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 NOTTFOWalkthrough / AnalysisPage 003 Share to:  Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Google+ Share to Pinterest Share to Tumblr Share to MySpace Share to Email








Welcome to Los Angeles, California. We focus on a white taxi cab pulling up in front of the Wessex Hotel. This would symbolize the arrival of our film's heroine, the lovely Elaine Kalisher. We notice that there are three yellow taxi cabs already lined up in front of the hotel, when the white one arrives. The sheer number of taxis parked in front of the hotel symbolize how busy the hotel must be, and stresses the fact that many visitors arriving in LA stay at the Wessex.

There are men and women of all ages walking up and down in front of the hotel. The hotel is set amongst a group of prominent palm trees and a well-manicured row of bushes.

The bottom two floors present a look of grandeur: covered awning with the hotel's name on all three sides, a two story high rounded arch in the center, and a capped cornice decorated with dentil style moulding supported by four large columns. There is railing on top of the capped cornice that creates a type of terrace accessible through the center window on the third floor. It is not used for patrons to stand upon; it is only there for decorative curb appeal, and to be used for the changing of the flags, assuming they ever need to be changed.

As the camera pans back, we can sense the overall uniformity seen in the hotel's line of symmetry. The hotel predates larger hotels, and thus, isn't quite as big as newer ones, but for the time period in which is was built, it was considered a colossal feat of engineering and manpower. It is because of this hotel that the way was paved to building even bigger and more colossal feats of engineering and manpower. The Wessex is a trend setter!

Musical Note:
The music remains peaceful and serene. To Elaine, arriving is a new beginning. She has been to literally tons of hotels and travel destinations throughout the years, and this charming hotel is no different. It seems to be just the spot for relaxing and enjoying the princely comforts offered to patrons that arrive on business. This assignment shouldn't take too long, because everybody will try to make sure her stay is the best one ever.

Elaine seems in awe as she stares out of the window in the taxi at the immensity of the complex.

She is extremely curious in nature, and a massive hotel like the Wessex will definitely be able to spark her creative juices. There will be so much to do and explore. Is Elaine ready for all of this? Sure. It's just another assignment, after all. Right?

The camera, acting as Elaine's perspective, glances up the side of the structure.

Errors in Continuity:
We can see from the far away shot that the row of flags are on the third floor. The first three floors are beige/antique white as is the 14th floor. The fourth through 12th floors are the color of brick. We have learned that the bottom of the frieze's entabulature starts at the top of the 12th floor window and runs to the bottom of the 14th. When Elaine looks up the side of the building, you can see that there is a row of moulding right above the 10th floor windows. Looking at the hotel's rendering later on, we will see that there is no break in the wall until it gets above the 12th floor. That being the case, there shouldn't be any kind of moulding above the 10th floor, implying that perhaps the hotel's outside was shot in two separate frames and adjoined together (We will never see a full shot of the building from the ground up.). It is likely that the building used for filming might possess a frieze above the 10th floor. (The windows above the frieze seem a little different, as well.) Alas, we won't learn more about the frieze until later, so the producers more than likely felt that it was hardly likely that anyone would count the floors, especially when the shot appears on screen for only three seconds.

But that's why this site exists.


Location, Location, Location:
The reason for the moulding is simple. There really is a frieze on the building above the 10th floor. Not on the Wessex, but on it's real-life counterpart - the former Sheraton-Townhouse (a.k.a Sheraton-West) hotel. The film's production company, Wilshire Court Productions, is just 51 blocks away from this hotel. The hotel stands at 2961 Wilshire Boulevard, in Los Angeles, and is located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and South Commonwealth Avenue. It is a beautiful structure which has been featured in many other movies, and, like the Ambassador Hotel used to film all of the interior sequences, also located on Wilshire Boulevard, make the perfect backdrops for our characters. The outside of the Sheraton was a beautiful and quaint structure, perfect for the exterior shots of the Wessex, while the Ambassador Hotel provided the perfect ambiance for the Wessex's inside. The quaint exterior opens up into a lush and very believable interior, providing just the perfect touch to help make the movie perfect. In fact, the Wessex sign on top of the building seen at the end of the opening credits sequence is based upon the sign used at the top of the Sheraton Townhouse.



