The Men Who Wasn't there
by the Cohen Brothers
Early on in “The Man Who Wasn’t There” script there is a scene with Doris and Ed “entertaining” Dave and his wife Ann (the picture above). After the set up it continues in the following way:
Japs had us pinned down in Buna for something like six weeks. Well, I gotta tell ya, I thought *we* had it tough, but, Jesus, we had supply. *They* were eating grubs, nuts, thistles. When we finally up and bust off the beach we found Arnie Bragg, kid missing on recon; the Japs had *eaten* the sonofabitch, if you'll pardon the, uh... And this was a scrawny, pimply kid too, nothin' to write home about. I mean, I never would've, ya know, so what do I say, honey? When I don't like dinner, what do I say?
Ann smiles wanly.
...I say, Jesus, honey, Arnie
He roars with laughter.
Ed gives an acknowledging smile.
In the film, as directed, it is Doris’ scene. On the screen it is her who with laud laughter approvingly comments Dave’s jokes. There is no question she is for him. In this moment and most likely in every other way possible. Clearly they must be lovers. Moreover through her reactions (and the way they are framed, shot and timed of course) the scene becomes the Doris’s scene.
It is a great example how the unscripted reaction can significantly expand a scene.