“We must go out there” (and face the world, a young and older woman’s entrance into the world, last still from 10:20)
Though it’s been a number of months (again) since I last posted about the 1974 BBC Pallisers series, I am still working my way slowly through all the Parts. I’ve decided I can’t both try to write a book on the Austen films and keep up thorough analyses of the Palliser series in blog-essay format. What I’m doing now is carrying on reading the Palliser novels whole and then carefully taking down the screenplays of each hour episode, comparing the texts of the screenplays and actual dramas to what I find in the novels: the series continues to be a commentary type.
What I’m doing now is writing blogs Parts 18-26 (Volumes 9-12). This blog is on three parts; the part after that (10:21) will either have a blog to itself or two blogs. And so it will go after that.
I left off at 8:17. In a nutshell, 8:18 and 8:19 bring us to the end of Phineas Redux, with some striking changes: for example, a ghost scene where it is made explicit that Phineas (Donal McCann) did long to do away with Bonteen (Peter Sallis), so that the inferences from the novel are altered to something far more disillusioned at the same time as far less ethically demanding.
I would call these two episodes “Phineas’s ordeal” and they correspond in Victorian melodramatic detective terms to Meredith’s “Beauchamp’s Ordeal.”
I take our first transcript from such 9:18. First to situate or contextualize it, here is a barebones outline of 9:18:
9:18 Phineas Redux: first half of trial ordeal.
Episode 1: Finn’s Case: scene 1) PM’s chambers (?), conference room, Palliser and Erle defend Phineas, Bunay there reasoning, PM will not listen to talk of Emilius, wants the case over with, assumes Phineas guilty; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, Madame Max and Duchess, some from PR, II, Ch 54, pp. 124-31. Madame Max deep distress; evidence against Phineas, Palliser and Monk, Madame will go to Prague against their advice; Duke must believe in law; scene 3) high bench, judge remands Phineas; scene 4) Portman Square, Lady Laura’s distress, her brother, Chiltern, and father’s lack of sympathy with her; Lady Chiltern also seeks to repress Laura, who will visit Phineas in prison she declares; scene 5) Phineas in prison (depressed, despairing), with Monk at chess, from PR, II, Ch 55, pp 133-35; Beauchamp’s Career and American Senator allusion.
Episode 2: Love and Death: scene 6) Carlton Terrace, Duchess and Adelaide, Burgo’s letter from CYFH?, Ch 42, pp. 452-53. Duchess regrets loss, but asserts Planty never out of her heart since she grew to love him; Adelaide’s announcement of her and Maule’s engagement; Duchess’s supposedly comic-anxious responses; scene 8 [I skipped a number], Portman Square, Lord Brentford Laura, from PR, II, Ch 52, p. 102-4, 108-10: father acrimonious, resentful of son, says Phineas a murderer, Laura at solitaire defends, telegram to say Kennedy is dead; scene 9) Phineas’s prison room, alone, from PR, Ch 55, pp. 133-34, voice-over of prayer, even Chiltern does not believe him; scene 10) Portman Square, Laura at solitaire, men delighted at Loughlinter, money, from PR, Ch 52,pp 104-110 (narrative turned into scene): Chiltern waxes angry, tells her Phineas has Madame Goesler, she livid; scene 11) Phineas’ prison room, Laura walks in, from PR, II, Ch 55, pp. 135-141. Moving; she tells of husband’s death; he thinks of his coming death; she asserts she believes him innocent; Erle wrests her away
Episode 3: Investigation: scene 12) Park Lane beflowered room, Madame Max, the great invented scene [see transcript just below] with Mrs Meager, from PR, II, Ch 56, pp. 143-46. Learns of key, of coat; scene 13) Bonteen front Room, Mrs B and Lady Eustace in mourning, bits from PR, II, Ch 51, pp. 168-172; also Ch 72, pp.291-92. Reading news, trial delayed; Loveybond, lawyer, tells her Mr Bonteen right; they have brought back wife of Mealyus and documents, jailed for bigamy and Lizze bursts out Emilius the murderer (lawyer regards her as bloodthirsty, Mrs Bonteen as having caused her husband’s death); scene 14) Carlton Terrace, Duchess and Marie pour over map, Marie off to Prague, from PR, II, Ch 66, pp. 150-51, 154, grand moment, they kiss
