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Movies that would be better without their ending.


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Once Gene leaves the film it is all downhill from there.

 

I agree.  It would have been a better ending if Gene had managed to screw everyone over in the end and there was no reprieve or happy ending.  There was truly nothing she wouldn't have done to get what she wanted.  

 

It's a great movie. I would have loved it even more without the happily ever after ending. 

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Anybody here ever watched 1989's "DEAD CALM"  ?

 

It's a terrific psychological thriller Australian production starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane.

 

(...however, the final ending to this tense seagoing film is not only not needed, but is pretty much unbelievable to boot)

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  • 6 months later...

I can add I Knew Her Well (1965) to my list.  Despite it's pop-culture facade, and sexual revolution behavior, it's surprising to see how much it's like the typical morality plays that formed the basis for movies from the silents on up.  There are lots of 'em, think of A Life of Her Own (1950), and Three Wise Girls (1932), for example.  It's hard to figure Pietrangeli's aim, however.  He seems to be criticizing something, but what it is is hard to pin down.  It may be the circle Adriana runs in, filled with vultures, users, thieves, pimps, and prostitutes (of all kinds).  But they all seem to be having a good time, most of them, anyway.  Maybe it's Adriana he's criticizing, for living the loose life she does.  She should have stayed home, and married.  From what I saw of it, I'd do what I could to get away from there, too.  Maybe it's her promiscuity--no, I don't want to use that word, it's got a pejorative taint to it.  Is her sexual freeness supposed to be wrong?  And she's supposed to suffer for it?  Even so, she's still looking for That One Guy.  Talk about old morality.  That must be it, because she finds him, but as punishment, she not only doesn't get him, she has to hook him up with the girl he wants.  Ouch.  Maybe we're supposed to feel sorry for her, because really she's not too bright, a ready victim for every pimp and user who wants to take advantage of her better nature and humiliate her.  She's not vindictive, or scheming, and has compassion for people and their condition.  So she really is a good person, and because of her naiveté gets munched by the evil world, or the evil part of it.  Oh, we're back where we started.  

 

You may get the idea I don't like the movie, but I do, especially Stafania Sandrelli as Adriana--though you sometimes want to knock her in the head for her obtuseness.  But anyway, about the ending.  Naturally, because of her sexual freeness, she has to come to a bad end (more production code morality).  In this movie, it's suicide, jumping off a balcony.  How disappointing.  I guess it's meant to have a tragic effect.  The path to it is handled well, not too obviously telegraphed.  The build up of hurts and humiliations taking their toll, the foreshadowings subtly done, to place the idea of the leap in the back of the viewer's mind.  But I think an indeterminate ending for the movie would be much better.  Leave her looking out through the gauzy draperies, and let the audience speculate on her future.  Modern tragedy is not about death, but futility.  Maybe she lives on in an eternal heck of her own creation, living a life of pointless pleasure seeking.  You know, she does seem to have a good time doing that, having sex, and dancing, and eating, and going to parties.  But Old Morality says you can't live a life like that and be happy, so you have to jump off the balcony.  Nothing modern about that.  And who knows?  She might even become a big comedy star.  After all, she made people laugh in that little filmlet she did.  Somebody could pick up on that and cast her in a comic role.  

 

Anyway, just clip off the last few seconds and you'll have a much better movie.

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I really don't like the ending of SCARLET STREET (1945) at all.  Eddie should never be feeling that much guilt after what Bennett and Duryea were up to.  Asinine.  I watched this movie twice in its entirety.  No more.   

 

The 1983 movie HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW.  I'd like this movie so much more if the filmmakers hadn't flocked up the ending by doing the 'unkillable killer' bit a la Michael Myers and Jason.  Damn ending really pis sed me off . . .

 

The 1972 Jess Franco movie LES DEMONS had an ending so simplistic a 10-year-old could have scribbled it on a napkin in McDonald's.  I had a minty UNICORN Video (with the lurid artwork on the box front) and traded it because I disliked the ending so much.   

