Episode 17: SIGN IT DEATH

Written by Terence Feely
Story by Brian Clemens
Produced by John Sichel
Directed by Shaun O'Riordan
(tx date March 9, 1974)
fr: Idée fixe
Tracy Conway has one desire: to marry a wealthy man. For those who get in her way it's tough luck ...
This one was obviously made at a time when women were women ... Reactionary stuff, but I love it nonetheless. Francesca Annis is terrific as the highly venomous Tracy whose satanic schemes we are witnessing for more than an hour. A very good example of a character able to fascinate without inspiring viewer identification. We actually like her to a certain degree because a) we see everything through her eyes (share her p.o.v.) and b) she's a protagonist obsessed with a quest.

Tracy Conway hat sich in den Kopf gesetzt, einen wohlhabenden und erfolgreichen Mann zu heiraten - und geht dafür buchstäblich über Leichen.
Aus Modernmates (Spell of Evil) wird Girlfinders, und diese down to Earth-Variante ist keinen Deut schlechter. Sign It Death lebt von der überragenden Francesca Annis. Die Nebenrollen sind gleichfalls brillant besetzt. Es wird hier ein sehr problematisches Frauenbild gezeichnet, aber angesichts dieser fesselnden Geschichte drücken wir gerne beide Augen zu!
Rating: ****+

The French version of Sign It Death is in original ATV format. What follows is a transcript of the teaser.
0'00 (1) Landscape with cows and a farmer. Camera pans to the left to show a country house. Music.
0'20 (2) Fade to chandelier, camera moves back to show all of the room in a high angle. Mr Carter and wife at table. Sound of someone trying a doorknob very hard but in vain.
Mr Carter: Tiens j’ai vu Roger aujourd’hui. By the way I have seen Roger today. (Music fades.)
Mrs Carter: Ah! Qu’est-ce qu’il devient? Oh. How is he?
Mr Carter: Ah il est toujours pareil, il avait encore trop mangé. He is always the same. He has eaten too much.
Mrs Carter: Ah je ne sais vraiment pas comment elle s’en sort avec lui. I really don't know how she manages to cope with him.
Mr Carter (turns head towards door): Ah! Pousse Hilary! Hilary, you must push!
Mr Carter (turning towards wife again): Hein? Come again?
Mrs Carter: Sa femme. His wife.
Mr Carter: Ah! Oh.
Mrs Carter: (inaudible - interrupted by noise)
Mr Carter (impatient): Pousse!!! Push!!!
0'39 (3) Medium Shot. Door opens to reveal the daughter of the house, smiling awkwardly.
0'44 (4) Same as (2). Miss Carter carries tray/plate, puts it on table.
Mr Carter (to daughter): Un peu de vin? Some wine? (Pours.) Zoom towards figure concealed behind curtain of which only women's shoes are visible. Music.
Mr Carter (to wife): Et ce bridge, ça s’est bien passé? Your bridge, did it go well?
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[0'53 (5) Medium Shot. Curtain parts to reveal hand with scissors.] [Possibly a little longer in TVM]
Mrs Carter: Avec des hauts et des bas. With ups and downs.
Mr Carter: Ca veut dire que tu t’es montrée trop optimiste. That means you showed yourself too optimistic.
0'57 (6) Close shot. Carter, right profile.
Mrs Carter: J’ai perdu si c'est que tu veux dire toi. I lost if that's what you want to say.
Mr Carter (laughs): En tout cas tu le reconnais. In any case you admit it.
Mrs Carter: Quoi? Admit what? (Camera moves to higher angle.)
Mr Carter: La plupart des bridgeurs disent c’est mon ... mon partenaire qui a perdu. Most bridge players say it's my ... partner who has lost.
Mrs Carter: Oh! mais c’est un peu vrai. But it's true to some extent.
[1'07 (7) Close Shot. Mrs Carter, left profile.
Mrs Carter: Jasmine m’a avouée que ... Jasmin admitted that ... (Stares.)
[1'08 (8) Carter. Reaction shot.
[1'09 (9) As (7).
[1'10 (10) As (8).
[1'11 (11) Continuation of (6). Carter turns around, shaken by disbelief. Starts.
[1'13 (12) Close shot. Hand with scissors, ready to strike.
[1'13 (13) Close shot. Miss Carter stares, horrified.
[1'14 (14) Medium shot. Carter, his face contorted, collapsing.
[1'16 (15) Close shot. Mrs Carter, profile. Horrified.
[1'17 (16) Close shot. Carter, collapsing on table.
[1'18 (17) Close shot. Miss Carter, staring, then looking up in fear.
[1'20 (18) Close shot. Mrs Carter, expecting to be hit next.
[1'21 (19) Close shot. Hand with scissors strikes.
[1'23 (20) Close shot. Mrs Carter, closing eyes upon being hit, opening them again, then collapsing.
[1'26 (21) Medium shot. Miss Carter staring in horror, collapsing body of Mrs Carter in the foreground. Miss Carter jumps up and screams.
[1'27 (22) Close shot of her chair that is being knocked over.
[1'28 (23) Close shot, high angle. Mrs Carter's hand and killer's shoes.
[1'29 (24) Continuation of (21). Miss Carter screams and starts towards door.
[1'33 (25) Detailed close shot. She tries the knob, screaming.
[1'35 (26) Medium shot. Miss Carter turns her head in panic.
[1'35 (27) Same as (19) Hand with scissors.
[1'36 (28) Close shot. Miss Carter, profile, in panic.
[1'36 (29) Same as (19) Hand with scissors strikes.
[1'38 (30) Close shot. Miss Carter twitches, screams.
[Repeat of (29) + extra shot of Miss Carter screaming and collapsing]
1'40 (31) Close shot. Carter lying on table, moves in agony. Camera moves with him to the right. He falls down. Camera focuses on candle, knocked over but still burning. (Music fades. Amplified sound of candlestick moving on table.) Candlestick is reinstalled in an upright position by the murderous hand. Sound of vacuum cleaner.
2'05 (32) Close shot, high angle. Socket. Camera pans to right to expose first cable, then a vacuum cleaner at work, removing debris from the carpet.
2'20 – Main titles.
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27 shots - those in [brackets] - are left intact in the TVM (total time of these shots: 0'38).
In the TVM we also find a repeat of (29) and an extra shot of Miss Carter screaming and collapsing. These two are not included in the French version.

Francesca Annis (Tracy Conway), Patrick Allen (Richard Main), Moira Redmond (Janice Main), Edward Judd (Bill Lewis), Gerald James (Barnes), Barry Stanton (Quinn), James Bate (Detective), Sheila Fearn (Prudence Claire), Jackie Tong (Sally), John Arnatt (Mr Robinson), Leon Eagles (Mr Seddon), Jeremy Pearce (Sergeant), Carmen Blanck (Mrs Vinkel), Alan Bennion (Mr Carter), Sonia Graham (Mrs Carter), Lisa Young (Miss Carter), Jimmy Gardner (Caretaker), Stuart Nichol (Commissionaire).
Wardrobe Supervisor Kaye Conry-Halley Make-up Supervisor Marie Roche Film Cameraman Dick Bayley Film Editor Tom Rowland Senior Cameraman Bill Brown Sound Director Bob Woodhouse Senior Vision Control Gerry Taylor VTR Editor Al Pigden Music Laurie Johnson Music Coordinator Paul Clay Lighting Director Jimmy Boyers Designer Bryan Holgate Stage Manager Paul Harrison Vision Mixer Moyra Bird Production Assistant Joan Reader.
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