A list of the letters in Clarissa 1991
Letters in film: There are at least 60 instances of scenes motivated, focused on or about letters, individually or as a group in the scene or a montage in Clarissa 1991. In the four part version, in Part 1 they are not used to subjectivize the narrative,but rather as occasions for drama. Starting in the later episodes of Part 2, letters scenes are accompanied by voice-over and combine with objective drama sequences and montage to give the effect of subjectivity; the number of these increases enormously in Part 3; scenes are linked through voice-over moving from one scene to a next. Paper too is everywhere (cards, wills, property, sketches of land, books of lists, marriage license). See my conference paper on the film.
The count below only includes scenes of epistolarity. I left out other kinds of papers in my count of scenes, for if I included them, very few scenes would be omitted from my list. However, I chose stills which suggestively show the types of paper we see in the film as well as those which show how letters are part of the action and the viewer reminded people's relationship to another other through letters.
From Part 1, Episode 5: Clarissa on her visit to Anna: they are discussing Bella, and not in a kindly spirit; repeatedly in the film Clarissa is seen reading a book or with one in her hand; in this scene she has writing paper or a letter nearby
From Part 1, Episode 1: After an initial crane shot of Lovelace seen in silver aagainst a sunlit marble hall, bowing to Joe, he throws his card on the tray; thus he announces himself
- Episode 2, Lovelace's letter: Lovelace hides his letter and Clary and Anna come upon it, and they read it aloud and discourse
- Harlowes receive a letter from Lovelace asking permission to court Clarissa, father reads letter to family group in house and they discourse over it.
- Lovelace writing a letter FIRST true continuous VOICE OVER is Lovelace's.
- Argument after duel is about a letter or letters Clarissa received from Lovelace and is therefore a 4th instance
- A fifth letter, this one to Anna. She has been forbidden this and Bella is a spy and snatches letter
- Episode 3, Mr Solmes, Mother and daughter scene, after Clary's plea, the mother hardens and says "I was required to fetch your letters ..."
From Part 1, Episode 3: Solmes displaying the property maps to the assembled family
- Brother scene, he bullyingly takes letters and says "is this all." Some identification with Clary seen in women's faces
- Clary and Hannah hide a letter in a chicken coop
- Uncle's visit to bribe her with paper and quills; he removes them when she refuses Solmes
From Part 1, Episode 3: Clarissa accosted by James and a record of Lovelace's seductions, impregnations, and rapes of girls thrust into her hands, begins to read it upstairs
- Episode 4, Caught!: Hannah caught with letter she has retrieved from chicken coop
- The scene of James dictating a letter to Bella, and their interconnected dialogue in the center is an instance of epistolarity
- Clarissa writing Anna after Betty leaves, pen scratching
- Clarissa flees house (after talk with Betty scene) in dead of night and goes to chicken house, either reaching for or retrieving letter. She no longer has Hannah to help her.
- Letters again taken from her room by Betty when she is holding her own against Solmes, brother takes them and barges in
From Part 2, Episode 1: Clarissa bribing Betty to take three letters, one for father, one for mother, one for Uncle Anthony; they are torn up and returned to her by Betty
- Episode 1, Friend's plea: first scene occasioned by a letter Anne asks her mother to allow Clary to come stay with them; one line is "I thought she was forbidden letters
- Scene of Clary writing three letters, giving them to Betty, Betty taking them to parents and uncle, them torn up and Betty returning them
- Scene of Clary writing, Betty, James and Bella barge in, take them, assault her
- Scene of Clary sitting down to write, SECOND true VOICE OVER is hers, it's short and dissolves into scene of her running, scene in garden she puts in chicken coop; he on other side pulls out; Betty gives her towel for inky fingers when she gets in; E
- Episode 2,Nightmare: same letter brought to Jack after terrible dream.
- Clary writes letter after dream and Lovelace and Belford's bet, to Anne, THIRD true VOICE OVERM, this one to Anna and dissolved into Anna reading it while we hear Clary's voice still.
According to Cynthia Wall, and by my own videocassette's division, the first third of three parts ended here.
- Episode 3, Freedom: when she is writing the morning after they have fled from Harlowe house, it really does come to mind she'd be much better off if she couldn't write these letters. The people she reaches make things worse or can do nothing.
- Same letter read by Lovelace in next scene (given him by maid)?; a VOICE OVER which seems to be a letter he is thinking of writing to Jack
- Some document that James gives Joe to find out more information; not letters exactly but documents certainly and will be handed about. He wants Joe to find out all about Lovelace so as to sue in court.
- Anna receives a letter at bottom of stairs of Howe house, runs up, mother chases, up in room VOICE OVER of Clarissa, a kind of delayed effect ,epistolarity in soap opera form
- Joe and Lovelace going over documents/letters that "Mr James" ordered Joe to collect
- Clary writing Bella, VOICE OVER of Clary's voice dissolves into Harlowe house removal of her picture, draping her room in white, getting rid of her things ... now here first letter used as subjectivizer as voice over continues as we watch scene
- Again she is writing (after scene where Joe tells Lovelace James wants revenge), copying something from book, he comes in, they quarrel and he gets hysterical, her VOICE OVER of meditation signals this became a letter to Anna
- Episode 4, New Plan, and it's after the fierce scene, pretend reform and fencing, Clary is reading Anna's letter, VOICE OVER of ANNA. Third voice over thus far.
