Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Sep 27, 2011.
I wanted to see Cocoon, but I missed it.
Here's the first half of March:
Fri 3/1, 10:45 AM: I Married a Witch (1942) with Fredric March and Veronica Lake
Sat 3/2, 8 PM: Around the World in 80 Days (1956) -- borderline genre at best, but it is Jules Verne. (The original book portrayed nothing that wasn't actually possible at the time; in fact, it was inspired by a newspaper article saying that it could be done.)
Mon 3/4, 10:30 AM: Between Two Worlds (1944) -- something to do with a luxury liner to the afterlife. Sydney Greenstreet and Paul Henreid are in it.
Wed 3/6, 9 PM: Bell, Book and Candle ('59) again
9:15 AM: Cyclops ('57) -- Bert I. Gordon B-grade monster movie with Lon Chaney, Jr.
5:30 PM: Close Encounters of the Third Kind again
9:15 AM: The Canterville Ghost ('44)
12:45 PM: Dick Tracy ('45)
2:00 PM: The Horn Blows at Midnight ('45) -- Ooh, I should watch this! Jack Benny constantly mocked his performance as an angel in this movie, but reportedly it's not that bad. It also features Margaret Dumont, the Marx Brothers' favorite foil.
3:15 AM: The Awful Dr. Orloff ('62), B-horror.
9:00 AM: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman ('58)
3:00 PM: Creature from the Black Lagoon ('54)
Pretty slim pickings overall, but with some interesting stuff toward mid-month. There were a couple of false alarms, titles that sounded like they should be sci-fi but weren't, like Valley of the Giants (something about the redwood forests) and Night of the Iguana. And The Horn Blows at Midnight may not count as fantasy since it's presented as a dream, but I couldn't resist.
I've been trying to figure out something about movie titles. If a title is written differently between, say, the posters and the opening credits, which one is the "real" title? The opening credits say Bell Book and Candle, no comma anywhere in sight. Everywhere else it's written with at least one comma. Since the comma-less version is what actually appears onscreen, does that make it the official title?
Similarly, the first Leone/Eastwood Western is referred to almost invariably as A Fistful of Dollars, but what actually appears in the opening credits is just Fistful of Dollars. No article.
How do you judge?
^ Interesting question, to add to the mix A Fistful of Dollars probably had an Italian title originally just to complicate things more. Do film titles get registered somewhere?
I think the Italian title translates as For a Fistful of Dollars.
I remember that a couple of the movies they showed on Mystery Science Theater 3000 had title problems due to production errors. There was the movie whose title was shown onscreen as Attack of the THE EYE CREATURES, and is actually listed with the double "the" in its MST Wiki entry. And there was the movie that was called The Brain That Wouldn't Die in the opening titles and The Head That Wouldn't Die in the end titles.
If there's a difference, I go by what's in the opening credits. Unfortunately that's not always possible since credit titles don't usually include colons for subtitles.
I was about to ask the same thing. I think so. I remember someone referencing something like that when they said that Star Trek Generations had no colon.
But what do you do with something like Batman Forever, where the onscreen title is just the word "Forever" over a Batman logo? For that matter, not one of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and the earlier 1988 animated Superman showed a written title onscreen at all (though the '88 series used the classic opening narration with the name spoken several times). So maybe onscreen titles shouldn't be the definitive ones.
And what about films or shows that go by different titles in different releases? Like those MST3K films that got retitled upon video release, such as Marooned being retitled Space Travelers. Or TV shows that got renamed in syndicated reruns, like Happy Days becoming Happy Days Again (something they often did in the '70s to avoid confusion between new episodes and reruns)?
^ I include stylized titles as part of my "not always possible" comment. I was going to mention that but didn't. In some of those instances, the colon is the issue once again, though it's sometimes obvious when one is present, like with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and when one isn't present, like with Batman Forever.
As for movies with different titles, I don't know. If it's clear that a title was updated, like with Star Wars for example, I'd go with the update.
Change the title of Star Wars? No way, that never happened!
