Exactly Why Did Bill Murray Keep Repeating His 'Groundhog Day?'

Some readers might have been reminded that today is Groundhog Day because their morning news had a live broadcast from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. That's where the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. For me, I was reminded because my Twitter feed has been nothing but a live blog of quotes from the classic Harold Ramis film.

Either way, today is Groundhog Day and in the 1993 film of the same name, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is forced to live the same day over and over again, improving himself a little bit each and every time until he finally gets it right.

In the movie, which many people will be re-visting tonight, there's no real explanation given for why Connors gets stuck in time. However, someone with knowledge of an early version of the script has revealed exactly why it happened. Read the quote after the jump.

The person is question is voiceover artist and '80s character actor Eddie Deezen, who wrote an in-depth post on the subject over at Neatorama (thanks to Movies.com for the heads up.) Here's the explanation:

The second draft of Groundhog Day says, actually, it was caused by Phil's scorned ex-girlfriend Stephanie. The second draft of Groundhog Day is pretty close to what we all see in the film. There is a bit more of Phil in the studio at the beginning, but nothing major. But also in the second draft, Stephanie, Phil's ex-girlfriend, puts a curse on him. Literally, she opens a book of magic spells and does a little ritual that causes him to get stuck in time.

Near the beginning of this script, we meet Phil's girlfriend, Stephanie, who Phil coldly and unceremoniously dumps. Later, as Phil is going to bed in Punxsutawney, we see Stephanie in her room, using Phil's business cards and broken watch (conveniently set at 5:59) to perform a magic spell from a book titled 101 Curses, Spells, and Enchantments You Can Do At Home. This sets the theme of Groundhog Day in motion. There is no "higher purpose" given, just an angry, embittered ex-girlfriend with a little book.

That seems like a very Hollywood way to go about things and Ramis' decision to leave it ambiguous is certainly better. Either way, it's nice to know it was discussed.

If you head over to the Neatorama post, there's even more inside info on the film including how long he was supposed to be stuck (10,000 years) and what little remnants of this subplot remain.

Do you enjoy pouring over the minutia of the film?

Note: this post was originally published in 2012.