Dig this crazy/cool Fosse dance sequence from ‘Sweet Charity’. Set to the go-go-ized strains of ‘Big Spender, the dance known as ‘The Aloof’ is a masterful creation, Fosse at his most crypto-sexual and controlled, with a centerpiece dancer who is nothing short of phenomenal. (Who is she? Is she out there somewhere?) The movie was Fosse’s first as a director and, although unsuccessful in its day, looks pretty good now with one glaring exception; the ending. Though the sad letdown of Charity/Carbiria’s romantic fate is poignant and philosophical in the Fellini source material, the big singing and dancing American version feels utterly deflated by the main character’s defeat. It’s actually kind of shocking that the studio (Universal Pictures financed and distributed the movie) was okay with retaining this ending. And guess what? They weren’t. I just found out that an alternate ending, included on the Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray releases, picks up after Oscar (the respectable suitor who represents Charity’s fresh start in life) leaves Charity. Oscar starts to go crazy in his apartment and, feeling suffocated, goes for a walk in the park. He sees Charity on their bridge in Central Park and thinks she is going to jump. Racing to rescue her, he trips and falls in the water. Charity jumps in after him, but can’t swim so Oscar rescues her. Oscar realizes Charity is the only breath of fresh air in his life, proposes again, and she accepts. Fosse thought the ending was too corny, but filmed it anticipating that the studio would demand a happy ending. In the end, they agreed with Fosse and kept the original ending from the stage version. They were both wrong. And I say that without having seen the alternate ending yet. But I plan too in the coming days…


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