Seating..

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Seating..

Post by cacums » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:07 pm

After watching the Dining Room scene from Clue the movie I just realized the people are seated in a special order..

Peacock-Mustard
Plum-Scarlet
White-Green

If you swap the two middle suspects (Scarlet and Plum) notebooks.

Peacock-Mustard
Scarlet-Plum
White-Green

it is in order of the--

Mustard
Plum
Green
Peacock
Scarlet
White

Or you could just follow them down the table in a zig-zag pattern...
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Post by Murder by Death » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:22 pm

Huh?

It's too bad the suspects didn't arrive in game start order: Scarlett, Mustard, White, Green, Peacock, Plum.

Missing that opportunity, they certainly could have been seated that way and still maintained alternating boy-girl order which etiquette dictates.

Did they ever configure themselves this way during the movie? Curious.

Not sure what you're getting at cacums.
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Post by CluedoKid » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:56 pm

The best way they may have configured themselves is for the separation of pairs.


Scarlet-Mustard --->Ground floor

White(Wadsworth) --->Attic - Green(Yvette)--->1st floor

Peacock-Plum ---> Cellar
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Post by fendue » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:32 pm

Murder by Death wrote:Huh?
When you rearrange it like he said, the male and female suspects are seperated.

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Post by cacums » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:51 pm

Read the order of the men from top to bottom then read the women and it will be in the order of the notebook.
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Post by Murder by Death » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:09 pm

CluedoKid wrote:The best way they may have configured themselves is for the separation of pairs.
Well in some sense that may work, mustard/scarlet on the main floor, or starting floor, followed by white and green on the next 2 most accessible floors (upstairs and attic), and Peacock and Plum in the last and most inaccessible floor you'd visit.
cacums wrote:Read the order of the men from top to bottom then read the women and it will be in the order of the notebook.
Ah, the notebook is rather obscure, considering they didn't do the more obvious orderings, such as the arrival. But sure, why not.

Sadly the only homage that was spot-on was the color of their cars, but alas, each of them exiting their car was likely trimmed for time, as was each making an entrance.

Curiously, Plum and Scarlett arrive together, and they are adjoining on the board (first and last). When would Scarlett have arrived if her car had not broken down ... possibly first? In the film it was Mustard, White, Peacock, Green and Plum & Scarlett last. So it almost works except Peacock beats Green there unfortunately (nevertheless they do adjoin, so perhaps they just tried to avoid a conspicuous boy-girl alternating ordering of the arrival).
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Re: Seating..

Post by Lord Caspen » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:58 am

cacums,
cacums wrote:After watching the Dining Room scene from Clue the movie I just realized the people are seated in a special order..

Peacock-Mustard
Plum-Scarlet
White-Green

If you swap the two middle suspects (Scarlet and Plum) notebooks.

Peacock-Mustard
Scarlet-Plum
White-Green

it is in order of the--

Mustard
Plum
Green
Peacock
Scarlet
White

Or you could just follow them down the table in a zig-zag pattern...

This is absolutely correct, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed. As for MBD's point about not being in order -- well of course not. As D!ck Charleston might have said, "At a proper dinner party, men are never seated beside each other, if it can be helped, nor women either." Whenever possible, it always is done boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl. In this way, Gosford Park, say, is not only not a counter-example, but proves the rule, since the first night, when there are but twelve people upstairs, and they are even between the sexes, they are indeed seated boy-girl, even though that means sticking the hostess on the corner instead of opposite her husband -- which is absolutely correct for the number of people present, anyway; and then the second night, when there are fourteen people present and they are man-heavy, they are still, for the most part seated boy-girl, with only, I think it's Mr. Blond and Mr. Weissman each seated between two men to break the pattern.


So, in a sense, the seating they have in the film is about as close to being in order of the notebooks as was reasonably possible. I think it is highly significant of producers (or at least a director) who actually cared about the source material, and I love them for it. I love them much, much more for their fidelity to the layout of the house, but the notebook thing is a very nice touch.


My only question is how technically proper are the other aspects of the seating. Peacock's place has her as the senior ranking woman, but I believe that technically Green's place has him as the senior ranking male. Does anyone here know precedence for such a thing?


