Monday, February 1, 2016

Similarities In Movie Endings...

I was recently watching the 1966 English film Georgy Girl, starring Lynn Redgrave as the title character. When I got to the ending, I was struck by how similar it is to the ending of The Graduate, the 1967 Mike Nichols film starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. To be sure, the styles are completely different - one is ostensibly a happy ending, one is a little more uncertain; what both portray is a descent into the unknown, accompanied by a song.

Here is the better known ending, the one for The Graduate:

Many people have seen it, and it's been oft-parodied. They get on the bus and while there is smiling at the beginning, it is clear that as they look forward, the facial expressions change once they realize they have to come to grips with their action. The use of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" is perfect hovering over the scene.

Below is the ending of Georgy Girl. To give a little context, since most have never seen it, the groom (James Mason) is an older widower who employed Georgy's father. After his wife dies, he professes his love for the young Georgy and proposes marriage. Georgy's former roommate had gotten pregnant and abandoned her child, for whom Georgy begins caring. However, she cannot legally adopt the girl as a single woman and the marriage gives her the chance to be a mother. Watch the ending and listen to the lyrics (provided by The Seekers - although these are not the words most people know to the song; the released single is much more positive):

Despite the chipper tune, it is assumed (through the visuals) that this will be a loveless (and sexless, for that matter) marriage. The lyrics in this ending are the following:

Hey there, Georgy girl
Pretty as a picture, told you so
Can it be the Georgy we all know?
Or somebody new? I wonder!

Hey there, Georgy girl
Hurrying away to celebrate
Got yourself a man but wait!
There’s somebody else for you

Who needs a perfect lover
When you’re a mother at heart?
Isn’t that all you wanted right from the start? Well, didn’t you?

Hey there, Georgy girl
Now that you’re no longer on the shelf
Better try to smile and tell yourself
That you got your way. You’ve made it!

Hey there, Georgy girl
Now you’ve got a future planned for you
Though it’s not a dream come true
At least he’s a millionaire
So don’t despair!
You’re rich, Georgy Girl! (3x)

One breaks up a wedding/marriage and one ends up in a marriage, but both The Graduate and Georgy Girl go almost counter-cultural (for the time) in reminding the audience that decisions and actions have consequences, even if it is unknown exactly what those consequences will be. It is a pretty interesting set of conclusions about films that were set in California during the Summer of Love and Swingin' London, and lessons that are still timeless to all viewing.

One small bit of trivia: the connection between the two films is in the musicians of the main themes. Paul Simon (of Simon and Garfunkel) had collaborated with Bruce Woodley (of The Seekers) to write some songs, most notably "Red Rubber Ball". This became a hit for The Cyrkle, although The Seekers and Simon and Garfunkel recorded their own versions as well. The Seekers also had a minor hit with Simon's "Someday, One Day" in 1966.

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