Episode 4: Coin and Court: scene 15) PM’s chambers, Palliser, PM. Bungay, Monk asks for postponement of trial, new evidence, from PR, II Ch 58, pp. 158, where question of Duchess’s support of Phineas discussed between 2 dukes (Bungay, Palliser); trade problems invented as now threatening election, loss of Bonteen at Board of Trade is in another part of novel; scene 16: Carlton Terrace; Adelaide practices walking before Duchess, from PR, I, ch 18, p 157; Ch 21, pp. 189-90. Maule Abbey solution; scen e 17) Portman Square, from PR, II, 60, pp. 177-78, Monk and Chiltern persuade newly introduced Chaffanbrass to speak to Phineas; scene 18) Phineas’s prison room, from PR, II, Ch 60, pp. 180-84. Chaffanbrass and Phineas; noble aim of Phineas, narrow one of Mr Chaffanbrass (“they ain’t worth it”); ominous note at close (“if we can”); scene 19: Courtroom (25 minutes of episode left), from PR, II, Ch 61, pp. 184-86, full scene, Chiltern and Violet are us; accusation and Monk’s testimony with Chaffanbrass’s protest and Sir Gregory Grogram’s determination. Wholly original replaces Ch 61, pp. 188-93. Ambiguous evidence, e.g., Monk says Phineas “bitterly angry”, life preserver scene retold
Episode 5: Cloaked Figure: scene 19 continues: Courtroom, Superintendent Worth’s evidence (from narrator’s account of what court believed, Chaffanbrass’s angry interjections, steps down, Fawn’s evidence, PR, II, ch 62, pp. 197-203, Ch 63, pp. 206-7 (about coat itself), film much kinder to Fawn, Chaffanbrass badgers every bit of the story, first cloak brought forward; scene 20) Portman square: PR, II, Ch 71, pp. 189-90; Laura not allowed to testify, Chiltern and Violet’s pessimism, end on Laura’s face.
The thing to keep your eye on is how this melodramatic scene is changed It is derived from Phineas Redux, II, Ch 56, pp. 13-46, but with considerable changes and much original dialogue. The Original takes place in Meager household, includes Amelia the daughter, reveals the life of the lodging house directly.
1. Establishment shot: Madame Max’s table with yellow flowers. We have seen how she likes yellow flowers before (in all the scenes in her room these are there).
Here the key is the relationship between the women which builds in the comfort of Madame Max’s house, and it through this built-trust that Mrs Meager reveals the unexpected important fact that there was another grey coat in the vicinity, one Mr Emilius could have worn. An irony is the women are more effective outside the established logical allowances of probabilty. The acting of barba Murray and Sheila Fay as the two women takes us beyond Trollope’s text where there is no such intimation and also the screenplay:
2. Mastershot: two women walking in through the door, dialogue happening.
Marie: “Now let us be quite clear about this, Mrs Meager.
Mrs Meager looks round her suspiciously.
Marie closes the door. “Mr Emilius lodged with you some time back. only after the murder, but you are sure he was back before the murder.
Mrs Meager startled from her absorbed looking round at these beautiful apartments: “Hmmm? Uh oh yes ma’am that is quite true.”
Marie: “Now we know he went to Prague and that he was back sometime before the murder happened.”
Mrs Meager: “Uh yes ma’am back in the best room at 6 and 8 a week.”
Marie (very earnest). “Now Mrs Meager, I want you to think very carefully about this. Was there anything at all odd in Mr Emilius’s behavior? Anything anything before he went to Prague or after he came back.”
Mrs Meager (melodramatic expression, twisted and tight): “Odd?”
Marie: “Anything he may have said? Something in his room. Something you may have seen (she goes over to pik up a purse and bring it back to the table) in his room?
Mrs Meager: “Well, ma’am. there was just one thing.”
Marie (puts down purse ostentatiously). “Mmmm?”
Mrs Meager: “When he went away to that foreign part what you said he took his key with him.”
