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The Big Cop-Out


slaytonf
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I hate insincerity more than anything. Well, not more than anything, but a whole lot. What makes me bring this up is the showing of Gilda on The Essentials, the movie with the biggest cop-out ending of all. This was followed with, among others, Where It's At. Not a great movie, but it had a certain appeal, a certian honest unsentimentality to it, and it tried to have bit of a different way of putting the film together, even though it didn't always work. And I've always liked Brenda Vaccaro and had a rough appreciation for David Jansen. I liked the way the son took his cue from his father and turned the tables on him with his own petard. But you get the same old ending. You have to reaffirm the conventional mores. So everything the film was building up to was tossed out in the final scene and the guy ends up hugging his father! Ugh! I wouldn't even have minded if the same thing had happened, even if he had intentionally thrown away his winning card, because he realized he wasn't giving up anything he really wanted. But the way they made it look like he was doing so his dear ol' pappy wouldn't feel bad! And all the hard-nosed, hard-edged, hard-headed messages of the father turn in to a lot of sentimental mushy soft soap. How lame.

 

This happens time and again in movies. Even in the celebrated pre code-enforcement movies of the early thirties. The emancipated views of human relations and sexuality, the powerful women, the exploration of different values, are almost universally retreated from at the end, and the conventional values are rushed to, usually with arbitrary and ridiculous abruptness. There are a few movies from then which are true to their premises, for which I am grateful, Red Headed Woman, The Greeks Had a Word for Them, Trouble in Paradise, and Employee's Entrance among them.

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I THINK I know what you're getting at, Slayton. I can't name the movies, but I've seen plenty where in the end the character doesn't merely COMPRAMISE their principles, but outright ABANDONS them in a way that makes it look like they "came to their senses" and now EVERYBODY'S happy! And it sucks when you were CHEERING them for pursuing those principles for most of the movie. OK, I thought of one: *Adam's Rib* .

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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