Revealing Without Dialogue-SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

For Class #2

 Instructor: Norman Hollyn T.A.: Robert Abilez
 Office: 323-275-1869 Phone: 213-220-0213-220-0408408

 E-Mail: hollyn [at]

E-Mail: rnabilez [at]

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The following scene, from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, is told simply. There is no dialogue, everything is told through nuance. In fact, note that the powerful ending moment is told from behind Margaret's back. The staging of the action, however, is unmistakable. Playing the scene without showing her face manipulates us like old time radio -- we are free to let our own emotions and ideas play the scene out.




A black car drives along a dirt road, a cloud of dust rising behind. Passing through an endless expanse of ripening corn.


A white farmhouse. A barn. A stand of trees. Cornfields as far as the eye can see.


A tire swing. A bushel basket nailed to the barn over a dirt basketball court. A PORCH SWING sits empty. Moves slightly. ON THE GLASS OF THE FRONT DOOR Four American flag decals. Each one, a man in service.

MARGARET RYAN steps out. Around sixty. Her face shows the lines of a life of hard work and mother hood. A good woman. She wipes her hands on her apron and looks out across the fields. Far in the distance she sees the dust rising behind the black car. She watches the car get closer, then sees it turn toward her house. She starts to grow uneasy. As the black car approaches, her breath comes hard. She reaches out and steadies herself on the porch post. The car pulls up to the house. She sees three men get out, one wearing a clerical collar. The first of her tears come.

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Last Modified - October 15, 2012