Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Case Study No. 1621: Susan Harper

Twisted Nerve whistling scene (better quality)
Hywel Bennett, Hayley Mills, Roy Boulting, Bernard Hermann, Kill Bill, film, 1968
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Added: 6 years ago
From: titanb15
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[scene opens with "Georgie" sitting in a cab across the street from Susan Harper's home, when she exits and starts walking down the street with another man, so he gets out of the cab and hands the driver some money]
GEORGIE: Okay, all yours.
[he starts following them from a safe distance, as Susan (unaware of his presence) talks to her companion]
SUSAN: Yes, you're right. Have you got the time?
[the man looks at his watch]
MAN: Yes, ten past nine.
[the two walk off camera, as the shot remains focused on Georgie]
SUSAN: [from off camera] Oh goodness, I am late.
[Georgie begins whistling a cheerful tune, as he walks past a man in a phone booth]
MAN IN PHONE BOOTH: Here, got any change, mate?
[Georgie, without acknowledging the man, continues whistling and walks right past him]
MAN IN PHONE BOOTH: And the best of British luck to you, too!
[he continues following the pair, when Susan heads for the public library while the man gets on a bus]
MAN: See you, bye!
SUSAN: Yeah, see you this evening!
[she enters the library, where Georgie stops whistling and soon follows her inside]


From earthlink.net:


Boulting, Roy (Director). Twisted Nerve. United Kingdom: Charter Film Productions, 1968.

Starring: Hayley Mills (Susan Harper, Library Assistant); Timothy Bateson (Mr. Groom, Librarian); Hywel Bennett (Martin Dumley/Georgie Clifford)

Based on the Short Story by Roger Marshall (a prolific British screenwriter).

Hayley Mills in the bloom of youth plays Susan Harper, who works in a public library while earning a teaching degree. She is bouncy, enthusiastic and polite, and reacts with kindness to a young man she believes to be mentally impaired. "Georgie" is really Martin Dumley (Hywel Bennett), the son of a well-to-do but flawed family, and he finds the deception to be an effective way to get close to Susan. He enacts an elaborate plan to become a boarder in her family's lovely home, and the audience soon recognizes a psychopath when they see one. There are several library scenes where Susan does reader advisory for "Georgie" and some over-sexed little boys. Her supervisor is Mr. Groom (Timothy Bateson), an older man, short, eyeglasses, wearing a suit. He is gruff and indignant when Susan indulges the pretender, and "Georgie" reverts to his real self when Susan isn't around, calling the man Rat Face and telling him to "get stuffed." This is a psychologically creepy film, hard to find in the States where it met with controversy for linking Down's Syndrome with violent behaviors.


From google.com:

Hayley Mills, who achieved success as a child actor, stars as librarian Susan Harper in "Twisted Nerve" (1968), a British production released in the United States in early 1969. The film contains two library scenes in which Harper and Mr. Groom (Timothy Bateson), the library supervisor, appear. The focus of the film, however, is Martin Durnley (Hywel Bennett), a young man with a psychopathic personality who cleverly assumes a second identity (Georgie Clifford) who is supposedly mentally retarded but capable of functioning in society. Susan and Georgie meet when they are detained for shoplifting by department store officials who erroneously believe they are a team. Susan volunteers to pay for the iem that Georgie attempted to steal and they are released. Georgie becomes infatuated with Susan and follows her to the library the next day.

As the first library scene opens, Susan (whose youth and attractiveness is emphasized by miniskirts, is on a tall ladder retrieving a book for two young boys who enjoy ogling her legs:

SUSAN: Here we are, how about this?
BOY 1: "The Tower of London?" Get off, that's history, isn't it?
SUSAN: Well, that's bloodthirsty enough, even for you, Johnny.
BOY 2: Any girls in it?
SUSAN: Well, there's Lady Jayne Grey. She gets the chopper!
BOY 2: I'd rather have Lady Chatterly!
SUSAN: Hmm, I bet you would. But you take this, you'll like it, I promise you ... Here you are!
BOY 1: Thanks, see ya!
BOY 2: Goodbye, doll!

As she stamps the book for the boys, Georgie enters; he states that he came to reply her for yesterday.

SUSAN: What's this for?
GEORGIE: The duck!
SUSAN: But I told you, that was a present!
GEORGIE: A present for you!
SUSAN: For me? Oh, thank you, Georgie! Thank you very much. But how did you find me?
GEORGIE: Followed you.
SUSAN: Where from?
GEORGIE: Your home!
SUSAN: But if you were there, why didn't I see you?
GEORGIE: There was a black man with you!
SUSAN: Oh, Shashie! He's a "PG" ... A paying guest, he lives with us.
GEORGIE: Did he take you to the cinema?
SUSAN: He hasn't yet. He might.
GEORGIE: Georgie could take you.
SUSAN: Oh, well ... that's very sweet of you, Georgie, but I can't. Honestly, I have to work at night.
SUSAN: At home. For my exams. I want to be a teacher, Georgie.

As they talk, he pulls the front of his shirt apart, and Susan approaches him and begins straightening the shirt and buttoning it for him. Mr. Groom is disturbed by the actions of the pair. He grabs several books and takes them to Susan, remarking, "Take these, Miss Harper. Look, I don't know whether you're dressing or undressing your friend, but I do wish you wouldn't do it in the public library." Georgie then asks for a book about animals and she gets "The Jungle Book." He does not have a card, but Susan agrees to put it on her card so that he can take the book.

In the film's second library scene, Groom is turning out the lights in the rear of the library and Georgie is reading a book while leaning against a book stack near Susan's desk. Returning to the front of the library, Groom informs Georgies that the library has been closed for the last ten minutes. "I know," Georgie responds. Groom, seeing that Georgie is not moving toward the door, replies, "Well then?" Georgie simply retorts, "Rat face," and Groom (as if he did not understand or hear the comment) quizzes, "What was that?" Georgie, not in an accommodating mood, replies, "Get lost." Susan enters the scene at this point, saying, "Good night, Mr. Groom." As she and Georgie leave, Susan states, "I think he's taking a liking to you."

As they walk out of the library, a young man in a convertible sports car picks up Susan, leaving Georgie standing alone on the sidewalk. Groom soon exits the library and remarks, "What did I understand you to say to me in there?" The young man, again revealing his antagonism toward Groom, answers, "I said get stuffed." Groom is taken aback by the statement, and Georgie walks away.

The dichotomy between Susan, a young attractive blonde (ponytail), and Groom, the stereotypical image - "only 38," eyeglasses, and dark suit - is most often displayed by two women. The visual contrast between Susan and Mr. Groom demonstrates that the beauty of a young starlet is considerably enhanced when a male librarian, rather than a female librarian, assumes the role of the stereotype. Susan's occupation is not an integral part of the story line of this film.

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