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Tales from the Geeksphere [Oct. 6th, 2009|12:21 pm]
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Murder! (1930) Picspam [Aug. 13th, 2009|12:12 pm]

The film opens with the camera moving down a quiet street as the houses are slowly roused one by one by a scream, a barking dog and pounding noise. The camera settles on a bloody poker lying on the floor in one of the houses next to the presumed murderer. I love the detail of the run in her stocking. Also, I want those shoes. We see the "Killer's" face (Norah Baring). She is in a state of catatonic shock and can't remember what has just happened.

The next we see of Ms. Baring she is in jail awaiting her trial. The stark white stone walls make a strong contrast with her dark hair and clothes and this first of many uses of shadows to express her captivity. The scene moves to the police investigation backstage at the play in which Ms. Baring and the victim were to appear. A man in drag, Handel Fane, has taken one of the female parts and the show goes on.

What follows is a beautiful sequence, one of the best in the film, in which we hear the police questioning the stage manager, Markham, while we are watching the play from the wings, complete with a pantomime policeman. Often the imagery on stage adds a commentary to the discussion with real policeman. For example the actual murderer is onstage in drag disguise. Then he comes off stage and exchanges costumes with the pantomime policeman. This echoes very closely what happened on the night of the murder in which Fane, disguising his voice as a woman and dressed as a policeman was able to come and go from the crime scene undetected. This clever device, is not only amusing, it points to the pantomime in Hamlet which was a way to prepare the audience for what was about to happen. In Hamlet the pantomime before the Mousetrap fulfilled Shakespeare's necessity to explain the back story to the "groundlings. Here, Hitchcock uses the pantomime to get rid of some necessary exposition before moving onto the meat of the film. He does so in a very stylish manner that leaves the audience with a memorable commentary on the action in which the point of view of the camera is a key witness to proceedings but the characters in the scene, don't recognize the significance or irony of the moment because they are engrossed in matters of their own, i.e. investigating the murder. It's worth noting that not long prior to the release of this film there was an ongoing scholarly debate about the Pantomime in Hamlet and the importance of the way in which it was staged on ultimate interpretation of the play. The question of why didn't Claudius react to the pantomime, lead one of the great pieces of Shakespeare scholarship of the 20th Century, by Dover Wilson.

The scene changes to "Rex v. Diana Baring" with the defendant looking placid and charming on the witness stand.

Diana was defended by a female barrister (a woman in disguise of a man?) and Herbert Marshall's Sir John sits on the jury. Sir John is a famous actor and director and once auditioned Miss Baring, but rather than give her a part he sent out to do stock in the provinces, which is why he feels a certain amount of guilt associated with her fate. In reality, would someone as closely connected to the defendant have a chance to sit on her jury?

Herbert Marshall looks so ridiculously smug here. I couldn't help myself. This is definitely not one of my favorite HM performances. He seems to be a trifle slow on his cues (as does almost everyone in the movie.) This was Marshall's first talkie perhaps he was struggling with the nascent sound equipment. There is overall a disjointed feeling to his acting that is not quite natural. It's hard to believe he was only a year away from the polished and immortal performance he gave in Trouble in Paradise.

The jury goes into deliberation. One by one the jurors vote to find the defendant guilty, but for one lone hold out, Sir John, which Hitchcock reveals in an unnecessarily showy camera move. I think he was bored with this whole scene and was looking for a way to punch it up. The jurors argue Sir John out of his finding and Diana Baring is found guilty. Sir John goes home to his luxurious apartment to shave.

This is a painful scene in which Marshall moons around in his bathrobe while deciding in voice over to investigate the murder himself. Sir John invites the stage manager, Markham and his actress wife from the Baring case to his luxurious offices.

Sir John is a wonderfully well-mannered detective. He serves his suspects cocktails and then lunch while he interrogates them. Satisfied that they aren't directly involved Sir John enlists their help in his investigation.

This is one of the disjointed bits of editing in the movie that surprised me. In one frame Sir John suggests they eat lunch and the next shows the lunch table. It's very strange. It feels like there should be a reaction shot of the couple there. It is so jarring it almost feels like he wants you to be aware of the edit for some reason, though I can see none. It's a fairly innocuous invitation to lunch.

The investigation moves to the small town where the murder took place. Sir John's first stop is Diana Baring's rented room. He finds a picture of himself there and is touched. This is one of the better moment's in HM's performance, quite subtle but lovely.

After a full day's investigations, Sir John retires to his lodging, a room at the town constable's home. He hesitates before going in, wondering if he wouldn't be better off in an inn. He finds out the next morning as he's awakened by the constable's wife and a parade of noisy children.

No, this isn't another still from Girl's Dormitory, it's still Murder! Markham arrives and the investigation continues from Sir John's bedside. He really is a very civilized detective.

Sir John visits Miss Baring in jail in hopes that she can assist with the case. Notice the bars cast shadows over her head and not his. The lighting is really very stark and beautiful in this scene.

Baring reveals that Fane is bi-racial, which is detail which stands out to Sir John as a possible motive for murder. This is one of the ways in which Murder! hasn't aged so well. It's pretty ridiculous to imagine that someone would kill someone and allow another to hang in order to keep his desperate secret, a bi-racial identity. Especially when this someone turns out also to dress up in women's clothes for a living.

Before he leaves, Sir John asks why she keeps a photograph of him in her room. Baring says that its because he's one of the idols of her youth. He looks as though he'd like very much to kiss her at this point but the jailer ushers him out of the room. Ms. Baring is left alone to navigate the shadows.

While a gallows is being built outside Diana Baring's cell, Fane is free to work at his day-job as a cross dressing acrobat. This transition from one shadow motif to another is quite brilliant. It looks as though Fane is a spider moving in a web. Later he will literally and figuratively be caught in his own trap.

Sir John observes the spider in his web and comes up with a plan. He asks Markham how well he knows his Hamlet. Back in his offices, Sir John prepares to spring the "Mousetrap."

