In the absence of an original script, the novel 'Some Kind of Wonderful' (David Bischoff, 1987) is the next best source of information if you are looking to delve a little deeper into this movie. It was released shortly before the film, and is based on an early script.
If you are a fan of the film, and happen across a copy of the novel, have a look. It will give you a more thorough understanding of the film as a whole. It's an easy read, and can be completed in a rainy afternoon.
The novel was published by Dell in the United States, and Bantam in the UK and other countries. This book turns up occasionally on eBay for a few dollars or pounds, but can also be purchased from sites specialising in out of print books. For the purposes of review on this site our copy is the Bantam published version, purchased via eBay for 49p.
The novel is obviously targeted at an early teenage level of both reading and content, so a certain amount of dialogue has been altered to remove what would be considered 'inappropriate' language for a teen novel. Such language has either been replaced or toned down, and in some cases the dialogue has been significantly changed. Because of this, at times, it does lose something in the translation. Nevertheless, most of the novel remains true to the movie.
Given that this novel is based on an early script, if you're expecting it to reflect the movie exactly, you will be disappointed. Actually, if you compare it to the original movie script (an early version is available on this site), you'll see that the novel is somewhat of a cross between the original script and the movie. The story is the same, and David Bischoff has retained most of the omitted scenes from the movie, he has however, also added some scenes, and additional dialogue for clarification. The novel does go on to reveal some answers to questions that have baffled many viewers of this movie for years.
We won't delve into the novel too deeply here, as it really should be read on its own, in its entirety, untainted. We will just give the answers the novel provides to some of the common questions viewers have of the movie.
Does Watts have a first name?
Yes, it's Susan (her full name is Susan Watts).
The answer to this question arrives quite early on in the novel, in a scene added by the author. Script changes in the last scene of the movie removed this information from being revealed to the viewer.
Why was Keith in the club waiting for Amanda?
Amanda apparently likes the band that is playing live that night (The March Violets), and Keith thinks she may show up there to see them.
The novel answers this question in an obscure paragraph during the scene where Laura enters Keith's room to tell him the date is a joke.
Excerpt from novel (pages 113-114):
Keith lay in his bed, looking at a sketch of Amanda.
An Echo and the Bunnymen record was on the player, moaning away
in harmony with Keith's thoughts.
Amanda hadn't showed up.
Oh, well. Like Watts had pointed out, she hadn't actually said
she was going to be there. She had just said she liked the group
that would be playing, and like an idiot he had just assumed...
Suddenly he was aware that he was being watched.
He twisted around and saw that Laura was looking down at him from
the doorway. Cripes, she must have jimmied the lock!
This information is never revealed (or otherwise implied) in the movie, resulting in possibly the most asked question from viewers.
Why does Watts say "Do you miss me Keith?" during the club scene?
When Keith starts his pursuit of Amanda, he starts to avoid Watts (although not intentionally). On the day of the club scene, he is a no-show for lunch. The two of them have been having lunch together everyday for the last two years. Watts manages to find Keith in the gym (looking at Amanda, of course), there is some curt dialogue about him avoiding her, and then she leaves.
Although the movie does imply that Keith is avoiding Watts, such as him just leaving the keys in her car before getting a ride home with Amanda. This gym scene was cut from the movie, so the avoidance of Watts is never reinforced. This, combined with the "I'm waiting for Amanda" line, leaves the viewer a little perplexed about the whole club scene in general.
Why does Keith say "You're over" to Hardy during the party scene?
This line is carried over from the original version of this scene. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the same context in the movie, as it does in the original version of the scene.
In the novel, the party scene remains as per the original script. Duncan and his gang don't show up, and Keith takes on Hardy alone. Hardy delegates the task of "pounding him" to his friends, and just as it appears in the movie, Keith suggests to Hardy that he be the one to "take him outside".
From here on in, the novel and movie differ. In the novel, Hardy's friends eventually side with Keith, and suggest to Hardy that he fight his own battle. After seeing what a coward Hardy is without his friends to fight for him, all the guests start leaving. It's at this point Keith delivers the line "You want the truth? The plain truth? You're over".
As mentioned, this line is carried over into the movie, where it doesn't have the same context. No one would expect Hardy to take on Duncan and his gang alone.
Whilst not crucial to understanding the movie, the novel does go on to reveal some additional information, which once known, does help in some scenes.
The movie does mention that "things are not too great at home" for Watts, and information revealed during the garage scene suggests that Watts does not have much of a family life, but it is left up to the viewer to fill in the gaps. The novel expands on this and describes in more detail the circumstances of Watts' home life.
Watts has two brothers, and lives in a parentless home. Her mother died five years ago, and as they couldn't find their father anywhere, her older brother assumes legal custody, and drops out of school to support them. The house and car were their inheritance.
Her brothers have very little involvement in her life, so Keith is not only her best friend, but her family.
The movie never reveals the length of Keith's morning detention. Dialogue changes in the scene at Watts' house removed this information from being disclosed. It is however, two weeks, the same as Amanda's. Armed with this information, some scenes need a little explanation.
In the second of the detention scenes, we see Duncan, bored, scratching on the desk with his pocket knife.
In the third detention scene, after the weekend, we see all the detentionees with sketchpads and sticks of charcoal. Again, dialogue changes in the movie actually removed disclosure of the reason why. On his way to detention on Monday, Keith stops by the art room to collect some supplies for the detentionees to express their artistic creativeness. He had gotten the idea from watching Duncan last week.
Now, given that Keith's detention period was two weeks, how could he be working on his painting of Amanda early the next day, in the scene where Hardy invites him to the party? The detention teacher had liked the idea about the sketchpads so much that he rewards Keith with parole. Keith immediately heads for the art room to work on the painting, so he can have it finished by Friday.
We did say the novel was a good source of information!