Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
To PBS Hollywood Presents
The Old Settler
HomeGlossaryFeedbackSite Map
TimelineIn-Depth InterviewsKey ScenesProduction RolesAbout the Show

Scene Synopsis

Interviews 1

Interviews 2

From the Edit Bay

Savoy Ballroom Scene Study

Print Version

Quilly's Reverie: Key Scene Study


From the Edit Bay

Lillian Benson, Editor

Lillian Benson 
"Quilly tells her sister Elizabeth something painful about her past that she had kept hidden. Quilly is a person who likes to be the center of attention, she's self-confident bordering on pushy, she's got a good heart but she's kind of blustery. Her sister is the quiet one. In the show we always have empathy for Elizabeth, but in this scene we begin to have empathy for Quilly."


"The scene is supposed to take place in Quilly's head, and what we're looking at is what I call the template of the dialogue, against which we eventually cut another scene, which is her flashback. She talks about things starting out great in her marriage to Herman, he loved her so. And then things started to change. The change happens both in her voice and her performance, and it starts to happen visually. What was a bright and shiny memory darkens. There's actually a storm going on while Quilly tells her sister the story within the story."

"We've all had reveries, and the challenge here was to recreate the experience of going into someone's head, and you kind of see it at a distance. I wanted the audience to feel as if they were sitting in Quilly's living room, and she's telling them what happened to her, and it would resonate both visually and physically. And that's all a question of what picture falls against what dialogue at what time. I had to open it up a little bit because they had thunder in the background and the lights were flashing in the window, and obviously dialogue can't happen over that. I had to space it so her dialogue comes in in a certain way. Quilly comes in the door kind of bent over, holding packages. She sweeps through the door and I tried to get it up and down on the line. You fool around with it until it feels right."

"The whole sequence was one take. They did 12 takes, but only one was used. So the only thing that could change was the dialogue off-camera. So I manipulated and moved the dialogue around to better serve the picture. I didn't have a lot to do with picture, but I did do a lot with sound, which is a big part of editing. If the right word falls in the right spot it adds strength to it. I often say, two plus two equals six - it should be much more than you started out with."


Play Video - 56kPlay Video - 220k

Debbie Allen as Quilly

The scene without the flashback cut into it


Interviews Page Two   |   From the Edit Bay



Home Timeline Interviews Key Scenes Roles About the Show Glossary Feedback Site Map