Top Five… Bizarre Title Changes
You’ll notice this week ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ has become merely ‘Red Riding Hood’ – but to be fair Amanda Seyfried is tall enough. Plus the film looks a bit sexually charged, so it might have been a bit ropey leaving the ‘little’ in. Usually, name changes occur as we cross the Atlantic: we’ve got taps, lifts, crisps, jam, runners, biscuits, jelly and estate agents; while they’ve got faucets, elevators, chips, jelly, trainers, cookies, jello and real estate agents (are our estate agents fake?). But when it comes to film titles, it can be just downright confusing. We have a look at five of the weirdest with over at Metro
5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone = Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneI’d have boycotted the film if I was American. As the story goes, US audiences wouldn’t ‘understand’ what a philosopher was, so they simply changed the name of one of the most important items in the Harry Potter universe. Incidentally, its maker, Nicolas Flamel, wasn’t a philosopher or a sorcerer – he was an alchemist. Nevertheless, every scene in which the stone was mentioned had to be filmed twice. To be fair to the filmmakers, the name of the book was changed beforehand – children wouldn’t want to read a book about philosophy, apparently. Because all Confucius’ books had goblins, owls, brooms and ten-year-old wizards on the cover.
4. The Boat That Rocked = Pirate Radio
The producers worked so hard on coming up with such a clever title – the boat that rocked, as in it played music of the rock genre; the boat that rocked, as in the motion experienced by all boats due to the natural ebb and flow of the tide; the boat that rocked, as in it caused controversy; and, of course, the boat that rocked as in the natural momentum caused by enthusiastic copulation. See what they did there? But since the title was the only funny thing about it, it flopped, and they re-edited it for rerelease in the US, calling it Pirate Radio. Because it’s about a pirate radio station. They’re on a ship, so I suppose it maintains a little bit of cleverness. But the film’s still crap.
3. The Emperor’s Journey = March of the Penguins
In its original France, La Marche de l’Empereur, or The Emperor’s Journey, has a cool name. It is a befitting title for a noble creature and the epic quest that is its life. March of the Penguins just makes me picture funny little fat birds waddling along – it could be a sequel to Happy Feet, or worse still another Joel Schumacher Batman sequel. Dignity however is returned to the English version by the man who takes ‘ration’ out of narration, Morgan Freeman – in the French version the penguins actually talk to each other. It could be worse: in India it’s called ‘Penguin: A Love Story’, while in the Philippines it’s known as ‘Penguin, Penguin, How Were You Made?’
2. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle = Harold and Kumar Get The Munchies
This gets a mention purely because of the reaction it gets when Americans hear its alternate title – just tell them what it’s called in Europe and watch their faces light up. White Castle, as Europeans may or may not know, is a US fast food restaurant that serves these exquisite little square burgers – the object of the eponymous pair’s affections. But since we don’t have White Castle in Europe, we got ‘get the munchies’. Something tells me anybody picking up this DVD case at the video store wouldn’t be too concerned about the global proliferation of fast food franchises.
1. The Big Boss = Fists of Fury
Bruce Lee’s fists were pretty furious, so that’s a title any of his films could have fallen under. But The Big Boss is the only one that has a Big Boss in it. This title change is more down to a mix-up than anything else, but it was born out of those silly execs once again fiddling with things that didn’t need fiddling. Okay, here goes: Bruce Lee’s first Hong Kong film was called The Big Boss, and his second was called Fist of Fury. Someone then had the great idea of changing The Big Boss for American distribution to The Chinese Connection, as a hilarious play on The French Connection, as they both featured drug trafficking. Fist of Fury meanwhile was inexplicably to be pluralised to Fists of Fury. But for some unknown reason, the titles got confused somewhere along the line – the first film was released in the US as Fists of Fury, and the second became The Chinese Connection. Recent DVD releases have seen the American versions officially restored to their original names, but there will always be film purists/snobs who will perpetuate the confusion. Best thing to do if you meet one is two-inch punch them in the back on the head.
WHAT OTHER FILMS HAVE ODD ALTERNATE TITLES?