Anyway, thank you again, cacums!
It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. -- Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward.

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Re: Seating..

Post by Murder by Death » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:21 am

Lord Caspen wrote: As for MBD's point about not being in order -- well of course not.
I thought I made myself pretty clear (and succinct) about boy-girl ordering being standard etiquette in my initial response. I have since clarified the intent of all of my responses.
Lord Caspen wrote:I think it is highly significant of producers (or at least a director) who actually cared about the source material,
You're kidding right? The detective notebook as source material! I love it.

My earlier points had more to do with the fact that there was no attempt to be so accurate about the guest arrival, the most logical and most familiar place for them to honor the source material. I have played Clue for years and never once given any thought to the ordering of the suspects on the detective notebook(*), but I'm keenly aware of the starting order, which the movie failed to honor.

I'm not saying the table couldn't have been arranged in notebook order, but I think it's just as plausible we're reading too much into it. I can also make a case for going around the table in starting order, tempered by etiquette: Mustard & Scarlett next to each other, Green and White across from each other and Plum and Peacock next to each other. Since the male guest of honor sits to the left of the host (when there is no hostess, as M-F-M is not possible with 7), and the female guest of honor always to the right, Mustard has to be the first man, leaving Peacock the last woman (they may have also been arranged by age as their relative importance to Boddy is debatable, certainly in the case of the guest-of-honor seating). They could have also been in order of status: Mustard a high ranking military man, Peacock a Senator's wife. Scarlet an influential madam, Plum an influential counselor, and rounding up the bottom, Green a lowly bureaucrat, and White, merely a housewife.

I put no more credence in this arrangement being derived from the notebook than I do the convoluted scenario I observed to correlate the guests arrival with the starting order on the gameboard (which would have made a lot more sense), or the one CluedoKid proposed during the search of the house. I would also point out that no such other correlations exist with other aspects of the source material, when they could have just as easily been employed. The weapons are opened one-by-one, yet despite the ease of revealing them in the order listed on the notebook, they are random at best. I could go on.

And lastly, of course the layout of the house matches the gameboard. Had they not done this, there would have been little point in calling it Clue. Aside from the character's names and weapons, the rooms are a must, as well as their general relationship to each other. While I grant you, it is something Hollywood could have glossed over to accommodate the plot, there was every reason not to. Finding any house with 9 rooms on the ground floor, much less match the style of the mansion they could rent to shoot in was difficult enough they chose to build a set (eben then compromising the Ballroom). Besides the writer's envisioned this layout from the beginning, even suggesting a property in Virginia that closely resembled the Clue game layout. But matching detective notes seems like a stretch to me, though it's certainly more fun to think that it's true than not.

(* and why are the suspects in the notebook in that particular order? It doesn't relate to anything, they seem to order the men counter-clockwise to their starting position, and the women in no discernible order whatsoever, except possibly station, the weapons are not grouped in any particular fashion, but at least the rooms are in clockwise order from the entrance matching the starting routine).

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MBD

Post by Lord Caspen » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:37 pm

MBD,


I thought I might have written my post a little abrupt in tone, and that's not really what I wanted.

You probably did mention about boy-girl. I admit I was not at my most attentive last night.

I disagree about making the house like the board. Firstly, they needn't have made it like the board at all. As you probably know, often times with adaptations, despite the fact they use the title they have no compunction about obliterating what fans consider critical aspects. And secondly, even if they used the same rooms, there's no need for them to be laid out in the same way. But it shows that they're dedicated, you know? That they took what they were doing seriously, despite the fact that it was "only" a board game adaptation.


I appreciate your point about precedence. I did not know about seating the high-ranking male to the host's left in the absence of a hostess. Nevertheless, after the consideration they took with the board, I find it unlikely that the notebook played no part in the seating, even if they also happened to find that it suited other contexts. To be sure, Plum and Green could have been given sufficiently high ranks in government to outrank Mustard and replace him at the head on that side, but they weren't.

As for the seating having to do with the pairing ... I think it's a stretch to make the link when a full quarter of the pairing partners aren't present. That, to me, is more on the order of coincidence, because it's not possible to make the whole pattern fit.