Marie. “Oh” (gestures Mrs Meager to sit down)
Mrs Meager (sitting) Ah which he hadn’t got no right ah seeing as how he wasn’t paying for his room while he were gone.”
Marie. “Well perhaps he was just forgetful.”
Mrs Meager: “Well that’s what he said later, ma’am, but he wasn’t usually forgetful. Anyways there was me and the front attic and any body else in the house there was just the one key between us all. That’s why I remember it so particular.”
Marie’s face (close up): “So you only had the two keys.”
Mrs Meager: “Yes, ma’am.”
Marie take up the coin and puts it in front of Mrs Meager.
Mrs Meager (then talks on): “And Mr Emilius had run off with one so there was the whole pack of us fighting over the other until Mr Emilius gets back and says eh’s ever so sorry in his best religious voice but that he forgot and left it in his drawer.”
Marie. “But he hadn’t.”
Mrs Meager: “No, ma’am, in ourline we is obliged to know about drawers.
Marie: “So. He must have had it with him all the time.”
Mrs Meager nods.
Marie. “Hmmmn (put another coin on the table). “Poor Mrs Meager. what a very difficult life you must have (see still on groupsite page).
(More coins clinking on table. Mrs Meager’s face acknowledges the truth of this). Now can you remember anything else about Mr Emilius?”
Mrs Meager: “Well, eh though not exactly about him, ma’am, but um there has been some talk about a coat” (suddenly eager, the sympathy extended has also had its effect).
Marie alert: “Indeed there has.”
Mrs Meager: “Well, ma’am, my husband, Mr Meager, he’s not ‘ere very often, but he does sor tof flit in and out from time to time. Well it just so happened that he flitted in on the day beforfe the murder and when he flitted in see he was wearing this coat.”
Maried (sharp): “What coat?”
Mrs Meager: “The coat there has been all the talk about, ma’am, a gray sporty sort of coat (Marie’s face is quivering).
Marie: Have you told this to the police?”
Mrs Meager: “No, maa’m, in our parts we is not overly keen on talking with the police.”
Marie: “Well … (she looks down at purse, and more coins are put out). “Never mind, Mrs Meager (camera on pile of coins) “What happened to the coat?”
Mrs Meaeger: “It spent the night in the house, ma’am, along with Mr Meager, a gallon of port and a bottle of Dutch gin.”
Marie: “So. Mr Emlius could have borreowed the coat while Mr Meager was refreshing himself.”
Mrs Meager: “an ‘im none the wiser, filthy sot.”
Marie: “Where is it now?”
Mrs Meager: “Oh well …. (stuble sounds) that’s har dto say, ma’am … I mean now the summer’s really coming I pawned it for sure.”
Marie: “But it was definitely in the house on the night of the murder.”
Mrs Meager: “Yes, ma’am, I saw it on the sofa before I went to bed.”
Marie: “Mmmm. (faint music) (put more coins on table) Now. Mrs Meager send for your husband, find out where he pawedn that coat and redeem it at once and take it to that address.”
Mrs Meager; “Not the police, ma’am, I hope.”
Marie: “No no. A nice kind gentleman who is my solicitor and who will show himself to be (she pushes oisy coins on table towards Mrs Meager) most grateful.”
The women’s shared sympathy is strong. The best moments are in Fay’s face, for example the peculiarly tense look from actress’s face comes when she is telling of coat, of pawning, of her fears of police, and particularly her tones when describing Mr Meagre as a filthy sot. Much she has had to endure.
The allusions to political novels in 9:18 and 9:19 anticipates Raven’s development of Trollope’s later political novel, The Prime Minister. No longer will we look at issues but at the workings of personal politics in the upper class and how coteries function, an important theme in Trollope’s own The American Senator, also alluded to in 8:17-18. Material bringing in the growing up of the Pallisers’ children is interwoven in conversation. Also Lady Glen’s tearing a letter from Burgo (from 1:1), the Duke’s memories of how his wife did not love him and wanted to flee shortly after they married.
Again I will situate or contextualize 9:19 and 10:20 with a barebones summary.