Sir John invites Fane to audition for a part in his new play, a play which bears striking resemblance to the Baring case. Fane reads the part but annoys Sir John by failing to take the bait in his mousetrap. He declares that he doesn't care for melodrama and leaves. I guess Fane was a better actor than Claudius.

Sir John decides to question Fane further while he prepares to go on for his acrobat routine. When Sir John enters Fane is sealing an envelope. The audience doesn't pay attention because Hitchcock doesn't highlight it. Fane appears as unfazed by Sir John's questioning as he was earlier in the day at the audition.

As Fane ascends to his platform the shadows from his rope ladder look like bars of a jail. Hitchcock uses music masterfully in this scene. The bumptious circus theme careens from a plaintive wail to an overly quick waltz that reflects Fane's disturbed mental state. Sir John and Markham watch helplessly as Fane uses his lofty perch to hang himself.

Markham and Sir John find the letter in Fane's dressing room which was a confession. It is written in the style of a script for a play as if he were finishing the melodrama which Sir John had him read earlier in the day. In the confession he admits that he loved Diana Baring and that he murdered the other actress to prevent her from telling her that he was "half-caste." Sir John points out the irony that Diana Baring already knew this fact and had decided a relationship was impossible because of it. While this is happening the shadows on the tent behind move in and out looming in interesting ways.

Sir John greets Diana Baring in the living room of a luxurious apartment. The camera pulls back and reveals that they are on stage acting a play. Is their relationship merely an act or is there real feeling involved? Hints earlier in the film, leave one with the impression Sir John made Ms. Baring the leading lady in his play and his life. This final image goes back to the pantomime, early in the movie, except that this time the juxtaposition of play and player is more harmonious, lacking the confusion and jumbled feeling of the earlier scene. It might also be a case of Hitchcock deciding to break the "fourth wall" and reveal ultimately that "All the world's a stage" and that there is artifice in everything, especially the murder mystery you've just watched unfold.
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(no subject) [Mar. 27th, 2009|11:27 am]

Harold finds another member for his morning running club and has shoes delivered for everyone. You'd think he could find some shorts for Nick while he's at it.

If Notorious has the champagne clock, The Big Chill has the tennis shoe clock. They bolted the camera to the floor and did time lapse photography. In the course of many dissolves and overlapping dialog we learn a lot of nice little details. Karen grills Meg about what did and didn't happen with Sam. Nick falls in love with his new shoes. Chloe eats leftover spaghetti out of the foil. Sarah is obviously hung over and Michael is even worse, arriving last and wondering, "are we the first ones up?"

Karen and Sam on the dock. They are kind of annoying couple, each pretty self-centered, but they are pretty to look at.

Nick checks out the old house by himself. He has kind of a funny over-reaction to bird noises.

The football game is the point where I really started to sympathize with Chloe. She knows more about the game than anyone else and quietly asserts, correctly that the call should be "clipping."

I love Harold's hat.

Michael makes his case to be the "happy farmer." Meg doesn't exactly seen swept off her feet. It's further hinted that she and Michael had sex during the March on Washington and Meg got pregnant and had an abortion. It's a complex plot point that is revealed in far less time than it took me to type this.

The touch football game is one of my favorite scenes. I have always liked it so much that I made a Running Dog t-shirt for myself that I sometimes wear with a skirt. I love that Chloe plays in a dress and lilac nikes. The game ends when Nick is brought home by the local Sheriff who think he might be "one of those Yankee drug dealers we sometimes get around here." Nick does not help the situation by being mouthy. Harold is not impressed. Sam gets him out of it by doing his stunt jump into the seat of Nick's Porsche. Such is the way of law enforcement in the movies.

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Big Chill Pic Spam Part Two [Mar. 16th, 2009|12:49 pm]

Friday morning: Karen says good-bye to Richard. Michael: That's the trouble with these things, you have to watch them every minute.
Michael and Sarah discuss the Karen/Richard situation and Michael reminds her to wake him if anything really ugly happens.

Sam: Y'know Karen, if we'd gotten married we'd be going to the store like this. Karen: No, Sam, if we'd gotten married, I'd be going to the store like this.
One of many cases where Kasdan shows the reaction of someone not speaking, here, we see Harold listening behind the screen door.

Sarah is having trouble with her adolescent daughter (who we never see in the film) and finds herself repeating some of motherhood's greatest hits, "because I said so" and "when you're a mom you can be unfair too." While the kids are quickly hustled off screen for the week-end of drug-taking and free love, I like that they aren't completely out of their parent's minds. Meg shows off her seductive wardrobe while providing moral support and cigarettes for Sarah.

Nick discover's the Cooper's video camera and the theme of the movie, within the movie begins. Nick begins by interviewing himself about his current profession (Yankee drug dealer) and his past (radio phone in psychologist), Chloe is enjoying Nick's antics.

The guys and Chloe drive out to the old house where Chloe and Alex were living. Harold asks Michael about his partner in the nightclub he plans to open. Michael: We weren't conducive. We'd get together and hyper each other into a frenzy. His wife left him because he couldn't make love. Eventually he had to be hospitalized for being such a nerd. Chloe: Alex and I made love the night before he died. It was FANtastic. Nick: He went out with a bang not a wimper.
I love how Chloe always seems to say the wrong thing and already Nick is sort of acting as a link to her and the rest of the group. I love the patterns of the mossy trees on the windshield, but it makes this scene really hard to cap.

Sarah and Meg discuss the difficulty of dating. Note that you can see a figure in a black jacket out on the dock. I think it must be a crew Meanwhile the jeep arrives at the old house. Nick immediately stands straight up, which is just one of the William Hurt quirks that comes through in so many of his roles.

Sam and Karen discuss will-power and indulgence while shopping for ice cream. It's all about ice cream of course. Really.

