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 NOTTFOWalkthrough / AnalysisPage 021 Share to:  Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Google+ Share to Pinterest Share to Tumblr Share to MySpace Share to Email


























































Today is Friday and it is Elaine's fifth day in Los Angeles. She is ½ of the way towards solving this mystery and looks charming in her red floral dress, royal purple blouse and black blazer. A small pendent hangs from a thin gold chain around her neck which compliment her golden hoop earrings as well as the rings that she wears on the ring and index fingers of her right hand.

Musical Note:
The ominous music from the last scene fades away as the scene transitions into a busy hallway.

On Closer Inspection...:
There are professional looking men and women walking down the hallway carrying briefcases, paperwork, and other items that metaphorically represent a professional attitude. One lady is wearing a floral print dress similar in style but dark blue in color. One lady carries a rolled up set of blueprints while another, this one in a burgandy dress, white blouse, and with her long ponytail secured by a matching white hair scrunchie, fishes paperwork out of a collection bin on the left of the screen, about four feet away from the display board. A gentleman on the left inserts a piece of mail into a drop slot on the left of the screen while a man in a peach colored suit jacket walks by carrying a black briefcase. A third walks by on the right side of the screen, carrying his suit jacket over his left-hand shoulder. Most of these "extras" are walking toward the exit, while three more enter and come in the general direction of Elaine. Elaine makes a beeline for the display board, leaving the crowd quite a bit behind.

Location, Location, Location:
Elaine is in the City Agencies Office although it's unknown whether these shots were filmed within the Ambassador or whether they were filmed elsewhere. The elaborate mouldings, ornamental ceiling tiles and a directory board with a brown wooden veneered frame and triangular pediment on top seem reminiscent of decorum found within the Ambassador, and it's likely these scenes were filmed somewhere within the hotel.

On Closer Inspection...:
Elaine studies the display board. In a 1½" tall decorative serifed font, white letters atop a black background spell the words: CITY AGENCIES DIRECTORY. Four inches below this, in a smaller ¾" tall lettering, the sign reads as follows:

CITY PLANNERS
BUILDING & SAFETY
CITY ENGINEERS OFFICE
DEPT OF AGEING
TAX & PERMIT DIVISION
PUBLIC TRANSPORTION
SANITATION
PUBLIC WORKS
SOCIAL SERVICES
404
405
422
669
689
615
813
820
872



Errors in Continuity:
While the departments should be listed in numerical order, the office for the Public Transportation department (#615) is inadvertantly listed below numbers 669 and 689, rather than before them. Note that the "Transportation" in "Public Transportation" is mispelled. The "T" and the "A" from the word's third syllable are missing, and the word written on the sign actually reads "TRANSPORTION". Also note that while AGING is spelled "Ageing" in Austrailia and places overseas, the Americanized version of the word is correctly spelled "Aging". While few places in the USA do spell it "Ageing", It might have been assumed that spelling it correctly would confuse certain people as to it's correct pronunciation, and thus it was spelled phonetically...

Foreshadowing the Future:
The camera zooms in towards the words "CITY ENGINEERS OFFICE". This is a way to help the viewer to know where it is we are going, before we ever get there. It's juxtaposition to Elaine counting the number of floors in the hotel help to viewer to understanding that she is going to the engineer's office in order to try and find city records relating to this structure in a unbiased, and surruptitious manner.

Elaine: Would the plans for the Wessex Hotel be here? I'm
   Elaine Kalisher.

Note:
Elaine seeking out a young female engineer is done for the same psychological reasons that she sought out the female nurse and the bag lady. Females are more than likely going to be able to relate better to one another rather than, say, a female working with a man. The young engineer looks to be a perfect match for being able to help Elaine. She is only two years older than Elaine and Elaine thinks that, to a degree, the engineer's youthfulness make her slightly naive, and her naiveness will spark her curiousity. With the engineer's help, Elaine is certain to find an answer.

Elaine hands the young engineer a business card.

