Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Case Study No. 0577: Bertha Anderson

"You're not Rosebud, are you?"
I guess not.
Tags: movie librarians
Added: 3 years ago
From: hfireandbstone
Views: 575

[inside the library, Jerry is being lectured by the elderly female librarian sitting behind the desk]
BERTHA ANDERSON: The directors of the Thatcher Memorial Library have asked me to remind you again, Mister Thompson, of the conditions under which you may inspect certain portions of Mister Thatcher's unpublished memoirs.
JERRY THOMPSON: I remember--
[she ignores him and speaks into her phone]
BERTHA ANDERSON: Yes, Jennings. I'll bring him right in.
[she hangs up the phone]
JERRY THOMPSON: All I want to know is--
BERTHA ANDERSON: Under no circumstances are direct quotations from his manuscript to be used by you.
JERRY THOMPSON: Well, that's all right. I'm just looking for one--
BERTHA ANDERSON: You may come with me.
[she gets up and walks towards a large metal door, and Thompson quickly follows, as she opens the door to reveal a large empty room (save for a table and the security guard holding a book)]
[he puts the book down on the table]
BERTHA ANDERSON: Thank you, Jennings.
[he tips his hat to her]
JENNINGS: Miss Anderson ...
[he turns and heads towards the far wall, to close the vault which contained the book]
BERTHA ANDERSON: Mister Thompson, you will be required to leave this room at four-thirty promptly. You will confine yourself, it is our understanding, to the chapters in Mister Thatcher's manuscript regarding Mister Kane.
[she turns and heads towards the door]
JERRY THOMPSON: That's all I'm interested in.
[she turns back and gives him a stern look]
JERRY THOMPSON: Thank you ...
[he sits down]
BERTHA ANDERSON: Pages eighty-three to one-forty-two ...
[she turns and closes the metal door behind her]




Welles, Orson (Director). Citizen Kane. United States: RKO Radio Pictures, 1941.

Starring: Georgia Backus (Bertha Anderson, Librarian); Orson Welles (Charles Foster Kane); William Alland (Jerry Thompson, Reporter)

It would be easy to say that Miss Anderson, librarian at the Walter Parks Thatcher Library in Philadelphia, is severe both in appearance and mannerisms, but then so are most of the characters in this classic film so it can hardly count against her. She does seem preoccupied with rattling off library rules for the benefit of the reporter there to read Thatcher's private diary (an oxymoron, no?), and he does unsuccessfully try to interrupt her. Note the presence of the security guard, and a raft-sized portrait of Thatcher dominating the reading room. Notable quote: Reporter to Miss Anderson: "You're not Rosebud, are you?" Librarian: "What!!" (Of course she's not. A sled would be nicer to cuddle up with. My bad.) If you've missed this film because you've lived under a rock all your life, go out and rent it. An amazing piece of work, especially if you're interested in theatrical lighting. (Isn't everybody?)



The Memoirs of Walter Parks Thatcher, Kane's Legal Guardian and Bank Manager:

With a stale, flat sounding note (emphasizing the headwaiter's previous comment), the camera shoots up at a statue of the late Walter Parks Thatcher, a J. P. Morgan-like figure and Kane's Wall Street financier and guardian. [This second scene, like the one just before it, is introduced by a representation or image of the character - previously a flimsy billboard of Susan, now a solid marble statue of Thatcher.] The statue's base is inscribed with the words:


The camera pans down the statue and 'wipes' into the austere Walter Parks Thatcher Memorial Library in Philadelphia, where Thompson visits. [The statue is, in fact, only a drawing. From there, the camera invisibly 'wipes' into the next image - the set of the library.]

At a desk, a mannish, stern and severe-looking librarian instructs him about the restricted use of Thatcher's unpublished memoirs. The sound of Thompson's footsteps echo through the marble halls of the mausoleum-like building as he is led to one of the reading room vaults (resembling a bank vault). Shafts of dusty sunlight pierce the room, as in the earlier projection room. A guard removes one of the revered volumes - a diary - and bears it in his arms toward Thompson. There, sitting at a long table, Thompson is confined to inspecting pp. 83-142, the pertinent parts of Thatcher's manuscripts-diaries-journals. He is also told that he must leave at 4:40 pm sharp. The door closes shut on the face of the subjective camera (imprisoning it and Thompson himself). Then a dissolve moves beyond the door and moves to peer over Thompson's shoulder at the pages of the book.



It's four-thirty. Isn't it, Jennings?

Yes, ma'am.

You have enjoyed a very rare privilege, young man. Did you find what you were looking for?

No. You're not Rosebud, are you?


Rosebud. And your name is Jennings, isn't it?


Goodbye, everybody! Thanks for the use of the hall.

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