Harold and Michael discuss the club while walking in a rainy field. The field was in reality full of snakes, leading to Kline's little ad-lib about snakes at the end of the scene.
Meg drops the bomb that she plans to get pregnant over the week-end. I think it's funny that Sarah is stuffing a turkey and Meg is filling a pie. Meg: The time is right to sow the seed. Sarah: Yeah, but who gets to be the lucky farmer?
Chloe shows Nick around the old house. She looks so pretty in this scene. <table>

Everyone is watching the Michael and Sam show. Michael: Don't knock rationalizations. I don't know anyone who get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex. Sam: Nothing's more important than sex. Michael: Oh really? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

Nick really loves TV. He gets everyone to watch JT Lancer.

The supper scenes in the Big Chill are really a how-to about how to put a meal on film and make it seem natural and interesting. I had probably watched the movie ten times before I thought about the fact that spaghetti and turkey is a really weird combination.

This may be my favorite scene with Harold. He just loves his lps. Of all the characters he has the most devotion to the music of the Sixties.

I like this scene as the camera follows the "substances" being passed back and forth. Michael makes a major play for Chloe. The rest of the group does not approve.

Meg makes a play for Sam and gets shot down. Once again, Meg's seduction wardrobe could use some work, especially given Karen's sexy off-shoulder disco glitter top in the previous scene.

Nick goads Michael into taking a qualude. A long time ago a friend of mine noticed that I have a lot of movies in my collection that have a scene where someone takes 'ludes. Yeah, well I have a lot of movies from the seventies and 80s and it just sorta works out that way. This is a funny scene because Nick has the ulterior motive of putting the brakes on Michael's advances to Chloe.

Sarah has trouble sleeping after visiting Nick, aka Dr. Feelgood. Sarah: You can't just go around thinking you fix people's lives. Who do you think you are, John Barrister Tipton? Harold: This is a charming side of you. Remind me to run right out and buy some more cocaine tomorrow.
I had to look this up, but John Barrister Tipton was the hero of a sixties TV show called "Millionaire" about a man who gave money randomly to strangers.

Nick the nightowl stays up watching tv. Note Michael passed out on the sofa. Safe from Michael, Chloe naps in Nick's lap. I think Nick meant to take Michael out, not to get her for himself, but that's what ends up happening. I love this beautiful dissolve of Chloe's body into the bridge at sunrise.
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Fandom Secrets for classic movie fans [Mar. 3rd, 2009|05:24 pm]
Remember you can log in as anonymous to post your secret. (Best is to link to a image in photobucket or the like.)

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Big Chill Pic Spam Part One [Feb. 18th, 2009|11:03 am]
I've been wanting to Pic Spam a movie for a while now and I finally figured out how to make screen grabs on my laptop. Just a bit of background on the format, a "pic spam" is a post to a message board with pictures and no content, usually done to "bump" a thread onto the first page in message boards that sort by most recent post. It's against the rules in many message boards. I ripped off the idea of doing a pic spam in my blog from Pretty Pink Dork's awesome blog.

Click on any of the caps to see a larger version. You can't always see what I'm talking about in the captions with the thumbnail.

The Big Chill is all about beautiful set-ups. The opening features a corpse being dressed (though it's not immediately clear it's a corpse until the previous frame, which shows Kevin Costner's stitched up wrists). I love this dissolve into this beautiful framing shot of Harold in the field in front of the church.

A harmless request for Michael to sit next to the deceased's girlfriend, turns into a chance for Michael to put the moves on her.

He does the classic movie theater stretch into the arm on the shoulder. One thing you can say about Michael, no flies on him.

Sam checks out Karen. Her husband Richard checks out Sam.

Nick arrives late and greets Meg.

Karen is glad to see Nick. Glenn Close rocks the single tear like no other actress.

Karen plays "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and Nick and Sam are amused. After this, Karen stays behind in the church rocking out on the organ a little bit. I couldn't really cap it, but it's funny. The Big Chill uses the music of the Sixties in a wonderful way, often ironically. For example in the opening scene Harold is singing "Joy to the World" with his son who is taking a bath when the news about Alex arrives via telephone. The success of the soundtrack led to a lot of annoying knockoffs and now it seems every rom com must dig out at least one 60s motown classic for a montage. No movie has ever done it as well as the Big Chill.

The plot thickens on the way to the cemetery. Meg reveals that she had a fight with Alex and Nick jokes that must be why he killed himself. When Nick asks what the fight was about Meg says that she told him he was wasting his life. Substances are consumed.

Meg gets lost in the cemetery thanks to the substances.

Funereal nosh. "They'd never get a turnout like this at my funeral." "Of course, they will Karen. I'll come. And I'll bring a date."

Meg "jokingly" asks Nick and Sam to marry her. Not only does that sound like the plot outline for a Lubitsch comedy, Meg looks like a an old school Hollywood ingenue in Cap 1.

Michael on the phone to his boss at People Magazine, trying to get permission to do a story on the funeral: "You think everything's boring. You wouldn't say that if it were the Lost Hope Diet."

Nick reminds me of a Buddha here.

Sam refers to money as "bread" in this scene. I love their outdated sixties lingo.

The Big Chill has many classic reaction shots, and Michael's response to Chloe answering the door in her underwear is my favorite. The point where he smiles is also the queue on the soundtrack for the song "Tell Him" which has kind of cheeky, sprightly feel that matches perfectly with it. It's also ironic since Michael is pretty clueless when it comes to romance and the song begins with the line, "I know something about love."

The unpacking montage: Sam, Karen, Richard and Michael. Note that Michael is the kind of guy who brings six condoms to a funeral. I want a bright green blow dryer like that.

Nick is...unpacking outside? I get the feeling he is maybe living out of his car. I love that you can see Harold out of focus in the background. The details in the Big Chill are really nice. Harold owns a chain of athletic footwear superstores and he is an avid jogger (he goes for four runs in as many days). He wears hardcore running brand shoes, Saucony and New Balance.