Ironically enough, this hotel does have 13 visable floors. This does not reflect basements or subfloors.

On Closer Inspection...:

There are three flags adorning the entrance to the Wessex Hotel. From left, we have the United States Flag, the Flag of Scotland and finally the Flag of Wales. This plays heavily on the notion of the hotel being based on it's English ancestry. While there aren't currently any hotels in the United States with the name "Wessex", the "Wessex Hotel" is seemingly a popular name abroad, as there is one in places such as Gloucester, Glastonbury, Winchester, Bournemouth, Bristol, Dorchester and Cowichan Bay, just to name a few. We will eventually add onto this notion by learning that the Wessex Gift Shop imports a lot of its merchandise from England. The use of England and Victorian-style architecture heavily support the idea of richness and grandeuriousness.











We are introduced to Creeson, the doorman of the Wessex Hotel. He is strong and proud, and makes a stunning picture in his dark blue suit jacket with grey collar and grey tie atop a white button-up shirt, grey slacks, gold colored braided shoulder ropes and matching gold epaulets. His dark blue hat with gold rimming, gold cuffs, name tag and signature Wessex "W" badge make his uniform complete. He is professional and courteous, and, as the first member of the hotel you will meet, he provides a welcome that ensures you get the sense that your stay will be the most enjoyable ever.

The first thing he does is hang up the phone on the side of the column base.

Note:
It is unsure exactly who Creeson is talking to. We will learn later that there are two telephones at Creeson's disposal - the one on the side of the base that he hangs up, and another one in a hidden compartment inside of the column base. While we know the one inside of the column gives him a direct line to the hotel, it is assumed the other telephone has the ability to dial an outside line. It is also possible that both telephones are able to call inside of the hotel, and that perhaps the hidden phone only makes a direct call to the hotel manager's desk. Creeson might have been calling a taxi cab for a patron checking out (assuming one wasn't called from the registration desk), but as the hotel is expecting Elaine's arrival, it is more than likely possible that the registration desk was calling Creeson to tell him to keep an eye out for Elaine.


Instinctually, Creeson makes a beeline for the taxi cab, opens the door for the lovely Miss Kalisher, thrusts his left arm down in a prominent manner and asks firmly:

Creeson: Will be you checking in with us, ma'am?

There is no hint of hesitation coming from Elaine. She is more than ready, for this is just another assignment.

Elaine: Yes I will be.

The taxi driver takes Elaine's two suitcases from out of the trunk of the taxi, and hand them to Creeson.

On Closer Inspection...:
 - The taxi behind Elaine is a Chevrolet.
 - There is a 30 mph Speed Limit sign directly across from the
   hotel.
 - The taxi company is "United Independent Taxi" (a textbook
   example of an oxymoron).
 - The taxi company's telephone number is "384-8294" (or
   384-TAXI).
 - The number of the taxi is "1162". (Remember this as you
   will see this taxi again...)


Note:
 - There is indeed a "United Independent Taxi" that services
   Los Angeles.
 - There is a telephone number 323-384-8294 in Los Angeles,
   however, it is a wireless number and not the number for
   United Independent Taxi.
 - A taxi company in Georgia uses the telephone number
   912-384-8294.

We also notice that the driver of the taxi behind Elaine's is leaned over his hood reading the day's newspaper. He is obviously there to pick up a patron from the hotel, who is checking out. Unfortunately, some guests do not get the pleasure to "check out" of the Wessex, at least not in it's proper metaphorical sense...

Musical Note:
The introduction music slowly comes to an end, and finally fades away as Creeson is opening the taxi door.

Creeson and Elaine walk toward the front of the hotel. Elaine is all smiles as she approaches the steps to the main entrance. It is going to be a wonderful experience that Elaine will be able to write a wonderful article about.

Creeson: I hope you'll enjoy your stay here at the Wessex.

Elaine: Thank you.

Creeson then hands Elaine's luggage to the hotel porter. The porter wears a similar uniform to Creeson, with the exception of a squarer hat with only one gold rim, no gold shoulder ropes or epaulets. His nametag and badge remain the same as Creeson's, as do his gold cuffs. Six gold buttons, spaced perfectly, and placed vertically along the right side of his jacket provide decorative flair.

