Every time I pick a prompt from the Odd Prompts spares list and think “this should be easy” I end up spending almost as much time looking things up as I do writing. You’d think I would learn. Nope. This week was no different.
“You’re watching a movie when one of the characters steps out and asks for your help. What do you do?”
Easy enough, right? Pick a favorite movie, one I know well, and go to town.
Houston, we’ve had a problem.
Sure I know the movie, and I can quote the lines pretty good while the movie is on. But when I tried to remember the exact lines and when they happen I wasn’t sure of my memory. Sooo, off I went to find a copy of the script. Eeeeep. No such critter. I was lucky to find a copy of a transcript, albeit one that lacked action and tags for who was speaking. Good thing I do know the movie – I was able to tag many of the lines, and all of the ones I needed.
Next problem was there is no copy of the movie to be found on the ‘net. Ok, not one in English that I could view for free. So to make sure I had people in the right place at the right time I played a couple of scenes from a Spanish version. That was interesting.
So what does happen when you know a movie so well you quote the lines, does the character start to think you are talking to them?
One of the advantages of having a ‘go-to’ movie is that you don’t have to pay a whole lot of attention to it – just toss the disk on, sit back and mindless watch, especially when said movie is two steps above “plot? What plot?”
Okay, it does have a plot; a weak plot. You watch Hatari for the wonderful cinematography, some funny lines of dialog, and some memorable music, not for the overall story. The movie could be a travelogue for Tanzania in the 1960’s. It has some of Russell Harlan’s best work. And Leigh Brackett did a nice job crafting a story around the existing footage and working in Howard Hawks’ idea to add the photographer.
The other nice, fun, part of a “go-to” movie is quoting the dialogue – sometimes before the character speaks.
It had been a blah day. Not a bad day, just a blech, nothing, day. So we tossed on our fall-back, nothing else seems right, film: Hatari!
We did the usual; count the number of rhinos used in the opening sequence and play spot the change in cast in the truck/car.
When Sean says “Damp it! You can’t whip us all.
We answer for the character Charles Maurey “I can try.”
And laugh when Sean tells him and us, “Bring your lunch.”
Not too much later we’re giggling as Pockets tried to help a twitterpated Dallas. I wandered into the kitchen to take care of some dishes while still playing quote along.
A frustrated Dallas asks him, “No. Let’s try a different way. If you were me, what would you do?”
“Darlin, he was you, we’d all be in trouble.”
Pocket’s continues on, not hearing us. “If I were you, Dallas, I… No, you wouldn’t want me to answer that.”
Dallas: Pockets, make sense! What shall I do?”
Pockets: Now you’re making sense.
The next line should have been Pockets saying “You said, “What shall I do?” That’s it.” Instead I heard silence.
“Did something happen?” I stuck my head around the door, expecting to see my sister dealing with the remote. Instead I found her staring rather perplexedly at a very realistic image of Elsa Martinelli.
“Well, you said I was making sense.”
I held up a hand to silence her and looked at my sister. “You, ah, seeing what I see?
She nodded. “She stood up from the chair, but instead of staying on screen, she stepped out here.”
Elsa put her hands on her hips and looked from one to the other. “Well?”
“Miss D’Alessandro, I presume.”
“Oh, you got it right. Not many Americans can.”
“Well,” my sister laughed, “I’ve had a little practice. So?” She waved her hands indicating that “Dallas” should start talking.
“I said, What shall I do? And you said Now you’re making sense. What did you mean?”
“First, could you put that out?” I pointed at her cigarette. “No one in this house smokes. In fact we’re both sensitive to the smell.” Dallas looked mortified and cast around for some place to deposit the still smoking cigarette. I held out a glass that still had bit of water in the bottom.
“What we meant by that,” my sister waved Dallas towards a chair as I took the glass and damp cigarette back to the kitchen, “is that you can’t sit back and wait for Sean to take the first step. You are going to have to be the one to take that step.”
I wandered back in to the living room, leaned against the door frame and looked at this woman, character, from a fifty-eight year old movie and shook my head. “Man, if only Leigh were still around. She’d totally freak at the idea of meeting you. I mean you, you; not Elsa, you. But the chance to do some updating … or would she?”
