Tommy Overture 2: Vacancy at The Morrison Hotel
(the showgirls get their own separate post!) The blossoms of Borrowdale and Lodore Falls melt into a resplendent chandelier and the image of Nora in a light periwinkle ball gown and Captain Walker slow dancing; deeply and sensuously in love. At first they to seem to be in a glittering ballroom but when the phone rings the camera pulls back and we see the Ken's first diorama.
Diorama One: What looked like the London Palladium is actually the bedroom of the Walker home prepared for any potential bombing. Furniture piled up and drop clothed, a Morrison Shelter and only a sparse amount of necessities. Group Captain Walker is now out of his Glen Alpine tweeds and in his full RAF uniform as he's told to report for duty.
Diorama Two a bombed out London including a building where Captain Walker and Nora see the deceased body of young boy (a clear foreshadowing of the end sequence and of the living death their son will endure).
Diorama Three- the train station and Walker's departure. Two silhouettes in unison and that spectacular velvet Russell-vision and keen lighting set a classic Hollywood farewell. Anyone who would accuse Russell of gratuitously going for a cleavage shot with AM's Nora is a hater. There is nothing "for the lads" about the shot.
At this point things become almost Magritte like. What time of day is it? What world, what universe are we in? Captain Walker looks down commandingly yet we feel he is acknowledging Nora who is staring up at the sky unflinchingly rather than at a member of his squadron. Resigned to his duty while she is mentally "gone".
Diorama Four- Now the aforementioned Morrison Shelter with it's steel plate “table” top, welded wire mesh sides, and a metal lath “mattress”- type floor is the tight focus. For most Americans it appears to be part of Ken's arsenal of creative campy tricks when in reality the historical accuracy is beyond sobering. Nora withstands the bombing and Captain Walker is shot down. His National Service booklet lying beside his broken photo.
Paint Nora's hand imprint as clouds and one has a Magritte painting brought to life. Even "as is" it is still uncannily close to the great Belgian Surrealist.
British Word of the post: Morrison Shelter