On Closer Inspection...:
There are 6 steps leading into the hotel, each covered in crimson-colored carpeting, and inlaid with evenly spaced gold buttons running horizontally through the center of each step. It definitely adds a feeling of richness, as do the decorative light fixtures on the column bases to either side of the entrance.

The doorman and the porter provide a look of professionalism that is typical of a fanciful hotel built to cater the rich...

On Closer Inspection...:
The bigger of Elaine's suitcases is brown, while the smaller looks like blue marble.

The passing of the luggage between Creeson and the porter come in an organized and fluid motion. You can tell that these two have been doing this for a long time. After the porter takes Elaine's luggage, Creeson turns to retain his place by the column, waiting to greet or thank the next patron.

On Closer Inspection...:
As the porter pushes Elaine's luggage behind her on a bellhop cart, Elaine is greeted by the exquisitness of the hotel - a mezzanine level with tray ceilings decked out with gold-inlayed, Victorian-style moldings atop 16 foot tall load-bearing columns and walls with deep, rich brown trim, glass beaded ceiling lights, a similar glass beaded, gold rimmed chandilier-type light and plush crimson-colored carpeting. There are white sitting chairs in which guests are enjoying the daily newspaper, reading lamps atop small end tables next to each column, Victorian-style split pediment door tops, potted plants and greenery, and even a housekeeper sweeping debris off of the carpet of the main hallway.

As the table below states, the interior shots of the Wessex were filmed inside of the now demolished Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Because of this knowledge, we can make further observations. The hotel's signature white fountain, in the center of the aisleway, can be seen to the left of the second column on the right, in the viewing area adjacent to the small table and reading lamp. The entrance Elaine comes through was the real-life entrance into the hotel's East Garden, and ran parallel with Catalina Street. Around the doorway we can see what resembles a frame. These supports were indeed load-bearing supports for the gigantic windows juxtaposing the entry. The film's production company placed either large pieces of white paper or white tarps over all of these windows, to give the illusion of a wall. There are also windows on either side of the main group of windows, which we can see are still adorned with the giant, crimson colored valence adorning the hotel's white drapery.

The hotel presents a charming picture - one that the faniciful Miss Kalisher is sure to write a 5-star article about... Notice the excessive use of lighting. The hotel's electric bill must cost them a fortune. They have enough visitors to be able to pay for it, however... The use of lighting is important in contrasting other uses of darkness, and to envoke a sense of security and non-loneliness... Notice that the lighting, as well as the giant speaker in the center of the main tray ceiling are used to show how even older buildings can be embellished with modern touches...

Location, Location, Location:
Most of the interior shots of the Wessex were filmed inside of the now demolished Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The film's production company, Wilshire Court Productions, is just 43 blocks away from this hotel (now school), and eight blocks away from the Sheraton Townhouse. The Ambassador Hotel (was) located at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. As the Ambassador was the home of the real life tragic death of State Senator Robert (Bobby) F. Kennedy (which happened in the area used to film NOTTF's service floor), the Los Angeles school system, upon purchasing the property, leveling the hotel (with the exception of minor walls) and building the most expensive school in the history of the United States, fittingly enough, named the school the Robert F. Kennedy Community School. It is designed to resemble the Ambassador, but with a more modern touch. The hotel stood on the corners of Wilshire Boulevard and 7th Street on the West and Wilshire Boulevard and Catalina Street on the East. We later see two more street signs later in the movie: Main Street and 6th Street, both of which are near this area. It is likely, thus, that most of the movie was filmed throughout this area. From the picture of the registration desk, we notice there is a wooden clock on the wall directly above the registration desk. In the movie we notice the clock is still there, but it is, at least this time, unfortunately, illegible. It is assumed that is about 12pm.



























Elaine makes a graceful beeline through the carpeted aisles, for she needs no help in finding the registration desk (especially when it's unmissable because the word, REGISTRATION, is labeled above the desk in 6 inch tall letters, 14 feet off of the ground, and the fact that another patron is standing at the desk receiving service...) As this isn't her first rodeo, Elaine knows all about the check-in process, and doesn't need any help from the hotel porter. Porter, however, tries to make small talk:

Porter: Is this your first time at the Wessex?

Elaine is quite frank in unveiling her purpose:

Elaine: I'm here to write an article on the hotel.