As for reading too much into it ... only in the sense that the question isn't important in any context outside obsessing about the film. But as long as we've decided to gaze into this particular navel anyway ... Yeah, I like finding patterns, especially the subtle patterns.


I've tried finding patterns in the weapons dispersal, the arrival of the guests, the nexus of order of arrival with seating, with pairing, with the order of secrets exposed, the order of gifts opened, the notebook order of the weapons, the order of people drawing matches ... and more.

And it seems there is virtually no pattern between these orders, which I also find significant.
It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. -- Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward.

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Re: MBD

Post by Murder by Death » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:58 pm

Lord Caspen wrote: it seems there is virtually no pattern between these orders, which I also find significant.
And that is why I think the notebook ordering at dinner is at best a specious assumption. Why adhere to perhaps the most obscure connection with the game, and completely ignore them in all other respects. As I queried above, what is the significance anyway? Why would anyone think to make this decision, but none of the major ones? And what did you mean about a full quarter of the pairing partners not present? All six are indeed paired in male-female order, using the same swap cacums employed, consistently for all 6 where the male comes first. How is this any different.

Mind you I'm not saying it isn't, just that I don't see the proof that it unquestionably is.

I will disagree about the rooms, while conceding your point for other films, only because this was the first film based on a boardgame, and there is absolutely nothing else to identify it by. The 9 rooms had to be represented, just as the six weapons had to be. Come on, a "lead pipe"? Only the elderly would know what a leap pipe was in 1985. Perfect opportunity for a filmmaker to deviate from the source material and use a much more convenient and relevant fireplace poker. Instead they went to considerable effort to have Mr. Boddy present each specific weapon. As for the layout, the writer had already written a script around a house of this configuration, and the movie flows that way. Plus don't forget Parker Bros. had a certain amount of input into the licensing – this was a major move for both a toy company and a film company at the time. They may have specifically dictated the design of the house match the game board they were actively selling. These are things we ultimately cannot know based on available information.

As for the seating order etiquette, I could find no consistent precedent for a table of 7 that pertained to the seating in Clue. Normally the male guest of honor would be seated at the opposite head of the table with no hostess, and the female guest always on the right of the host. However, for blocking purposes that would have put 3 on one side and 2 on the other. Clearly they wanted balance. So the most common way to do that is put the male and female guest of honor next to the host, violating boy-girl, but no other way to seat such a group.
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MBD

Post by Lord Caspen » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:55 pm

MBD,


Well, anyway, it's been good talking with you about it. I like that, in addition to your Clue knowledge, you, like me, have actually spent independent "free time" looking up something I am never likely to use in my ordinary RL, seating precedence. I find it ... reassuring :)
It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. -- Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward.

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Post by Murder by Death » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:28 am

My good Lord,

Of course, likewise, and no worries. I am full of "useless" information. :wink:

But here's something interesting – and I would love to get to the bottom of it:

In the UK Cluedo instructions, the characters and weapons are listed in the same order that they are on the detective notebook. And the detective notebook is identical on both sides of the Atlantic.

However, the US Clue instructions have always listed the suspects in this order:

Mustard, Scarlet, Plum, Green, White, Peacock.
(notice if you move Peacock to first position, you get the pairings across the table in the order they were seated.)

The weapons weren't added to the US instructions until 1986, and then in this order:

rope, lead pipe, knife, wrench, candlestick, revolver.

What if anything is the significance to all these different orderings from the starting order on the board? Especially from the board to the notebook (that makes no sense at all), and then between the instructions in the UK & US? How were they decided? They make no sense at all.

The starting order makes perfect sense if you look at the suspects color assignments. They are ordered by color spectrum, starting with the highest, red. It's hard to imagine deviating from that order in the notebooks or instructions ... yet they do!
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Ah

Post by Lord Caspen » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:59 am

EDIT: My mistake
It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. -- Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward.

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Post by kova » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:38 pm

I too am a bit skeptical of the seating order being a throwback to the notebook. I always saw the order as the order that would work best with the script and possible camera angles. If the order resembled the starting position, there would have been more wide shots or close-ups instead of as many medium shots. The more variety, the more real it seems. It would not feel like a dinner party if there were only close ups and wide shots.