The robe that Meg is wearing supposedly belongs to Sarah, about which Harold comments, "I always want to jump her when she wears that." Then Sarah shows up in the same exact robe. So apparently she has a lot of these plain white cotton bathrobes. Add to that the irony that Karen is sitting there in her gorgeous red satin robe, painted toenails and open toe slippers and no one is talking about wanting to jump her, though Sam is thinking about it.

Meg makes her move on Nick. It's interesting with the other guys she tells them she wants to have a child, with Nick she just seems like she wants to get laid. "Did I ever tell you what happened to me in Vietnam?" which is the biggest mood killer of all time. The scene cuts away to the four downstairs in the living room hearing Meg's bloodcurdling scream.

Turns out that Meg's scream was in reaction to a bat in the attic. Harold does a little Indiana Jones imitation. He doesn't do such a good job of killing the bat, and in his hippy be kind to animals way, he tries to give the poor critter a chance by opening the window. About ten more bats fly in. "Now it's a fair fight," Nick says.

Much later that evening, the insomniacs discuss Karen, who was Nick's girlfriend in college, but Sam's big unrequited love. Then they head to the kitchen...

and find her husband Richard is an insomniac too. Note that Richard is eating a mayo sandwich on white bread.

Ok, I admit that at a certain point I was just capping how handsome William Hurt looks in this scene.

This was filmed early in the morning and had to be done in a limited number of takes before the mist went. Since it is a long shot where they move toward the camera, not the other way around, I wonder if there was a guy with a boom mic jogging alongside them. It's a really simple scene, but quite beautiful, I think. Nick jogging in jeans is just one of the many awesome character details.

This is the end of Part One. It will take two more parts, each one roughly corresponding to a day in the film.
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Cinema OCD's Pre-Code Quiz [Aug. 14th, 2008|07:38 pm]
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Renzvous [May. 28th, 2008|12:19 pm]
So everyone is speculating about the Rendezvous.

Here's my version.

The rendezvous

Cylon Bastar. The sound of Centurions tramping on the steel floors. We hear heavy breathing. Adama in flightsuit is carrying Roslin who is unconscious, toward the Raptor. A bullet slams into the wall above her head, her eyes flutter open. Bill pulls behind a bulkhead to reload. Roslin slides down to the floor and faces him, blinking in disbelief.

Laura: It’s really you.

Adama: None other. Can you run?

Laura: I think so. (cylon approaches, you can hear the buzzing of his eye moving back and forth but can’t see him. Adama pulls the pin out of a grenade and rolls it down the hall)

Adama: This way! (He drags Laura away as we hear the whine of the explosive, just about to ignite. Kaboom. Cylon bits everywhere.

Hanger deck. A few centurians patrol around Adama’s raptor.

Adama: We need a diversion.

Laura: Any ideas.

Adama: Yeah, but you’re not gonna like it.

Cut to Adama and Roslin, hiding behind a crate near the meat curtain that divides the hanger bay from space. Adama pulls out a knife and throws into the fleshy curtain. It begins to curl slowly to protect its wound. The centurion moves to investigate and the second centurion is alerted by an alarm and moves toward the curtain. Silently Adama and Roslin stand up from their hiding place inside a crate and move quietly away from the centurions. Just then a Leoben enters the hanger deck.

Leoben: What the frak!? They’re getting away!

The centurions turn and start blasting just as Adama and Roslin dive into the Raptor and lock the door. The engines fire, and the meat curtain pulls away just enough at the corner for the Raptor to blast through. The centurians and the Leoben are sucked out into space.

The basestar pursues, firing the occasional burst, but Adama maneuvers the raptor smoothly away.

Adama: I need your help. The jump co-ordinates on the navi-computer.

Laura: which flashing panel is that?

Adama: the one right in front of you, says “Navi computer” on it. Hit clear, control seven.

Laura: OK. Now what?

Adama: Take this. (He hands her a copy of Searider Falcon, burned at the edges). I should know by now not to lend books.

Laura: What about it?

Adama: The bookmarks. Go to the first one. Enter the page number in the first three slots on the navicomputer. Follow on with the next and so forth until all the slots are full.

Laura: OK, but there are three bookmarked pages and four slots. I’m missing a six digit number.

Adama: Oh yeah. It’s 612603. My old phone number on Caprica.

Laura: It’s in. What now?

Adama: The board is green. Punch it.

Laura: Say what?

Adama: Hit return twice.

The FTL spins to life and the Raptor jumps into a quiet quadrant of empty space.

Laura: What the frak was that all about?

Adama: Classic confusion tactics. We have to be sure we aren’t being tracked. That escape was too easy.

Laura: You call that easy?

Adama: They could have let us go in order to track down the fleet. Saul and I arranged for a safe meeting place away from the rest of the fleet. In thirty-three minutes, he’ll show up and collect us. If there’s a wounded basestar on our tail, the Galactica can take it out.

Laura: But how did you know you were going to need the coordinates before I even left. I didn’t even tell you I was going.

Adama: I put those in the book, years ago.

Laura: And I thought it was just a secret code for me. About your feelings.

Adama: Well, I’m here, aren’t I? No secret in that.

Laura: Yes. Yes you are here. And in a pilot’s uniform, I might add. Nice.

Adama: This old thing. I gave the Admiral suit to Tigh for the day. Thought it would be a fun change of pace.

Laura: So you’re not the Admiral and I’m not the President.

Adama: For the next thirty-three minutes. Yeah.

Laura: So we’re just two people alone in a raptor with thirty-three minutes to kill.

(Laura pushes button on seat and reclines, kicks off shoes, gives come hither look. Bill sets the autopilot, stands up, smiles and heads back to Roslin’s seat. He unbuckles his collar and cuffs, dropping them to the floor with a metal clink. He stands over her, she sits up and grabs the zipper on his suit and slowly pulls it down, down, down. She takes his hand, kisses it sweetly and there is moment when they look moistly into one another’s eyes, then she slowly guides it downward, under her skirt. Cut to exterior of raptor, looking in through rapidly fogging porthole as they kiss and Laura pulls Bill down on top of her.

