Posted by slugbuggy on Mon, 05/24/2004 - 5:36pm.
Fairly concise afterthough, which I moved up to the front:

My main point is that I don't think titles matter that much. Many successful books and movies have titles that only obliquely relate to the content or theme of the book or movie, and only become apparent afterwards, anyway. "Silence of the Lambs," for example. "The Sun Also Rises." "The Crying Game," which maybe SHOULD have been more specific, damn. And so on.

OK, here's the original, rambling post, which you can skip if you want:

"The Madness of King George," the movie, was always titled as such, so sayeth this site. It was the same for everybody, everywhere. Even if the producers thought the "III" would have been confusing to Americans, they could have spelled it out, literally, as in "The Madness of George the Third," as per the original quote.

Anyway, it's a moot point. We're being misunderestimated, and we hate that. It's American tastes that are the problem here, not our collective intelligence. Knowing exactly what the movie was about would only ensure that most Americans would avoid it like it was some kind of subtly humorous, finely nuanced socio-political British class-conscious historical drama. And occurring after all the fighting with us was over, anyway. Monarch goes daffy, monarch gets better. No car chases, no explosions, no catch phrases ("We the people, declare you...TERMINATED!" *BANG!*).

Anyone who would go see this kind of movie probably already knows who George III was, and the inverse is likely true.

Regarding the Harry Potter thing, the French title of the first book was "Harry Potter at the Sorcerer's School," or something very similar. I don't know if the movie followed suit. Many things are titled differently in different parts of the world for cultural reasons and because some concepts don't translate well.

I think Americans would know what a philosopher is; I don't think we're familiar enough with archaic alchemical concepts enough to know what a philosopher's stone is. It doesn't have anything to do with philosophy as such, but that might be why they changed the title, because we'd think it DID. Thinking we'd have to stumble through Descartes AGAIN. Or Hume. No thanks. On the other hand, I don't think a lot of kids or even adults 'round the world know a lot about the philosopher's stone either, or else they'd know it's not just an actual magic rock like it is in the movie. In the primary hermetic texts it's not even a literal stone, it's represented as a tincture (liquid) or a powdery substance. And simply possessing it doesn't give you the power to shoot flames and lightning out your nostrils and ass, and rule the world and so on, with the evil laughter and whatnot. I'd say the movie comes pre dumbed down as it is, in that respect, regardless of the title. However, I understand it's fiction, not a documentary, so never mind all the above criticism.
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