9:19: Second half of trial, Phineas’s vision and depression, wedding, PM transition in Arcadian gardens once again.
Episode 6: Defensive Proof: Scene 1) courtroom, now defense, PR, II, Ch 53, pp. 206-10: Chaffanbrass harangues on hearsay nature of Fawn’s evidence, brings forth second cloak, Phineas’s holding out life preserver called “jocular”; Monk still there, and Duke testifies to Phineas’s character; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, Duchess reading People’s Banner, Phineas’s life on a thread, from PR, II, Ch 58, pp 161-62 (some of this chapter went into 9:18, Episode 4, Scene 15); Duke reassurres, accepts, brings up problems at Board of Trade; business about him asking her to clean Gresham’s shoes; scene 3) courtroom, PR, II, Ch 53, pp. 212-13; Grogram making strong case against Phineas (Bonteen blocking his advancement); telegram, Chaffanbrass shouts to bring all to halt; judge protests, Duke of Omnium intervenes to explain who lady is,
Episode 7: Prague evidence: scene 4) Phineas’s prison room, Phineas, Monk, Chiltern, Phineas’s great distress and anxiety, inclination to dismiss Madame Max’s efforts and man named Peter Prasker; scene 5) courtroom; now there is no such scene in PR, a hint on p. 227: Madame Max’s testimony and fun over latin by Judge triumphing over Chaffanbrass; Prasker asked to make a copy, identifies Emilius as the man; acquitted rom PR, II, Ch 67, pp 239-40; Phineas’s continued depression and even bitterness, Chaffanbrass congratulates
but Phineas remains stunned and at long last showing how shattered and appalled he’s been; almost paralyzed he is taken out by Palliser, cf PR, II, Ch 67, pp. 233-34, 241-43 (book has Chiltern, Cantripp, Low); scene 6) the streets, Phineas re-enacts the night, from PR, II, Ch 68, pp. 245-47; even in grey coat; the major departure where ghost says Phineas wanted to do it, and Phineas doesn’t deny that, just says he didn’t; Duke of Omnium turns up and pulls Phineas away
Episode 8: Pained Freedom: scene 7: Phineas’s lodging house room, substitute argument by Palliser where he says they all believed him innocent but doubt is inevitable for it shows people are frank with themselves, and brings up how his wife could have run away (the same as a murder?); letter which Phineas says disturbed him in I, Ch 71, pp. 280. In book it’s Monk and Low and about Phineas’s depression directly, PR, II, Ch 68, pp. 249-52; scene 8) Parliament before the door, Finn walks in and is congratulated by Erle (who interrupts another topic, all shake his hands; cf PR, II, Ch 73, pp. 295-96; scene 9) Matching Priory; Madame Max in lovely grey-blue light by those windows, to her Duchess,
from PR, II, Ch 68, p 248; Lady Glen says Phineas recovered and Madame Max had better snatch him up; Madame Max does not snatch people up; in come Phineas, PR, II, Ch 74, pp. 302-2, 354; Duchess removes herself and at long last he tells her how he loves her, they kiss and hug tightly, sway
Episode 9: Offers Revealed: scene 10) Prime Minister’s chambers (or conference room, not clear what it is), trade, foreign affairs, election crisis; Duke glad at offer of Board of Trade; Monk puts in word for place for Phineas, Gresham shrugs; 11) Matching Priory: Marie, Duchess, planning wedding, Phineas with letter, Duchess leaves, Phineas not sure he wants it, not sure he’s wanted by Gresham; Marie “you are quite right” (perfect mate all right): in book he meets with Marie after refusing offer; 12) Prime Minister’s chambers/conference room, from PR, II, Ch 77, pp 337-39, Phineas says no p. 350 (much later in book); just about new dialogue, PM’s annoyance, cannot forget defection over Tenant’s rights even if now the thing is a done deal; Phineas brave and sincere: he was falsely accused, he’s troubled in his mind, PM sneers in effet; resembles Crawley and Grantly (terms in which discussed); Gresham polite at end, offered it, Finn walks off silently; scene 13) Matching Priory, from PR, I, Ch 22, pp. 190-92 (one sees how Raven could skip about): Gerald tells of scene (that occurs in PR) and sneer at Lady Glen; Gerald unkind, Adelaide slaps him, he walks off, she cries desperately; scene 14) Portman Square: long beautiful walk, with words from PR, II, ch 70, and again 78, pp. 347-9 condensed into one beautifully acted but necessarily inadequate scene. Probably Raven does not feel for her and sees her as unfair, transgressive; she remembers all that has happened (when he turned to Violet) but words are taken from cliched (I worshipped you when I should have worshipped god) showing Raven is not himself reliving or feeling this for real (afresh)