Cut to commercial.

Interior of raptor, Laura and Bill are lying together in a tangle of pilot suit and presidential clothing looking well pleased. An alarm rings and a panel flashes overhead.

Adama: Dradis contact. (He jumps up to get a closer look) Damn. Where’d I put my glasses?

Laura: Bill, look (points out window at Galactica floating peacefully overhead.)

Adama: That’s a relief. Wouldn’t want the cylons to catch me with my pants down. Literally.

Laura: snort.

Wireless: Husker report, this is Galactica actual.

Adama: Galactica this is Husker. Mission accomplished. (He turns back to look at Laura beaming. She is trying to dress quickly. She considers her pantyhose, but as the Raptor slides into a landing bay, she thinks better of it, and shoves them in her jacket pocket.).

Hanger deck Galactica: Roslin and Adama exit Raptor as Tigh and the deck crew applaud. Bill pulls Laura closer with a protective arm around her shoulder and they smile, embarrassed.

Laura (Looking up at Bill, whispering): I love you.

Bill: It’s about time.

In CIC: Helo looks at a clock, that approaches 33 minutes.

Helo: Spin up FTL. Prepare to rejoin the fleet.

Dualla: The board is green.

Helo: Punch it.

Galactica jumps away. The camera doesn’t follow them but stays in space. A moment later the Cylon basestar jumps in.

Leoben at Hybrid pool in basestar.

Hybrid: The dying leader was here. I have collected her signature. Following in thirty-three. Thirty-three point three minutes.

End episode.
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battleSTARstruck [Apr. 15th, 2008|09:11 am]
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[mood |chipperchipper]

I really felt like the big fight between Adama and Roslin in Six of One, owed a lot to Olympia Dukakis’ character, Rose Castorini from Moonstruck.

So here for your benefit is a little playlett I like to call


Scene 1) Bill meets with Kara after her "miraculous return".

Kara: Pop, I got news. I know the way to Earth. But every jump we take the signal gets weaker. One more jump and I won't be able to find my way back.

Bill: Why do you wanna lead us to Earth? It don't work out for you. Look at what happened last time.

Kara: I got there and back and no one believes me.

Bill: yeah, in that little ship, that's suddenly brand new. It's a baby's ship.

Kara: It's temporary.

Bill: Everything is temporary. That don't excuse nothin.

Kara: Maybe if I had a bigger ship, with an FTL and proper nav equipment, I might actually be able to give you some details, but as it was I had to plunge suicidally into a supernova. I had no navigational signal, nothin! I'm down on my knees begging you to let me take us to Earth.

Bill: That don't sound like you.

Kara (shrugs.) You've gotta believe me I can do this. I passed out last time. It was bad luck.

Bill: More bad luck! And you want me to go to your mother, the President of the 12 Colonies, and tell her we're going the wrong based on your feeling.

Kara: Yeah!

Bill:Alright then. (Pounds hands on table in disgust. Kara rolls her eyes at him and pounds her hands on the table in answer.)

Scene 2) Adama's quarters

Bill: Laura? Laura? Laura?

Roslin: (Lying down in his bed with washcloth over her eyes. Suddenly sits up) Who died?

Bill: Starbuck. But then she came back to life and now she wants us to change course to go to Earth.

Roslin: (Sighing deeply) Bill I told you before. It's a Cylon trick. Do you believe her?

Bill: I don't know.

Roslin: She's driving you crazy cause she know's she can.

Bill: She wants a new ship. I'm not payin' for a new ship!!!! I told her the cylons just gave her a new ship!!!

Roslin: You're rich as Roosevelt!! You think if you hang onto your money you won't die.

(Bill leaves, muttering) Now, he's going to go listen to that Damn Vicki Carr record. And when he comes to bed he won't touch me.

(After Adama leaves, Starbuck pulls out a gun gun and hold's it on Roslin).

Kara: Look, ma, you gotta listen to me. I listened to you based on vision. A vision! I went down to that planet and it was a giant frakin' toaster party. But I seen Earth with my own eyes. All ya gotta do is talk to pop. He listens to you, you're the only one.

Roslin (shaking Starbuck by the shoulders): You're life is going down the toilet! (Gun crashes out of her hand, to the floor. It goes off, shooting a hole in a picture of Bill and Laura. She and Starbuck notice the picture at the same time and say simultaneously)

Kara/Roslin: More bad luck!

(Just then marines burst in the door and tackle Starbuck to the ground. They drag Starbuck screaming, out of the room)

Scene 3) Kara's cell

Bill: What has come over you? I won't have any surrogate daughter of mine behaving like a lunatic.

Kara: Me? What about you? Since when are you the President's wet nurse?

Bill (moves toward her menacingly, grabbing her by the shoulders)

Kara: You ain't got the guts.

Bill: (Pushes her down on the floor and leaves the cell before her tantrum begins again)

Kara: We're going the wrong waaaaaaay!

Scene 4) Joe's Bar

Laura Roslin sits, sipping a glass of ambrosia. Baltar enters.

Baltar: Fancy seeing you here. May I join you?

Laura: Why not. That's the kinda day I've been havin.

Baltar: Tell me about it. Try leading a cult for a while.

Laura: Then why do you do it?

Baltar: I don't know. Every once in a while I'll be droning on and on about the new Aristocracy and the One True God and I'll look out into that sea of glazed faces and see a lovely girl reclining on a red satin cushion. And suddenly I see myself through her eyes. I see myself as the man I'd like to be. Maybe once was...

Laura: I've got an old saying, you wanna hear it?

Baltar: allright.

Laura: Don't $hit where you eat.

Baltar: laughs. What about you, why are you drinking alone?

Laura: I ain't drinkin' alone. (Smiling coyly).

Baltar: (Smiling wolfishly in return) Bottom's up, then!

