Saturday October 03, 2009
Anatomy of a Scene: Leo and Freddie have coffee in Force of Evil (1948)
From Force of Evil (1948), written and directed by Abraham Polonsky, who was soon to be blacklisted. I like the repetitions in the dialogue, and the way simple language conveys the most profound thoughts. Thomas Gomez plays Leo Morse. This scene alone makes me want to hold a Thomas Gomez film festival.
Leo: I'm glad you called me, Freddie. I'm glad you thought it over to listen to me. To calm down and listen to me so I can help you. [To waiter] Coffee. [To Freddie] I know how bad you feel, Freddie. It was a wicked, foolish thing to do to put a gun in my brother's hand. For him to kill you. That's what you wanted to do. That's what it was. I know how it feels to try to find someone to kill you—to finish you off—to take the crimes of your life on his head, in his hands.
Freddie: Please, Mr. Morse, all I want is to quit. That's all, nothing else. They won't let me quit and I want to quit. I'll die if I don't quit.
Leo: I'm a man with heart trouble, I die almost every day myself. That's the way I live. Silly habit. You know, sometimes you feel as though you're dying here [rubs palm]...and here [back of hand]...here [below his heart]. You're dying while you're breathing.
[Car pulls up; Freddie looks panicked; Leo looks over his shoulder and quickly realizes he's been betrayed.]
Leo: Freddie! What have you done? Freddie! What have you done to me!