Alexander Payne’s Election came out in 1999 and I don’t think it’s too hyperbolic to call it one of the best comedies of all time (people were still talking about it in 2008, when it provided a pretty dead-on metaphor for the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama primary race). But apparently the film, which was based on a novel by Tom Perrotta, originally had a different ending (based on the ending in the novel) which wasn’t included with any version of the DVD or referenced in the commentary. Thanks to a reader tip, SlashFilm was able to find a VHS transfer of it online, which you can watch after the jump.
/Film reader John G sent me a link to the six-minute original ending sequence, which had been recently uploaded to YouTube. This footage was reportedly discovered on an unlabeled VHS tape containing an early work print of the film, sold at a local flea market. Apparently they screened the film with this ending and the conclusion tested horribly. I heard that they sat on this ending for almost a year, before deciding to reshoot the ending as a more cynical epilogue. [SlashFilm]
In final version of the film (SPOILER ALERT, BUT HONESTLY IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ELECTION YOU SHOULDN’T COME CRYING TO ME ABOUT SPOILERS), Mr. McAllister moves to New York, where he works at the museum of Natural History, and hucks a milk shake at a limousine after he sees Tracy Flick getting in it with a Senator (“Who. The. F*ck does she think she is?”). In the version below, Mr. McAllister is still in Nebraska working at a car dealership, where Tracy Flick comes to buy a car before heading off to college at Northwestern (WHITE AND PURPLE REPRESENT). It’s actually pretty mushy-gushy (and wrong for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which being that it’s hard to imagine a high school social studies teacher selling cars) and it’s easy to see why they dumped this in favor of the eventual ending. The nicest thing I can say about it is that because the quality is so bad, at first I thought Mr. M was wearing a piano-key necktie.
I’m only just now realizing that a girl has never told me, “Oooh yeah, fill me up, Mr. M,” while we were doing it. And that makes me sad. Maybe I have to become a teacher.
[Apparently what he writes in the yearbook is “Dear Tracy…”]