Scene 5) The Cylon Basestar

Hybrid: So I says to him., I says, you got three kinds of pipe. You've got what you have already and that's garbage and you can see where that's gotten you. You've got brass, which is very good, as long as nothing goes wrong. Something always goes wrong. And then there's copper, which is the only pipe I use. It costs money. It costs money because it saves money.

6: What it saying?

8: Something about plumbing.

Hybrid: The man understood me, but the woman wanted to be cheap.

1: It's supposed to fly the ship, not give us a sales pitch about plumbing.

Hybrid: It's little birds and stars. Birds fly to the stars.

1: Let's lobotomize the hybrid while we're at it.

Scene 6) Baltar walks laura back to Adama's quarters.

Baltar: You live here now?

Laura: It's temporary. Till I find another place.

Baltar: Everything is temporary.

Laura: Good night, Dr.

Baltar:I suppose you can't invite me in. He might be home any minute.

Laura: No, the place is empty. I can't invite you in because I know who I am.

Baltar: (Nodding, not quite understanding.) We could go back to my place find out how the monotheists live.

Laura: Goodnight Dr. (She kisses him on the cheek.)

Baltar: May I kiss you on the cheek as well? (He kisses her, lingering.) Goodnight, Madame President.

Scene 7) Adama and Roslin in his quarters the next morning. Adama is trying to fix himself a drink quietly.

Roslin: Why you drinkin' so much lately?

Bill: Hair of the dog. (Defiantly pours himself twice the amount as he was planning.)

Roslin: Give me one of those. (He hands her a drink and she snaps it back) You want some oatmeal?

Bill: No I don't want any oatmeal!

Roslin: Are you gonna waltz around all day or are you gonna sit and tell me what's eatin' you? (He sits heavily in the chair opposite her)

Bill: I just don't understand it. It's Kara. It's really her. I went to see her and it's her. I don't know it's like a ...

Roslin: A miracle? Is that what you were tryin' to say Admiral Atheist?

Bill: But it's modern times. There ain't sposed to be miracles.

Roslin: Well it ain't modern times on Galactica. You wanna talk about miracles, Bill. The very same day of the attack a very pale doctor told me that I was dying of terminal breast cancer. I became president against improbably mathematical odds. I tracked down the arrow of Apollo. I found the temple of Athena. I was cured of my cancer long enough to get this fleet heading toward Earth. Now I'm dying again and you have to face it.

Bill: Don't talk like that.

Roslin: You have to face it, Bill.

Bill: Nobody's going anywhere.

Roslin: Here's what's goin' on. You are afraid to loose anymore. First me, then Lee, now Kara.

Bill: You can have the room. Get outta my head (He stands up banging his hands on the table)

(He looks Laura in the eye, feels ashamed and sits again, like a beaten dog.)

Roslin: Have I been a good wife to you? A good president? A good prophet?

Bill: Yes.

Roslin: Then I want you to stop seein' Kara. She's a cylon.

Bill: There comes a time when a man wakes up and realizes his whole life is built on nothin. And that's a bad crazy day.

Roslin: You're life ain't built on nothin'. Ti amo.

Bill: And Ti amo. (He blows her a little kiss and starts to eat his oatmeal.)

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The Admiral's Moustache [Nov. 27th, 2006|11:13 pm]
Something to tide us over till Friday:

The Admiral’s Moustache

(A somehwat light-hearted look at the missing year, ending prior to events covered in Unfinished Business)

The usual disclaimer’s apply.

By Jenny Curtis

As he watched the Cylon fleet materialize in orbit above New Caprica, all he could think f was her. Laura. How could he have let her down there in the muck, while he wandered the halls of his ghost ship? How had he ever let her go? Once again, Admiral Adama, was facing a choice, leave someone behind whom he loved or die. But there was no choice. Lee was right. They had to jump now.

“We’ll go then,” he said weakly as he signaled the order for the fleet to jump away and heard the familiar whine of the FTL drive come to life.

“But we’ll be back,” and as he said it he felt as if she were standing before him, and he were making her a promise.

360 Days Ago

In the three weeks since Baltar had taken office Adama had not seen Laura Roslin. He hadn’t realized how much it was that their personal relationship was built around their jobs. Now he couldn’t function. Her opinion and input had become second nature and now it wasn’t there. That was what he would tell her, but it wasn’t the whole story. The truth was that he had come to rely on their talks as the best part of his day. Without her, there was often nothing to look forward to but the increasingly tall glass of Ambrosia he drank before turning in.

Their last meeting had been about the election. Things between them had been strained. He had taken her role--the moral compass. He’d helped her find her “North,” again, but at what cost? Would she resent him forever, for it?

He held his copy of the “Confidential” report in his hands. Baltar hadn’t even looked at his, and he knew that the President didn’t need to read it. Adama suspected that Baltar knew all too well why Cloud Nine, had expoloded without warning. Adama didn’t understand that rodent-like little man, who twitched under his gaze. He needed Roslin for that. She could read people, cut right through them and see their motives. He wished she were here right now to lean on, to help him find his “North” again.

This thought was interuppted by his intercom. “Laura Roslin,” his aide said, was waiting to see him.

“Send her in,” he said, he thought, perhaps a bit to eagerly and he bounded up from his seat to greet her.

She said his name warmly, and the familiar crackle of her voice brought it all back to him: the missed opportunities and the late night conferences that ended with him returning alone to his empty rack.

He was so used to seeing her in her modest black suit that he was taken aback by her appearance. She wore a slinky scarlet blouse and skirt that brought out the red in her hair. She looked simple and lovely and he rushed over and put a protective arm over her shoulder.

“I’ve missed you.”

She cocked her head and studied him for a moment before she smiled up at him. She was still nestled against him. She hadn’t pulled away. He knew that their last meeting was forgiven if not forgotten. He wondered if he should kiss her.

“I’ve missed you too. But I’ve been too busy…No, that’s not right. I’ve been too embarassed to come see you.”

“I’m sorry about the election. You don’t know how many times I’ve cursed myself for what I did.”

