We know that Hollywood film titles are often changed for foreign distribution. It’s proved interesting to see the illustrations used abroad – and the change of titles, which are often surprising or odd, but obviously meant to make the titles attractive in the country concerned. Here are a few examples, mainly French: image Not just HARVEY, in Germany it becomes MY FRIEND HARVEY.

image ON THE TOWN becomes UN JOUR A NEW-YORK in France – A DAY IN NEW YORK. I guess having New York in the title gave it added glamor. No attempt has been made to make the figures resemble the actors. But it does show the six principals in action. image NORTH BY NORTHWEST in Italy is INTRIGO INTERNAZIONALE(INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE). Sounds more exciting?

image ANOTHER MAN’S POISON becomes JEZABEL! (Have they forgotten the original – do they even know about it?)

image SHANE is L’HOMME DES VALLEES PERDUES  (Man of the Lost Valleys). I guess the one word ‘Shane’ wasn’t impressive enough.The French title’s mention of ‘lost valleys’ doesn’t convey much.

image LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is LAD HIMLEN DOMME. Not sure about this one but I think it means ‘Let Heaven Judge’.  I guess the artist hadn’t seen a photo of Gene Tierney.

image This is an odd one if I have the correct translation. MR BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE becomes UN MILLION CLEFS EN MAIN  (‘A Million Keys in Hand’). I know they looked at a few houses…..


image  EASTER PARADE in Italy is TI AMAVO SENZA SAPERLO, with the translation ‘I Loved You Without Knowing’. Can’t think why this change was made, though it does convey Fred Astaire’s character. Still, there’s an easter rabbit on the table.

And my two favorites changes: image THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE in France is UN CRIME DANS LA TETE  (‘A Crime in The Head’) A title that conveys what the film is about.

image NOTHING SACRED is changed in France to LA JOYEUSE SUICIDEE (‘The Joyful Suicide’). I’m not sure the Hays office would have allowed that title!

4 responses »

  1. I think a lot of the title changes are purely for linguistic reasons – the translation either not making sense or just appearing clumsy when translated directly.
    I’m a big fan of European posters for Hollywood movies and use a lot of them on my site – they’re often more punchy or expressive. French ones are pretty good but Italian efforts have a real vividness to them.

  2. Good points,Colin. Often the poster designs are different from the original studio posters. I wonder if Hollywood had approval over the changes.
    But I do prefer to see the stars accurately portrayed.

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