Young Engineer: Oh a writer. Traveler's Review. Oh, the
   Wessex. It's a great old hotel. My sister got married
   there. Why do you want to see the plans?

Note:
Gail's curiousity is sparked knowing Elaine is a famous writer. She remembers Elaine asking about the Wessex, and is excited to mention it, as, getting to attend a wedding and reception for her sister there, more than likely sparked her creative juices and curious nature due to her fascination with engineering and architectural subtleties. However, blueprints, especially for older commercial buildings such as an historical hotel like the Wessex aren't usually asked to be seen, nor is access to look at them hardly ever granted. Gail asking why seems rather hesitent. Why would a writer want to see the plans for an old hotel?

Elaine keeps a straight face the entire time:

Elaine: I'm trying to find a 13th floor.

Note:
Elaine's request seems ridiculous in nature. Find it? Is it lost? Can't you just ride the elevator up to the 13th floor and see it that way? Elaine's seriousness for the situation are more than enough to spark Gail's curiosity even more than it already is. Gail's first impression of Elaine is that she is probably very smart, graceful and curious. She obviously knows that a big time writer would have tried all of the natural and logical steps necessary to find, in this case, the 13th floor, and so she knows that Elaine must have a pretty good reason to come all the way down to the Los Angeles City Engineer's Office, simply to look at a set of plans. She is more than happy to help Elaine. Elaine has finally found somebody other than Judith who will take her seriously.

Cut!:
It is likely that there may have been a cut scene here. Elaine will later refer to the young engineer as Gail Myers. Nowhere in this exchange is Gail's name given out, so unless there was a small name plaquard sitting on Gail's desk that stated her name, there has to be an exchange that was eventually cut out of the movie.

Note:
Elaine follows Gail as they enter the basement level of the City Engineer's Office. They walk down a set of metal sets where they turn right and walk atop a metal grating that is part of a metal walkway running along the side wall. The area is rather dark and dreary. The walkway leads to another set of stairs.

Gail: This is where you need to watch your step.

As the women descend the ten stairs in this section of of the walkway, we a small amount of light coming through a set of gridwork windows. It doesn't add much, but it does add a little bit of extra light.

Gail is wearing a red dress with a green sweater jacket atop a white blouse with red floral print. She looks very casual and comfortable. Her black half heeled shoes, light brown rimmed glasses and teased perm give her a librarian type of look and feel.

Note:
The female characters in the film, even the "extras" wear quite a bit of clothing with floral print designs. Costume Designer Eilish Zebrasky has stated in an interview that her personal wardrobe collection consist of no floral prints, but rather "A lot of black. White. A little pink, a little red. I organize my closet according to color." While she herself prefers to veer away from floral prints, she uses them quite often when designing a film character's costume.

Gail gingerly sweeps along the floor, knowing exactly where she is going. The dark basement gives a feeling of unease.

Gail reaches a large series of file cabinets. Each is labeled with a white label with a letter of the alphabet handwritten onto it. The labels appear to be very old and more than likely have never been replaced.

Gail walks to the last set of file cabinets, on the far right of the group. With her left hand, she reaches for the handle of one of the the file cabinet drawers.

The camera zooms in at the drawer's label as Gail begins to open it. The label possesses a "W".

It is likely that all of the plans for the city's commercial buildings are not all located within the file cabinet. The file cabinet more than likely just contains an alphabetical listing of each of these buildings, with a list of instructions on where (ie, which box in the storage room) the long, rolled up sets of blueprints are located.

The camera is now facing down from the ceiling, where we can see the room in it's entirity. There are 11 boxes of rolled up blueprints and floorplans stacked on the floor in front of a 3 foot by 5 foot table where Gail and Elaine have placed a set of blueprints. Gail flips page one, more than likely just a coversheet, over, revealing the second page. She points at a spot on the paper, about ¾ of the way up from the bottom of the page. Her voice is not condescending or rhetorical at all. Instead she speaks as if she is confused that Elaine can't find the floor:

Gail: Here it is: the 13th floor.

