MovieChat Forums > The Pawnbroker (1964) Discussion > The ending was pretty bad...

The ending was pretty bad...


Maybe I'm judging this movie by today's standards, but to simply have Steiger do his "overwhelmed stagger walk" yet again down a busy city street as the camera pulls away and funky jazz music plays makes for one of the worst movie endings I've ever seen. And please don't tell me that the choice of music was supposed to provide a contrast between the lively city streets and Nazerman's emotional deadness. If that was the intent, it failed IMHO.

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i dont know if its one of the worst endings ive ever seen, but i found it extremely unfulfilling for a film that was great up till the ending.

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read the book

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LOOOOOL

Great ending. One of the best parts of the film. All the truly bad guys got away with everything they did and the more or less good people are destroyed. Great great ending far above todays standards. Though the "funky jazz music" was a great fit by the way.

Somebody here has been drinking and I'm sad to say it ain't me - Allan Francis Doyle

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The issue is you simply failed to see and grasp the obvious. The character has spent the entire film revealing his desire to have no feelings especially pain. Now he is pained at the death of Ortiz, who has gotten shot and is dying so Sol would not get shot. Ortiz tells him "I did not want you to get hurt". We can logically assume from the entire film that no one has ever really said that to him in many years and certainly not in his current state of mind. He places his hand over the spike to prove to himself that he can still not feel pain or anything else. It also reveals that Sol actually cared for Ortiz, another unwelcome emotion like all others.

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Right, and the problem is he did feel pain when he drove his hand through that spike. And that's why it's such a climatic ending. He's walking off in disbelief after not acknowledging that he has feelings and can feel pain after all these years. The really scary part is he hears the train at the end in the background, and his face seems to bring him back once again to Nazi era Germany. Will he change is the big question.

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A lot of people who self mutilate do that so they can feel something other than the emotional pain. It's a distraction and diversion.

He carried the emotional pain with him for decades. Driving his hand into the spike caused him to feel something else.

Its kind of a self medication.

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Yes. Also, it was a desperate act of trying to do something. His whole life, he could never do anything to stop evil from being done. Now just after he finally takes action and stands against the corrupt and refuses to sign the papers, he again finds himself completely powerless, and in a much graver state of affairs. People might thrash objects in situations like these, but he needed something stronger than that to cope with his lifelong impotence, to stand for real action.

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The music at the end was a bit jarring, but I figured it was to show this guy was traumatized and the rest of the world goes on. He is staggering up the street while people walk by oblivious to his pain. The music illustrated the city, not him. Maybe the music was for the audience too. (I saw this in a theater last night) We get to go home and forget about the pain and trauma, but Nazermann is stuck in his memories. It is our exit music.




Dictated, but not read.

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You can't judge this movie by any other standard. It exposes the personal horror of a very damaged human being.

The edgy music is from a score by Quincy Jones who was chosen to provide the brassy New York naked city flavor. The final scene is the culmination of Nazerman's rising from the dead. He had lost everything and there was nothing he could do about it. He was bitter, insensitive, cruel but showed a certain benevolence to Ortiz and was doing ok until he realized he worked for a pimp much like the SS Nazis who raped and abused his wife in the camp.

The symbolism of the silent scream and pawn nail was symbolism of how Nazerman had pawned his life away for a mere percentage of living. How he had abused people he might have helped.

In order to appreciate this film as did the NY Film Critics award as well as the Acaddemy Awards and Canne festival, you have to see it subjectively if possible. Put yourself in Nazerman's shoes. How would you react ?

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[deleted]

quote: "It would be great to read or hear an interview with Sydney Lumet one day to see what his intention was for the ending and the rest of the film. "

I agree. I bet he wasn't happy with the ending music. IMO, The normally great Quincy Jones really missed. I suppose it was meant to reinforce the visual of Nazerman walking down the crazy, hectic NYC street, but it seemed too upbeat considering how the movie ends.

If you want the final 5 minutes with the sound off, it is really quite moving & powerful.

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At least it didn't end with Soul Bossa Nova.

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hahahah

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I don´t find the music much upbeat at all - the main effect seems to be sort of downsize Steiger and his pain amongst the faceless crowd as the camera is simultaneously pulling away, to reveal the "big picture". "Life goes on", the music seems to be saying and there´s a definite melancholly note in it. Kind of parallels Steiger´s own resigned, distanced world view throughout the film, up until the finale.


"facts are stupid things" - Ronald Reagan

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[deleted]

How else could it have ended? With Nazerman rushing off to to see his partner in shame, Tessie, and reveal and express joy over his newfound humanity. Of course not, perfect ending. There's a certain ambiguity left in the viewer's mind as to whether Sol will again submerge and repress his humanity or will somehow take the recent events in his life and try to remove the stain and deadness from his soul.

I really think most are missing the point of the ending music. The ongoing revelations of Sol's humanity throughout the film is often underscored by the accompaniment of music. The dissonant jazz (and underlying orchestral melody) is representative of his emotional and mental state, despite the continued outward calmness (or deadness) of his appearance.

Anyway, that's how I see it. Great ending (and score) to a great film.

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In the end he has flashbacks of the recent events (his dead assistant, the charity woman, etc..). Before this he was having flashbacks of his time in Europe during the concentration camps. I took this to represent the irony that he just created new flashbacks of the same nature as the old ones.

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It isn't easy to see, but as the credits roll Nazerman puts his head up against the side of the building for support, and several people approach him. I couldn't tell if they were offering help or were just curious, but he was at least drawing some attention.

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