- Doleman and Lovelace read concocted letter about renting a place as if he were a rental agent; next scene she reads end of it aloud
Doleman reading aloud false realtor's letter which Clarissa reads aloud in next scene between her and Lovelace over supper on where to move
- After father curses Clary and strikes her name out of Bible, James dictates letter to Bella how they won't send anything to her and repeating father's words
- After scene of Clary's distress, Lovelace writes, VOICE OVER of Lovelace and we watch change over at Sinclair's house as voice carries on: subjectivizing of dramatic narrative in front of us
- Last scene of part part, VOICE OVER of Anna, as Clary reads letter in front of mirror at Mrs Sinclair's house and we get a double image of Clary
From Part 3, Episode 1: Dorcas finds letters Clary has secreted in her drawers while Clary at church with Lovelace (itself a set-up trap)
- Episode 1: The Church visit, sequence or scene 2, James is writing a letter, Joe brings note and they rush off
- While Clarissa and Lovelace at church, Dorcas going through her boxes and drawers to find packet of letters.
- Episode 2, Entertainment: After appalling dinner party with masks, Clary upstairs to room to write to Anna, VOICE OVER of Clary ... "the most disagreeable company ..." [Anna should look carefully] to seals
- After Clary discovers brothel and Lovelace gone down to Tomlinson, and she overheard, she is reading Anne's letter, VOICE OVER of Clary this time meditating the letter where she's told all delicacy is at an end for her.
- Episode 3, Uncle's News: while at opera, scenes of someone rifling Clary's drawers for letters; lace on sleeve so not Dorcas; after return to sequence of opera images, back to Sally copying out letters; then back to opera; then letters being put away, then Dorcas letting the pair in: by showing treachery over letters while couple at opera it comes a form of epistolarity as defined in Altman's book. Exploiting epistolary situation to show deceit. Over whole sequence the opera music, especially remember me. As MP uses voice over this uses music to link and make subjective
- When we return to masquerade with Tomlinson taking of wig, the women play games with letters and mock Lovelace. Letters stand for forbidden sex. Stand for sex itself. Up there with all those letters says Deborah.
- Indeed next shot of Clary upstairs, writing a letter, VOICE OVER of Clary, first one to Lovelace expressing her ability to love him. There is none of this in Clarissa; the letters we have are after the rape and notes.
- Aftermath of attempt at rape scene through faked fire, he has a letter in his hand, he was infuriated and driven by what he found in Anna and her letters.
- Next morning, he puts letter under her door, she takes and reads it, now VOICE OVER of Lovelace to Clary
- Episode 4, The Escape: immediately after discovery she's gone, he is seen crumbling a letter, dumbshow in his room, dark, later that night
According to Cynthia Wall, and by my own videocassette's division, this is where the original second third ended
- Letter arrives after brief street scene, from Anna; this one taken by Mrs Sinclair in deshabille, peeps, then read aloud by Lovelace; so not haunted feel but realistic: she is telling Clary the house is a vile house: her name not Sinclair house not in Dover street.
Morning after Clarissa flees to Hampstead, Mrs Sinclair peeking at letters coming to Lovelace
- House in Hampstead, VOICE OVER of CLARY to Anna: "I have at last escaped ..."
- Anna with Mr Hickman come to Bella and James at front door of Harlowe house with a letter as documentary proof Clary in trouble: house not where he claimed it is.
- Scene where Clary confronts him in front of women demanding he answer whether they are married, he produces packet of letters from Uncle Harlowe, Tomlinson, his aunts congratulating them on their nuptials. All fakes
- Episode 5, Master of Deceit: Will steals letter from Kitty (Clary's)
- Will and Lovelace forge letters for Clary and Anna that say opposite of what they said. Lovelace reads aloud to Will as he writes as Anna and Will reads Anna's words and we hear Lovelace's changes
- Then this forged letter given to Clary in next scene, VOICE OVER Of Anna: glad it's a devout house, your uncle urges you to seize this occasion ...
- Anna reads letter forged from Clarissa as interpersed brief scene while Tomlinson masquerade goes on; Hickman at her back listening.
- Same packet of fake letters of congratulations presented to Clary by Tomlinson (as in No 45)
- Fake letter crumbled by Lovelace in front of Jack and fire in last scene; Jack urges him to give it up and he says he has become "a machine" (sentence from Richardson's book and a letter from Lovelace to Jack)
From Part 3, Episode 5: Lovelace and Will forging letters; it is these forged letters which help Lovelace pressure Clarissa into accepting the visit of his "family"
- Episode 1, Family Plea: Lady Charlotte has some letters to collect so they must return to get them (hilarious in its way)
- In carriage, Lovelace uses excuse he'll just ask if there are any letters to stop at Sinclair's.
- Episode 2, The Final Act, scene where Lovelace contemplating marriage licence and writes Jack. VOICE OVER of Lovelace, lines from Richardson.
- Jack reading Lovelace's letter telling of his going to Lord Marchmain, VOICE OVER of Lovelace, dissolves into scene in carriage and back to Jack in tavern
- Episode 4: Publicly Humiliated: Clarissa writing sister from prison asking that the curse be lifted
- Clarissa writing to Anna, a continuous Voice over which moves to Anna silently reading and back to Clary writing
- Clarissa writes her expedient letter to keep Lovelace away which becomes a VOICE OVER Lovelace reading in next scene
- Episode 5: Clarissa's time: Letter from Belford arrives announcing death to Lovelace; we see envelope
From Part 4, Episode 5: the letter awaiting Lovelace's perusal
Last indoor scene of papers takes us back to opening scene of lawyer reading grandfather's will (Richardson thought of naming the novel, "The Lady's Legacy") as Uncle takes property away from family group and leaves