONLESS. SHE DOES NOT SEEM TO SEE IT AS AN OCCASION FOR SELF PITY.
POLLY: Anyway… mmp… me dad, ’e were a blacksmith. ’ad me married off by ’64.
GULL: When you were… let me see… Good Lord! When you were but thirteen?
NOW WE REVERSE ANGLES SO THAT WE ARE LOOKING AT POLLY THROUGH GULL’S EYES, AND ALL WE CAN SEE OF GULL HIMSELF ARE HIS HANDS, HOLDING THE BAG OF GRAPES. MOSTLY, WE ARE LOOKING JUST PAST THIS TO FOCUS ON POLLY AS SHE SITS THERE IN PROFILE TO US, NOT LOOKING AT US AS SHE SPEAKS. SHE STARES INTO SPACE, TOYING ABSENTMINDEDLY WITH HER WEDDING RING AS SHE DOES SO, SEEMINGLY UNAWARE OF THE GESTURE. IF WE CAN SEE THEM, HER PUPILS ARE VERY TINY, AND HER GENERAL MANNER IS ONE OF ENTRANCEMENT. THE LAUDANUNM IS STARTING TO TAKE EFFECT. POLLY SWAYS SLIGHTLY, A CHILDLIKE EXPRESSION SUFFUSING HER FACE AS SHE REMEMBERS THE SNOW FALLING SLOWLY DURING HER WEDDING AT THE PRINTERS’ CHAPEL. SHE SPEAKS SOFTLY, AS IF IN A DREAM.
POLLY: Aye. To a printer, Billy Nicholls. We was married in the printers’ church, St. Bride’s
POLLY: …an it were winter. Snowin’. Little flakes, caught in me ‘air.
NOW WE HAVE A SIMILAR SHPOT TO THAT IN PANEL THREE, IN THAT WE ARE LOOKING ACROSS THE CARRIAGE AT GULL AND POLLY AS THEY SIT SIDE BY SIDE ON THE OPPOSITE SEAT, BOTH SEEN THREE QUARTER TO FULL FIGURE HERE. POLLY IS NOT LOOKING AT GULL, BUT JUST GAZING DAZEDLY INTO SPACE, LOOKING IN OUR GENERAL DIRECTION, BUT CLEARLY NOT FOCUSSED ON ANYTHING. BESIDE HER, GULL IS STILL SITTING HALF TURNED TO FACE TOWARDS HER. HE HOLDS OUT HIS BAG OF GRAPES TOWARDS HER WITH AN EXPRESSION OF DEEP AND HEARTFELT SYMPATHY THAT SEEMS TO BE SINCERE.
POLLY: we went to live in Stamford street. Two children. Second one, my Billy, ‘e runs off like, with the midwife.
POLLY: Just runs off.
GULL: Poor child. Do have another grape.
NOW WE ARE LOOKING THROUGH GULL’S EYES AT THE DAZED –LOOKING POLLY AS SHE TURNS TOWARDS US AND TAKES ANOTHER DRUGGED GRAPE FORM THE BAG. HER EYELIDS ARE STARTING TO LOOK HEAVIER OVER HER PIN-PRICK PUPILS, AND HER EXPRESSION IS SORT OF SLACK AS SHE REACHES OUT AND TAKES ANOTHER GRAPE FROM THE BAG. ALL WE CAN SEE OF GULL IS ONE HAND, HOLDING OUT THE BAG TOWARDS POLLY. BEHIND HER, THROUGH THE WINDOW, THE WHITECHAPEL DARKNESS CRAWLS BY.
POLLY: Why… why., thank you, sIr. You’re…
POLLY: You’re very kind.
GULL: Think nothing of it, child. Come now, continue with your narrrative. Your husband left you…
NOW A SHOT OF THE CLOSED GLADSTONE BAG AS IT RESTS THERE BETWEEN POLLY’S FEET AND THE CARRIAGE DOOR. BOTH POLLY AND GULL’S BALLOONS ISSUE FROM OFF PANEL IN THE APPROPRIATE DIRECTIONS. THE BLACK LEATHER BAG HAS A DULL GLEAM IN THE SICKLY LIGHT OF THE CARRIAGE.
POLLY: (OFF) : Yes,. Yes, ‘e did. I went to Lambeth Workhouse…
GULL (OFF): Lambeth, indeed? A famous poet lived there once, you know…
Labels: From hell scripts-2