Saturday, July 30, 2005

Killer Movie Scenes: King of New York ~ Frank White greets his crew at the Plaza Hotel

Abel Ferrara’s King of New York begins as penitentiary-tanned Frank White (Christopher Walken) is decanted from prison cell back to his natural domain: nocturnal New York. Walken as White is Nosferatu: cadaverous countenance, cryogenically cool. Languid but lethal; eerily elegant, Frank White takes up residence, as befits his regal status, in a salubrious suite at the Plaza Hotel and surveys his empire. As he gazes outwards the Manhattan skyline is reflected back onto the window of the Plaza penthouse, almost obscuring his dead eyes, alien features and lethal, curtailed smile. His prison crop is revitalised: an electrified Don King eruption. His black Armani suit is as sharp as his features: Walken owns The Charisma Franchise.

In the following scene his crew (Jimmy Jump ~ Larry Fishburne, Lance ~ Giancarlo Esposito, Test Tube ~ Steve Buscemi et alia) arrive to pay homage to their King. Walken, unvisited during his long incarceration, mimes resentment then subverts it with a showman's dance of rapprochement and resurrection. A truly unexpected, extemporaneous, unscripted moment. Count Dracula meets Gene Kelly.

As the scene begins Jump and White eye eachother uneasily. Jump plays with a polystyrene cup; the tension is palpable.

Frank White: What’s in the cup?

Jimmy Jump: Root beer. You want some?

Frank White: There are some things I don’t do…..(dead eyes flash, a sly wink)..bop, bop, wooaah!
(Walken dances like only Walken can. Frank White is back).

Jimmy Jump: Yo, congratulations, Frank. Congratulations, man. The Columbian motherfuckers, they took permanent vacation in hell, if you know what I mean.

Frank White: Well, I must've been away too long because my feelings are dead. I feel no remorse. It’s a terrible thing. (a lethal smile ghosts across his features and vanishes).

Jimmy Jump: Yeah, I heard that being in jail makes you feel like that, man.
I got a present for you. Check it out (hands Frank a pair of gloves).
They were King Tito’s…but he don’t need them where he is now (laughs).
Yeah, I thought you might want to donate them to a clothing drive or something (laughs).

Frank White: You having a good time, eh Jim?

Jimmy Jump: Hey, man, I’ve been waiting years for this.

Lance: Emilio Zapa sends his regards (flips open an attaché case and holds up bundles of notes).

Frank White: (Gasps) Ow, Ooww! You know how I love money! …. Now help yourself (grins).

Frank White: Is the meeting set with Dalesio?

Lance: Downtown.

Jimmy Jump: You need to let me bust a cap in that moon-headed motherfucker’s ass, boy!

Henchman: Word!

Jimmy Jump: He's a f*cking glitter-boy; he's looking to get sprayed, laid, played, and slayed, you know what I'm saying?

Frank White: I heard that (laughs).
So, you gonna come downtown and say hello?

Jimmy Jump: You hob-knob with those homos if you want to. I’m going downtown to find me a girl, get my knob polished. Time for some real fun.

Frank White: Jim, ... How come you never came to see me?

Jimmy Jump: Who wanted to see you in a cage, man?

Frank White: (pauses reflectively, a mime of resentment followed by a snaky, slowburning smile)…Of course.

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