We see a marbled countertop atop a crescent-shaped registration desk. The rounded desk adds decorative flair, as does the rich brown, decorative divider in the center of it. Beside this desk appears to be another desk, identical in appearance, and accessible from the other desk by a door ajoining the two. Beyond this, we can vaguely see one more desk and what appears to be another door, directly across from the first two, thus allowing access to all three desks at once. It is unsure what the other desks are used for, although there is something vaguely illegible written above the second desk. There are fresh cut flowers in ornate vases residing upon each desk. The entire hotel presents a picture of eloquence.

On Closer Inspection...:
 - The pages in the book on the counter in front of Abraham,
   the desk clerk, read "REGISTER".
 - There are 720 mail slots on the wall behind the desk.
   Assuming at least 12 floors are used to house visitors, that
   equals out to a rate of 60 rooms per floor.


Note:
Throughout the scene we see several other members of the hotel staff walking through the background. They are just as decked out as the Porter. The Porter stands patiently in the background, waiting to escort Mrs. Beecher to her room.


Note:
Abraham is wearing a white-collared button up shirt under and a black suit with matching black tie. He possesses the signature gold Wessex nametag and "W" emblem worn by Creeson and Porter.


As Elaine approaches the desk, she falls in line behind another recently arrived patron - a sweet little old lady with a huge smile, and blondish hair with a slight touch of grey. She is wearing a pink suit jacket atop a frilly pink blouse. The purple-on-purple hat, with purple and burgandy feathering she is wearing not only accentuates her pearl earrings, but also add a touch of grace and charm to her quaint demeanor.

Abraham: You'll be staying with us four nights, is that right,
   Mrs. Beecher?

Mrs. Beecher is so sweet...

Moselle: Yes, but i might stay a little longer, would that be
   alright?

With a friendly smile and a quickness in his voice, Abraham quips:

Abraham: Oh of course! We'll be happy to accomodate you
   anyway we can. Will, Mr. Beecher be joining you?

Moselle: Oh, wish he could. he'd love this place. Passed away
   two years ago, you know.

Abraham: Oh. Sorry to hear that.

Changing Future History:
While Abraham seems genuinely sorry for her loss, poor Mrs. Beecher's fate becomes sealed as soon as the clerk finds out that the sweet old lady is all by herself...

Note:
The introduction of Mrs. Beecher, a sweet little old widow who has been wanting to travel for quite awhile but has never gotten the chance due to her loyalty to her husband and his farm is extremely symbolic. It definitely envokes a deep feeling of empathy, for as we continue through the movie, we begin to love Mrs. Beecher more and more. Young or old, rich or poor, it doesn't matter to the hotel, as long as nobody is going to be around to look for you...

Note:
Elaine watches their exchange. She watches and listed intently, to the dear Mrs. Beecher. She looks to the desk clerk to hear and interpret his response. This is a vital point of her article! She wants to know everything about the hotel, and knowing how a desk clerk treats his visitor, is definitely a point of interest in ranking the critera of a top-ranked hotel!

It is possible Elaine is questioning her choices in life. She travels so much for her work, maybe it is time for her to settle down, the entire opposite of what Mrs. Beecher seems to be after...


Moselle: Free as a bird now. This trip is a present to myself.
   Well, we hardly ever do nice things for ourselves, do we?

From the Cinema:
"Free as a Bird" is the name of one of Moselle Beecher actress Norma MacMillan's most well-known plays.


Abraham: You're so right Mrs. Beecher.

Moselle: Stuck down on that farm in Silo for 38 years. Decided
   it was high time to kick up my heels!

Abraham: (laughing) I know what you mean.

Elaine has been listening to this exchange the whole time she was at the counter. She couldn't help but overhearing, but then again, it's not like she had a choice... It wasn't like they were being overly loud (they were a little loud, but that's to be expected with all of the joy and excitement that is obtained in the scene...),it's more that the exchange between Moselle and the desk clerk is for gaining empathy for such a sweet character, so that if and when anything was to happen to the dear Mrs. Beecher, we would feel especially hurt. Psychologically, the scenes really stimulate the nerves and get our inner workings working.

Elaine: Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhearing. Are you
   from Silo, Minnesota?

