BU Film School

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

FT 540 Reading: Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Screenplay info
Written by: Penelope Gilliatt
Film info: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0067805

Dr. Daniel Hirsh with hyponchondriac male patient. Daniel gets a call during the appointment. He tells the caller, "Try and stay in for a few minutes, will you?" After the patient leaves, Daniel calls his answering service. One of the messages is from Mr. Elkin, who said he was going out straight away. Daniel: "Look, I do know it might be somebody else ringing him." He upbraids the answering service for getting names wrong.

The phone rings in Bob's flat, but it's empty. Daniel imagines that Bob's there but not picking up.

Alex calls Bob, but no answer. She bursts off the bed and calls the answering service, leaving a message for Bob saying she's running late but is on her way. Flashback: at the Hodsons' house with Alva, who's making sure she's OK being there with Bob and all the kids for the weekend. Alva and Bill think Alex and Bob should marry, have kids of their own.

Alex calls the Hodsons from a pub and gets Lucy (know-it-all brat). Even though it's late, she's mysteriously stalled. Alex finally gets to the Hodsons. Alva, Bill, and their friend (a professor) drive off.

Night. Lucy takes care of the baby when it cries. Alex and Bob eat out of fridge. Bob: "She's sort of a C.I.A. agent for happy families." Alex remarks that they're certainly not her guinea pigs (are we?). The baby cries. Alex goes to take care of it, but Lucy gets there first.

Daniel plays Cosi fan tutte (recurring theme), and looks at Bob's sculpture in his garden.

Breakfast in the Hodsons' bedroom. The kids smoke pot, despite Alex's admonishing them.

Alex decides to leave her job. "I'm fed up with grooming people to be thrusters."

Bob tells Alex he needs to go out for a bit. She snipes at him a little bit (starts with D). He goes, she's left stricken.

Daniel is with a woman patient. She can't stand her husband, but doesn't want to leave him (says it'd kill him). As she leaves, Bob comes in. They kiss. Bob looks at his sculpture, and wonders if he could do it on a much larger scale. It'd mean his going to America, but Bob reassures Daniel it wouldn't be for long. A child's mother calls. She complains that her child doesn't like the pills Daniel prescribed, and still has a fever. Daniel, trying to keep his temper, tells her that he prescribed the pills for the fever. (Both Daniel and Alex are frustrated with their jobs.)

Alex cries and eats fudge. Lucy: "Has Bob walked out on you? I expect that's why you're overeating."

Bob and Daniel look at a book of Italian photographs. Bob: "Bludgeoned into feeling something. I can't see being a fanatic, are you?" They talk about a trip to Italy at the end of the month. They make love.

Fuses blow at the Hodsons'. Bob, back, works on them. There's tension between him and Alex because of Daniel. Bob: "Don't go on at me like some possessive wife." Alex: "Perhaps you shouldn't spread yourself so thin." The fuses are fixed. Bob takes a shower. Alex apologizes, and they embrace.

Daniel drives. A Scotsman (former lover) raps on his window. Daniel refuses to acknowledge him, so the Scotsman hits the car window harder, hurting his hand. Daniel tells an approaching cop that the Scotsman is his patient. He is not taking him back to his place, but will stop at a drugstore, then drop him at home. Daniel writes a prescription, but gets into an argument with the drugstore clerk. When he gets out of the store, he finds that the Scotsman has pinched his instrument case.

Bob, Alex, the kids and the dog take a stroll. After a while, Lucy (perhaps jealous of the other kids, who are getting swung around by Bob), abandons the pram and runs with the dog. Alex says for them to race to the next lamppost. Instead, they run across the street, and the dog is killed by a lorry.

Bob and the kids play a drawing game in the kitchen. The scene is intercut with shots from Alex's flashback (and some fantasy) of herself as a child, running after her father with a forgotten gas mask. The screenplay notes that "His [Bob's] memory is shorter than hers and he can always find exits."

The Hodson adults are back. Bob is upstairs with his mates, working on a harmonograph. Alex and Bob drive back. Alex: "This weekend alone together -- we've never seen less of one another." She assumes they're going back to her place, but Bob says to let him out instead.

Alex is at her parents for Monday dinner. Her father is totally absorbed with his financial work (commodities, stock prices, etc.). Alex notes to her mom that she wishes they wouldn't have her ex-husband to dinner. She complains about her father. Her mother protects him and says that maybe Alex is complaining about someone of her own. Mother: "There is no whole thing. One has to make it work."

Alex calls her answering service, and says she's in only if Bob calls. The answering service asks if she'd tried him at another number. Alex says she knows the number, it's a doctor's. The answering service confirms that, and says it's Daniel's -- adding that he also uses the answering service.

Wednesday, Alex and Bob talk. He can't see her that night or tomorrow. She imagines them talking in bed.

Alex is talking to a businessman who'd invented an engineering degree, and lost a job opportunity because of that. He hectors her. They share a drink at her desk. He proposes dinner.

Daniel has a party. Bob and others are there.

Alex and the businessman are in bed.

Horrible guests arrive at Daniel's. The wife screams at the husband, accusing him of thinking about another woman (which was why he drove the wrong way). Daniel tries to intervene but is told to butt out. Bob, disgusted by their behavior, leaves. Daniel throws everybody out.

Bob goes to Alex, finds the businessman there. Alex, amused, introduces them. Bob is miffed. They make love. The next morning, they talk about the businessman. Bob says he doesn't mind: "We're free to do what we want." Alex: "Other people often do what they don't want to do at all."

Daniel is at the Italian state tourist office, planning his itinerary.

Bob goes to a doctor at the airport and gets a smallpox injection. He tells the TWA doctor that he might be going to the U.S.

Daniel is at a restaurant. Bob calls him and says he's ill. Daniel, at Bob's, examines him. Bob tells him about the smallpox shot, which Daniel immediately realizes means a trip to the U.S. Daniel: "I always knew Italy was a fiction." Bob says that the Italy trip could still happen, and that he wouldn't be away that long. "I couldn't ever just piss off, you see." Daniel knows that, to the contrary, that's exactly what Bob is doing, even though Bob tries to leave Daniel the responsibility of saying whether to go to the U.S. or not.

Daniel at bar mitzvah. He says, in response to an inquisitive relative, that he hasn't found the right person.

Bob tells Alex about his U.S. trip. He says he doesn't want to lose Alex, that maybe he should move in. It's no longer enough or her: "There are times when nothing has to be better than anything." As he takes a call, she says (knowing he can't hear her) that she loves him, and that she doesn't want him to go.

Bob at Daniel's. Daniel: "The truth is I don't want to lose you."

Sunday. Bob leaves Daniel's key on the table, and slips out without saying goodbye. He leaves a message with the answering service for Daniel and Alex. He dumps rubbish right outside his front door, despite a neighbor upbraiding him.

Alex drives up to the Hodsons. Daniel is inside. He says he's going to Italy, and that Bob probably won't be going. Bill, misunderstanding, says that he and Alva should be better about taking separate trips. Alva, more perceptive, says that she's sorry. Daniel comes out. He and Alex, each knowing who the other is, talk awkwardly. Both had gotten the message from the answering service. He leaves.

Alex finds an envelope under her door with a key, and a note from Bob asking her to look after his toucan.

Daniel practices Italian. Talking as if he were a patient in someone's office, he says that he's happy apart from missing Bob. He knows that Bob wasn't the right person, "But something. We were something."

My notes
-- "love" triangle, if you can call it that
-- parallel Alex/Bob, her parents
-- none of three are overly sympathetic characters
-- answering service a barrier to direct communication
-- atmosphere of uncertainty -- economy not doing well


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