As longtime readers of this blog may remember, more than one Mockingbird contributor has a fondness for the late film director John Hughes. See for example R-J’s piece here…. Or Sean Norris’s piece here…. or just do a search for HUGHES and see all of them.

Something happened this weekend (more on that in a minute) that made me decide to raise my hand today and admit that I too fell in love with a JH movie when I was younger, less jaded, and more hopeful. It was Pretty In Pink with Molly Ringwald. (Spoilers ahead….)

Pretty In Pink is a loose adaptation of two archetypal stories: Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet. It has Cinderella (Molly) in poverty, the wicked stepsisters (the high school equivalent of cruel wealthy sorority girls), the handsome wealthy prince (Andrew McCarthy), the midnight ball, and even the closeup of Molly putting on her foot the beautiful slipper; it has Romeo (Andrew McCarthy) and Juliet (Molly) and the warring families of the Montagues and the Capulets each trying to tear them apart.

One of the reasons Hughes’ movie touches audiences is because he is using such deeply emotional source material. But he and the screenwriter also add a character of their own, and make the story different from either C or R&J. And that is the character of geek supremo Duckie, who’s been in love with Molly’s character for years and can’t tell her (wonderful performance by Jon Cryer).

Now… what happened this weekend was this. I saw an article over at Cinematical that revealed that John Hughes originally had a different end in mind for the movie, but changed it based on bad audience reactions in test screenings. The funny thing here is that the movie as it was released does indeed have one brief dreadful moment at the end, and I was sure that this was what I was going to read about. But no! The one thing that is indeed terrible isn’t mentioned at all – and instead it sounds as though John Hughes originally contemplated a different way to screw up the end.

Ending of the film as it was released in theaters (this is the one you’ve seen):
* Molly and the Prince (after great obstacles) end up together. Great powerful fairy tale ending – and true to the structure of the film and the reality of high school.
* Duckie ends up without Molly (though with a beautiful sacrificial act on his part). Great tragic ending – and true to the structure of the film and the reality of high school.
* Then in the last few seconds of the film – a gorgeous blond appear out of nowhere and becomes Duckie’s girlfriend which delights him! TERRIBLE ENDING. TOTALLY FALSE ON ABOUT 200 LEVELS.

Ending of the film as it was originally contemplated by John Hughes:
* Duckie and Molly end up together.

Personally I love the Theatrical ending (save the terrible thing with Duckie’s new girlfriend – which could have simply been cut) – and I think Hughes was right to scrap his original plan. If there are any fans of Pretty In Pink reading MB this week, I’d be curious what you think!