“You have nothing to apologize for. I’m the one who should apologize. I was out of line. You stopped me. You saved me from myself,” she said and finally pulled away from him. She sat in her old chair. He breathed in her smell.

“Perhaps, I was right about the effect that rigging the election would have on you, but now that I have to deal with Baltar as President, I wish, I had rigged the damn thing myself.”

“Bill, you don’t mean that.”

“Yes, I do,” he said and handed her the report. “You were right about him, Laura. He is in league with the Cylon. And what’s more, I think he’s out of his frakkin’ mind.”

She unfolded her glasses from her trouser pocket and began to read the report, “this is the Cloud Nine Investigtion.”

“The results were profoundly disturbing. The explosion came from a part of the ship that was a known subversive headquarters. The device came from Baltar’s own lab.”


“He knows who took it, and I believe that he gave it to her, or rather it.”

“The number six Cylon? But how?”

“The Cylon that Baltar interrogated on the Pegasus, was a number six. How else do think he got the information about the Resurrection ship.”

“We were so glad to hear it, we didn’t question his methods.”

“I’ve gone back over the logs. Baltar was the last visitor, just prior to the six’s escape. I think he let her go.”

“And then gave her the nuke. And it looks like, a place to live. But why?”

“I don’t know. There was something between them. He wouldn’t be the first man in the fleet to fall in love with a machine.”

It doesn’t quite add up. There’s a piece missing.”

“The proof. All I have is circumstantial.”

She continued to read the report, when she paused, he said, “My last meeting with Baltar was the most bizarre yet. I gave him this report and confronted him with it.”

“What did he do?”

“Nothing. He hardly said a word. He didn’t look at it. But he was crying.”

“Bill that’s it. That’s the missing piece.”

“What is?”

“Baltar’s tears. You were right. He was in love with the Cylon. When he heard the report he knew she was was dead. And since the resurrection ship is gone,--

“destroyed by her information.”

“She won’t be coming back to him,” Roslin concluded. So they were back to finishing one another’s sentences. In this familiar rhythm, for the first time in weeks, Adama’s head felt clear.

“So this was all a suicide?”

“Exactly. It makes sense. If it were a political gesture, why didn’t the subversives claim responsibility? And why blow up the ship without making a single demand? And why now that we have, that Baltar, has given them what they want. Peace.”

“We have to stop him. Every day he dismantles more of our defenses. We will soon be sitting ducks for the Cylon.”

“But we need proof. We need to get someone close to him.”

“Well, he doesn’t trust me.”

Laura smiled, “I think I’m safely ruled out as well.”

“I’ll think of someone. In the meantime you have to stall going down to the surface. I need your help on this.”

“Why? I’ve been ordered to go. At first I was dreading it, but Maya came to me with an offer to start a school. The idea of teaching again, it’s given me something new to live for.”

He wanted to be her reason to live. “Maya?” was all he said.

“Yes, you remember, she adopted Helo and Sharon’s—“

“Oh yes, of course. It would be good for someone to help look after the baby. If Baltar got his hands on it—“

“—It would be a disaster.”

“So that’s what you came here for today, to say good-bye?” He did his best to hide the hurt in his voice. Why hadn’t he kissed her when she walked in. Now it would have to wait till another day.

“You realize I’m no good without you. I’ve come to rely on our chats more than I care to admit.”

“Well, you’re free to come see me on the surface any time. And there’s the wireless. We’ll keep in touch,” as she spoke she rose from her chair to leave. He stood and followed her. Out of desperation he put his body between her and the door.

“I can see I’m not going to get away that easily,” she said and reached up and hugged him. As she pulled away she kissed him gently, on his upper lip. Before he knew what he was doing his arms were firmly around her waist. He planted a deep kiss on her mouth. She didn’t pull away, but kissed him back.

For that moment he was happier than he could ever remember. They pulled apart. She looked a bit embarassed. He could feel his cheeks burning.

“You can bet we’ll stay in touch,” he said and with as much swagger as he could muster he opened the door for her. She just starred back at him agog, in disbelief. Then she smiled and walked away.

His head was swimming as he staggered back into his quarters. How did he do it? How did beautiful women, just fall into his lap, like that? He was never much to look at. He wasn’t much of a personality either. He studied his face in the mirror. Smiling, he touched his lip where she’d kissed him. A schoolboyish thought crossed his mind. He’d never wash that lip again. Maybe he’d grow a mustache.

A week later

Adama stood on the bridge clutching his shrinking duty roster. Those who weren’t ordered planetside were going of their own volition. The dradis flickered with interference as the transport ship carried civilians and supplies to the surface of the planet. Laura was gone. He watched the electronic footprint of her ship as it slowly made it’s way without incident.

Colonel Tigh came and stood next to him watching the dradis.

“I don’t like this place Bill. Can’t see a frakkin’ thing out there.”

“Hopefully, that means the Cylons can’t see us.”

The colonel snorted and Adama turned to face him. He saw a curious look play across his friend’s face.

“You’ve got somethin’ on your lip.”

“I’m growing a mustache.” Adama said curtly and then softening, “it could be good for morale. We could make it a contest, like they used to do in the terrestrial navy.”

“Those were beards, not that…that.. soup strainer. And it takes more than one person to make a contest.”

“I was hoping you’d join in Saul.”

“Forget it. You’ve already got a head start. No, you’re in this on your own.”

That, Adama thought, was the painful truth. He was on his own. As he turned to head out of CIC he almost ran into Starbuck, who was still in flight suit and mad as hell.

“Sir, permission to speak freely.”

“You’re not going to use salty language are you, Lieutenant?”

“You bet your ass I am. Will you please tell Baltar he’s a frakkin’ idiot. Half my crew are grounded. We can’t run Vipers without flight checks and we can’t have flight checks without parts. The Chief tells me Baltar’s ordered everything that wasn’t nailed down to be used planetside.”

“That’s correct.”

“Why am I the last to know these things?”

