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Alternate movie titles

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peeptoad
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Alternate movie titles

#1

Post by peeptoad »

What's the typical reason for this?
This may be a remedial question  so apologies if it's been addressed already.

Just went to Amazon prime to  watch Calm With Horses only to find out that it's no longer on Amazon,  but now on Netflix,in the US. But now it's called The Shadow of Violence, not Calm With Horses.
It made the film more difficult for me to locate and it seems this title change only affected the film (per se) in the US, Norway and Italy.   Is there some logical reason for this? (I imagine money unfortunately)
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#2

Post by xianjiro »

marketing, so yes, you imagined correctly. Generally movies are retitled to the local market when distribution rights are acquired. Often this is just a translation of the original title into the language used by locals, but when that doesn't make sense in the local tongue, or if has negative overtones, then they will give it a different name. Even American movies have had name changes over the years - sometimes for a different cut or when the film was released on VHS.

I recently watched the Mexican film "Dos tipos de cuidado" which literally translates to "two types of care" but the English title is "Two Careful Fellows" ostensibly because the main two characters are buddies, but honestly, neither English version works very well. I'm unsure if the Spanish title has a colloquial meaning (or did in the 50s). It's nothing I remember encountering.

Another movie I have cued up is "Plaire, aimer et courir vite": literally "Please, love and run fast". Just doesn't work to an American, so the local title is "Sorry Angel".

Now it gets really fun with languages that don't use the Western writing system (and I'm not including either Cyrillic or Greek alphabets here either). Chinese movies can even be retitled when released in Hong Kong or Guangdong (and vice versa) but those are often the differences between Mandarin and Cantonese. I recently saw 撞死了一只羊 which is Romanized as "Zhuang si le yi zhi yang" and literally translates to "Killed a sheep" but is titled "Jinpa" (the given name shared by the two main characters) in English. In French it's "Jinpa, un conte tibétain" or "Jinpa, a Tibetan tale". IMDb also includes a second Mandarin title 撞死了一隻羊 - I can't say how pronunciation differs, but that second to last character might be meaningful even though Google translate gives the same thing in English "Killed a sheep". This second version is used in Taiwan.

There was another example I was trying to find, the German film "Die bleierne Zeit": literally "The leaden time" but the English title is the name of the two main characters "Marianne & Juliane". In some European and Latin American countries it's "Las hermanas Alemanas" and in the UK "The German Sisters".

I've found it's usually best to search a number of different ways when looking for films in indexes or search tools. It's a pain in the ass, but you just never know and depending on the 'tool', let's say a site in Czechia, it could have been 'shared' by someone in Russia, so that last one might be listed as "Свинцовые времена" ("lead times").
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#3

Post by peeptoad »

Thanks, xianjiro. The explanation you gave makes sense. I guess I just think it's a little strange and, yes, confusing.
Calm With Horses must not have sounded like it would catch on with the US audience for some reason, though I find it to be a better title for the film. I swear this film was on Amazon just a couple of weeks ago under its original name, and must have been renamed once Netflix acquired it... I also wonder how much the title sequence was altered, if at all, since the altered title was just slapped up on a black background.
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#4

Post by xianjiro »

gunna have to watch and find out ... you got my curiosity up

now if a streaming service is changing a name, I think that might be new and different though again, I've seen American movies change titles when someone has acquired video distribution rights (just can't think of any examples off the top of my head).

Wikipedia says:
Saban Films acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film and named The Shadow Of Violence[1][2] in the U.S.[7] With this same title, it was released on VOD by Lionsgate Home Entertainment on 1 September 2020.[1]
so clearly you're not imagining things however there is another movie with the English title "Shadow of Violence" (2020) - note, I see both 2019 and 2020 dates connected with Calm with Horses though clearly it was originally released in 2019 and premiered at TIFF - this second film title appears to be a direct translation from the Turkish "Şiddetin Gölgesi". (I don't understand Turkish, so I rely on Google's translation.) Also interesting, Şiddetin Gölgesi isn't streaming (yet?) in the States and JustWatch suggests Calm with Horses as "PEOPLE WHO LIKED SHADOW OF VIOLENCE ALSO LIKED". While I've no documentation nor do I claim this as true, I could see Netflix (or anyone for that matter) renaming a film if they are likely to acquire another property with the same or similar name.

Likewise, back to VHS, I'm pretty certain I remember seeing things with names like hit movies for sale in bargain bins. It goes beyond the porn 'satire' titles of Shaving Ryan's Privates or Plump Friction. Again, I don't remember a specific example, but using this theme someone could try to sell a video called Saving Private Brian. People will do just about anything to make a buck.

I'm also pretty sure that some jurisdictions have required salacious names to be changed before allowing a film to be screened. Can't remember where I've run across documentation of that but is it any wonder that "Fucking Åmål" has an English title of "Show Me Love"?

more from Wikipedia:
Spoiler
According to Moodysson, the problem with the original title started when the film was Sweden's candidate for the Academy Awards, though eventually it was not chosen as a nominee.[8][9][10] The Hollywood industry magazine Variety refused to run an advertisement for Fucking Åmål. Thus, American distributor Strand Releasing asked for a new title. Moodysson took the new title from the song at the end of the film, by Robyn.[7] Distributors in other native English-speaking countries then followed suit.

