Original ending of 'Fatal Attraction' will be available on video next month

February 20, 1992|By Daniel Cerone | Daniel Cerone,Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- Remember the controversial finale of "Fatal Attraction," a bloody bathroom scene during which Anne Archer guns down Glenn Close shortly after Michael Douglas dunks her in a bathtub? Some movie fans may recall that another, far less violent ending was first shot by director Adrian Lyne.

The original conclusion to the 1987 thriller will be included on a new home-video and laser-disc release of "Fatal Attraction" in March from Paramount Home Video as part of its "Directors' Series."

As the story went in Hollywood at the time, Mr. Lyne's initial ending was panned at test screenings, prompting Paramount Pictures marketing executives to demand a more audience-friendly resolution. So Lyne brought back the principal cast six months after the film wrapped to reshoot a climax aimed at the jugular. "Fatal Attraction" went on to scare up box-office receipts in excess of $156 million.

Mr. Lyne, for his part, is tired of hearing that story.

"People have suggested in the press that there were rows of marketing people thinking they could squeeze another few million dollars out of the movie if they changed the ending," the director said last week. "It just doesn't happen that way by my experience. It's nonsense, this idea of marketing people sitting there deciding how the film is going to end. It's silly."

The decision to swap endings was his, Mr. Lyne insists, and he stands by his decision today.

Mr. Lyne was widely criticized at the time for ditching the first ending he shot and replacing it with one more typically associated with a cut-rate slasher movie.

Newsweek's David Ansen wrote of the switch: "A smattering of psychological veracity gets cynically chucked out the window for the sake of cheap thrills." Negative press grew worse when the original ending played to receptive theater audiences in Japan, because Japanese distributors liked it better.

In the original 12-minute ending of "Fatal Attraction," Mr. Douglas is handcuffed and dragged away from his family for the murder of Ms. Close, whose body police discover in her apartment beside a knife with Mr. Douglas' fingerprints. Only an audio cassette discovered by Ms. Archer, on which Ms. Close threatens suicide, saves her husband from prison. In the last eerie scene, Ms. Close, sitting cross-legged in the bathroom with "Madama Butterfly" wafting in the background, reprises the opera's climax and slowly draws a knife across her throat.

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