Elaine stares at the drawing, counting as she did last night:

Elaine: There are 16 floors here.

Gail: That's right.

Elaine: The hotel's only got 15.

Gail: Are you sure?

Elaine: Yeah, I counted them.

Note:
Again, being a big time writer, Elaine would definitely not be lying about something so trivial as the floor in a building she can drive over to and walk on herself. Gail seems very confused, as she believes everything Elaine is saying:

Gail: I don't understand that...

On Closer Inspection...:
As Gail flips the second page over, we catch a glimpse of the page that appears to obtain a full frontal view of the Wessex.

Elaine: What are you looking for?

Gail: A rendering.

Note:
Gail flips over the third and fourth pages as well, stopping on the fifth page in this set of plans.

Gail: Look...

On Closer Inspection...:
The camera pans up this page, starting at the bottom. We see a nice, pencil drawn artist rendering of the Wessex Hotel. On Page 18 of this guide, I referenced the style of the fourth floor windows. Their "now hidden purpose" is that were two sets of them... for decorative flair and an eye break. What the picture depicts is the Wessex Hotel, without the frieze covering the 13th floor. The architraves and cornice mouldings have always existed, and predate the frieze. The frieze became an entablature built in between the already existing mouldings. We see that all of the windows on the 13th floor have an arch in the brickwork above their lintils. These windows, right down to the lintils and sills, are identical to the row of windows appearing on the fourth floor. Even the architrave below this row of windows remain the same. The row of windows on the 13th floor, originally for decorative appeal would eventually become covered by a frieze, and the row of moulding below them would become the bottom of the frieze. The frieze would then become the focal point in between the 12th and 14th floors, but historically, the moulding, the arched windows, and the decorative moulding appearing in between the windows on the 14th floor were the focal point of the building. As the building ascends, all floors from 5 to 12 posses identical windows. To give the building a "breaking" point and to give the eyes a decorative stopping point in order to rest upon something different, allow the window patterns above these floors to return to normal, while appearing to be completely natural. Moreover, the Wessex was supposed to be the tallest building in the city at the time, surpassing other buildings whose height never surpassed a 12th floor. By adding a decorative entabulature above the 12th floor level, patrons and guests were sure to oogle and awe over the architecture, and surely realize that The Wessex Hotel far surpasses any building in the city... at the time, anyway.

Errors in Continuity:
Several times we have referenced a counting problem as there are only two floors above the frieze. It's been recurring, ever since it's first mention on the Page 2 pan-up. There should have been three floors above the frieze - the 14th, 15th and 16th. The 14th is directly above the frieze, and possess decorative dado mouldings in between each of their windows. The 15th floor resides above an architrave running horizontally between the 14th and 15th floors and the architrave directly above the 15th floor windows possess the two foot build-up discussed on Page 2. There should have been two floors in between the two architraves. Here they are, low and behold, drawn on the plans, exactly where they should have been on the real thing.

Elaine stares at the drawing, trying to figure out what is wrong with it.

Elaine: Um, there's something wrong with this.

All of a sudden and out of the blue, Elaine realizes what is different between the hotel and this drawing.

Elaine: The frieze! There's a decorative frieze above the 12th
   floor. It's not on this drawing.

Gail Myers, the sweet young engineer remembers the hotel from when she was oogling over the architecture at her sister's wedding:

Gail: You're right!

The look on Gail's face says that something isn't right, and she wants to find "the truth" also. She flips over the fifth page. Then a sixth. And then a seventh, stopping on the eighth page.

Gail: Look here it is.

Now Elaine is thoroughly confused.

Elaine: This is so strange.

Note:
The camera focuses on the pencil drawn rendering. The frieze, complete with demonic imagery, appear in full glory.

Elaine: Why isn't it on the original?

Gail picks up a couple of folded papers that were accompanying the drawings. She sets the letters on the bottom down, and unfolds the top letter. She starts to skim over the letter:

Gail: Well, this is interesting. The floor was sealed off.