Episode 10: Hope and Peril: scene 15) Carlton Terrace, major change again, for Palliser persuades Finn to take office, it will restore confidence in him, they will work together, Phinaes is won over; scene 16) Matching front room: scene of four of them, two couples as winners, where Duchess persuades Duke to let Adelaide have the income older Duke of Omnium meant for Madame Max, from PR, II, Ch 76, pp. 321-22 (no such scene but the details are from book, and this is what happens; I feel actors getting a kick out of not caring about 20,000 pounds; sudden telegram from Gresham, government in trouble and Duke must return; ending of cheer on Phineas still looking forward first to honeymoon, and Duchess to go find and tell Adelaide 16) Arcadian gardens around Matching: the wedding, jokes about wedding albums, photos, mild satire on modern ritual”
It’s a funny scene between Dolly (Donald Pickering) and the Duchess (Susan Hampshire) where he informs her what such picture albums left on tables for others to see are for.
Dolly then mentions he hears Duchess’s sons both “great characters at Eton, particularly Silverbridge”; the walk in front of the building (parallel for transitions into Phineas, 3:6, and and Eustace, 6:11); political choral dialogue in great tent afterwards between Erle and Dolly on coming election, Erle serious about trade, Dolly mocks (“twade”); scene 17) Matching. Duke and Duchess, private quiet room at night, what to do, the boys are away, office is gone; moving dialogue of tender affection and respect = love, no equivalent in Trollope
The Prime Minster itself is begun more in earnest with this political talk of Barrington Erle (Moray Watson) and Dolly at the wedding and then in the final touching nightime scene between the now Duke (Plantagenet, Philip Latham) and Duchess (Lady Glen, Susan Hampshire) who have grown to love tenderly, value, esteem one another despite great differences in attitudes. They talk of what they will do outside the political world, thus telling us they care intensely about it and will rejoin.
In 10:20 the Lopez story is begun, denuded of many characters (as was Frank Greystock’s story in the Eustace Diamonds parts) and is to be fitted into the political and sexual vision of this part. There are strong hints (never elaborated), again through allusion (to Swinburne) that part of the mystery of Lopez is he’s homosexual. The Lopez story vies for space as at the end of the part we have the entrance of Lady Mary (Kate Nicholls), Silverbridge (Anthony Andrews) and Frank Tregear (Jeremy Irons) into the films, Silverbridge having been thrown out of Oxford (for painting a master’s house red), Lady Mary a close loving daughter with her mother, and the two young men (hinted) a strong loving friendship (they go to Venice in a later part, living there together).
The strongest scenes in the part are those which dramatize the relationship between the Duchess and Duke, and I give a transcript of the last one in the part. First a summary of the part to situate this scene:
10:20: Lopez introduces; the Duchess’s way of politicking
Episode 11: Call to Office: scene 1) The Club, Dolly and Erle; 4 years have passed; liberals out for “bungling money,” a coalition forming (invented information dialogue; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, private sitting room we’ve not seen before (piano, place to sew, coffee table); from Prime Minister, I, Ch 6, pp. 50-51 (all narration with only hints of this fully dramatized scene): Palliser gravely tells; and when she first looks at him, she sees how ill he is.
Susan Hampshire as Duchess registering strain on her husband’s face
But when he tells her the news, she’s intensely awed, exhilarated, excited, exultant; if it were not “cowardly” he’d “avoid this task” if he could; he talks of memory of when he gave up office for her, he doesn’t have gifts for this; she vows to work for him; scene 3): hall before throne room, Duke and Bungay go in; scene 4) Carlton Terrace, return to same sitting room, Duchess and Mrs Finn, from PM, I, Ch 6, pp. 54-56. Duchess’s plans to be hostess, closely taken from book, except added is modern Tory point of view on places; Duke’s idealism an obstacle, Mrs Finn his beliefs ingrained from the workings of his own mind.
Episode 12: Pain of Power: scene 5) Carlton Terrace, front drawing room where we’ve seen them entertaining, Duke and Duchess, from PM, I, Ch 7, pp. 56-58. Closely from book, Duchess asks to be Mistress of the Robes, refused on grounds she’s his wife, and he doesn’t want to exercise power in this way unless he must; she is hurt, angry; then from, PM, Ch 7, p. 59, also Ch 63: Bungay enters, and they must allot the postions again versus “ideals” and “moral vision”; scene 6: The club, Dolly reading paper and Erle pouring wine, from book and dramatizing narrated material, PM, Ch 63, talking of who gets what, “not many Tories” says Dolly; oh we’ll have Sir Orlando Drought; Lopez’s first entrance, snobbish disdainful reaction of Erle, Dolly mocks “you the pillar of the liberal party;” but also moves to exploit Lopez’s insider info, PM, I, Ch 11, p 95) Lopez wangling invitation to Duchess; scene 7) another room in club, where Everett Wharton playing solitaire, from narrator, PM, I, Ch 2, pp. 17-22, pp. 22-24 (this is substitute of modern talk): Everett’s desire to wangle a seat, but his father won’t pay; Lopez’s cynical motives v Everett’s unthinking naive defense (“somebody must make the laws”), Emily Lopez’s target, father won’t like it
Episode 13: Expansive Plan: scene 8) Carlton Terrace, again sitting room, Duchess sewing, Duke walks in from PM, I, Ch 8, p. 68: he gives Mistress of Robes to Duchess of Jersey, Finn gets Ireland, with Duchess’s regret Mrs Finn might accompany him, leads to PM, Ch 11, pp. 89-91, she gains permission to open Gatherum where they can entertain up to his new position; he reluctantly agrees; scene 9) London park, the invented picturesque stroll, Duchess and Mrs Finn encounter Lopez and he recites Swinburne which Mrs Finn gets but Duchess does not, Duchess says she will take this young man up, Mrs Finn suspicious of this unknown man, dubious plan; rich women in beautiful park and elegant man supposed to be contrast to dialogue; scene 10) Sexty Parker’s office, from PM, I, pp. 14-16. Sexty’s character, Lopez’s unknown background, bullies the man (with his “missus and three children”) into cosigning for “750 quid.” Some dialogue taken from book.
Episode 14: A Proposal: scene 11) Mr Wharton’s chambers, Lopez proposes himself as suitor to Emily, from PM, I, Ch 3, pp. 29-31, angry resentful old man, will not countenance man with background he doesn’t know (Protestant gentleman necessary; Lopez says he’s Portuguese, English mother, where educated, his business in trading stocks; father “gambling;” by end of scene Lopez angry in face, Wharton grim; scene 12) Wharton home, front hall, PM, I, Ch 4, pp. 36-38, Everett going out to dine at club with Lopez, Wharton remarks it’s injurious to purse; sexy Emily glimpsed coming down stairs; dressed as a man’s toy; scene 13) Wharton’s study, son still there but leaves after Emily comes in, PM, I, Ch 5, pp. 43-46, Wharton tells Emily of Lopez’s visit, and Emily says she loves him, Wharton it cannot be (“no family … adventurer … doesn’t belong”); she (he’s English, educated, lives with gentleman as gentleman, Everett’s friend); no no no, she asks him to look into it, not to make her unhappy for nothing and he agrees sternly; she looks grateful and trusting; scene 13) long entry by coach of Duke, Duchess, Mrs Finn into gatherum castle; different stone building from Matching, has walls and gate around building. From PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 157-58; we see workmen, raking sand; scene 14) grounds further out around castle, Duke walks and sees workman, he on parapet