German: Raus aus Åmål, lit. 'Out of Åmål [i.e. leaving the town]'
Spanish: Descubriendo el Amor ("Discovering Love")
Portuguese: Amigas de Colégio ("School Friends")
Czech: Láska je láska ("Love is Love") The Czech title is based on a Lucie Bílá song of the same name, which references homosexuality.[11][7]
Russian: Покажи мне любовь (Pokazhi mne lyobov, "Show Me Love")
Israel: F- Åmål[7]
English: Show Me Love[7][12]
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#5

Post by Torgo »

xianjiro wrote: March 27th, 2021, 7:37 pm Likewise, back to VHS, I'm pretty certain I remember seeing things with names like hit movies for sale in bargain bins.
Oh you can say that again ..
But it doesn't end with direct-to-VHS/DVD/VOD releases, although those are often bastardized the most. You guys just can't believe what they do with film titles for the German release; a bad habit which got better by the 1990s or so when languages all over the world were americanized more and more.

A fine example is the JCVD classic :rolleyes: No Retreat No Surrender (1986) which I watched yesterday; it was marketed in Germany as Karate Tiger, obviously to rip off Karate Kid and skim off some of its popularity. Things got funny when Kickboxer (1989), which of course has nothing to do with the aforementioned film, was marketed as Karate Tiger 3 - Kickboxer, while NRNS continued to get sequels; just have a look at the Wikipedia article. To cause even more chaos, they tried to somehow include Best of the Best (1989) in the German fake Karate Tiger saga as well. :lol:

A famous marketing trend took place in the late 60s for a few years when just any Italowestern got an additional "Django" to its title - although 21 of the 70 "Django films" indeed had it in their original title already, and had little to do with the Franco Nero classic as well.

There exist many ridiculous examples from the horror genre. (Just think of Zombi 3 and Zombi 4 and others.) With popular mainstream films, title Germanization has basically ended with a few exceptions.
One of these would be Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Its sequel has the original title Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not in Germany, where it got titled The Return of the First Avenger. :blink: Just how stupid would you be to remove the famous superhero from your title? (Well, to prepare people for the release of The Avengers, I guess.) The third film of the CA series is originally titled Captain America: Civil War (2016) and, again, The First Avenger: Civil War in Germany. Poor cap; they just don't want his name here.

Another one I love: Black Eagle (1988) (also with JCVD) is called Red Eagle in Germany, and only in Germany. :lol:
And I just noticed that Taken (2008) was actually released as 96 Hours not only in Germany, but various other countries, many in Eastern Europe. Interesting.
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#6

Post by xianjiro »

Thanks for adding to mishmash, Torgo! :cheers: I actually find this all quite fascinating and it would make an very interesting subject for a blog. Too bad I'm not as multilingual as Google translation! (which I'm not willing to trust). Those JCVD attachments are just priceless.
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#7

Post by xianjiro »

Just decided to add peeptoad's suggestion to my Netflix watchlist. I searched on "Good with Horses" but the result is "The Shadow of Violence". So maybe they aren't changing the name after all?

edit: sorry, I was confused but "Calm with Horses" gets the same result. :P
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#8

Post by 3eyes »

The Devil's Whore becomes The Devil's Mistress on Amazon Prime.
:run: STILL the Gaffer!
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#9

Post by xianjiro »

xianjiro wrote: March 27th, 2021, 4:35 am
Another movie I have cued up is "Plaire, aimer et courir vite": literally "Please, love and run fast". Just doesn't work to an American, so the local title is "Sorry Angel".
Just watched this tonight - great film - shitty title, at least in English. I get what they were doing with it, but bleh. Since my French is extremely limited, I have no idea if the original title is an expression people get. To be honest, it would probably been better titled "Hookup: NSA". Yet none of these really get the film, however.

Anyway, just more feedback on the difficulty of transferring titles from one culture to another. Personally, I'd just leave the original title alone. So what if people don't get it or get some funky translation from Google or wherever. But I get that marketing "The Fool" is easier than either Durak or Дурак.
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#10

Post by peeptoad »

xianjiro wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 10:09 am Personally, I'd just leave the original title alone.
I agree. (just thought I'd chime back in randomly since I was who first griped about this...) I think it's even more confusing with regards to titles within the same language that get changed for non-logical reasons, but I agree overall: just leave them as is, please.
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#11

Post by xianjiro »

came across this today on IMDb's Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) Trivia
In the German release of the movie, MechaGodzilla is called King Kong. The reason for this name-change is unknown, although it is likely that the German distributors simply wanted to ride on King Kong's popularity. It is also possible that they have been inspired by the ape-like aliens who control the robot in the movie, or that "King Kong" was simply something of a catch-all term for giant monsters in general. Film historian David Kalat also suggests that the distributors have been confused by the film King Kong Escapes (1967), in which Kong fights a mechanical version of himself, and incorrectly thought that the name "King Kong" referred to the giant robot. It is also of note that another giant robot character, Jet Jaguar from the movie Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), was also called King Kong in the German dubbing.
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