Titles can be very fluid. Movies were often released under different titles in the old days, and I have a couple of DVDs where the title on the print is different from the one on the case (I think The Living Ghost is one). IMDB usually lists all the alternatives, but I have no idea how they choose the primary title. TV shows will change their titles, too, sometimes in mid-run (like Enterprise becoming Star Trek Enterprise [or was it Star Trek: Enterprise?]) and sometimes in syndication (like some Gunsmoke re-runs distributed under the title Marshall Dillon). In casual conversation, titles are often changed or shortened. The "A" or "The" are frequently dropped, part of the title is often dropped ("Star Trek" becomes "Trek"), or just the initials used ("ST") or a nickname used ("TOS").
Probably not something to lose too much sleep over.
Or titles can be changed for home-video release for clarification. This has happened a couple of times with Star Trek. The original pilot was actually called "The Menagerie" by the time it was filmed, and went under that title for years; but by the early '80s it had become the practice to refer to it in reference works by its earlier working title "The Cage," and when a print of it was finally discovered and released on TV and home video, it was released under that title instead of its real one, and it's been known as "The Cage" ever since.
Also, the 1973 animated series from Filmation was called simply Star Trek, no subtitle. Growing up, I just thought of it as "the animated Star Trek," or when I was younger, "the cartoon Star Trek." When it was first released on home video in 1991, it was billed as The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, although the first six words were a tiny supertitle. I'm not sure when it became formally known as Star Trek: The Animated Series.
This happens with TV episodes, too. "Operation: Annihilate!" is often listed in reference sources with a colon, but the actual onscreen title employs dashes, as in "Operation--Annihilate!"
And here's another issue: movie and TV credits often used to place their titles in quote marks, although this convention has largely fallen by the wayside. So are the quote marks part of the title, or just an old-fashioned typographical choice?
For example, is the old Errol Flynn movie Captain Blood or "Captain Blood" (as the title actually appears onscreen)?
^ I ran into that problem last week when I saw "Cougars Inc."
One of the most amusing examples of retitling for syndication was Emergency!, the classic 70s paramedic/firefighting/medical drama... when the hour-long original was cut down into half-hour versions for syndication as Emergency Squad!, the title screen would come up "Emergency!" just like the original, and then "Squad" would come in below it, matted in after in the same font. So what you'd acually see onscreen was "Emergency! Squad" ...
I can still hear the opening bell/buzzer from the credits of that show.
I wonder if there's a comprehensive list of shows retitled for syndication.
(checks TV Tropes)
Okay, probably not completely comprehensive, but pretty thorough: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SyndicationTitle
I just watched The Horn Blows at Midnight. Indeed it wasn't as bad as Jack Benny always joked about it being. It's rather silly, but it was a well-made movie with some really impressive visual effects for 1945, and a rich musical score by Franz Waxman (with an uncredited Carl Stalling scoring the climactic action in his familiar cartoon style -- this was a Warner Bros. picture). And the two leading ladies, Alexis Smith and Dolores Moran, were both stunning.
The funniest line, though, was when Jack Benny's character said at the beginning that he didn't care about money...
I also decided to record the movie TCM showed just before THBaM, which was the Dick Tracy movie from the same year. Coincidentally, Mike Mazurki was in both movies, playing the villain in Dick Tracy and a henchman in THBaM. (I figure it's a coincidence because Mazurki doesn't strike me as a prominent enough actor for TCM to build a theme day around.) The Tracy film was okay, although its star Morgan Conway didn't look much like the comics character (but then, neither did Warren Beatty). He was more a sort of bargain-basement Bogart. Otherwise it seemed to be a decent adaptation of the source, though hardly an origin story or anything; the character was so familiar already from comics, radio, and matinee serials that even though this was the first feature-length Dick Tracy film, it felt like a routine installment of an ongoing series. It did set up kind of an interesting mystery about the motive and purpose behind the crimes, though I figured it out ahead of the characters.
And he was in Murder, My Sweet, which I believe was on the schedule around this time. Are you sure it's a coincidence?
Although I thought he was in The Big Sleep (also on), but sources say otherwise.
Since this discussion, I've started thinking of it as Bell Book and Comma.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman starts in 10 minutes lol...
Separate names with a comma.