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Bad Endings to Otherwise Great Films


lydecker
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As I watched "Meet Me in St. Louis" today I was reminded, once again, of what a mediocre ending there is to this otherwise wonderful film.  I'm sure the powers that be felt as though the audience needed to SEE the damn fair since we had been hearing about it for 2 hours but, honestly, this film would have been much better served if "The End" had dissolved on as the carriages drove away to the fair.  The action at the fair is stupid (and the actors seem to know it,) the dialogue worse, culminating in one of the most insipid lines every uttered by Judy Garland:  "I can't believe it.  Right here in St. Louis."

(Insert major groan!)

 

I'm sure there are other bad endings to great films.  Thoughts???

 

Lydecker

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The granddaddy may be the somewhat 'uplifting' ending RKO reshot for The Magnificent Ambersons while Orson Welles was away in Brazil.  They then destroyed the original negative so I guess we will never be able to see the film the way Welles had intended.  Though there are photographs of the original ending and a transcription, if not the audio.  See 'This Is Orson Welles,' edited by Jonathan Rosenbaum.

I've often wondered if a work copy may show up in some Brazilian lab as Welles had a copy shipped to him there while he was working on his Rio film.

post-35686-0-87590700-1407180800_thumb.jpg

post-35686-0-87590700-1407180800_thumb.jpg

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As I watched "Meet Me in St. Louis" today I was reminded, once again, of what a mediocre ending there is to this otherwise wonderful film.  I'm sure the powers that be felt as though the audience needed to SEE the damn fair since we had been hearing about it for 2 hours but, honestly, this film would have been much better served if "The End" had dissolved on as the carriages drove away to the fair.  The action at the fair is stupid (and the actors seem to know it,) the dialogue worse, culminating in one of the most insipid lines every uttered by Judy Garland:  "I can't believe it.  Right here in St. Louis."

(Insert major groan!)

 

I'm sure there are other bad endings to great films.  Thoughts???

 

Lydecker

Apparently, Garland was implying that nobody ever confused St. Louis with New York, Chicago, Boston, or even Philadelphia.

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finance, on 04 Aug 2014 - 12:37 PM, said:snapback.png

Apparently, Garland was implying that nobody ever confused St. Louis with New York, Chicago, Boston, or even Philadelphia

 

 

Or an MGM Sound Stage!

 

Would've been funnier to say "Culver City" here, lydecker! ;)

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I always thought the end of "Grease" was lame-- they finish the two catchy dance numbers and then Danny and Sandy drive away.  Except, the car goes up in the air and flies away... Really? Corniess in a definite bad way-- and I like a lot of corny movies; but this ending didn't work for me. 

 

We discussed this on another thread; but I recently saw "Silver River" and I didn't like the ending.  It seemed too abrupt.  It seemed implausible that after 2 hours of Errol Flynn's greed and selfishness ruining the town, that he suddenly would declare that he's going to stay in Silver City and help clean up the town.  I feel like either the film needed to be longer to show his attempts to see the error of his ways or they needed to add more scenes earlier in the film to show the progression to this change of personality and attitude.  In reality, it seems like either the town would have crumbled and the townspeople would have moved elsewhere; or a mob would have run him out of town. 

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I don't say it was one of the worst endings ever, since it was a forgettable film to begin with, but the ending of The Unknown Man (shown yesterday on TCM) was about as lame as it gets.  Simply because the production code demanded that murderers be punished, no matter how justified, the film has Walter Pidgeon plotting to have himself killed by a murderer whom he'd previously gotten off the hook for a murder he'd actually committed, just so the law would have a legitimate reason to arrest him and then finally fry him the second time around. 

 

And at the same time, the ending also punished Pidgeon for having (with total justification) killed the head of the city's crime syndicate, who naturally was also the head of the City's Crime Commission.*   It was the most convoluted ending imaginable, and totally driven by the imperatives of the production code.

 

* How many hundreds of films have we seen with that particular twist?  That goes back to 1913's Traffic in Souls, and possibly even before that.

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I don't know...I can agree with some of these and not others, but for me, I'd have to give it a good think.  But off the top of my head, I didn't like the way "American Graffitti" ended.  Dreyfus should have found the girl in the T-Bird( yeah, I know it was Susann Somers), and Roh Howard should have been on the plane with Dreyfus.

 

Sepiatone

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As I watched "Meet Me in St. Louis" today I was reminded, once again, of what a mediocre ending there is to this otherwise wonderful film.  I'm sure the powers that be felt as though the audience needed to SEE the damn fair since we had been hearing about it for 2 hours but, honestly, this film would have been much better served if "The End" had dissolved on as the carriages drove away to the fair.  The action at the fair is stupid (and the actors seem to know it,) the dialogue worse, culminating in one of the most insipid lines every uttered by Judy Garland:  "I can't believe it.  Right here in St. Louis."

(Insert major groan!)

