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Facet: “John Shade - The Poetry of Everyman”

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Film Identifier: F.2006-06-0004
Run Time
0h 27m 47s
Date Produced
August 10 1966
A made for television adaptation/abridgement of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1962 novel “Palefire”. Presented as a lecture with slide show on the 7th anniversary of the fictional poet John Shade’s death, the television show does not let the audience in on the joke that it’s an adaptation, but presents itself as the genuine article. Instead of reading the poem in it’s entirety followed by commentary at the end as in Nabokov’s novel, here the actor playing the lecturer Kinbote intersperses his commentary in between reading lines of the poem. The actor playing Dr. Charles Kinbote obviously saw and based his performance on James Mason’s in Kubrick’s filmic adaptation of Nabokov’s “Lolita”. The slide photographs representing the poet John Shade and his family are mordantly hilarious and will likely please (or irritate) Nabokov scholars.
CU Sign in TV studio that reads “Program: FACET, ID: W-02100, Production: Palefire, Date: 8-10-66, WTTW Chicago, Length: 29:00” / Lights at top of sign count down from 9 to 2 / Title “FACET” / Voice “This is Facet. A Brief Encounter with Chicago’s creative world.” / Title “John Shade - The Poetry of Everyman” / Voice introuduces the program as a special overview of the contemporary poet John Francis Shade on the seventh anniversary of his death / LS A mostly empty studio with a strange giant stack of books in the back, a herald on the wall, a lectern up front and a slide on another wall / MS A suited and bespectacled man approaches the lectern / TItle “With Dr. Charles Kinbote” / MS Dr. Kinbote in an ill fitting suit at the lectern with slide image on the wall behind him, “Palefire” / He proceeds to smugly introduce Shades poem (corresponds to the beginning of the book / CU Kinbote in pain from a headache / MS KInbote at the lectern with the oversized stack of books in the distance behind him / CU Kinbote discussing how he came into the possesion of the manuscript of the poem / Title “Charles Kinbote” over CU of Kinbote / MS Kinbote and stack of large books / CU Kinbote / Title “poem” as Kinbote begins to read the poem / CU of slide image behind Kinbote switches from “Pale Fire” to “By John Shade” / Slide image switches to a picture of birds flying by a tree / MS Kinbote at lectern with projected slide image behind him, starts the poem with “I was the shadow of the waxwing slain..” / He stops reading the poem and reads from his commentary of the poem / He continues to read lines from the poem, interrupting them with his commentary / Title “Jakob Gradus” (Shade’s murderer) over CU of Kinbote / CU of slide image of a picture of a married couple (John and Sybil Shade) switches to slide of an old lady (Aunt Maude), switches to a picture of a young woman (Shade’s daughter Hazel) / MS Kinbote at lectern / CU of slide of the Shade family at the beach switches to slide of Hazel eating ice cream / CU Kinbote / CU of slide of Hazel’s face covered in ice cream / CU of Kinbote / CU Slide of Hazel commiting suicide / MS Kinbote away from lectern standing in front of stack of giant books and herald which reads “Ex Libris Kinbote” / MS Kinbote back at lectern in front of slide of a statue of Jesus / CU of slide which switches to slide of John Shade / MS Kinbote walking from behind lectern to in front of stack of giant books / CU Kinbote / At this point the poor transfer causes the sound to oscillate between audible and silent every second / MS Kinbote walks back to the lectern / CU Slide of Shade at the beach changes to a slide of a cemetary which switches to a slide of the word “Amen” / MS Kinbote walks away from the lectern / CU Kinbote / Black pulsing getting much worse / MS Kinbote opens his jacket to reveal note cards (the original manuscript of the poem) sewn to the inside of his coat / MS Kinbote buttons up his jacket / MS Kinbote walks off, camera follows him, he exits stage right and the camera pans up to the herald / End credits / “From the Novel Pale Fire by Nabakov
Main Credit
WTTW (Television station : Chicago, Ill.) (corporate name)
Kuttner, Peter (is director)
Kuttner, Peter (is producer)
Additional Credit
Kuttner, Peter (is contributor)
Kuttner, Peter (is contributor)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Galati, Frank (is actor)
Galati, Frank (is participant)
Nabakov, Vladimir (is participant)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)