SPECIAL: The Scarf And METAMORPHOSIS

Filmed May 1967

When it came time to film the climactic scene between Zefrem and the Companion/Nancy, I wanted more in the staging than was described in the script.

script

Zefrem was speaking excitedly about their future plans, but I wanted to focus on the unusual one of the two – the Companion/Nancy, a cloud recently turned into a human. I decided I would have this cloud look and marvel at the scarf that Nancy had worn, a simple and very human act. Little did I realize the unexpected added dimension that added to the scene. It now seemed that what the Companion was seeing …

yellow

… was Zefrem as she saw him when she was a cloud.

glenn

glenn cu

One day walking back to the office after a screening of the completed film, Gene Coon said to me he was just amazed; how had I created that wonderful moment of her looking at Cochrane through the scarf as a remembrance of how she had once seen him when she was a cloud. It would be nice to say I planned it and take credit for that added nuance, but I have to admit, not knowing at that time what the Companion was going to look like, that was not what happened.

That moment has received a lot of attention. The Movie Blog, an Irish nerds’ eye view of popular culture wrote:

Ralph Senensky’s direction is delightful, particularly one inspired (if accidental) touch.

Some Comments left on the METAMORPHOSIS post of this website:

Lovely bit with the scarf, so memorable.

I loved the business with the scarf; it’s hard to believe you didn’t plan that,
but regardless it’s a beautiful moment.

Marc Cushman in his magnificent book, THESE ARE THE VOYAGES: TOS Season Two, wrote:

It is likely that Richard Edlund, after viewing the footage of Glenn Corbett as shot through the scarf, used this as his inspiration for the colors seen in The Companion.

That brings up a good question: When did the lab start working on the effect for the Companion? We didn’t shoot the Cochrane-Nancy scene until the final day; in fact I think it was the last scene to be filmed. Did the lab start work on the Companion before or after that sequence was in the can? And even if the lab did as Marc suggested, that would not solve the mystery. The evidence has been staring boldly at us all of these years. Here is the Companion as she raises the scarf …

blue

… and here again is her point of view of Zefrem through the scarf:

yellow

The scarf has miraculously changed color. I wonder if in the final processing of the film at the lab, was that when the change occurred? Some astute lab technician or even more likely the representative from the producer’s office (Eddie Milkis?), realizing the potential effect, made the change! That seems very likely and rational. The important thing is NOT who thought of it; the important thing is it was done, and it worked. And it bears out something I very strongly believe: film is truly a COLLABORATIVE MEDIUM!

Why don’t you take a look at that scene again, forty-eight years after it was filmed. What do you think?

The journey continues

This entry was posted in Star Trek. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to SPECIAL: The Scarf And METAMORPHOSIS

  1. Tim Messenger says:

    What else can you say ? ….. A Classic !

  2. Josh Lee says:

    This never thrilled me as a kid (no fights!) but now it brings a tear to my eye. I just loved it when Star Trek was happy. It did sad pretty well, too but when it was happy, it was the greatest. Still is. I just finished the third volume of These Are The Voyages and whether it’s the best TV show or not, it’s pretty special. My favorite, anyway. Never said I wasn’t biased. Kudos yet again to all the talent behind and in front of the cameras. 🙂 Many people give reasons for Trek’s enduring popularity and the main reason to me is that it is about love. There is no better example than Metamorphosis – the finest man loves cloud/woman story ever.

  3. James Zeruk says:

    That’s amazing! Thank you for explaining it. All the times I saw this episode–perhaps 20 or so, I thought the scarf thing was just Companion exhibiting a feminine flare as “Nancy.”

    I remember seeing my mom hold up scarves in similar ways while out shopping for outfits with her as a boy. Indeed, however the symbolism came to be in this scene, it is very cool that it did!

  4. detectivetom says:

    As stated earlier, a classic. And your giving credit for a “COLLABORATIVE MEDIUM!” is also classy. Thank you.

  5. Art Bundrick says:

    Did James Doohan do other voice work for Star Trek?

    If he did what were the episodes?

    The voice of Sardon was so deep and clear; did the sound people adjust his voice to give that wonderful voice of Sardon?

    • Ralph says:

      Yes, Doohan did other voices for STAR TREK and yes he voiced Sargon. I was not at the recording, but I think I’ve read and I’m almost positive from hearing that there were technical modifications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *