The Ending?

Just wondering what others made of the end. Was she imaging she was being chased? Was she really being chased (for the murder) and imaging that they were astronauts? Or least likely they were actually astronauts after her for Kinskis experiments!!!! Its a fascinating ending which doesn't give any easy answers and a truly wonderful film that deserves a wider audience. Also really liked the directors The Fifth Cord, the cinematography and music are superb too.


Yeah, I enjoyed the film.. but the ending leaves me clueless. But I couldn't help but watch it a second time that same day. There's just something about it.


At last somone has replied!!! Was beginning to think i was on my own here! Love to know what others thought of it. Love gialli, but not sure if this film fits the genre, Certainly has giallo elements to it, its amazing it hasn't wider critical acclaim as its certainly deserving of it. Needs official release, version i have does is far from great


According to the back of the box I have (under the title "Primal Impulse"), Blackman is conducting experiments on the mind, specifically mind invasion and mind control. He strands the astronaut on the moon to test his mind power. The psychic screams and death throes of the astronaut invade Alice's mind and she is kind of possessed for those two missing days. Because Alice was the one who received these mind transmissions, Blackman chooses her to be the next test subject. So, when the astronauts come at the end, it is to make her the next guinea pig in the experiment, implying that, after the end of the film, she too will be left on the moon to die.
I was sad that they didn't actually show that ending, as I thought it would be a neat wraparound.
I'm also a little unsure of whether or not that's really an accurate description, as a)I've noticed that a lot of movie boxes say stuff that doesn't really have anything to do with the movie, and b) not a bit of this stuff is explained in the film.
However, if this is supposed to be the case, it helps me understand the movie, and it makes the film even more interesting.

Anyway, I hope this helps.


Well.. That description is of course accurate from Alice`s point of view, but on the other hand she´s obviously going insane and suffers from a split personality. The interesting thing with this movie is that we see almost everything from her point of view and therefore have to interpret what is really happening to her.

What REALLY happens at the end of the movie is up to the viewer I guess. Maybe she´s taken away by doctors or police after murdering Harry or maybe what we see is just happening in her sick mind.

There is a pretty good analysis of the film at the end of this review:



It's been a long time since I saw the English print but the Italian print ends with a text coda saying that Alice was committed to a Swiss institution.

I wonder if the experiment was just a move and if Alice was imagining it because the black and white "movie" footage at the end before the astronaut dies has him stumbling towards a bright light that could be the sun but had me thinking that even in the context of the film, the moon environment might actually be fabricated and as part of the experiment in "cosmic isolation" that the astronaut was simply lead to believe he had been abandoned on the moon (I was thinking this because I thought the "sun" light source looked like it was going to turn out to be a spotlight).

The UK DVD is an essential purchase if you are a fan of this film. It has the English track, the Italian track with English subtitles and is the longest version available (about a minute longer than the German TV broadcast that was recently making the rounds as a DVDR) and features footage that was only included in the Italian version (that material is in poorer condition but the bulk of the print is beautiful - Storaro's cinematography is stunning).


I was digging the movie until the end. A lot of intriguing promise that felt squandered by the "oh she's crazy" ending. I had a feeling it might be going in that direction but I really hoped for something more rational and rewarding.


great movie!!!imho the best schizofrenic split personality kind of movie!she was totally trippin with those astronauts!i guess the visions all originated from that movie alice said she had seen but couldnt remember the ending!


as one respondent here points out: the film ends with a coda about Alice being committed to a mental home.

It really is all in her mind.

'i regard it [religion] as a disease born of fear'

bertrand russell.


I've just watched this for the first time and loved it, although I do think that the opening scene promises a slightly more elaborate pay-off than the movie actually delivers.

My own sense is that Klaus Kinski's fragments are scenes from a half-remembered film or TV show (hence the deliberately hokey acting) that have stuck in Alice's mind because of the themes of manipulation and isolation that feed her own neuroses; hence, the final scene signals her complete breakdown and retreat into that alternate reality.

The screenplay could have (and perhaps should have) made some oblique allusion to this, i.e. an old cinema poster or movie mag cover, never acknowledged by the characters but momentarily glimpsed by the sharp-eyed viewer. (Or maybe there is and I missed it.) On the other hand there's something to be said for the open ending we have here, because it doesn't in any way diminish the rest of the film, which is really quite spellbinding.

"Duck, I says..."


I think the (almost) last shot is important. It shows the footprints in the sand (and Footprints is the title of the film, which would also suggest this is important). It's hard to work out how many footprints there are but it certainly doesn't seem to be that of a woman plus two astronauts in heavy boots either side, it looks quite likely that it's only one person (plus maybe a pogo stick) staggering a bit. They also look like they might be walking into the sea. Also, when we first see the astronauts on the beach there's a second where they aren't there and then they appear out of thin air. All of this says to me that she is indeed nuts and it's all in her mind. There's also the message at the end saying that she was sent to a mental hospital, but this seems a little heavy handed and I wouldn't be surprised if it was added on at the insistence of a producer. And I agree with you that the people in the spaceship are from some film or programme that she's got confused with her real life; she seems to have forgotten some genuine occurrences and added some fake ones. And she says that Harry isn't Harry, but we see his necklace confirming that he is indeed Harry, so we shouldn't consider her opinions about things to be reliable.


All three are atrocious. No, to be honest, that's unfair. The beginning is OK as it gives the impression of there being some kind of mystery taking place.

Most films along these lines make it clear what the mystery is and either resolve the mystery or leave it unsolved.

In this film, I wasn't even sure what the mystery was and half an hour from the end, I had lost interest and was counting the remaining minutes.