Episode 15: scene 15) Gatherum, a sitting room, PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 158-59; a dramatization of Duchess’s housekeeping, Pritchard and Duchess go to the numbers, the problem with chef (artist, bohemian), Duchess wants to say she wishes she didn’t have to go through this, Mrs Fin “it would have broken your heart;” and we see grown Mary for first time; innocent and loving mother (she greets each child with open arms and delight in face, each reciprocates fully), they talk of Silverbridge as 18 and needs to pass exam; Duchess looks out, he hates waht we have done, wants to pass if off as “a few friends,” Marie’s concerned face; scene 17) Duke’s time walking through grounds, from PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 159-62. Powerful comic ironies as he is told it’s not for them to decide; scene 18) upstairs private sitting room in Gatherum, Duchess in purple with white apron; this is powerful clash transcribe below, heavily invented and yet close too, taken directly at high points; his distaste, apology but continued distress, her anger, hurt, not resolved at all; scene 19) back to gardens; camera catches big machine making flat lawn, the tents, and we watch people coming through gate, getting out of carriages; scene 20) upstairs sitting room, Mary dressed up, waiting Silverbridge dramatic opening of door, brings Tregear, the attraction between Mary and Tregear, story of how he’s been expelled, so Duke’s Children, Ch 1, p,. 3, Ch 18, pp. 113-14: Duchess asks if Tregear sent down too, oh no, seems more worried about father and not bothered deeply about how Silverbridge refers to himself lightly as “a fellow,” proposed they go to a tavern to stay out of the way until she tells father, Palliser arms, the tale told and Mary laughs, Duchess smies, Tregear rueful,Silverbridge makes a naughty face, but she says father will not see the joke; they are pushed away, with our hearing Tregear’s voice, “yes, Mary, and the two women link arms to confront world. The sense is of something hard but worthwhile winning.
Now chose I chose this scene because if you compare its ultimate major source (Prime Minister, Vol 1, Chapter 19), you will discover that surprizingly little is actually taken from the original scene, key phrases and sentences, some memorable hot words (“vulgarity”), and much is invented. The scene feels as if it were Trollope and anticipates the ending of PM where indeed we find that the Duke has learned to like power and does not want to give it up. I can imagine people hunting for the full scene in the book, and finding themselves a little startled to see how much original development there is here.
From Prime Minister, I, Chapter 19, pp 162-63
Scene 18: A sitting room at Gatherum Castle
Establishment shot: Duchess laying on couch, in heavy duty white apron, tired
He walks in quickly; she sighs and smiles upon seeing him, does not move.
Duchess: “I’ve never geen so tired in my entire life. I’ve just planned every menu for the entire month, making sure that no guest should have the same dish twice. And I have been into every bedroom and moved most of the furniture with my own hands.:”
Duke: “Oh, was that necessary, Cora?”
She begins to get up.
Duchess: “Well, if I’d gone to bed instead, the world would have gone on I suppose. Well, people must eat and some of the more important like Sir Orlando are staying a week or more, which makes it very difficult. Well, you wouldn’t want Sir Orlando to have the same dish twice. It mght choke him.”
Duke (turns). “Hmmm. (Has looked at papers scattered and piled on the desk.) Cora, so far … now I’ve always let you have your own way in everything.”
She is now sitting and looks up at him as he straddles himself.
Duchess: “You’re going to scold. I know you are going to scold. I shouldn’t have said what I did about choking Sir Orlando. Don’t worry I shall sing to him like a siren for the next seven days.”
(She does not understand what he is protesting or is wishing it were something other than it is.)
Duke: “Cora (louder). Now I don’t like what you’ve done out there. That’s not necessary.”
Duchess: “People do make changes in their garden without necessity.”
Duke: “Yes. But these have been made to impress our guests. Now had you done it to gratify your own taste, I’d have said nothing at all. No, no, even though I think you might have told me what you intended.”
Duchess (beginning to get very excited from within): “What!? When you’re so burdened with work you don’t know where to turn.”
Duke: “I’m never so burdened that I (dark face) cannot turn to you. Now what distresses me is this. Those thing which were felt to be good enough for our friends before are not felt to be insufficient (he paces). It’s cause of this (points up) this post I hold.”