 

    JACOB'S LADDER, WISDOM, THE USUAL SUSPECTS . . . the ending negates the entire film.  Won't watch these again.  (I would watch SLITHER again, however). 

 

    → Here's a movie that sticks to its depressing guns at the end:  THE TEACHER (1974). 

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slayton, re I KNEW HER WELL ...

 

I knew there was something about the ending of this film that didn't quite sit well with me also, but couldn't quite place what that might be. However, I believe you might have well expressed that "something" here.

 

And yes, I did see that ending coming after Adriana's final "walk of shame" past the young Franco Nero's parking lot attendant character and into her apartment, but as you noted, it now does seem a little too "pat". 

 

I'm not sure, however, that director Pietrangeli was attempting any sort of "morality play" with his film, and as you suggested one possible explanation for its ending to be. No, the more I think about it, the more I believe the ending might just have been a case of him thinking the film needed some sort of "bold final touch", and which while certainly "bold" and perhaps somewhat innovative with the use of the first-person camera POV used for it, I now think your suggested ending just might have worked better.

 

(...and yes, like you, I also liked this film a lot and found myself more and more engrossed into the poor girl's plight as it went along)

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I really don't like the ending of SCARLET STREET (1945) at all.  Eddie should never be feeling that much guilt after what Bennett and Duryea were up to.  Asinine.  I watched this movie twice in its entirety.  No more.   

 

The 1983 movie HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW.  I'd like this movie so much more if the filmmakers hadn't flocked up the ending by doing the 'unkillable killer' bit a la Michael Myers and Jason.  Damn ending really pis sed me off . . .

 

The 1972 Jess Franco movie LES DEMONS had an ending so simplistic a 10-year-old could have scribbled it on a napkin in McDonald's.  I had a minty UNICORN Video (with the lurid artwork on the box front) and traded it because I disliked the ending so much.   

 

    JACOB'S LADDER, WISDOM, THE USUAL SUSPECTS . . . the ending negates the entire film.  Won't watch these again.  (I would watch SLITHER again, however). 

 

    → Here's a movie that sticks to its depressing guns at the end:  THE TEACHER (1974). 

 

As for Scarlett Street;   The character Eddie played was guilt ridden his entire life.   He felt guilt about things his wife complained about when he shouldn't of (that wife was no peach!).     Being guilt ridden was a core noir aspect of the plot.    Of course he changes and for a while he is able to become more of a man and at least feel he can be his own person,  but once he finds out this new life was based on lies and deceit,   he returns to his former self;  that of the guilt ridden man.    This is the only way he can 'process' what happened to him.     

 

Anyhow, that is my take.

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I'm not sure, however, that director Pietrangeli was attempting any sort of "morality play" with his film, and as you suggested one possible explanation for its ending to be. No, the more I think about it, the more I believe the ending might just have been a case of him thinking the film needed some sort of "bold final touch", and which while certainly "bold" and perhaps somewhat innovative with the use of the first-person camera POV used for it, I now think your suggested ending just might have worked better.

 

 

Thanks for your comments, Dargo.  Not knowing what was going on in Pietrangeli's mind, I'll defer to your thinking.  For some reason your comments put me in mind of Ben Mankiewicz's comparison of this movie with La Dolce Vita (1960).  The differences in the movies result from the difference in the sex of the protagonists--main characters, rather.  Both lead sexually uninhibited lives, but true to form, Marcello is a user, and Adriana a victim.  To be fair, this is an artifact of Western culture, not just movies.  And in the great Western tradition, for the temerity of living according to her interests and desires--in other words, as a man, she has to die, preferably by suicide (think of Anna Karenina, and Madame Bovary).  And Marcello?  At the end, even though he turns down the beckoning of an angel toward a better and higher endeavor, he still only retreats to a heckish existence.

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I really don't like the ending of SCARLET STREET (1945) at all.  Eddie should never be feeling that much guilt after what Bennett and Duryea were up to.  Asinine.  I watched this movie twice in its entirety.  No more.   

