Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Case Study No. 0435: Charles Halloway

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Fascinating library confrontation sequence from SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983). Starring Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce, directed by Jack Clayton based on a novel by Ray Bradbury and featuring music by James Horner.
Tags: james horner jack clayton ray bradbury jason robards jonathan pryce
Added: 3 years ago
From: Loki1982axala
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[Charles Halloway is sitting in the library, breathing heavily, when he suddenly senses a "presence" and takes off his glasses]
CHARLES: "By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes."
[camera pans up to reveal Mr. Dark standing behind him, reading a book]
MR. DARK: "Then rang the bells, both loud and deep. God is not dead, nor doth he sleep."
CHARLES: "The wrong will fail, the right prevail. With peace on Earth, goodwill to men."
MR. DARK: It's a thousand years to Christmas, Mister Halloway ...
[he slams the book on Charles' table]
CHARLES: You're wrong. It's here, in this library tonight, and can't be spoiled.
MR. DARK: Did Will and Jim bring it with them on the soles of their shoes? Then we shall have to scrape them.
[he turns and starts walking around the library, calling out to the boys]
MR. DARK: Will? Jim? Free rides on the merry-go-round!
[camera shows Will and Jim hiding on one of the top shelves]
MR. DARK: How would you like to be king of the carnival, Jim? The ruler of the rides? How would you like to be grown up, Jim? How would that feel, huh? Not to be looked down at, not to be told to run away and play. To be trusted, to be feared. To know what grownups do behind locked doors when children are asleep.
[he continues pacing around the library, as the children stare at him from above]
MR. DARK: Come out to me, Jim. I'm the father you've been waiting for ... My son.
[Charles gets up from his chair]
CHARLES: I know who you are. You are the Autumn People. Where do you come from? The dust. Where do you go to? The grave.
MR. DARK: Oh yes, we are the Hungry Ones. Your torments call us like dogs in the night. And we do feed, and feed well.
CHARLES: To stuff yourselves on other people's nightmares.
MR. DARK: And butter our plain bread with delicious pain. So, you do understand a little.
CHARLES: You are known in this town. My father knew you.
MR. DARK: Your father, the preacher? That half-man?
CHARLES: He lived on goodness.
MR. DARK: Tasteless fare. Funerals, bad marriages, lost loves, lonely beds. That is our diet. We suck that misery and find it sweet. We search for more, always. We can smell young boys ulcerating to be men a thousand miles off, and hear a middle-aged fool like you groaning with midnight despairs from halfway around the world.
[he grabs the book out of Charles' hands]
MR. DARK: Your books cannot hurt me, old man ... Yes, old. Because your heart is old. Listen to it. You tell me where the boys are hiding, and I can make you young again. I could turn your years back for you. Let's say, thirty?
[he begins pulling at one of the pages in the book]
MR. DARK: Now speak, or you've missed it. Going ...
[he rips the page out of the book]
MR. DARK: It's gone! Thirty one?
[he rips another page out]
MR. DARK: Thirty two? Thirty two? Year of a man's prime? Loved by many women, you might still learn to swim! Thirty two, going ...
[he rips another page out]
MR. DARK: Gone!
[he continues ripping out pages, as they magically glow then die out once they hit the floor]
MR. DARK: Thirty three? Thirty four? Thirty five? Thirty five? Oh, thirty five! Time to father a family, build a fortune. Thirty five, a year when you could run up the stairs without panting for breath. Thirty five ...
[he rips another page out]
MR. DARK: Gone! Thirty six? Thirty seven? Where are they? Thirty eight? Hear your heart, hear my count. Thirty nine? Now, thirty nine, a fine year! Still young! Thirty nine ...
[he rips another page out]
MR. DARK: Gone! Oh, ooh! Forty! Forty and here you're old! Old heart!
WILL: [off-camera] Dad, no! Don't listen!
MR. DARK: And is that the voice of green grass and sunshine? Sweet Eden's child, the innocent young Will?
[he continues ripping pages out of the book]
MR. DARK: Forty two? Forty three? Forty four? Forty five? Forty six, forty seven, forty eight, forty nine, fifty! Fifty two! You're lost!
[he throws the book at Charles, who catches it in the chest and collapses to the floor]
MR. DARK: You fool ...
CHARLES: [gasping for air] Damn you!
MR. DARK: [grabs him by the hand] A taste of death? So you will know it when it comes again ... soon.
CHARLES: [cries out in pain as his hand becomes weak and skeletal]
[Mr. Dark lets go as Charles passes out, then pushes a bunch of books off of a nearby table and onto his prone body]


From earthlink.net:


Clayton, Jack (Director). Something Wicked This Way Comes. United States: Walt Disney Pictures, 1983.

Starring: Jason Robards (Charles Halloway); Vidal Peterson (Will Halloway)

Based on the Novel: Bradbury, Ray. Something Wicked This Way Comes. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1962.

The film presents Charles Halloway as a librarian. We meet him well dressed, cradling an armful of books (he even shelves one, in case we have any doubts), and recommending adventure books to the boys. Later he does reference work to learn about the "traveling people." Bradbury's novel, however, makes it clear he's the library janitor (there are two lady librarians). In either case his character provides an exercise in contrasts, an old, meek man who must act the hero to save his son. Guess when Bradbury authored the script, he decided an old, meek librarian was easier to credit than an old, meek janitor. (By the way, the library is gorgeous.) The quiet pursuit of the boys in the stacks after hours is much spookier than the normal frantic chase scenes in other films. Most painful scene: Mr. Dark ripping the pages out of an old book one by one.


From google.com:

In Walt Disney Pictures' 1983 release "Something Wicked This Way Comes," Jason Robards portrays Ray Bradbury's librarian Charles Halloway in a captivating manner. Charles is not only the stereotypical image (elderly, eyeglasses, gray hair and balding, and a conservative dresser) but also a very caring, humane individual who must battle Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) and his Pandemonium Carnival, the Autumn people, to save his young son.

The film centers on the attempts of Charles' 12-year-old son Will (Vidal Peterson) and his friend Jim Nightshade (Shawn Carson), to elude the evil Mr. Dark. Charles is librarian of the Green Town Public Library, which features two lions (very small) in front of its entrance, a concept undoubtedly borrowed from the New York Public Library. A library of its size - multiple floor levels and spiral stairs - is unbelievable for a city like Green Town in the 1930s. The size of the library is quote apropos, however, for the suspenseful action that occurs late in the film when Mr. Dark confronts Charles in the library and offers him the opportunity to be young again. Charles refuses and is disabled by Mr. Dark's supernatural powers. Mr. Dark then begins searching for Will and Jim, who are hiding in the shelves among the books.

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