Forty Shades of Blue

Institute History


The kept woman of a legendary rock n' roll producer throws herself into a life-changing affair with his shiftless son.

We meet Laura Taylor, a beautiful young blonde, dressed elegantly and smoking a solitary cigarette on the empty balcony of a luxury high-rise in Memphis. Through the sliding glass doors Alan Bell, fifty year-old rock 'n roll producer, puts on his tuxedo and smokes a joint. Cindy, the teenage baby-sitter arrives to take care of Laura and Alan's young son, Sam. Laura and Alan leave and wait silently for the elevator to take them down to the parking garage and their Mercedes. It seems to be a night like a lot of others.

At a prestigious downtown hotel, Alan is being toasted by Memphis' music elite. Laura drinks by herself at the hotel bar. Michael Bell, Alan's son, arrives late from the airport. He joins Laura at the bar. There's some water under the bridge, but neither of them talk about it.

In the next days, Michael follows Laura around: Exercise at the YMCA, singing lesson, shopping. They talk. They go to a motel and make love. A clandestine affair begins.

Laura goes on a business trip with Alan to New York City. She's left all alone, in a beautiful hotel room with an expensive view. Alan works his magic at the recording studio. Laura gets drunk at the hotel bar. The next morning there's a teary fight with Alan. They return home.

Michael, with Sam in tow, picks them up at the airport. A happy family. At dinner Alan harasses him for not knowing what to do with his life. Michael emotionally admits how lost he is. Laura falls in love.

Laura and Michael return to their affair and their motel room. Michael knows he must leave and begs Laura to come with him. She worries about losing Sam. He won't accept her excuse. She fears Alan's power and her helplessness. In a moment of self-destructive despair, Michael kicks her out of the car.

A night like all the others begins: Cindy comes to take care of Sam, Alan takes Laura to another party. In front of all his friends, he dramatically asks Laura to marry him. Surprise. Congratulations all around. Laura silently scrutinizes the engagement ring.

As soon as they get home, Alan leaves to drive Cindy home. Laura is alone again. She runs a bath, pours herself a glass of wine. She makes a mysterious phone call to the police. Laura has finally taken some action.

Alan and Cindy are surprised by the cops at her Mom's house. They were tipped off to an underage affair. Mom is hysterical. Cindy is screaming. Alan stays calm and unsuccessfully tries to reach Laura on the phone. He calls Michael at the motel and tells him about the phony set-up. Michael puts the pieces together.

Laura arrives at the motel. She's numb, but steady. She knocks on Michael's door. He sits silently in the dark and does not answer. She leaves quickly, now more desperate. She searches the local bars. Unable to find him, she returns home, deflated. Alan's car follows hers into the parking garage.

Upstairs Laura puts Sam to bed and joins Alan in the bedroom. The phone rings. Laura listens as Alan says good-bye to his son. Laura begins to cry. She goes to the bathroom. Alan watches her carefully. He probably knows too.

Laura sobs in front of the mirror, her face in her hands. The mirror wishes it were a wall.


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