Monday, September 30, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: Unfaithfully Yours (1948) - One Way to Visually Move From Reality to Fantasy

[Quick Summary: A conductor suspects his wife is unfaithful.]

Once upon a time, I heard a writer I admire say the mark of a pro is his/her transitions.

What the hell does that mean?!

I finally discovered transitions aren't just at the ends of scenes. 

They encompass the whole flow in a script:
- getting in and out
- moving in and out of closeups
- switching locations, etc.

In this script, let's examine 2 transitions:

[Note: I know these are long. Sturges wrote for himself to direct.]

ex. "Now after a pause the CAMERA PUSHES IN until his eyes, eyebrows and nose fill the screen. After this we PUSH IN still closer until one eye fills the screen and finally so close that the pupil of one eye, which is to say blackness, fills the screen. Now that we are in Sir Alfred's mind, a very, very slow FADE IN begins and we find ourselves in Sir Alfred's study on a CLOSEUP of the antique village orchestra clock."

ex. "TRICK SHOT ON SIR ALFRED. We go into his mind again...(it might be interesting at some point to see the whole orchestra from the conductor's viewpoint reflected on something black and shiny, then PULL BACK and see it is the pupil of the conductor's eye)."

Sturges move us from reality to fantasy with just visuals:

- Alfred's face is described in closer and closer detail.
- Then the next scene is at regular distance.
- The audience understands this close--> closer--> farther sequencing as going into a man's head for a fantasy or flashback.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED:  It's refreshing to see how clean the reality-to-fantasy visuals are here. 

Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
by Preston Sturges

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