“I didn’t think it concerned you.”

“I’m CAG. Everything concerning my birds concerns me.”

“That isn’t really what’s bothering you. Anders is scheduled to be sent down in the next transport.”

Starbuck pulled off her flight glove with her teeth in a petulant way. She looked like an angry little girl. Adama wanted to pat her on the head and tell her it would be OK. Instead he waited for an answer.

“Frak this!” she mumbled as she turned and strode away.

With any other officer, Adama would have had her thrown in the brig for insubbordination. But Starbuck wasn’t any other officer. She was the best pilot in the fleet. She was like a daughter to him. He hated to deny her anything he had the power to give. He went to the nearest comm station and called Samuel Anders.

Anders was surprised but polite when he took the call.

“I’ll get to the point quickly, Mr. Anders. I have an unhappy CAG and a headache. Do you know why she’s unhappy?”

“Something about parts, sir?”

“No, it’s not Viper parts. It’s you. She wants you to stay.”

“But I’ve been ordered to go.”

“There’s a simple way around that. If you two were married—“

“Do you think she’d say yes?”

“I don’t think that’ll be a problem. Tell her to pick a place and time and I’ll officiate.”

“Yes, sir. Is that all, sir?”

“Do you have a ring?” Adama asked, subconsciously fingering his wedding ring.

“I think so. Pyramid championship ring. Not very romantic, but it’s round and shiny with a hole in the middle.”

“Good enough. I’ll see you both later.”

Adama hung up and smiled. He could keep Starbuck close at least and keep her happy. That would be something. It was only a matter of time before all the Vipers were grounded and the pilots left too, but till then he could make the most of things.

100 Days Later

As the Admiral walked the deck of the Galactica, he heard his footfalls echo eerily down the corridor. He was down to 15% crew. Tactical and battle stations were the first to go. The vipers went shortly after that. He’d officiated more than a few weddings. Lee and Dualla. The Chief and Callie. It seemed the arc was empty and the animals were leaving two by two. Only he was left in his bucket alone.

The bucket. That was what they called Galactica. But it was fast becoming a bucket of bolts. An old ship without full maintenance grew older every minute. He passed through the security corridor and noticed a broken seal on a valve. It was leaking steam with a small hiss. There was only one prisoner left. Helo had stayed behind to be near Sharon. He sometimes slept in the cell next to hers though the Admiral knew that days went by were Sharon refused to talk or even look at him.

Helo was a good soldier, Adama thought. Not that bright, but loyal and adaptive. He’d taken to his new job at CIC quickly. He’d been given a promotion.

Adama went into the cellblock. The Cylon he called Sharon sat in her cell quietly staring at the wall. Adama thought about giving her the run of the ship, but he knew given the opportunity she’d smother him in his sleep, thinking he’d had her baby killed. He couldn’t blame her.

Sensing his eyes on her, Sharon stood and faced him. She glared at him. He thought for a moment that she’d become violent. But she sat down, slumping on her bunk. Adama reached for the handset. Sharon wearily trudged over and took the other phone.

“What do you want?”

“I want to know about the Cylon, the one they call number six.

“What about her?”

“Have you ever seen her with Gaius Baltar.”

“Which number six?”

“Any of them.”

“The only six I know was my CO on Caprica when I was on the mission to seduce Helo.”

“And she never said anything about Baltar.”


“Could another model Six have been sent to seduce Baltar, the way you were with Helo?”

“Your guess is a good as mine. I don’t make it to many Cylon meetings these days.”

“I’m thinking about letting Helo move in here with you.”

“Why not just let me out.”

“Because two things would happen if I let you out of that cell. One, you’d probably kill me. Two, you and Helo would be gone for good.”

“You think I’d just run off with that stupid human.”

“Yes. You love him.”

“You're an expert on love now. That’s a laugh. You’re even more alone than I am.”

Adama gave her a wry smile and said, “I’ll let Helo know about the move.”

Realizing she’d struck a nerve, she continued to taunt him. She yelled, “you’re all alone you bastard. You murderer. And you’re going to die alone with that frakkin’ rat on your lip!”

The Admiral was too far away to hear the slight against his mustache. He was alone. He was thinking of the promise he’d made to Laura; to stay in touch. How he’d frakked that up. The few conversations they’d had were painfully businesslike. She’d reported on her new life, Maya, the school, the child. He’d kept her abreast of the gossip from the ship. She told him that the Chief and Callie were expecting a baby. They talked about the weather. They were stuck like the fleet orbiting a rainy planet with no sunny days in sight.

It wasn’t too late he supposed. He returned to his quarters and used his wireless handset and made a ship to shore call. He looked at his watch. She might be just taking a lunch break. He told the transport ship operator to try looking for Laura Roslin at the school or nearby. There was a long pause of several minutes as he heard the atmospheric interference and background noise. But she was there sooner than he’d expected.

“Bill, is that you? Is everything allright?” She sounded out of breath. He flattered himself that she’d run.

“Everything’s fine. Just thought I’d check in.”

“I was just thinking of you. I saw Starbuck. Bill, you wouldn’t recognize her. She’s grown her hair out. And she said, you’ve grown a mustache. Is it true?”


“I can’t imagine it. You’re fixed in mind from that day.”

“I still see you in that red blouse.”

“Now it’s more like thick wooly sweaters. Not sexy, but at least warm.”

“The weather getting you down?” No! he couldn’t believe, he brought up the damn weather! This was going wrong again.

“It’s not just that. It’s difficult to teach with half the kid’s out sick every day.”

There was a pause and static took the line for a moment.

“—what was that?”

“Nothing. I didn’t say anything. Laura?”


“I did if for you. The mustache, I mean. To mark the time I’m away from you.”

“Well, I hope I get a chance to see it before it’s full of gray hairs.”

“I promise.”

“Good. Gods, I miss you. I gotta go. Look, Maya is waiting and my break is over.”

“I miss you too. I’ll see you soon.”
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