Addendum to "WHY I LOVE MOVIES"...

A couple of days ago I posted an entry entitled "Just one reason WHY I LOVE MOVIES." I also posted a link to a clip from the classic Steve McQueen film The Thomas Crown Affair. In the scene, McQueen's character, the mastermind behind a bank robbery, plays a sexy game of chess with Faye Dunaway's character, an insurance investigator hot on McQueen's trail. The scene has virtually no dialogue; it's just two great actors, great cinematography, great editing, and a wonderful score. My reasons for posting the clip were twofold: 1) I love this movie (this scene in particular), and I'm a huge Steve McQueen fan; and 2) I wanted to show how you don't always need a whole lot of dialogue to get your point across. (McQueen was famous for cutting his dialogue to the bare essentials.) A few of you wanted to know what the scene looked liked on paper. Well, here it is (excuse the formatting)...

The play begins, chess with sex. She excels at both. Good as Crown is, the combination is formidable. Crown has the white men, she has the black. Crown soon has trouble concentrating. Presently, he is in trouble on the board. She is glowing, and he’s much too conscious of her. She doesn’t touch him, but she has him conscious of every mover her body makes. He watches her hands, her arms, her shoulders, and, of course, her chess men as well. It gets harder and harder to concentrate. Respect for the performance begins to grow, he struggles to concentrate. Then he realizes it is hopeless. Methodically he reviews the board, looking for an escape. The black queen dominates the board, blocking his every move... Moodily, Crown stares at the board.

CROWN: Let’s play another game.

He seizes her, first gently, then holding her hard. He pulls her roughly toward him. Chess men scatter all over the floor...

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By posting the above screenplay excerpt, I’m showing how you don’t need to include every twist, turn, and infinitesimal move that takes place within the scene (aka overwriting). Just give us the basics; just get your point across in an entertaining, succinct manner, and let the reader—and the filmmakers—use their imagination and talent to fill in the rest.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) Written by Alan Trustman

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