And Mr. Green would not be seated next to Scarlet to spill his drink. He would spill it on Mrs. Peacock again (Mrs. White would be seated across from him). I guess he could have spilled his drink on another female in the library and then spill his drink on Mrs. Peacock in the Dining Room. But I like Miss Scarlet's reaction the best. It also plays on the gag for the second time but also kills it. One more time would have been overkill.

It is possible that the script was written in regard to the order, but I'm not convinced.

As for the room order, I always thought the board was in a fairly logical order. For that reason, it would be plausible to have the room orientation to be exactly like the game. I'm not too familiar with mansion layouts but I suspect many mansions are oriented in the similar way/order. I am a bit curious why the guests were received in the library as opposed to the lounge. It's closer to the entry way, it's next to the dining room and a typical receiving area.
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Bleh

Post by Lord Caspen » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:53 pm

There's no story reason for it. For example, what difference does it make on whom Green spills? Would he even still spill if it weren't in this order? We don't know. I mean, nothing that happens in the dining room that is essential to understanding the overall story or the plot relies on the seating of the guests. As such, we have no way of knowing which came first. Did he say, "I can make this joke -- how do I have to seat them to make it work?" or did he say, "I'll seat these people here, like this. Now, what do they say?"

My point is that if these were the jokes that he thought worked best, the ones that actually happened, then isn't it pretty much an astounding coincidence that the order of the seating also happens to match the notebook really freaking well, with the single exception of making a very simple swap to allow for boy-girl order?


I mean, it's far from absolute proof, of course. It's not even the only plausible conclusion. I'm just saying that the points to date against, beyond just "I'm not convinced," are pretty weak sauce. Even this last even only serves to highlight the likelihood that the notebook had something to do with it.
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Post by kova » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:37 pm

You don't have to be rude about my skepticism.
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Rats

Post by Lord Caspen » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:43 pm

kova,


My apologies. It was not called for. I should like to make amends.
It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. -- Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward.

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Post by Murder by Death » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:14 pm

kova wrote:I am a bit curious why the guests were received in the library as opposed to the lounge. It's closer to the entry way, it's next to the dining room and a typical receiving area.
I too have wondered why the Lounge was used so little in the film. And it also makes sense with starting in clockwise order, i.e. the Lounge is almost always the first room entered thanks to Scarlett going first (if the dice favor her).

Perhaps it had to do with establishing a base of operations which is also a room with a secret passage. The Study makes the most sense to reveal the plan as that's where all the documents would be. They could have started in the Lounge, but it was the least interesting of the sets. Maybe they switched it after the set was built to showcase the fantastic Library set? Afterall, wouldn't the record player be in the Lounge instead of the Library? And why wasn't the tape deck in the Library? Probably because they decided to start in the Library where it would have been conspicuous, and no other real reason to go into the Billiard Room. Likewise for the Ball Room and the Conservatory (so they use it to stage Boddy's escape attempt and show the dog – because otherwise, why wouldn't he just run out the back door in the Kitchen?). Besides the Study, the Library was the single most featured room, and it was the coolest and best looking of all of them.

BTW – it would have been a nice touch to see the doberman growl at Mustard when he got too close to the glass when they searched the conservatory, not to mention hear the dogs bark as new strangers arrived at the house. Perhaps Wadsworth drugged the meat and the fell asleep, or worse.

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Points

Post by Lord Caspen » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:20 pm

The Library was actually a good place to meet. The Lounge is about after dinner.

Keep in mind the house is designed on Victorian ideals. The library would be a fairly neutral room. It shows off the grandeur of the house, and my understanding is that after a great hall it is the room a body of guests would most expect to see.

The Billiard Room would be a men's preserve, as would, most likely, the Study. The Lounge, on the other hand, is where the women would retire. If there was to be bridge, or some such, perhaps they'd all retire to that room. Its use as more of a "feminine" preserve would explain the pastels and the more delicate look of the room, which is also why it would not be a "neutral" gathering place. The notion would be that men of the time would feel embarrassed to hang around in such a girly room, except to humor the ladies with a hand of bridge or two.


I think the Library of Hill House, in any case, is larger and more impressive.


I, too, am disappointed that the Lounge played such a small role in the film. That and the first floor, just above the ground floor. I would have liked to have got a better impression how those spaces were laid out.


As for the recording set-up ... I'm a little concerned with the question of how the wires were run that took the sound from the mics to the Billiard Room, but as to why the machine had to be there ... I think it's as simple as: there's tradition why they have to meet in the Library, so the device can't be there, or else it will be seen. The confession discussion has to take place in the Study, and, possibly, it would have been harder to hide the wires if they'd gone across the hall to the Lounge, so the next closest room was: the Billiard Room. Still, could they not have gone upstairs? :)


I pointed out the thing about the floorplan earlier, and I stand by my assertions about the seating, not least because of the novelization. In it, Mustard is actually seated between Scarlet and White on one side. He offers the tray of food to Scarlet first, with the line we all know about Kipling, then he turns and tries the same line on White.

"Do you like Kipling, Mrs. White?"
And she replies,
"I don't know, I've never kippled."

So, someone working from the source material didn't think it was necessary or even a good idea to seat people at the table in a manner that had anything to do with the notebook. Yet the people who made the film chose to do so.

Also in the novel, the guests leaving the Study after Boddy's first apparent death, to go save a screaming Yvette, are said to go next door to the Billiard Room. So, too, someone working, presumably to enhance the overall Clue franchise, nevertheless chose to abandon the real gameboard in favor of what worked for him. That the producers of the film didn't go that route, I think is laudable.


As for the dog question ... I suppose it's a big backyard? Boddy just happened to get there when the Doberman was already turned that direction to see him. Mustard and Scarlet pass through when, I suppose, the dog is asleep, or facing the other way, or in a total other part of the yard?
It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. -- Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward.

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Re: Points

Post by Murder by Death » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:11 pm

Lord Caspen wrote:I'm a little concerned with the question of how the wires were run that took the sound from the mics to the Billiard Room,
Who was?
Lord Caspen wrote:I stand by my assertions about the seating, not least because of the novelization.
Totally specious reasoning. Mustard could have delivered the same line to Peacock, yet he did not. The line could have easily been cut because it was lame and they did not wish White to appear uneducated. Or, the writer could have embellished the screenplay. It happens all the time in novelizations, which are usually written on very early drafts. The White line could have been cut long before they got to the set. edit: In fact I just checked the shooting draft, and the line is not there. I haven't read the Clue novelization so you'd have to tell me how many discrepancies there are between it and the movie. Either way, relocating Mustard could have been for any number of reasons, the least of which is the obscure reference to the notebook. He had the most lines, so they preferred him seated near the head of the table. You'll notice the camera never looked toward the Lounge wall. I can't say it enough, they ignored every single opportunity to closely match the minor elements of the game board but this one? Yet in the same breath you are willing to throw the floorplan out because Hollywood does what they want? edit: the shooting draft does not indicate seating placement, but it does include the stage directions that Yvette serves soup to Peacock, Scarlet, White, Plum, then Mustard (and presumably Green last), which seems to closely match the seating order and proper etiquette, something Yvette seems to totally ignore in the movie, so that was changed.

And saying go next door is proof of nothing. The Billiard Room is next door relatively speaking. What would you have them say: "the guests left the study, ran down the hall and past the library, to the room next to it"? Is there any other evidence that the Billiard Room is between the Study and Library? Or, the writer, having no context of Clue, might have simply assumed they could not hear the scream from two rooms away and decided to assist the writers with his own floorplan. That happens all the time as there was no movie for reference. There is very clear documentation on the other hand that the writers were very familiar with the Clue house to the point of specifying one in Virgina that looked like it.

They changed plenty of things about Clue. But the major things were mostly accurately represented. The character names, the weapons, rooms and general layout. But the idea that they would have sacrificed blocking to accommodate a single obscure homage to the notebook ordering is just ridiculous. If Lynn wanted them seated in a different order for camera, he would have done it. If he had wanted the Library next to the Study, a lot of people would have objected.

Again, I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is most likely a coincidence, given the absence of any other minor details in the film.

There is no question about the dog. It was simply a missed opportunity. Besides, why would guard dogs sleep when someone drives up and walks within feet of them?

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