Duchess (very close up shot): “You agreed that we should entertain at Gatherum.”
Duke: “Hey I did not (half cough) agree you could dig up half the country round. Hey. In order to make a display. Hey I’d almost have said there’s ah well there’s a vulgarity about this which offends me.”
Duchess (unusual close up now). (She begins to look askance and deeply offended with an expression of intensity unusual to her.) (She rises her body a little.) (Whispers the word). “Vulgarity? How dare you?”
Duke (suddenly backtracks, backs literally a step, and gets a kind of smile on his face): “Stammers. My my dear … I … I retract the word (smiles deprecatingly, placatingly as we watch him watch her) (holds up hand). Now I never really said it. I used it in the conditional sense, the optative mood. ‘I had almost said …'” (quoting himself)
Duchess: “Oooh … you … said it all right. Vulgarity indeed. (She swallows). (Whispers loud fiercely) Yes. Of course it’s all vulgar but you don’t think that I do it from any pleasure that I get from it. The lavishing of smiles on butchers and tinkers must always be odious and vulgar. You cannot have power and remain untainted. It is impossible to be be both public and private at the same time. You must submit to vulgarity or cease to be the first minister.”
Duke (from within is regathering his forces together): “My dear, I would remind you of this. There is no personal ambition (very intense face)”
Duchess: “So you have always said yet you enjoy ooh how you enjoy telling us all what is best for us” (concise kind of pointed enunciation).
Duke (now unusual close up to his face as she has hit him with a truth we have seen — we have seen her let him bully his sons and herself)
Duchess: “Nothing now would persuade you to let it go.”
He looks sad, remorseful, hurt, she now turns and looks like she feels bad, moves over slightly to himi with gesture that seems about to reach to him to soften what she has just said but then stands still.
He walks in front of her before the camera and by. He picks up his hat and cane from her desk and then walks out.
She has tears in her face (because she is doing it partly for him), like a little girl, her face scrunches up.
He shuts door with a snap. She tears up and looks away.
Then with a sudden fierce gesture and deep sound from within, she pushes and throws all the papers across her desk and to the ground.
The acting of Latham and Hamsphire is at this point superb. He often makes wordless sounds and his body language replaces words; he has become the older Duke over the year.
I do not think Hampshire usually that powerful an actress; the type she plays is one who is guarded and makes a point of living on the surface in front of others, but in this rare moment in the series, she drops her mask and we see her intensely grated upon as she hears the word “vulgarity” from the Duke as a description of all her hard work fixing up the grounds, turning the castle into a super-hotel, being a hostess who is all smiles. In the still I have included her lips and the right side of her face just begins to move into a hard sneer of deep offense and irritation.
Much of scene between Duke and Duchess not in the book but it could have been and feels so right; he writes what Trollope could have and makes us think it’s there. It’s almost there 🙂 Much is invented.
“He hates it,” the Duchess observing the Duke wandering about the gardens of Gatherum Castle
In the audio-commentary by Emma Thompson to the 1995 Miramax Sense and Sensibility film (directed by Ang Lee), she remarks that the Atlas scene between Elinor (Emma Thompson), Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Margaret (Emilie Francois) has seemed to some viewers who know the novel to be so like Austen that they ask where in the novel does it occur. For my part I find it too sweet for Austen, but there are other scenes (between Elinor and Marianne, Kate Winslett, for Lucy Steele and Mrs Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs) where you think the scene is close to Austen’s own and when you go back find much has been changed or invented. Thompson says she is most delighted when people ask her to tell them where in Austen’s book this dialogue or scene occurred when there is no such line or quite this scene. She feels she has performed the ultimate function of recreating Austen for us.
So perhaps Raven, only he has changed the inferences of the whole hour by new additions, scenes which are quite different, important eliminations and allusions. But I must save the discussion of this for when I come to the end of writing out all the screenplays and after I have written two chapters of my much longed-for (meaning me, meaning I do long to do it) “The Austen Movies.”
Comic moment of what Duchess might be seeing: Duke told it’s not for him and the workman to ask questions about what’s being done to the grounds
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