 

The 1983 movie HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW.  I'd like this movie so much more if the filmmakers hadn't flocked up the ending by doing the 'unkillable killer' bit a la Michael Myers and Jason.  Damn ending really pis sed me off . . .

 

The 1972 Jess Franco movie LES DEMONS had an ending so simplistic a 10-year-old could have scribbled it on a napkin in McDonald's.  I had a minty UNICORN Video (with the lurid artwork on the box front) and traded it because I disliked the ending so much.   

 

    JACOB'S LADDER, WISDOM, THE USUAL SUSPECTS . . . the ending negates the entire film.  Won't watch these again.  (I would watch SLITHER again, however). 

 

    → Here's a movie that sticks to its depressing guns at the end:  THE TEACHER (1974). 

 

 

I feel for you, Mr. Gorman.  I don't know if it will work, not being familiar with the movies you list, but try and employ my technique.  Find a place at the end of the movie where you can simply shut off your DVD player and have a better movie.  Scarlet Street is the exception.  I've seen it, and I don't think you can find a place to stop it short, but I'll take a look at it again to make sure.

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I feel for you, Mr. Gorman.  I don't know if it will work, not being familiar with the movies you list, but try and employ my technique.  Find a place at the end of the movie where you can simply shut off your DVD player and have a better movie.  Scarlet Street is the exception.  I've seen it, and I don't think you can find a place to stop it short, but I'll take a look at it again to make sure.

 

How about when he is the hotel room with the flashing neon light. He is haunted and tries to hang himself. Cut it off when the others open the door. The audience can assume he's dead.

 

Or when the portrait is being carried crossing his path.

 

I like the ending as is but just for drill trying to abide by your imperative here, i.e., where to stop the film if necessary.

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How about when he is the hotel room with the flashing neon light. He is haunted and tries to hang himself. Cut it off when the others open the door. The audience can assume he's dead.

 

Or when the portrait is being carried crossing his path.

 

I like the ending as is but just for drill trying to abide by your imperative here, i.e., where to stop the film if necessary.

 

 

I'll have to watch the movie.

 

By the way, you have an incredibly appropriate avatar.

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How about when he is the hotel room with the flashing neon light. He is haunted and tries to hang himself. Cut it off when the others open the door. The audience can assume he's dead.

 

Or when the portrait is being carried crossing his path.

 

I like the ending as is but just for drill trying to abide by your imperative here, i.e., where to stop the film if necessary.

 

 

Having just rewatched the movie, I agree with you, laffite, that the movie as it is ends well.  But--

 

I really don't like the ending of SCARLET STREET (1945) at all.  Eddie should never be feeling that much guilt after what Bennett and Duryea were up to.  Asinine.  I watched this movie twice in its entirety.  No more.   

 

Under the production code, you were not allowed to get away with any crime, let alone murder.  For that, you either had to die, or go to prison.  In that light, the fate of Cris Cross is extraordinary.  The fact that he was allowed to walk off into any existence, hellish as it was portrayed, is I think, a testament to Fritz Lang's extraordinary abilities.

 

You can end the movie differently, but not better, as laffite proposed, by stopping it when he hangs himself.  But that's not something you would approve, turned off as you are by his pathological guilt.  Neat as that would be, I wonder if it would have passed the censors?  Suicide was deeply frowned on.

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Having just rewatched the movie, I agree with you, laffite, that the movie as it is ends well.  But--

 

 

Under the production code, you were not allowed to get away with any crime, let alone murder.  For that, you either had to die, or go to prison.  In that light, the fate of Cris Cross is extraordinary.  The fact that he was allowed to walk off into any existence, hellish as it was portrayed, is I think, a testament to Fritz Lang's extraordinary abilities.

 

You can end the movie differently, but not better, as laffite proposed, by stopping it when he hangs himself.  But that's not something you would approve, turned off as you are by his pathological guilt.  Neat as that would be, I wonder if it would have passed the censors?  Suicide was deeply frowned on.

