The ending of “The Last American Virgin” (1982) dir. Boaz Davidson

“The Last American Virgin” was Cannon Studio’s attempt to cash in on the monster success of “Porky’s” which came out in the Spring of 1982. Despite a few amusing moments, the film isn’t particularly good or memorable … except for the ending. The ending is what most people remember about the film and it’s what made the film a standout. If you don’t like spoilers or have the intent to see the movie, stop reading.

Among lots of de rigueur crude shenanigans, there is a main story. The lead character Gary has a crush on Karen, who subsequently hooks up with his friend Rick. Rick gets her pregnant and then dumps her. Gary sells all of his possessions and even borrows money from his boss to help her pay for an abortion. He expresses his love for her and she invites him to her birthday party. He buys her a locket and then arrives at the birthday party … to discover that Karen is back in Rick’s arms. As James Ingram’s “Just Once” plays (“I did my best … but I guess my best wasn’t good enough”), Gary leaves the party, quietly crying while driving away. End credits roll.

OK, this plot is not the most original ever written, but for a generation who watched this on cable or on VHS at an impressionable age, it was a major buzzkill of an ending (for an otherwise lighthearted film) and lingers to this day as one of those moments where you hang your head and quietly say “Damn.”

What many people don’t know is that “Virgin” is an American remake of a 1978 Israeli film called “Eskimo Limon” (aka”Lemon Popsicle”), which was also written and directed by “Virgin” director Davidson.  “Limon” has the exact same plot as “Virgin,” but takes place in Israel during the 1950s and has a killer 1950s soundtrack.  “Limon” was a huge box office hit in Israel and did well in Europe and Japan.  It was also nominated for Best Foreign Film at that year’s Golden Globe awards (it lost to Ingmar Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata”).  It also features an early performance by Johnathan Sagall, who went to act as Poldek Pfefferberg in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List.”  “Limon” is available on Netflix Instant (though, I believe it’s listed as “Lemon Popsicle”) and the English dubbed version has been posted in its entirety on YouTube if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.

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