Home » The last-minute addition of Old Man Marley from Home Alone changed the ending of a classic

The last-minute addition of Old Man Marley from Home Alone changed the ending of a classic

by Stewart Cole

In its first several iterations Home AloneAccording to the script, the film ended with Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) reuniting with his mother (Catherine O'Hara) and the rest of the family. But the last we see of him is when his father (John Hurd) asks what he was doing while they were gone. “Oh, I was just hanging out,” Kevin smiles. One can practically imagine the freeze frame stopping at his smile and hearing Yello cooing, “Oooh, yeah,” from the Ferris Bueller's Day Off soundtrack.

(To be fair, other versions of the script included one more scene that would appear as a middle sequence with Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern's Harry and Marv sitting in prison on Christmas Day, watching TV in the day room when they recognize their dialogues from a short film called Angels with dirty souls. “I'll tell you what I'll give you, Snakes. I will give you…”)

This is pretty much what movie audiences fell in love with in 1990 and from one generation to the next every Christmas since. However, a key and emotionally crucial piece is missing: Old Man Marley is reunited with his granddaughter and estranged son on Christmas morning. That's because it was never Hughes's invention. The idea came from the film's director, Chris Columbus.

The director, who at the age of 31 had only made two films before Home Alone, realized that as adorable as Kevin was, the film would benefit from a more emotionally cathartic core. Which is to say it needed a little more Christmas magic. As Columbus said Business Insider For Home Alone30th anniversary, “I think maybe the biggest thing I brought was Old Man Marley to the church. Not the conversation, but I added the moment when Marley talked about not being able to see his granddaughter.”

In the original draft, Old Man Marley, the supposed Slayer of South Bend, chatted at the House of Worship with Kevin on Christmas Eve. Functionally, it provided another example of Kevin facing his fear and realizing that people are not what they seem. It also spawned Hughes' idea of ​​having Marley save Kevin's life with a shovel. Although as written in the first script, the old timer just cracks Harry and Marv's faces and then winks, “A little trick I learned in South Bend.”

This could be the last we've seen of Marley, who in typical Hughes fashion leaves open to interpretation whether he could indeed be the Shovel Slayer. So it was Columbus's idea to reveal that the lonely old man is missing a son he quarreled with and a granddaughter he never met.

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