Where's Poppa? : alternative ending

alternative ending

not sure i understood the alternate ending.

because his girlfriend leaves him he decides to just take mother instead.

is this oedipal interpretation the right one?

Re: alternative ending


I havent seen it yet but from what I read about it the joke was since his Mom was always asking "where's Poppa?" he was going to just pretend to be Poppa to shut her up.

I think people totally could not take the idea ofd a man "Sleeping with" his elderly mother as a joke and so they changed the ending to "Momma?" "Poppa? which I think is funnier anyway.

LOUD & PROUD HAL LOVER
LIVING IN THE PAST
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Alternate Ending on VHS Tape

The "alternate" ending is the ONLY ending I've ever seen. I rented this movie at my local movie rental store, and was shocked to find the "Oedipal" ending, which I'd read about but didn't actually expect to see. But there it was.
It was an unpleasant ending to an unpleasant movie. I'm no prude. I love a good black comedy, and I'm a huge Carl Reiner fan. But I just didn't find this movie to be funny. Again, it's not because I didn't like the movie's dark tone or general subject matter. (I'd read about the movie and liked the description of it. That's why I rented it.) I just wasn't amused. The pace is slow and the dialogue isn't funny.
But that's just me.

Re: Alternate Ending on VHS Tape

I've never seen the 'Oedipal' ending--whichever it was. I've only seen the "Poppa?" "Momma?" ending. I don't CARE to see the Oedipal ending. In the form I saw the film, tho, it is one of THE funniest films I've ever seen. "Surrender Dorothy!" & Ron Liebman jailed in the gorilla suit KILL me! It's quite ill. Talk about black comedy!
I love the long opening sequence, ending with "He's still dead, Momma."
Since 'Airplane!' made the 'genre parody' films popular, black comedies haven't shown up much. 'American Beauty' was a great one.

Carpe Noctem

Re: Alternate Ending on VHS Tape

I'm confused about which is the actual "alternate" ending. I rented the DVD and was surprised when the movie ended abruptly at the "Here's Poppa" moment at the nursing home. I saw the film YEARS ago at an art house and the "alternate" ending as shown on the DVD is the ending I saw at the movies. Which was the ORIGINAL ending? It seems to me that the so called Oedipal ending must be the original, and it has been shortened for TV or video release or possibly to prevent heart attacks among the easily shocked. I was about 14 when I saw this and I remembered it being funnier. I still had a few laughs this time, but it just wasn't the same. Maybe the shock value has worn off. I did think the "Here's Poppa" ending was weird and abrupt and they should have left on the funnier (and grosser) ending. I originally saw this on a double bill with Harold and Maude!

Original Theatrical release


I'm confused about which is the actual "alternate" ending. I rented the DVD and was surprised when the movie ended abruptly at the "Here's Poppa" moment at the nursing home. I saw the film YEARS ago at an art house and the "alternate" ending as shown on the DVD is the ending I saw at the movies. Which was the ORIGINAL ending? It seems to me that the so called Oedipal ending must be the original, and it has been shortened for TV or video release or possibly to prevent heart attacks among the easily shocked. I was about 14 when I saw this and I remembered it being funnier. I still had a few laughs this time, but it just wasn't the same. Maybe the shock value has worn off. I did think the "Here's Poppa" ending was weird and abrupt and they should have left on the funnier (and grosser) ending. I originally saw this on a double bill with Harold and Maude!
I didn't even know that the "oedipal" ending existed until I bought a laserdisc copy of the film some years ago and this was the only ending given. I knew the film quite well from its original theatrical release, and this was not was used so I came as quite a shock to see this unpleasant version. Supposedly the print sneak-previewd did have the oedipal version and the test audiences reacted just as I did and hated the ending, so an alternative, the "Momma" Poppa" version was created before the general theatical release in 1970. I was a projectionist in a theater where it opened, and then encountered it as a second feature over the next two or three years. It never had the "oedipal" ending. Some say they saw prints in art houses before the first home video versions came out, so perhaps they saw the print that had been sneaked. The network TV runs had the original theatrical ending with the "happy" ending and Momma in the home and Gordon with his girlfriend.

Oh Lord, you gave them eyes but they cannot see...

Re: Original Theatrical release

I watched it again for the first time in many years, and for the first time saw the oedipal ending. That ending might have been funnier if the entire sequence previous to it was altered. Seeing the hurt on Louise's face, having her leave after the almost happy ending took the film to a different level, and an unpleasant one at that. If she had left earlier, and then Gordon, at home (not at THE home) said, "Poppa's here" and plopped down with her, it would have been funnier. But as it was, Louise's leaving seemed more to be Gordon's fault than Mama's, and your sympathy for him vanishes.

