I haven’t read the script in a very, very long time, but I seem to remember that there was a third ending. As I try to remember it, I think it was just Bess (Janet Leigh) at the end by herself and Houdini has been dead for a while. I think she was doing something with a flower setting.
As promised, I said that I would do a blog about the third ending that Kevin mentioned.
The second draft screenplay (Yellow) dated August 5, 1952 ends as follows:
After Otto smashes the glass front of the cell with his axe, there is a close shot of a crystal vase of red roses on a table before a half-opened window. A gust of wind whips the curtains back against the vase. The vase topples to the floor and crashes.
We then see Bess dressed for traveling, packing a wardrobe trunk. She crosses the broken vase, gathers up the red roses, and sees a small note twined around the stem of one of the roses. She lays the roses on the table and curiously unwinds the note from the one red rose. The wind whips the lace curtain across her face, shrouding it like a mourning veil. As she brushes the curtain aside from her eyes to read the note:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Even after I’m dead
I’ll still love you.
As tears well in her eyes she glances up from the red rose to a faded yellow poster on the wall. The music of the Dime Museum comes softly over the poster of Houdini at the age of twenty, wearing his ill-fitting dress suit and pulling a rabbit out of a silk hat, the age old symbol of the magician.