I thought this film was rubbish and the biggest mystery to me was the casting of Kinski who, as far as I can remember, only appeared four times and his combined screen time was probably less than one minute.

His role could have been played by ANYBODY, not even a professional actor was needed, his appearance added nothing to the film as he had nothing to do.

If he was cast because his name would attract viewers then those same viewers would feel cheated.


If you listen to the subject of the conference she attended, it reflects the film she keeps having flashbacks from (three days later). The sci-fi film she keeps having flashes of is largely concoted in her imagination, taking the imagery of movies she's seen and blending it with the substance of what she heard at the conference. It was that lecture having to do with survival and dissociative personality breaks that was the catalyst for her sudden snap. She must have recognized herself in the lecture, it hit too close to home hence her delusion that "they" were after her. Not to suggest that her illness was caused by the conference, she was obviously ill under the surface long before that for it to have had such a profound effect on her.

It's interesting that when she became Monica she went to Garma. Speculating, I think it's because her youthful encounter with Harry was such a powerful memory that was also purely personal, something she would have shared with no one...a safe place to escape to and not be found by anyone who knows her. Finding Harry again isn't sinister but tragic as it plays into her paranoia.

Also: in most movies with this kind of plot you'd get a "big secret", the terrible childhood trauma that caused the whole thing, suppressed memories right out of Pop Psychology 101. As audiences, most of us probably are trained to expect it. Well, I am anyway. I kept waiting for it and it never happened - because it ain't there! The movie opted for intelligent instead of clever and I have to say I really appreciate that! Real-life mental disorders don't have pat answers all neatly wrapped up, and they're causes are not simplistic.

I have this on one of those Miller Creek 50-movie sets and would love to see a restored print in its OAR. Gorgeous cinematography by Vittorio, talk about a hidden gem!


I agree with everything you said.

Watching it in 2014 for the first time made the ending feel sort of lackluster though. Theres been SO many flicks where absurdities/illogical sequences are explained in the ending by the mentally insane-twist ending! Of course as this specific movie were made in 1975 it's obviously one of the originals, and does not in any way or shape deserve criticism on this point.

I do however hope it will be a long time till I see another modern movie going this route.


Alice explicitly states that the bits with Kinski are from a film she once saw, but left before the end because it freaked her out. The end is where she completely looses her sanity. In the Italian version, there is a final title card explaining that she has been confined to a mental health facility in Switzerland.

All the best people shave twice a day.


OK, obvious spoilers here. I JUST watched this in a theater in Italian with live recently translated subtitles. The plot goes as follows. Alice wakes up thinking it's Tuesday but in reality it is Thursday. She tries to hand in a report for work that was due on Tuesday. She is told it is Thursday and she has been overlooked for an important job due to this problem. They allude to the fact that she has had problems before, so it is hinted at that she has some responsibility issues, or maybe some mental issues. While meeting with her friend she goes over what she remembers, and she gets as far as remembering the lecture she was translating, and it was a scientific lecture on astronautics. She gets very flustered and dizzy and leaves the building and walks off, and that is all she remembers. She does mention how when she awoke she was having a dream about a movie she once saw when young, and it disturbed her greatly, so much so that she walked out and never saw the ending. The friend mentions her always taking sleeping pills and having sleeping issues, so the foundation for her mental issues is set up from the beginning.

It seems like the lecture set off a chain of events that caused her to have a mental breakdown, and travel back to a vacation spot she once visited as a child. She incorporated the movie she saw from her childhood with her real life, I am guessing these events may have happened around the same time. She also met a guy, she was young and it seems like she may have lost her virginity to him, or at the very least was intimate with him. This left an impression on her all these years, and she must have had a rough romantic life and she probably romanticized her first encounter. Adding this movie that traumatized her into her real life memories, she creates a mental scenario where she has to find this older lover and she is being sought after for mental experiments.

She slowly starts to unravel the mystery and finds that she was at this vacation spot earlier in the week, and eventually she finds some papers that she was translating that she burned at the vacation spot, one specific one mentioning astronautics. This piece of the puzzle is basically saying that the lecture she was listening to reminded her of this traumatic movie, and her early romance, which set off a chain or events where she thought she was being pursued by the Klaus Kinski character BLACKMAN in an old sci fi movie.

As the movie unravels we find out that the guy who gave her a ride is the same guy she met with when she was young. He recognized her but she was using a fake name, and he called a doctor to ask him to help. She cut him with a pair of scissors and left, going back to her normal life. When she gets back he uses this opportunity to try and reconnect with her and get her some mental help. They finally hook up and he tells the doctor that she seems better, but when she overhears him talking to the doctor she goes right back to her delusional thoughts of feeling pursued and kills him. The astronauts chasing her at the end are in her head, she most likely runs around until she passes out and then is found and locked up, especially after they discover the guys dead body.

In the end of the print I saw there is a title card letting you know she was locked up and is still in a mental hospital to this day. As far as I am concerned the whole Klaus Kinski chasing her thing was in her mind, as were the astronauts at the end of the movie. Obviously the viewer can choose to believe otherwise, but this is what I think.


I think the moon is a metaphor for loneliness, as if there could be anything worse than being abandoned in outer space, watching the module take off, KNOWING they did it on purpose. SHE was the astronaut. I felt my heart wrench in the opening sequence.

Harry was Harry, as his dog-tag was imprinted, and I think Kinski was Alice's manifestation of Harry as the bad guy, the one who left her alone on the moon.

It could be more enigmatic than that. Was the film real and did it drive her crazy, or was she just crazy and invented the film to keep her last shred of sanity? But I think in the end it's a sad story about a broken person.