Shots and scripts

Sometimes you can discover some pretty cool stuff in a library. The other day I found that we have a database called American Film Scripts Online, which contains the shooting script for Double Indemnity. Here’s the main killing scene:

DIETRICHSON’S VOICE
And I don’t want to eat at their house either. The food you get there, and that rope he hands out for cigars. Call it off, can’t you?

Phyllis does not answer. She doesn’t even breathe. Her hand goes down on the horn button. She honks three times.

DIETRICHSON’S VOICE
What are you doing that for? What the —

This is as far as his voice will ever get. It breaks off and dies down in a muffled groan. There are struggling noises and a dull sound of something breaking. Phyllis drives on and never turns her head. She stares straight in front of her. Her teeth are clenched.

“Her teeth are clenched.” I saw that and thought of simplyelle’s post with this gif of that very part, noting that she “look[ed] like she was relieved.” And I can see that. Are her teeth clenched? Possibly, but that’s not something that stands out. There are a lot of visual stimuli in that image, more than just looking straight ahead with clenched teeth. I think it highlights a difference between using words and using film and sound. An author can point out certain details and leave others to the reader’s imagination. By filling in the other details, the reader then owns a lot more of the story. Looking at this scene, I find myself fascinated by the lighting, and don’t notice so much the set of her jaw.

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