 

Well at least Lang didn't have Eddie Mars come and kill Cris Cross to satisfy the Production code.      ;)

 

Another character Eddie played that got away with murder was the doctor in The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse.    Yea,  there is a murder trail and he is found not guilty by reason of insanity but the final scene,  while very funny,  clearly looks like a 'the code made us do it' type ending.

 

The ending in Scarlet Street looks like Lang's vision and not something imposed on him.  

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Here's some more about Scarlet Street:

 

The Production Code, surprisingly, did not object to an innocent man being executed while the guilty man escaped punishment. In later interviews, Lang claimed he convinced Breen that the fate Cross was left to endure for the remainder of his life was infinitely worse than jail or execution. So the film was given the seal of approval. After its release, however, three cities disagreed: New York, Atlanta, and Milwaukee all banned the film. Lang was already elbow-deep in his next film (Cloak and Dagger) so Wanger sprang into action. He flew to New York with film editor Arthur Hilton and negotiated an agree- ment, which involved two edits. The ice pick stabbing would be reduced from seven stabs to one, and the elimination of the question Johnny asks—“Where’s the bedroom?”—when they take a tour of the new studio apartment. Subsequent public domain copies, and the newly restored edition, depict four stabs, and retain Johnny’s salacious question. Not only did Breen publicly support the integrity of the film, but he also supplied a written affidavit to be presented in the Atlanta hearings. Scarlet Street, benefiting from the advanced publicity, opened at New York’s Loews Criterion setting box office records for five straight weeks.

 
from here:
 
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I see her suicide in I Knew

 

I can add I Knew Her Well (1965) to my list.  Despite it's pop-culture facade, and sexual revolution behavior, it's surprising to see how much it's like the typical morality plays that formed the basis for movies from the silents on up.  There are lots of 'em, think of A Life of Her Own (1950), and Three Wise Girls (1932), for example.  It's hard to figure Pietrangeli's aim, however.  He seems to be criticizing something, but what it is is hard to pin down.  It may be the circle Adriana runs in, filled with vultures, users, thieves, pimps, and prostitutes (of all kinds).  But they all seem to be having a good time, most of them, anyway.  Maybe it's Adriana he's criticizing, for living the loose life she does.  She should have stayed home, and married.  From what I saw of it, I'd do what I could to get away from there, too.  Maybe it's her promiscuity--no, I don't want to use that word, it's got a pejorative taint to it.  Is her sexual freeness supposed to be wrong?  And she's supposed to suffer for it?  Even so, she's still looking for That One Guy.  Talk about old morality.  That must be it, because she finds him, but as punishment, she not only doesn't get him, she has to hook him up with the girl he wants.  Ouch.  Maybe we're supposed to feel sorry for her, because really she's not too bright, a ready victim for every pimp and user who wants to take advantage of her better nature and humiliate her.  She's not vindictive, or scheming, and has compassion for people and their condition.  So she really is a good person, and because of her naiveté gets munched by the evil world, or the evil part of it.  Oh, we're back where we started.  

 

You may get the idea I don't like the movie, but I do, especially Stafania Sandrelli as Adriana--though you sometimes want to knock her in the head for her obtuseness.  But anyway, about the ending.  Naturally, because of her sexual freeness, she has to come to a bad end (more production code morality).  In this movie, it's suicide, jumping off a balcony.  How disappointing.  I guess it's meant to have a tragic effect.  The path to it is handled well, not too obviously telegraphed.  The build up of hurts and humiliations taking their toll, the foreshadowings subtly done, to place the idea of the leap in the back of the viewer's mind.  But I think an indeterminate ending for the movie would be much better.  Leave her looking out through the gauzy draperies, and let the audience speculate on her future.  Modern tragedy is not about death, but futility.  Maybe she lives on in an eternal heck of her own creation, living a life of pointless pleasure seeking.  You know, she does seem to have a good time doing that, having sex, and dancing, and eating, and going to parties.  But Old Morality says you can't live a life like that and be happy, so you have to jump off the balcony.  Nothing modern about that.  And who knows?  She might even become a big comedy star.  After all, she made people laugh in that little filmlet she did.  Somebody could pick up on that and cast her in a comic role.  

