It seems everyone here wrote to complain about the trauma of a movie's ending being cut off, but that doesn't help you, does it, cementmixer1234? I saw the film on TCM as well, and luckily I pre-set my VCR for a few extra minutes, since I know from experience many TV stations, not just TCM, can cut off in the end. So I will give you the answer. But first, let me say, in response to the last poster, that TCM certainly does not "suck." Quite the contrary, it is the rare broadcaster that respects its viewers, offering hard-to-find films, often with commentary, and without commercials.
As for the second poster's opinion that no movie is enjoyable if it is not complete, that's rash. The number of times I have taped films where the ending was cut off did not detract from my enjoyment. Sure, there is the disappointment at the end, but I make a note to myself to catch the film's ending the next time it airs. Fortunately, most films shown on television, particularly cable stations, air frequently.
Okay, let's get to that ending. WARNING: Spoilers follow.
The doctor encouraged Crossley to do the shout, and it is this point where you left off. The young doctor bolts out of the window. A lightning bolt strikes the little house on wheels. Some lay dead (an IMDb commentator included the doctor as among them, but I got the impression he got away), and the last shot in this scene showed what I believe to be Crossley's face, his mouth grotesquely open. (I suppose the idea here focused on whether it was Crossley's shout that was responsible for the killing, or was it the lightning? Ahh, this film always keeps us guessing.)
Susannah York's character rushes in to the institution in the last scene, to I suppose what was meant to be the makeshift "morgue"; she is in nurse's uniform, and the one -- there are two other corpses -- she beelines toward is Crossley. She looks longingly at him, and fingers the chain around his neck. Another thread on this message board, entitled "Ending scene **SPOILERS**," had one of our colleagues speculate on the meaning: "he has her buckle on the chain perhaps? the way she ran to see his dead body implied that she was still under his 'magic' spell."
I must admit, I did not watch the film with my fullest attention, and this is one topsy-turvy film where the viewer needs to be on full alert. I read what the other commentators here have had to say, to make sense of the parts I couldn't figure out, and the general consensus is that much is open to interpretation. There were a couple of comments that seemed to get it, like this one from 1999:
"What I cannot understand about THE SHOUT is why so many people have trouble understanding it... indeed, superior to the story in some ways, particularly in terms of character. I wish those who complain of its 'obscurity' would be more specific about what points, exactly, and unclear to them. Perhaps these people fail to grasp the basic witchcraft premises on which Crossley's power is based, though, to me, the film in itself makes these perfectly clear."
(In other words, everything should be clear because of witchcraft? I don't know about that. The thrust of the film does not lie within the magic element, it seems to me, but whether the one who is telling the story is on the level, or making things up.)
A second one, also from 1999, sounded even more certain of the goings-on:
"...Is Bates re-telling a true story or making things up as he goes along? This movie has perhaps one of the most extraordinary endings on film: the disconnected and confusing events that have been swirling past suddenly fuse, and become understandable, in the wordless final scene (you have to have been paying attention, though)."
I think, even if I were paying greater attention, I would have still had problems. Does this mean I, and the many others who also were flummoxed, are dumber than these two who have it all pegged?
I think the filmmakers purposely left it all open for interpretation, which is admirable, given the less brave tendency of the majority of films that make everything too obvious -- catering as they are to the lower common denominator. A Message Board contributor, in the thread entitled "No Activity?" offered these wise words:
"I read a critique of this film which described it as '... posing many questions but refusing to answer any of them'. A perfect summary if you ask me.
This film's power lies in its refusal to solve the riddle."
Thank you so much, Gluck, for your post, including your intro. (TCM certainly does not 'suck'.)
With apologies to Jerzy Skolimowski, my recording left me with an interesting ending...abruptly...with Susannah York standing at the third body..precisely the same spot as at the movie opening. Can I ask you..does the ending credit roll begin just after she fingers the chain around his neck....? (or, is there a bit more. I think my recording lost the last 60 seconds.)
And thank you, Socorso, for your courteous post.
No, that was it -- Susannah York's character yanks at the chain, offers a last look at Crossley's corpse, and then the film was over. No credit roll, and I don't even believe there was a "The End."
After I wrote my bit, I did go back to view some of these proceedings again. What I noticed was that Susannah York was not doing the chain fingering "longingly," a word I chose probably because I was influenced by that one person's theory that she might have still remained under Crossley's magic spell. What she does is remove whatever was attached to the chain. I'm speculating this object is what caused her to become enslaved, and the neutral look on her face that follows might be an indication that she is now free of him, and not that she is still enchanted. (But... what does it all mean? I'm still in the dark.)
I'd also like to correct a thing or two from my original presentation. The young doctor, played by Tim Curry, definitely is alive after the explosion. And the one with the grotesque open mouth was not Crossley, but the other doctor, who had gone into the "shed on wheels" to force Crossley to get out.
thank YOU, Gluck..! (I don't post on here often..mostly 'cos I'm afraid I'll get trounced..! Many posters on here blast posts..!)
I really do need to look at the film again. I watched it rather distractedly the day after I recorded it. It is very Roeg-like (a good thing..!), to my eye.
Thanks again for your added observations. (I didn't think that was Tim Curry, bloody, in the shed, either.)
Tim Curry played the author of the original short story, Robert Graves. I did not think he was a doctor. Maybe I missed something?
Yes. She takes the item of the chain and it fades to closing.
Thanks for posting the ending. It was very helpful.
In my opinion, this movie (and its narrative and the original short story) relies on the "unreliable narrator" plot device. The reader or viewer can interpret the story in entirely different ways depending on whether they believe the narrator verbatim or whether they believe that the narrator believes his narrative. There is of course, a third option where the reader/viewer tries to analyze how much of the story could be true and how much of it is fiction.
The fact that the story is set in an insane asylum is the one thing that is certain. Everything else is open to interpretation. Perhaps the Fieldings were a couple only in Crossley's imagination. Perhaps Crossley who was attracted to the nurse imagined her as Fielding's wife and imagined Fielding to be his rival. Hence the "sound based sub-text" that runs through the entire film. Fielding is interested in analyzing the sounds that are normally not audible until magnified. Crossley however possesses a shout so loud that can literally kill! Insane Crossley's story and "delusion of grandeur" focuses on establishing his superiority over Fielding (who was in reality, a doctor perhaps) and the nurse, who Crossley probably had a crush on. One can interpret the shoe buckle episode as rooted in reality to the extent that Crossley probably stole it from the nurse and she was merely annoyed with the fact that she rips it fom Crossley's body at the end. The fact that the lightning bolt could have very well caused the deaths (and not the fictional shout) is also suggested. A very obvious hint that the story was made up by Crossley --Throughout his narrative we see him chipping of pieces of the bone he is carrying - he gives the dog a piece, another piece is left in the house -- but we see the entire bone in his hands when he starts striking it to "make the cricket ball hit the player in the leg".
This film reminded me of Mulholland Drive - if that story had been "told" from the viewpoint of a stark raving lunatic Diane.
thanks for your observations, valleycats..!