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Fix the Generic Title


LonesomePolecat
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There are so many great movies with generic titles. And many generic movies, too. And bad ones. Generic titles don't help us know what the movie is about or it it'll be any good or not. So help me fix some generic titles.

 

What would be a better name for these movies?:

*It Happened One Night* (Night Bus wasn't great either, but it's better to me)

*Remember the Night* (what night? it's a week long relationship!)

*A Night to Remember* (1958--not that it should just be called Titanic, but it needs something better--I know that's the title of the book it's based on, but I don't care, it's not a helpful title)

 

What other movies have generic titles that need new titles?

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Just a note to young whippersnappers, about IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT.

 

The term "it happened" was a 1930s code term for the audience, meaning a man and woman in the film finally "did it". Listen for the term and you'll hear it in several old films from the 1930s.

 

So, "It Happened" one night, meant they "did it" one night, and they did, after the final fade out at the end of the film, after they got married, and after Gable blew the bugle, and down came Gabriel's wall (the curtain between them in the motel room). Everything else in the film is just a series of McGuffins, leading up to that final night. :)

 

So, the film's title meant "They Did it One Night", and the entire film centers on the audience trying to figure out exactly when they were going to do it.

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Actually most Lifetime Movies seem have somewhat generic titles.

 

For Example:

Eight Days To Live

Teenage Bank Heist

Holiday Wishes

Crazy For Christmas

Look Again

Stranger At The Door

Ties That Bind

Fatal Honeymoon

Deadly Honeymoon

Betrayred At 17

Stalked At 17

Fugitive At 17 (On this channel it must be hard to be 17)

A Nanny's Revenge

The Perfect Nanny

 

And a lot more

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I'm not sure exactly what you mean when you say "movies with generic titles". The only film with a "generic" title I can think of offhand is Mel Brooks' *Silent Movie*.

 

Here's the Oxford Dictionary definition of the word "generic":

 

 

"Definition of *generic*

h3. adjective

 

* * 1* characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific:* chèvre is a generic term for all goats' milk cheese

 

* * (of goods, especially medicinal drugs) having no brand name; not protected by a registered trademark.

 

* * 2 Biology* relating to a genus.

h3. noun

 

a consumer product having no brand name or registered trademark: substituting gener

 

Going by the above definition, I'm not sure the word "generic" applies to what you're talking about. Do you mean kind of dull titles that don't have much to do with what the movie's about?

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Dec 6, 2012 2:13 AM

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I believe *Nude Nuns with Big Guns* (2010) is not to be considered a generic title.

 

I believe some of these may be considered generic:

Adventure (1945)

Alien (1979)

Censored (1944)

Crisis (1950)

Divorce (1945)

Dreams (1940)

Earth (1930)

Escape (1940)

Female (1933)

Flesh (1932)

Gossip (1929)

Gripes (1943)

Hobbies (1941)

Images (1972)

It (1927)

Jeopardy (1953)

Libel (1959)

Love Story (1970)

Macabre (1958)

 

It is sad to say I lack the wit to create fun alternative titles for them.

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> Actually most Lifetime Movies seem have somewhat generic titles.

 

May we point and laugh at you for watching Lifetime? :-)

 

Actually, some of those titles aren't so bad:

 

> Teenage Bank Heist

 

Compare to the 1955 movie *Teenage Crime Wave* (which is a low-budget unintentional hoot).

 

> Holiday Wishes

 

Didn't Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh do one called *Holiday Affair* ? If memory serves, Wendell Corey played the drip. (Sorry, I've never seen why anybody would want Corey.)

 

> A Nanny's Revenge

> The Perfect Nanny

 

How could you forget Bette Davis in *The Nanny* (another fun movie)?

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> {quote:title=sfpcc1 wrote:}{quote}Actually most Lifetime Movies seem have somewhat generic titles.

>

> For Example:

> Eight Days To Live

> Teenage Bank Heist

> Holiday Wishes

> Crazy For Christmas

> Look Again

> Stranger At The Door

> Ties That Bind

> Fatal Honeymoon

> Deadly Honeymoon

> Betrayred At 17

> Stalked At 17

> Fugitive At 17 (On this channel it must be hard to be 17)

> A Nanny's Revenge

> The Perfect Nanny

>

> And a lot more

OTOH, they do have MOTHER, MAY I SLEEP WITH DANGER? which may be the greatest bad title ever!

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Sans, you can add *Network* to your list!