Mrs. Beecher seems a little caught off guard, but not... Knowing Mrs. Beecher's hometown is in Minnesota, Elaine seems to be regarded by Moselle as more of a friend than anything. The point of earlier-talked about symbolism all seemed to be revolved around a solitary theme - loneliness is a really, really bad thing if you are coming to the Wessex...

Moselle: Why yes.

Elaine: Do you know the Lakeview House?

Elaine knows of a popular location that Moselle knows well. She is more than eager to talk to Elaine.

Moselle: Oh the little hotel down on the Deerfield Road!?

Elaine: ...Where they make those wonderful pies.

Note:
Unfortunately enough, there is no Silo, Minnesota. There are plenty of silos on the famrs in Minnesota, but I can't find anything about any "Silo, Minnesota". According to the website UPack.com, there is a Silo, MN, a few miles north of La Crosse. It says it is in Winona County, but it's ZIP Code is listed as 55952. 55952 is, everywhere else, listed as the ZIP Code for Lewiston, MN. Either Lewiston used to be Silo, although I haven't been able to find any news articles about a change. So I'm not sure. There were nine "Deerfield Road"s in Minnesota, but none near here. And unfortunately there also is no Lakeview House (hotel, motel, inn, or bed and breakfast) anywhere around the Silo area. For the sake of the film, I'd rather believe Silo did exist in 1990 and that's where Mrs. Beecher is from. Anyhow, Elaine knows where it's at.



Moselle: My goodness! How do you know about it?

Elaine: I did an article. My name is Elaine Kalisher. I work for
   the "Traveler's Review".

Moselle: Oh how nice. Moselle Beecher

Elaine: That's a beautiful crystal.

Moselle: It came from Sedona... Oh! I'll bet you're here for
   the convention.

Moselle is more than likely referring to Sedona, Arizona, the self-proclaimed crystal capital of the world. Crystals, vortexes and other supernatural occurances are said to stem from Sedona, Arizona.

Elaine: What convention?

This exchange is essential. It's surprising that Elaine, being a writer, and coming to write about the hotel, knows nothing about a major convention happening so close to the hotel. Maybe it would be a good idea to mention the convention in her article. The mention of a major convention being held, and the eagerness of the hotel to accommodate visitors make a combination package that makes the area even more attractive.

Moselle: Crystals!

Elaine: No, I... I don't know anything about it.

Moselle: Oh I'm surprised, it's the biggest one in the country.
   You know, it would make a wonderful article for your
   magazine!

Elaine: Maybe it would.

Although Abraham might be sensing a bond forming between Elaine and Mrs. Beecher, it really doesn't matter. She wants to travel so if Moselle decides to check-out early, Elaine wouldn't suspect a thing... It's not like she will ever get the chance to see Mrs. Beecher - she probably doesn't have a cell phone (as the movie predates the modern cellular phone) , and because Elaine doesn't know Mrs. Beecher's address, all she can do to find her again, is try to get up with her at her farm in Silo. Well, maybe even then that won't help... And look at Mrs. Beecher trying to draw Elaine's attention away from focusing strictly on the hotel by putting the thought in her mind about veering away and writing another article on crystals... Elaine needs to focus on writing about the granduers of the hotel. They need guests, badly! Especially ones that have no family and friends to come looking for them if anything was to happen...

Abraham: Here you are Mrs. Beecher, the key to 871...

Mrs. Beecher mouths "Thank you" as the clerk hands her her key.

Abraham: ...and your room is ready.

Porter: Right this way, ma'am.

Mrs. Beecher nods goodbye to Elaine and then turns to follow the porter, following him to the left and exiting offscreen. The porter returns later, obviously, as he also appears in Elaine's room. He must be extremely proficient! Elaine steps to her right, replacing Mrs. Beecher at the counter.

On Closer Inspection...:
The Ambassador's signature fountain alluded to earlier can be seen clearly when Elaine steps to her right after Mrs. Beecher leaves offscreen. It is in the background, directly to the right of Elaine's head.

Elaine: Hello. I'm Elaine Kalisher.

Abraham: Oh yes, Miss Kalisher. We've been expecting you.
Note:
Of course the hotel is expecting Elaine's arrival. They would do everything that they could to make Elaine's stay the greatest. They want a good review... Can't have anyone thinking anything negative about the hotel... Bad publicity would be a bad, bad, thing...


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