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- The Film Mystery - 6/51 -


portieres. As it pauses there the portieres move and the fingers of a girl are seen on the edge of the silk. A bare and beautiful arm is thrust through the portieres almost to the shoulder, and it begins to move the portieres aside, reaching upward to pull the curtains apart at the rings.

SCENE 2

LOCATION.--Remsen library. Close foreground of portieres.

ACTION.--Our heroine parts the portieres and stands revealed in the spotlight's glare. She is in dinner gown and about her throat is a peculiar locket of flashing jewels. She cries out and backs away, closing the portieres. The spotlight retreats from the curtains, leaving them dark.

SCENE 3

LOCATION.--Hallway, Remsen house. Close foreground of portieres leading to library. This hallway is lighted.

ACTION.--The girl holding the portieres shut screams for help.

SCENE 4

LOCATION.--Foot of stairway, Remsen house.

ACTION.--The butler and maid are discovered talking. They hear the girl's scream and start running.

SCENE 5

LOCATION.--Hallway, Remsen house. Close foreground of portieres.

ACTION.--The girl hears help coming and glances off to indicate that she sees the butler and the maid. She continues to cling to the closed curtains.

SCENE 6

LOCATION.--Remsen library. Full shot.

ACTION.--The unknown drops the spotlight to the floor and we first see his legs crossing the rays of light on the floor. Then the spotlight rolls, revealing the body of an elderly man of the American millionaire type, lying crumpled against the table. Finally it rolls a little farther and stops, directing its rays into the fireplace.

SCENE 7

LOCATION.--Remsen hallway, outside library.

ACTION.--The girl indicates determined resolve. She throws apart the portieres with a quick motion of her arms and dashes inside. The portieres close after her. The butler and maid come on running and looking about.

SCENE 8

LOCATION.--Remsen library. Full shot.

ACTION.--The spotlight is showing into the fireplace when the girl crosses quickly into its rays. She stoops into the light, revealing her face and picking up the spotlight. She flashes it about the room, pausing as it strikes the French windows and reveals the murderer making his escape out on a balcony which is revealed in the background. When the rays of light reach the murderer he deliberately turns.

SCENE 9

LOCATION.--Remsen library. Close foreground of French windows.

ACTION.--The intruder, now in the close foreground, pauses as he is about to shut the window and blinks deliberately into the rays of light, then laughs and closes the French windows.

SCENE 10

LOCATION.--Hallway, Remsen home. Close foreground of portieres to library.

ACTION.--The butler and maid look around hopelessly. A young man, the exact counterpart of the man who in the previous scene looked into the spotlight at the French windows, comes up to the butler and demands to know what has happened. The butler explains hurriedly that he heard his mistress cry out for help. The young man steps to the portieres and pauses.

SCENE 11

LOCATION.--Remsen library. Full shot.

ACTION.--The girl, using the spotlight, flashes it about the room and down on the floor, seeing for the first time the body of the American millionaire.

SCENE 12

LOCATION.--Exterior Remsen house. Night tint.

ACTION.--The murderer scrambles down a column from the upper porch and leaps to the ground, darting across the lawn out of the picture.

SCENE 13

LOCATION.--Remsen library. Full shot.

ACTION.--The spotlight on the floor reveals the girl sobbing over the body of the millionaire and trying to revive him. She screams and cries out. The portieres are parted and from the lighted hallway we see the young man, the butler, and the maid, who enter. The young man switches on the lights and the room is revealed. The three cry out in horror. The young man, glancing about, leaps toward the partly opened French windows, drawing a revolver. As the girl sees him she screams again and denotes terror.

Finishing the thirteenth scene, Kennedy closed the covers and handed the script to me. Then he confronted Manton once more.

"What became of the locket about the girl's neck? In the manuscript Miss Lamar is supposed to have a peculiar pendant at her throat. There was none."

"Oh yes!" The promoter remained a moment in thought. "The doctor took it off and gave it to Bernie, the prop. boy, who's helping the electrician."

"Is he outside?"

"Yes."

"Now try to remember, Mr. Manton." Kennedy leaned over very seriously. "Just who approached closely to Miss Lamar in the making of that thirteenth scene? Who was near enough to have inflicted a wound, or to have subjected her, suppose we say, to the fumes of some subtle poison?"

"You think that--" Manton started to question Kennedy, but was given no encouragement. "Gordon, the leading man, passed through the scene," he replied, after a pause, "but did not go very near her. Werner was playing the dead millionaire at her feet."

"Who is Werner?"

"He's my director. Because it was such a small part, he played it himself. He's only in the two or three scenes in the beginning and I was here to be at the camera."

While Kennedy was questioning Manton I had been glancing through the script of the picture. My own connection with the movies had consisted largely of three attempts to sell stories of my own to the producers. Needless to remark I had not succeeded, in that regard falling in the class with some hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens. For everybody thinks he has at least one motion picture in him. And so, though I had managed to visit studios and meet a few of the players, this was my very first shot at a manuscript actually in production. I took advantage of Kennedy's momentary preoccupation to turn to Manton.

"Who wrote this script, Mr. Manton?" I asked.

"Millard! Lawrence Millard."

"Millard?" Kennedy and I exclaimed, simultaneously.

"Why, yes! Millard is still under contract and he's the only man who ever could write scripts for Stella. We--we tried others and they all flivved."

"Is Millard here?"

Manton burst into laughter, somehow out of place in the room where we still were in the company of death. "An author on the lot at the filming of his picture, to bother the director and to change everything? Out! When the scenario's done he's through. He's lucky to get his name on the screen. It's not the story but the direction which counts, except that you've got to have a good idea to start with, and a halfway decent script to make your lay- outs from. Anyhow--" He sobered a bit, perhaps realizing that he was going counter to the tendency to have the author on the lot. "Millard and Stella weren't on speaking terms. She divorced him, you know."

"Do you know much about the personal affairs of Miss Lamar?"

"Well"--Manton's eyes sought the floor for a moment--"Like everyone else in pictures, Stella was the victim of a great deal of gossip. That's the experience of any girl who rises to a position of prominence and--"

"How were the relations between Miss Lamar and yourself?" interrupted Kennedy.

"What do you mean by that?" Manton flushed quickly.

"You have had no trouble, no disagreements recently?"


The Film Mystery - 6/51

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