 

 

As far as *It Happened One Night* , I always took the "it" to mean when the Colbert/Gable characters quit fighting like cats in a bag and started having feelings for each other. Maybe my mind, to my wife's surprise, ISN'T that deep in the gutter?!?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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These are all good examples of titles. Funny how Lifetime has an obsession with being 17. (I seem to recall a 1950s B movie on TCM called LIFE BEGINS AT 17, which didn't help with the description of the movie either).

 

Sorry about the use of the word "generic"-- I thought it was a good word for what I was trying to say (since any movie could be called "Remember the Night" or, yeah, "It"), but apparently I was wrong. So I'm glad you guys caught on anyway.

 

And being Italian I know what the "it" was supposed to be (though thanks for telling everyone else).

 

So no suggestions on better titles for these films? That's what I was hoping for. :)

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I hope this doesn't spoil any fun...

 

The subject of how movie titles are chosen is an interesting one...

 

This article explains "working titles" for films that are used when shooting a movie that doesn't even have a final title, yet: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/17546/the-working-titles-of-hollywood-blockbuster-movies

 

According to the author, "Alien" was known as "Star Beast" before the final title we all know was chosen ("Alien").

 

"2001: A Space Odyssey" had a bunch of different names before that one was finally chosen.

 

An article here about how Hollywood film titles get translated into German ("What's German for G.I. Joe? How film titles travel") is here:

 

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:i-vGWfX7qiAJ:www.steinsaltz.me.uk/papers/film.ps.gz%22howfilmtitlesarechosen%22&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca+

 

The article above could apply as well to the film titles for any foreign films shown in North America.

How do you translate a foreign film title into English so it makes sense and hasn't already been used by somebody else to title a movie??

 

Many movies don't have final titles until much later after the movie itself has finished production?

Trademark issues, length of the title, the audience aimed at, etc., are things a film studio considers when choosing a film title.

 

"Title clearance" is very important to check for trademarks and make sure a studio can't get sued...

 

An example used in the article below is where a person trademarked the title "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and then sued a movie studio for using that title on a film.

 

There's also a Title Registration Bureau in Hollywood (operated by MPAA) where film studios register their film titles and where studios can't use a similar title to any that are registered...

 

An article about trademarks and movie titles is here:

 

http://www.waynecovell.com/documents/Titlesastrademarksv4.pdf

 

So a movie title may actually have little to do with what the film is about, and more to do with what a studio can legally name the film, without getting sued by somebody...

Add to that marketing desires, etc., and it can be a tough thing to actually pick a title for a movie.

 

Some people actually make it their business to register trademarks for almost anything imaginable in the hope that a movie studio will want their trademarked title and will have to pay them to use it.

Or at least pay them to avoid a court case.

 

Anyway, you just can't name a movie anything you want and that's that, there are many legal and other issues studios consider.

 

But in LonesomePolecat's make believe world, I guess you can and so go for it.

 

Sorry for being so serious...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yeah laugh at me for watching Lifetime Movies I don't care.

 

In the at 17 series there is also Accused At 17 and Dead At 17. As usual the seventeen year old in question is older, (Marie Avgeropolous from Fugitive At 17 was really a fugitive at 25.)

 

I guess another title for a lot of Lifetime films could be Cute Actress Trying To Build Her Resume Is In Peril. Another one could be You See Her In A Bra And Panties About Fifteen Minutes Into It.

 

Leaving Lifetime the Nicholas Cage / Bridget Fonda film It Could Happen To You was originally called Cop Gives Waitress One Million Bucks.

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Longest titles and not very good movies:

"Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?"

 

"Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?"

 

And then there's - "Oh, Dad, Poor Dad, Mama 's Hung You in the Closet And I 'm Feeling So Sad"

 

I would love to have been at the meeting where all the execs agreed these were box office titles. At least "Oh, Dad...etc." was based on an off-broadway hit and maybe had some potential.

 

 

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> {quote:title=sfpcc1 wrote:}{quote}Actually *Mother, May I Sleep With Danger* was a NBC Movie Of The Week back in 1996, (remember those.) It was aired later by Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network.)

>

> I haven't seen it.

They show a lot of old NBC movies of the week, like the IN THE LINE OF FIRE films.

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> {quote:title=sfpcc1 wrote:}{quote}

>> "I believe *Nude Nuns With Big Guns* (2010) is not to be considered to be a generic title."

> I just put that film in my Netflix que.

 

I hope you are not disappointed. It is very flashy with little substance. I believe it would have benefited greatly from even a little more attention to details and production values. It is not a movie which I recommend but it does serve its purpose and entertains its target audience.

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I've never managed to catch this 1957 Roger Corman film, but I almost have to love anything with a title such as *The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent* .

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