US / 10 minutes / bw / Kathryn Gould Dir & Pr: Kathryn Gould, Nelson Goforth Scr: Kathryn Gould Cine: Nelson Goforth Cast: Kathryn Gould, Jason Coviello, Nelson Goforth, Joey DiPentino, Henry Rowland
It’s Chicago, 1946, and the headliner chanteuse at Eddie’s Place is Eleanor Dale (Gould), who’s also Eddie’s moll. One night, just before she goes on, Eddie’s sidekick Joe (Coviello) comes to her dressing room to try to persuade her to flee immediately. He’s heard Eddie planning to have her blown away the moment she steps on stage. But Eleanor refuses to listen
Eleanor: “It’s a test, Joe, and if I don’t go on tonight you fail. You think Eddie hasn’t noticed the way you look at me?”
Joe: “What way is that?”
Eleanor: “Like you’ve been walking around in the desert for weeks and . . . I’m a tall drink of water.”
Joe: “You’re a tall drink o’ sumpin’, that’s for sure.”
Just as she leaves to go on stage, Joe is struck down from behind. The lights go out and in the pitch blackness there’s the sound of a single shot, then a woman’s scream . . .
Joe (Jason Coviello) and Eleanor . . .
. . . Eleanor (Kathryn Gould) and Joe.
Next we know, Joe’s woozily swimming in and out of consciousness while under interrogation by Detective Finnegan (Goforth). Joe’s the best suspect in Eleanor’s murder, and a dozen people are willing to swear they saw him pull the trigger. But Finnegan, big-hearted cop that he is, believes in Joe’s innocence, and gives him a train ticket for Philly and a strong recommendation that he hightail it out of town.
Finnegan (Nelson Goforth) puts the squeeze on the jailed Joe (Jason Coviello).
Cut to a strangely deserted Union Station (in fact, according to the closing credits, in Denver rather than Chicago), where one of Eddie’s goons—or perhaps even a rogue cop (DiPentino)—stalks Joe with intent to gun him down. Detective Finnegan is there, too, and Joe realizes it’s all been a setup . . .
Which is true, except that it’s not the setup that he thought it was.
(Joey DiPentino) “I’m tellin’ you, Finnegan. Eddie’s goin’ to have the chopper squad on you for this.”
This is quite a short short—a fair proportion of its 10-minute running time is taken up by leisurely opening and closing credits—and its plot is correspondingly very simple. It’s also fairly talky, with, presumably for budgetary and/or time reasons, much of its exposition coming in the form of dialogue rather than deed. But within those constraint it’s extraordinarily well done. The production standards ooze quality, and there’s a very effective music track (by Bryan Dennis). Coviello’s is unquestionably the outstanding performance here, although Goforth and Gould deliver perfectly creditable turns, the latter in what’s effectively two roles. The black-and-white ambience becomes so seemingly naturalistic that it’s quite a shock when, at the end of the closing credits, there’s a spot of bright color on the screen in the form of the Red Digital Cinema (camera equipment) logo.
A very minor homage, then, but one that merits its ten minutes in the sun.
On YouTube here.