PAINTED LADY/Episode 2/Intro by Russell Baker
Sir Charles Stafford has been murdered and a valuable painting stolen from his home.
It quickly becomes obvious that Sir Charles was less than the soul of honesty.
His dissolute son Sebastian has an expensive drug habit, and it's put him 60,000 pounds in debt to a dangerous gangster named Michael Longley.
Sir Charles's murder reveals he'd planned an insurance swindle to pay off Sebastian's debt. One month before the burglary, he'd had his art collection brought out of storage, hung throughout the house and insured -- for precisely 60,000 pounds.
As we'll see tonight, there's always been a dark side to Sir Charles's life. The center of the story is Maggie Sheridan, an over-the-hill rock singer. She and Sebastian have been friends since schooldays. She feels an intense obligation to both him and his father, so she sets out to find Sir Charles's murderer and, most importantly, to pay Sebastian's drug debt.
To do it, she has to find the stolen painting. And the way to do that, she decides, is to cut a flashy figure in the international art market, attracting the attention of someone willing to sell a stolen masterpiece.
For this purpose, she is posing as a Polish countess who turns up at the art auctions ready to bid against the biggest collectors.
Last time we saw her bidding against Robert Tassi, a big-time New York art dealer. When we resume tonight, Maggie is back in London. We find her in an exceedingly sinister cellar. There she's arranged to meet a man who claims to have the painting.
Sebastian is also in a sinister London setting. He is dangling in ropes from a ceiling -- in a situation suggestive of the many Renaissance paintings of the martyrdom of St. Sebastian.
Painted Lady, concluding episode.
PAINTED LADY/Episode 2/Extro by Russell Baker
If your knowledge of art history is as sketchy as mine, you may be surprised to learn that Artemisia Gentileschi is not a fictional painter invented especially for "Painted Lady."
Miss Gentileschi lived in Tuscany from about 1600 to 1650, and produced several wonderful paintings. Yes, she did paint "Judith and Holofernes." The real painting is perfectly safe among the treasures of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, has never been resident in Ireland, and has never been stolen.
The name of the man who tutored Artemesia was indeed Tassi --Agostino Tassi. You may have noticed several other references to great works of art in "Painted Lady." The film's most striking visual joke comes in the first episode with the scene of Maggie Sheridan in the bathtub at her sister's house.
For a startling moment, she looks exactly like the subject of David's great painting of the French revolutionary, Marat, who has just been murdered in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday.
The scenes of Sebastian being bound, then shot by an arrow obviously refer to the many paintings of that favorite Renaissance subject, the martyrdom of St. Sebastian.
These often dwell with sadistic delight on the mechanics of shooting the unclothed and helpless saint full of arrows.
And then there's the lecture Maggie gives about Gainsborough's portrait of the newlyweds. It repeats almost verbatim Sister Wendy's remarks on the same painting in one of her art lectures seen on PBS.
For Mobil Masterpiece Theatre, I'm Russell Baker. Goodnight.
Episode number: 1 2
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