Showing posts with label wonderful life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wonderful life. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Hi, Mr. Potter. Did you want to see me about something?"

MR. POTTER: "About something? Why heavens no, boy! Do two friends who've known each other as long as we have, need an excuse to talk? Have a seat! Take a load off your feet!"

MR. POTTER: "I want to introduce you to my brother, Ebeneezer..."

MR. POTTER (V.O.): "...and my other brother, Samuel. My brothers and I are partners in the company."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: " 'Pleasure ta meet cha'."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Look, Mr. Potter....If you have something to say I think it's best just to spit it out."

MR. POTTER: "Spit it out? You do have a way of getting to the point, don't you Jimney? Okay, let's see what we have here."

MR. POTTER: "Why, it's a private detective's report, and's about you."

MR. POTTER: "It says that you've acquired debts that led you to borrow from your own Savings and Loan!"

MR. POTTER: "Oooo...borrowing from your own company's funds. Conflict of interest. That's naughty."

SAMUEL: "Let's be frank, Mr. Stewball. You have a narcissistic wife who requires enormous quantities of fancy clothing every month, do you not?"

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Well I wouldn't exactly say...I mean not every...well...well, er, maybe."

INSERT OF JIMNEY'S WIFE: (She kisses herself repeatedly).

(Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!)

EBENEEZER: "And a senile mother-n-law who's always being fined for running around the neighborhood naked?"


JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Yeeeaaah...Gee, I wish she wouldn't do that."

MR. POTTER: "(Sniff!) I sympathize with you. I know you're honest. It says here that you've paid back most of the money already."

MR. POTTER (CONT): "Even so, as a stockholder I could have you arrested. Not that I would, of course."

MR. POTTER: (Slams the table): "BUT I SHOULD!!! You're not a responsible business man!!!!"

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Well, Mr. Potter...I did build houses for twenty families last year."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Some of them had trouble meeting the payments, and I took up the slack with my own money. That meant I had to borrow to pay for all the fancy dresses and nudist fines."

MR. POTTER: "I know, I know. You don't have to explain anything to me, Jimney. Just sign this bill of sale and your debts will be a thing of the past. Of course I'll foreclose on all those dirty clients of yours who work with their hands, but what do you care?"

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "What do I care? My father worked with his hands, and his father before him."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Doggone it, Mr. Potter! Ya sit there in your fancy chair, and ya think you're better than everybody else. Well, you're not!"

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "In the vast scheme of things, you're just an insignificant..."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "An insignificant..."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Just a...just a....."

MR. POTTER: "Calm down, Jimney! Calm down! You haven't heard the rest of the offer! We'll take care of your family for you."


SAMUEL: "Yes, your wife and mother-in-law would be removed to an impossibly remote cannibal island. Everyone runs around naked there, so your mother-in-law wouldn't mind."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "But...but what about my wife?"

EBENEEZER: "The first foreigner they've ever seen. She'll be worshipped as a god. It's every narcissist's dream."

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Yeah...yeah, it is kind of, isn't it?"

JIMNEY STEWBALL: "Okay, where do I sign?"

All the parts in this parody played by me, Eddie fitzgerald. I just wanted to see if I could play old man parts.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


"It's a Wonderful Life": the film is falling out of favor lately, largely because it's been on the vintage favorites list for a long time and people are looking for something new. Too bad, it's a great film. Anyway, I brought it up because I want to talk about one of my favorite sequences in the film, the one where Potter tries tries to buy off George Bailey with the promise of a high-paying job.

It's an interesting sequence because Potter's been treated as a one-note villain up to this point so you'd expect him to play the sequence in a high-hatted, "Take this offer or else!" kind of way. Instead Potter uncharacteristically tries to sweet talk Bailey. Watch the clip. It begins 4 1/2 minutes into the video.

Did you watch it? What intrigues me about this is that it's a simple attempt at bribery that doesn't add anything to the story, yet it manages manages to be one of the best scenes in the whole film. Think about it. We already knew that Bailey and Potter were enemies. We already had abundant evidence that Bailey preferred integrity to money. The sequence tells us nothing new, and yet....

What I'm going to argue here is that the sequence exists for a theatrical reason. Up till now the Potter part of the story simply laid down information. It took great pains to let us know who the good and bad guys were. That's fine so far as it goes, but live theater people know that audiences crave scenes where they can boo the villain...where they're tempted to yell, "Don't go in there, Dick! he's got a gun!" Even in the middle of a story, they want sequences that end with the patriotic triumph of right exemplified with angelic choirs waving the flag and the villain being hissed off the stage.

Not only that, but actors need scenes where they can shine and not simply be pawns racing ahead to the next plot point. In this sequence Barrymore gets to be sunny for a while. This means he can anchor his performance in a deliberately insincere sing-song, which live audiences love to re-act to, and actors love to play.

That's all I have to say on the subject of live theater and film, but I have a copy of "Cyrano de Bergerac" on the desk in front of me and it wouldn't be much trouble for me to scan in a couple of terrific paragraphs that I read last night. Let's goes!

Great, huh? Here's an excerpt from the same scene, a couple of pages later:

Wow! Good old Cyrano...a real force of nature!