Elaine: Sealed off? Why?

Gail: I don't know but the frieze was put up to cover it.

Note:
So there is a hidden 13th floor in the hotel! Elaine is extremely curious, and would probably prefer to read the letter herself. But she trusts Gail, and knows that Gail will fill her in on all of the juicy details. Not only does this spark Elaine's curiousity, it sparks the young engineer's curiousity, as well.

Elaine: When?

Gail skims over the letter looking for an asnwer:

Gail: The building was construction in 1898 and the
   modification was done in... October 1901...

Note:
The young engineer reads the last part with hesitation, almost as if the dates might be incorrect. She knows they are not, but they are so close together it almost seems incorrect. Elaine quickly does the mental math and is very confused:

Elaine: That's just three years later. Why would they change it
   so soon?

Gail: Weird, isn't it?

Elaine: Is there a way to get on that floor?

Gail: I don't know. There should be.

Elaine: Could you find out?

Gail: I could try.

Elaine: I really appreaciate that. Look if you do find anything
   could you call me? I'm staying at the hotel.

Gail: Yeah, sure, alright.

Note:
Gail seems excited an uplifted that a major travel destination writer wants her help so badly. Nobody has ever asked this of our sweet engineer, and Gail feels this is her chance to do something better with her life. If she can get in with a big time writer, who knows what it might lead to. She might even get her name featured in a magazine whose readers live all around the world. She feels that she is becoming a part of something bigger than herself or her simple engineering job, and is more than happy to help. In fact, she's going to spend the next couple of days finding a solution. And she will.

Elaine stares back at the rendering, soaking in this new found knowledge. The camera focuses on two of the demonic figures on the pencil drawn frieze.

Note:
These are the figures to the left of the center on the front of the Wessex. The figure on the left looks to be devilish in appearance, possessing ram-style horns, a goatee that appears to be made of clawed fingers and a deep penetrating stare. His mouth is open, almost as if he is in mid-growl. The figure on the right resembles an evil troll - with frizzy hair, long pointed ears, penetrating eyes, sharp pointed teeth and the tongue of a serpent. It shows a slight bit of foreshadowing towards help Elaine realize what she is dealing with.

We hear the ding of the elevator and can hear footsteps traversing across the hallway. Elaine is now back on the first floor lobby, across the hall from where the display board is located. It looks as if the digital floor indicator above the elevator door lists the floor in which the elevator has just come from. It appears to read "04". This being the case, anybody looking at the elevator is able to tell the floor from which the elevator has just departed (probably so the waiting person will know how long to wait - if it's coming from the second or third floor, it'll be there on the spot. It if is coming from a higher floor, the person knows it will take a little bit of time before the elevator gets all the way back to the ground floor. Hopefully if they are rushing, they should be able to compensate for the delay time by rushing on a higher floor, but only if they know how long they are going to have to wait before finally being picked up by the elevator they are waiting for.

Elaine steps out of the elevator and comes marching down the tiled hallway. There are new faces walking around this time around, and one of them looks very familiar.

There is a man standing on the right side of the screen, putting a piece of mail into the top slot of the mail collection box that is built into the wall. It's Abraham - our usually friendly and smiling desk clerk. Wearing a blue plaid shirt under a black sweater jacket and khakis, something appears to be wrong. He doesn't appear friendly, nor is he smiling. He appears to look a cross between worried and upset. Elaine doesn't notice him, and walks by, oblivious to the angry stare he is sending her way.

Anachronistically Speaking:
Same as with our discussion on the utilization of gift shops within older hotels, hotels built at the turn of the century generally contained their own mail drop boxes as well. These were for the convienience of visiting patrons to be able to mail letters or postcards bought at the built-in gift shop, home to family members (you have to remember, this was a time when it took forever to do anything and expansion of Western states was slowly taking place, thus being able to send mail home to a waiting loved one, informing them of their wellness and hopeful prosperity, literally meant the difference between life and death. Even the former Ambassador Hotel, used in the interior filming shots of the Wessex, contained it's series of mail drop boxes, usually located in between the two central passenger elevators on each floor.

