I adore old movies, especially melodramas, but sometimes the endings are as unsatisfying as a Stephen King novel.
Gaslight, for instance. Paula almost has a nervous breakdown before she finds out her husband has been trying to drive her insane and that he’s a murderer.
The ending has Paula and Joseph Cotten’s character standing on a balcony admiring the pretty evening and talking about how tomorrow’s another day (paraphrased). And then here comes this old lady and sees them, and she gets all twinkly at the sight of true love. Cut to credits.
Paula was nearly driven insane, for pete’s sake! Somebody needs to give her a drink, put her to bed, and then maybe Cotten can come see her in a week or two, maybe take her to dinner.
Too many old movies are like that. Endings neatly tied up when there are tons of questions to be answered, explanations to be made, and the characters need to show the effects of their ordeals.
Endings are just as important as beginnings and middles, and old movies don’t spend enough time on them.
Anyway, my first question is Why did Elizabeth (the nice old maid, not Nancy the young slut) lie to Charles Boyer about Joseph Cotten being in the house?
The lie made Paula sound truly crazy. Was Elizabeth trying to keep Boyer from knowing Cotten was there? Why? It wouldn’t help Paula, and Cotten was out of the house by then, so he didn’t need protecting.
My second question is does anyone think that more recent movies (the last 40 years) have better (more realistic) endings? It seems like we’re getting more (sorry for using this word) “closure”, more aftermath, what happened after the story was told, epilogue, whatever.