By Paul Harding, Paul Doherty
It's the wintry weather of 1379 and a sea of difficulty is besetting England as French privateers proceed to assault the southern coast on a route to threaten London itself. In reaction an English flotilla of warships, with God’s brilliant Light in its quantity, has dropped anchor within the Thames. whilst the sunlight rises at the flotilla’s first morning, the 1st mate and of the team of God’s brilliant Light have disappeared with out a hint. Sir John Cranston—the wine-loving Coroner of the City—and his clerk Brother Athelstan are summoned to unravel the mysteries on board the ill-omened warship. specifically, they have to hunt down the reality at the back of the demise of Sir Henry Ospring, who after vacationing the ship’s captain was once later viciously stabbed to dying in a tavern chamber. As Cranston and Brother Athelstan examine, they locate themselves within the thick of a bloody conflict as scandal, treason, and homicide rule the day.
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Extra info for By Murder's Bright Light (Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan)
The reader may wish to ask whether Holt’s characterization of interpretive openness applies not only to the case of Twin Peaks but to others as well. Holt himself applies it insightfully to both The Maltese Falcon and The Prisoner, but in doing so he may have inadvertently weakened his own case. For if we accept his claim that the motivations of Sam Spade are multiply interpretable, what are we to make of his earlier claims of Spade’s “underly- 26 Steven M. Sanders ing nobility,” that he is a “noble hero”?
Webb had no interest in creating suspenseful action; those who tuned in could depend not only on Friday and his cohorts solving every case (and emerging unscathed) but also on the judicial system never failing to convict and sentence the felons appropriately. Dragnet, instead, engaged viewers with what seemed to be the accurate, objective depiction of the “truth” of police work through the reenactment of the investigation of what is ostensibly (and usually is truly) an actual case. Thus the characteristic Dragnet scene is not physical action, such as a car chase, but conversation: sometimes the interrogation of either witnesses or suspects, sometimes a discussion among the policemen themselves about how to proceed.
This seems true enough, but we should add that Webb, who had a good visual sense, frequently animated these rather static scenes with extreme close-ups, filling the small screen with the single human face in a fashion that was quite innovative and often remarked on at the time. As he said, “The close-up is the thing that pays off on the small screen, . . ”13 In this way, the episode’s conversational scenes were dramatized, an effect heightened by quick cross-cutting between or among speakers as well as by deftly positioned reaction shots.
By Murder's Bright Light (Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan) by Paul Harding, Paul Doherty