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Jeruba's avatar

Can you recall an old movie with this ending?

Asked by Jeruba (51102points) 2 months ago

It’s probably an old movie (meaning before, say, 1980) and maybe even black and white, from the forties or fifties.

I’m remembering a final scene, a crowd scene: the main character is holding something up or passing something out, maybe political flyers or religious tracts, and shouting out a slogan or other call for attention.

People are brushing past him as if he weren’t there, jostling him and ignoring his appeals and even knocking his papers over. They’re streaming toward some other crowd magnet, probably a rival, in the same way that they once swarmed around him. He’s nobody now.

In my mind I’m seeing the camera slowly pull back as his figure gets smaller and smaller and the waves of people surge toward that other attractor. In my memory this takes place in black and white.

Losing the crowd is a just and fitting conclusion because of something he’s done, something I don’t remember, but you also can’t help feeling pity for him as attention drains away from him and he becomes irrelevant. He may have been a charlatan, a weak character who fell into temptation, but in some way we can see ourselves in him. We also know the fickle crowd will eventually move on from the new guy.

I can’t place the location or see the face of the actor, and I’m not even sure there really is such a movie outside my imagination. But if this rings a bell with you, please help me identify it. It’s running on a loop in my head, and I’d like to free up the space for a new story.

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5 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar


Call_Me_Jay's avatar

A Face in the Crowd came to mind for me, too. I haven’t seen it but it’s been, but in my mind it’s that kind of movie. It’s on my To See list.

Elmer Gantry has a things-fall-apart scene near the end, but there’s a calm epilogue.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I had forgotten ELMER GANTRY as another outstanding film about the rise and fall of a demagogue. But I remember it being a color film. Shirley Jones was the sort of apparition that no teenage boy could possibly forget.

Jeruba's avatar

I saw both of those a long time ago, and they’re really good suggestions, quite plausible. Looking in YouTube, though, I can’t find that sort of climactic scene.

Not sure the movie I’m trying to recall was American or even in English, come to think of it.

filmfann's avatar

Possibly Brazil.

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