Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve with Tay, Kay and Bill

Since she can't buy champagne for the house, her Internet house being somewhat too large for the bartenders to navigate, the Siren offers this instead: a small, year-end lagniappe to her patient readers.

Presenting the script to the greatest New Year's fadeout in movie history. (Yes, more so even than The Apartment. And the Siren worships The Apartment.)

From the screenplay One Way Passage. Tay Garnett, director; starring Kay Francis as Joan and William Powell as Dan. Story by Robert Lord; written by Wilson Mizner, Joseph Jackson, and an uncredited Tay Garnett. This one is finally on DVD via Warner Archives. And it's on sale. Cheaper than champagne, and no hangover, although it smudges the Siren's mascara something terrible.


upon which is printed:


A crowd roars and hollers, "Happy New Year!"

A band plays a lively version of "Auld Lang Syne."

Someone sticks a cigarette in the balloon and we hear but do not see it burst.

Instead, we CUT TO a fast TRACKING SHOT that runs parallel to a nightclub--part of the Agua Caliente resort in Tijuana, Mexico. The place is packed with well-dressed revelers: tuxedoes and evening gowns and party hats. Streamers and balloons and noisemakers are everywhere. They dance, they drink, they sit at tables and order food, they make merry.

We SWOOP PAST them all to the far end of the club which is nearly deserted. Two bartenders stand together, polishing glasses at a bar. At one end of the bar, a lone figure sits on a stool. We don't recognize him at first.

But then we abruptly leave our parallel track and RAPIDLY GLIDE IN and PAST the man for a brief, seconds-long glimpse: it is Skippy as we have not seen him before -- well-groomed in a black tux, nursing a drink but looking very sober, lost in thought.

In a moment, he is gone and we catch a short view of the partying mob behind him as we PAN OVER to the two bartenders, wiping their glasses nearby.

I'll be glad when this thing's over.

You're telling me? These holidays are dynamite.

They hear the sound of glasses shattering.

Hey! Look out for them glasses with your elbow!

I never touched any glasses.

Confused, the bartenders turn in the direction of the noise. We hear Dan and Joan's theme as we PUSH FORWARD and between the bartenders to discover the stems of two broken glasses crossed on the countertop, dancing couples visible in the background.

After a moment, the broken glass vanishes, ghost-like, into nothingness.



The Siren wishes everyone a gloriously romantic New Year.


Mike Phillips said...

Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful film. I can't believe I didn't immediately think of that fadeout when I was trying to pick a New Year's Eve film. We were going to watch "Holiday" tonight, but I think plans have changed!

Kenji Fujishima said...

Happy new year to you too, Siren! Oh, and (a bit off topic) thanks to Ernst Lubitsch's Cluny Brown—which I saw last night, and which was my first Lubitsch film ever)—I'm feeling in more of a gloriously romantic mood for the new year than ever!

The Siren said...

mPhillips, I am completely crazy about One Way Passage, dear Kay's own favorite of her films, which demonstrates her taste.

Kenji, have a great time today! And Cluny Brown is indeed fabulously romantic. May you find your place in the coming year. :)

DavidEhrenstein said...

Siren, I'm sure I must have mentioned Carol Burnett's wonderful parody/hommage to this: One Way Ticket starring herself, James Coco and Vickie Lawrence as "Dr. Ouspenskaya" who tells her "You're dying of the movie disease," and only has a few hours to live. Told she's losing all sense of touch she scoffs. So "Dr. Ouspenskaya" hands he a hairbrush and asks her to identify it without looking. "Why it's a book!" Then after looking, "Oh it's that cunning new invention you see -- it's a book AND a hairbrush!"

Vanwall said...

I suggested this online to a local film critic for tonite. Don't know if the idea stuck or not. Happy New Year, O Siren!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Please have a happy and fulfilling new year, dear friend, you and your whole family. Hope to see you soon!

Arthur S. said...

The clock struck midnight here twenty minutes ago, Happy New Year to everyone!

VP81955 said...

Your first Lubitsch, kenjfuj? You have so many more to savor: "The Love Parade"..."The Smiling Lieutenant"..."Design For Living"..."Ninotchka"..."The Shop Around The Corner"..."To Be Or Not To Be"...and so many more.

Oh, and while "One-Way Passage" isn't Lubitsch, it's a marvelous movie, and proves that William Powell was a wonderful actor long before he headed to MGM or met Myrna.

Beth Ann Gallagher said...

I haven't watched many Kay Francis vehicles yet, but that film has now gone on my list for New Year's Eve watching next year. Thanks for the recommendation!

Tonight's plan is to start the Fanny trilogy and enjoy finger food like shrimp cocktail.

Hope you have a lovely night!

Peter Nellhaus said...

Since I currently work swing shift, I closed out my 2010 film viewing with Loretta Young in Midnight Mary, while having breakfast.

What film is your current banner from?

Happy New Year to you and Jad!

Uncle Gustav said...

Happy New Year, dollface!

Vulnavia Morbius said...

Happy New Year! Your blog has been one of my happiest discoveries this year. Here's hoping that 2011 brings you nothing but happiness. Now I need to hunt down a copy of One Way Passage, which I haven't seen.

gmoke said...

Not a movie but transcendent music.

As little pain as possible and as much beauty as you can be grateful for and appreciate.

Also, bah humbug.

Trish said...

A happy new year to all and best wishes for 2011!

Karen said...

Oh, that fadeout is a killer! What a great New Year's Eve companion...

I ushered in 2011 with The World of Henry Orient, a favorite since I first saw it at around age eight. Such a magical lost Manhattan!

Happy New Year to you, O Hostess, and to all the Sirenistas who fill my days with such pleasure!

hamletta said...

kenjfuj and Miss Beth G., I hope I have as happy a new year as you're going to have, discovering Lubitsch and Our Dear Kay Fwancis!

I am reminded of a dear friend who avoided reading his last Jane Austen, because he'd never again be able to read one of her novels for the first time.

David E., I need to get my hands on those old Carol Burnett Shows. I watched her religiously every week, but I was a kid, so all the old movie references sailed right over my head.

The first time I saw Sunset Boulevard, it dawned on me what Carol and Harvey were up to in that sketch I'd seen when I was 9.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Happy New Year Everyone!

The Siren said...

Peter, it's The Razor's Edge! I just thought it was so beautiful and sort of New Year's Eve-ish, although I don't think it's a NY party in the movie.

Beth Ann Gallagher said...

Thank you, hamletta!

I may be like your friend in regards to E.M. Forster. I first started to read his novels as quickly as I could, and now I've been pacing myself with his remaining books.