But alas, the Wessex must not contain a drop box, as stereotypical at the time as it was for a turn-of-the-centery hotel to have one, and that is why Abraham is having to bring his mail here. Either that, or, similiar to how Elaine had to ask Creeson for directions to the Convention Hall, she might have had to ask Creeson for directions to the City Agencies Office, as well. Creeson might have told Mr. Rogas or Judith, and Judith or Mr. Rogas might have asked Abraham to keep an eye on Elaine, and hence he was following her. Using the mail drop box at the City Agencies Office might have just been a cover-up to hide his real purpose for being there. Abraham noticed the floor number on top of the elevator as Elaine descended, and he knows she was on the 4th floor. Everything on that floor relates to engineering and architecture, so her visit to that floor was quite obvious.


Musical Note:
A few ominous chords, the sames ones used as Elaine was first wandering through Peddler's "home", play as Abraham watches Elaine leave, upset at her having come here in the first place.

The camera now focuses on a round antique silver serving platter. Atop the platter resides a glass water pitcher, filled with water. Behind this pitcher, also on the platter are two glasses with elaborate ornate etching designed into the glass. There is a decorative golden canister supported by three long golden legs attaching to a sturdy golden base. Beside the canister reside three black covered books. We see a right hand reaching for the water pitcher. It is picked up while a left hand reaches for the glass on the left. We see the pitcher pouring water into the glass that was just picked up.

The glass was being filled by Mr. Rogas, the hotel manager. Unfortunately, as dry as his mouth may have been, he never gets a chance to take a drink.

Musical Note:
The omnious chords induced by Abraham's angriness of Elaine are drowned out by two knocks, coming from the door to Mr. Rogas' office.

knock knock

Mr. Rogas is wearing a grey suit jacket atop a grey suit vest. Underneath this reside a white button up dress shirt with a burgandy colored tie that helps to compliment the red rose pinned on his lapel. The knocks interrupt Mr. Rogas, before he has a chance to take a drink of the water he had just poured for himself. In a firm voice, he tells the knocker to enter:

Mr. Rogas: Come in.

Through an antique white door with blue trimmed panels reminiscent of the office where Elaine awoke after her original terrifying encounter on Pages 6 and 7, we see Abraham, our desk clerk. He is back from the City Agencies office, where he had just witnessed Elaine. The door resides to the right of a cherry-wood colored set of display shelves that house greenery and eloquent knick knacks. The decorum is very professional and eloquent.

Abraham: She's been to the City Engineer's Office.

Foreshadowing the Future:
Abraham refers to Elaine in the third person, calling her "she" rather than by her name. It is because of this we can make a fairly logical assumption that he could have been following her. By not referring to her by name, it is logically assumed that, out of all of the patrons in the hotel, Mr. Rogas knows exactly who the desk clerk is talking about - Elaine Kalisher. But why would this one patron be so influencial in their minds? It is because they know that she is getting closer to discovering their secret. That is why the manager seems so upset knowing that she has just been to the City Engineer's Office - he knows why she went there...

Mr. Rogas: Damn. She probably knows.

Anachronistically Speaking:
Censorship rules for cable television shows are a lot more lax now, than they were in the 1990s. During that time period, profanity was definitely a no-go. "Damn", being less profane than it's other curse word counterparts, was acceptable, and it appears twice within the movie. Mr. Rogas uses the word first, and later, Gail Myers, our young engineer, will also use it.

Abraham: I think we'd better assume that.

Mr. Rogas: Get the others.

Note:
Mr. Rogas looks as if he is upset and worried, as well. Elaine visiting the City Engineer's Office and learning what she learned is obviously dangerous knowledge as far as the hotel is concered. The manager sounds as if he is going to have to make a choice he doesn't really want to have to. But he will do anything to save his hotel, and his reputation...

CONTINUE TO PAGE #22