 

I'm sure there are other bad endings to great films.  Thoughts???

 

Lydecker

 

"The Birds" (1963) well bunch of birds sitting around at the end, unknown to anyone why did they decide to turn on us.

 

"Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skulls" (2008)   good movie, stupid ending, everything always explained away  by alien nonsense.

 

http://www.skullis.com/?gclid=CjwKEAjwgYKfBRDvgJeylem9xDUSJACjeQ7AydSeHOArr8R2YPjgWJkJbTP70UQKM1_euEyCZY8IOhoCv-bw_wcB

 

"2001 A Space Odyssey" (1968)  Creepy giant fetus staring back at the Earth.  It's rude to stare.Staring-Smiley-1.gif Last 15 minutes got me to thinking, does anyone wants to spend eternity walking on the ceiling. That shot of Bowman looks like the Tall Man in "Phantasm"

 

2001SpaceOdyssey133.jpg

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I don't think the ending to Meet Me in St. Louis was that lame but encouraging to those folks who didn't grow up in NYC, LA or any of the "glamour" cities.  Esther/Judy's line is "Here in St. Louis!  Right here in our own home town!"  They didn't have to move to NYC to find the big stuff, it came to them.  I'll bet the folks in Knoxville felt the same way when they got the World's Fair and it was considered a success.  If the Fair scenes were hokey maybe they should have ended it going there as was suggested but that line still needed to be in it.  It makes you look around and appreciate your home town a bit more.   

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"The Birds" (1963) well bunch of birds sitting around at the end, unknown to anyone why did they decide to turn on us.

 

And a hell of a big bunch it was. I had the distinct impression they were just waiting for the next group impulse to propel them into further assault. The mystery to the phenomenon is the heart of the terror - that there is no one who knows why this is happening - and the end of the film is brilliant in that it gives no real comfort. Ahead of its time for a horror movie, in that respect.

 

But, you may have a point. It might have been far better to have a talking bird at the end who comes on to explain that unless humankind cleans up its act or something, they'll have to take us all out and let this be an example of how it can be done if we have any doubts - and the bird could've been voiced by Michael Rennie even.

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"The World, The Flesh, and The Devil". I realize that the subject matter and the racial angle meant that certain plot developments were not going to happen. But that ending was a total cop-out and a prime example of how compromise can affect an otherwise excellent film. Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer all walk off into a new, enlightened beginning together, even though the latter just tried to kill Belafonte five minutes before. And we're supposed to believe it. Even during the film's initial release, the one issue that both critics and audiences found fault with was the finale. "The Beginning", indeed (sarcasm).

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As previously discussed, YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN.

I agree, Ray, especially since the real story of Bix Beiderbecke had no such happy ending.

 

I must say, though, that although dramatically it is a cop out, it's still a joy to my ears to hear Doris singing "With a Song in My Heart" to the sounds of Harry James' horn.

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Although NOT a "great" movie, I thought it was a fairly GOOD movie, but was dissapointed at the end of "MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS".  When all of his old music students, now grown up (and ONE of 'em became Governor of the state!) got together to form an orchestra of sorts( joining in with the current students) to play that SYMPHONY he'd been working on for the 35 or so years he was a teacher .

 

And it wound up being, to MY ears, just ten or fifteen minutes of INTRODUCTION! :wacko:

 

Sepiatone

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Related to ending of films;  This one wasn't bad,  but it is really out there;

 

Spoiler Alert for Night Nurse;

 

Saw this for the first time last night;   Classic pre-code and an ending that only a pre-code could have (well until after the end of the Production code era);    The female (Stanwyck) lead and her male buddy are laughing since they prevail and beat the bad guys.   The male buddy is a gangster.   Stanwyck is wondering what happened to Nick (Clark Gable playing a very bad guy).   Her male buddy tells her that there is no need to worry about Nick.    A hospital morgue truck drives by.   It is very clear that her male buddy bumped off Nick.   And they are all laughing about the murder.     Hey, Nick deserved to be killed (he killed children, beat old women etc...),   but the laughing about killing him,  was out there, even for a pre-code.

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great choice of flick, sg and ditto to your comment.

 

my choice: _crossfire_ (1947)

 

the ending was about as 'cheap' as generic groceries.

 

robert young somehow from about 11 stories above, within an apartment building, aiming at an 159 degree angle, thru a broken window pane (and in pitch darkness), manages to shoot down robert ryan in the street.

 

get real.

 

"The World, The Flesh, and The Devil". I realize that the subject matter and the racial angle meant that certain plot developments were not going to happen. But that ending was a total cop-out and a prime example of how compromise can affect an otherwise excellent film. Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer all walk off into a new, enlightened beginning together, even though the latter just tried to kill Belafonte five minutes before. And we're supposed to believe it. Even during the film's initial release, the one issue that both critics and audiences found fault with was the finale. "The Beginning", indeed (sarcasm).

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