“Sorry,” I laughed. “She was a very talented writer. She would have loved to meet someone like you.”
“Oh. Okay. But what am I supposed to do?”
“Don’t look at me,” I pushed off from the door and wandered in. “I’m a confirmed old bachelor, and likely to remain so.” I quoted a line from another favorite movie. A sudden thought occurred to me and looked at my sister. “You know, I just thought of something; we could be having this conversation with Eliza.”
She stared at me for several seconds before bursting out laughing. “You’re right. They do seem to have the same problem.”
“At least Sean doesn’t sing.”
“Sorry, this doesn’t happen every day, you know.” I grinned as I dropped into my chair. “You want to know how to get John, I mean Sean’s attention.”
My sister dropped her head and sighed at my faux pas. “Well, from what we have seen, he seems to like strong women who are not afraid to get their hands dirty; women who know what they want and are not afraid to go after it.”
I absently glanced towards the TV. Something looked off. I could have sworn that Dallas was in the shoot-off scene.
“But how?” Dallas pressed.
“Talk to him. Men like Sean, if something scares them, they can get belligerent, try to push you away. Stand your ground. Don’t start the fight, but don’t back down,”
I was half following the discussion while trying to keep one eye on the TV. I’d only looked away for a moment but somehow had missed the entire waterhole scene. Sean, Charles, and Kurt were already wrestling with the Zebra.
Shay wasn’t paying any attention to the movie; she was trying to offer Dallas some advice. “He’s going to shout and bluster, let him. Be patient with him.”
I was watching them bring Little Wolf back into the compound and noticed a glaring omission. Brandy was the only woman in the scene. If Dallas was missing then nearly a quarter of the movie would also be missing or dramatically different: who was going to rescue the baby elephant?
“Ah, sis. I think we have another problem.” I nodded towards the TV. She followed my gaze and frowned.
“Elsa is missing.”
“So …” She looked from the TV to “Dallas”. “Oh!”
Dallas looked between us and the TV. “What are you looking at?”
“A movie about a group of guys who are big game hunters.” I edited the synopses of the movie a little, leaving off the whole romantic sub-plot.
“Oh?” She brightened and turned to watch a few moments. “Like Sean and Pockets?”
“Yeah, like Sean and Pockets. Would you excuse us?” We went into the kitchen to have a quick pow-wow.
“The movie has changed.” I pointed in the direction of the TV.
“I saw a bit. What now?”
“Unless you never want to hear Baby Elephant Walk again, we gotta get her back.”
“Back the movie up?”
“I doubt she’ll go back until we can answer her question … how to get Sean’s attention.”
“I have an idea.” Shay grinned. “You rewind the movie, I’ll talk to Dallas.”
We went back to the living room and sat down.
“This guy, he looks and sounds like Sean,” Dallas pointed at the TV, looking very bewildered.
“Dallas,” Shay pulled her attention away while I picked up the remote and rewound the movie. “You want a way to get Sean’s attention, when you get him some place secluded and he’s a relatively good mood, ask him how he likes to kiss.”
“How he likes to kiss?”
“Yes. Does he like Slow or Quick? Does he like to kiss the girl, or the girl to kiss him? That should get his attention and give clear signal what your intentions are.”
Dallas thought about it for a long moment then smiled broadly. “I like it. But when?”
“Trust me, you’ll know.”
I found the approximate spot in the movie where Dallas had stepped out and paused the disk.
Dallas glanced at the TV and took in the scenery. It was like a light went off in her mind. “Oh! Pockets. I was talking to him and then stopped.”
“Then why no reclaim you seat and finish that conversation?” I gave her a smile and nodded towards the TV.
She gracefully rose and walked over, gave us a smile and a wave and simply sat down. I hit the play button and heard Pockets tell her “You said, “What shall I do?” That’s it. You’re the one that has to do it. He won’t.”
She smiled and answered him, “That’s simple, that I can understand.” That smile made more sense now.
We both laughed when the scene at the camp came up. It had always seemed odd for Dallas to ask Sean how he liked to kiss. Now I wonder: was there a copy of the script that had a different question? Had she ever asked anyone else? Or was this an example of the time paradox?
Pause for just a moment and consider a world without Baby Elephant Walk. 😉
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