I remembered the movie as being funnier than it was. I believe it's just a bit dated, but still a great flick. The problem may be the pace, which is much too slow. Great gags, though, like a guy in a gorilla suit being preferable to a NYC cab driver than a black woman, or Ron Leibman threatening to kill his kid if his wife doesn't let him out.

Just my opinion.

Re: alternative ending

ITS BEEN A WHILE BUT AS I REMEMBER HE SAYS "POPPAS HOME" AND DROPS DOWN ONTO WHAT I GUESS EVERYONE ASSUMES IS HIS MOTHER. HAD THE FILM BEEN A FEW MINUTES LONGER HE MAY YET HAVE KILLED HER.
WHATEVER, AS EVIL AS IT MAY MAKE ME,I LOVE THIS FILM.

Re: alternative ending

I saw the film theatrically on its first release in 1970. Additionally, I saw it on television, in both its Key Video and MGM/UA VHS video releases, and, finally, in its current DVD release. They all have the same ending with the long shot of Van Devere and Segal leaving Gordon at the senior facility and Segal grabbing an old man for his mother. It has always been only one ending that I know of and really should not be referred to as an "alternate" one.

Re: alternative ending

The original theatrical ending had Segal – after Devere leaves him (again!) – returning to the old age home, ostensibly to kill his mother, before ending with "Here's Poppa". This ending ties in with the title of the film (it's a punchline) and the story in general. But audiences found this incestuous ending a bit too shocking and it was changed to the lovers leaving Momma in the home. The MGM DVD release has the changed ending as standard, with the original ending now as an 'alternate ending'. The version with the altered ending runs 82 mins, the original is 84 mins.

Re: alternative ending

Having only ever seen the so-called "oedipal" ending, I didn't actually see anything incestuous about it. I mean, and as much as she drives him crazy, it seems that he realizes that she's still his mother and he doesn't want a "real" life at the expense of having to put his mother into a home. It was sort of a sad ending to realize just what a difficult situation he was in, but I didn't read anything weird or creepy into it. The only cavil is that it's a disappointingly sad ending for a character (Segal's) whom you desperately want something good to happen to by the end, and as such it's rather tragically absurd as opposed to inspirational or uplifting (it's really an impossible situation, as the only way you could really solve the crux of the problem would be to have Momma die). It seems to me that if you'd ended the movie with the momma/poppa scene, the audience would be left with an unsettling feeling, of having seen Segal just give up, or having to "forsake" his family for the sake of self-advancement. Instead, you're left with the sense that Segal is going to tough out out the absurdity "just because," and the original situation is left intact, not unlike a situation comedy.

Sorry about all the superfluous quotation marks but I'm too lazy to remove them.

Re: alternative ending

Now that I've seen both, I can say that neither ending works, at least not to me.
The "Oedipal" ending is too creepy, but the non-Oedipal ending is too abrupt and feels like a cop-out. After all Gordon's been through, it's a real letdown for the movie to end so quickly and so simply. Something more "dramatic" should happen -- though I still feel like the Oedipal ending doesn't work either.

Re: alternative ending

I am confused,

The version that I just saw on TCM tonight has George and his girlfriend dropping Mother off at the nursing home and driving away. I thought this was the original ending. What dialogue actually exists of the other ending? If TCM shows the alternate ending, has the original ending ever been shown on cable or network TV, or was the original ending cut after the film's original release?

Joe

Re: alternative ending

In researching this movie since seeing TCM's version I have found out that the "Alternate Ending," now only available on DVD, was the scene that was shown originally in the theaters. This scene was only available when the movie was in limited release. (A common practice of the day, much like The Shining's Hospital Scene ending, which was cut from the film 3 days after its original premiere.)

The preview audiences found "Where's Poppa?" implied incest scene too shocking, even by the extreme adult content already in the film. When the movie went to nationwide premiere, most theaters cut that last scene. (All of two minutes.) This may explain why some remember seeing that scene when the film first premiered in 1970 and others do not.

Joe

Re: alternative ending

For what it's worth, I remember seeing Carl Reiner on a talk show (might have been "Mike Douglas" but could have been Johnny Carson's "Tonight") where he semi-explained the original ending ("Ruth Gordon is his mother, and she kisses him where, you know, a lot of mothers kiss their babies after they've given them a bath.") and then explained why that ending was cut during previews:
"And the audience loved the entire movie and was ready to applaud until that scene came up. So we changed it."

I was only 12-13 at the time and I thought "Oh God. I hope he's talking about his rear-end and not his ç0çk!"

"Don't call me 'honey', mac."
"Don't call me 'mac'... HONEY!"
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