 

Anyway, just clip off the last few seconds and you'll have a much better movie.

 

 I see Adriana's suicide in I Knew Her Well as the ultimate In self-determination. I'm not sure we can overlay Hollywood/studio-era morality on an Italian or any other foreign film. I couldn't disagree with you more about your conclusions about Sandrelli's character and Pietrangeli's POV. And I loved this movie too, especially the ending.

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The Pink Panther (1963)....a perfect film, except for the last 15 minutes.

 

Now I know that crime films were a bit too restrictive in the 40s and 50s with the rule that the bad boys/girls had to be either arrested or killed off by the end of the film, but the ending of The Pink Panther is the opposite extreme.

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Here's some more about Scarlet Street:

 

The Production Code, surprisingly, did not object to an innocent man being executed while the guilty man escaped punishment. In later interviews, Lang claimed he convinced Breen that the fate Cross was left to endure for the remainder of his life was infinitely worse than jail or execution. So the film was given the seal of approval. After its release, however, three cities disagreed: New York, Atlanta, and Milwaukee all banned the film. Lang was already elbow-deep in his next film (Cloak and Dagger) so Wanger sprang into action. He flew to New York with film editor Arthur Hilton and negotiated an agree- ment, which involved two edits. The ice pick stabbing would be reduced from seven stabs to one, and the elimination of the question Johnny asks—“Where’s the bedroom?”—when they take a tour of the new studio apartment. Subsequent public domain copies, and the newly restored edition, depict four stabs, and retain Johnny’s salacious question. Not only did Breen publicly support the integrity of the film, but he also supplied a written affidavit to be presented in the Atlanta hearings. Scarlet Street, benefiting from the advanced publicity, opened at New York’s Loews Criterion setting box office records for five straight weeks.

 

 

Thanks for posting this.     I have to admit it is refreshing to see that Breen wasn't so uptight and 'by the book' as I believed.  Therefore Lang was able to convince him that a more traditional 'justice must be served' ending wasn't necessary. 

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Thanks for posting this.     I have to admit it is refreshing to see that Breen wasn't so uptight and 'by the book' as I believed.  Therefore Lang was able to convince him that a more traditional 'justice must be served' ending wasn't necessary. 

 

 

Yes, but it was a high bar to clear.  Which may be the reason so few movies have the criminal escaping conventional justice, or death.

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The Pink Panther (1963)....a perfect film, except for the last 15 minutes.

 

Now I know that crime films were a bit too restrictive in the 40s and 50s with the rule that the bad boys/girls had to be either arrested or killed off by the end of the film, but the ending of The Pink Panther is the opposite extreme

 

Do you have a point in mind where you would turn off your DVD player?

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 I couldn't disagree with you more about your conclusions about Sandrelli's character and Pietrangeli's POV. 

 

 

Well, at least there's a limit to your disagreeing!

 

 

 I see Adriana's suicide in I Knew Her Well as the ultimate In self-determination. I'm not sure we can overlay Hollywood/studio-era morality on an Italian or any other foreign film.

 

 

It was my impression the movie documented the victimization by a clique of vicious, amoral people, of a simple, uncomplicated soul, first using, then abandoning and humiliating her, driving her to despair.  I'm wondering if we saw the same movie.  Or if we did, likely we watched it from different sides of the same screen.  A convex sheet of plastic will be concave on the other side. . . . Hey! I've discovered the meaning of Rashomon!

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The true meaning of Rashomon is when two or more watch from the same side ... etc.

 

True perhaps in almost all cases, laffite.

 

(...however, I'll now submit the thought that Marty Feldman could have been his own Rashomon all by himself)

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True perhaps in almost all cases, laffite.

 

(...however, I'll now submit the thought that Marty Feldman could have been his own Rashomon all by himself)

 

You may be on to something there. Not only can Marty Feldman watch two movies at the same time, he can watch one movie twice (simultaneously) with a single showing. He takes it to a new level, all right. We may need a new word altogether.

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