CitySleuth is more than a little bummed to reach the final location post from this, one of his all-time favorite movies. The intersecting lives of Elsa the scheming seductress and O'Hara the hapless drifter rendered in innovative high contrast black-and-white cinematography delivered entertainment of the highest order.
Then ... Inside the Crazy House O'Hara trips and falls down a long slide to the Magic Mirror Maze, a room packed with replicating and distorting mirrors. Suddenly Elsa appears, admitting she shot Grisby after he messed up her plan to do away with her husband Bannister. The mirror maze sequence, as illustrated by the composited image below, was a highlight of the movie.
... in 1949 ... Below, visitors of all ages enjoyed the real Hall of Mirrors in the Fun House at Playland-At-The-Beach (the inspiration for the movie's Crazy House). The movie however used an elaborate set built at the Columbia Ranch back lot, with more than 100 plate-glass mirrors, some of them two-way to let the camera shoot through them.
Now it's Bannister's turn to show up - he knows she was planning to have him killed and tells Elsa she would be foolish to fire her gun - "... these mirrors - it's difficult to tell - you are aiming at me aren't you? I'm aiming at you, lover!
Both Elsa and Bannister are hit. " I don't wanna die!! " she screams, but die she does. Bannister too, leaving O'Hara unscathed but in a state of numbed shock. In this scene, director Welles was unhappy with the studio's addition of crashing background music. He felt (CitySleuth agrees) that the gunfire and breaking glass alone would be more effective and realistic.
Then ... He exits the Crazy House. This was filmed on location at the Fun House at Playland-At-The-Beach during the winter when the amusement park was closed for the season.
... in 1972 ... 23 years later, just before the closing and demolition of the amusement park, this vintage photo was taken of the Fun House, next to the Merry-Go-Round carousel.
Then ... The camera tracks him, painting the panorama below as he continues on (click on the image to enlarge). At far right is the Laff In The Dark ghost ride; the twin tower structure at far left is the entrance to Shoot The Chutes (a boat ride down a steep chute onto a lake) alongside the Great Highway.
... a vintage aerial ... the dotted line in the 1940s photo below traces O'Hara's short walk during this final scene.
Then ... The camera follows O'Hara as he (appropriately for a sailor) heads towards the Pacific Ocean. The early rising sun behind him casts long shadows, signalling the dawn of a new day, the chance for a fresh start. His final musings close out the movie ...
"Well, everybody is somebody's fool. The only way to stay out of trouble is to grow old, so I guess I'll concentrate on that. Maybe I'll live so long that I'll forget her ... maybe I'll die tryin' ".