Although the titles of many Hollywood blockbusters are tacky and derivative, most of them at least have some kind of concept behind them. The translated titles we see overseas, however, rarely have any connection to the original concept. Usually they are derived from some other movie title, most often trying to cash in on a recent success or a classic from the Seventies.
The following are some of the more memorable versions of movie titles (starting in Hebrew
'cos that's my thing):
- The Eighth Passenger (I have no idea why this came about, but I know it was called the same thing in Spanish and other European languages. Many people have told me that the title was changed because "Alien" doesn't have any kind of SF connotations in other languages. I think that is a total cop-out, as the newly coined Hebrew word Chai-Zar sounds delightfully ominous and a hell of a lot more dramatic than that other title. Anyway, this "translation" gives birth to the absolutely wonderful sequels, Return of the Eighth Passenger and The Eighth Passenger Three! Onward...)
- Deadly Assignment
- Forever Man
- Raging Max (this is a poor translation of "Mad", but it's still a better translation than "Mad Max 2" turning into "The Road Warrior". This proves nothing except that Israelis don't have a monopoly on bad marketing sense.)
- Star War ("Star Wars" just doesn't have that ring to it. Silly, silly George Lucas...)
- Dangerous Sex (this is a hilarious title for a movie that tried to be a thriller, but it's actually a pretty good pun, considering the movie's subject matter - "species" and "sex" are the same word in Hebrew, Min).
- The Hunted
- Dying to Live (this bastard spawned several dozen other "Dying to..." translations. Nothing succeeds like success, especially in Israel.)
- Sting in 60 Seconds (so help me, I wish I could make things like this up.)
- Seven Sins
- The Instant Suspect
- Crazy in Space (just about every comedy gets a "crazy" in its Hebrew title. This dates back to an old French movie, which I think was called "La Boum" - in Hebrew they called it "Crazy Party". Under the theory that nothing succeeds like succeeding at success, the Israelis have developed a sure-fire formula. Use "Crazy" or "Pleasant" - see below - in the title, and people will know it's some funny shit.)
- The Gun Died Laughing (see "Dying to Live" above)
- The Crazy Race
- Have a Pleasant Flight
- The Real Thing
Dramas and Other:
- Fateful Courtship - I fully believe this happened because of a transcription error on the English end of things. Unfortunately this happens quite often.
- Zig Zag Story (a conundrum. This is a great French movie from the late Eighties. Nobody I know outside of Israel - including French people - has ever heard of it, and nobody in Israel knows what the original name is. I'd be grateful if someone could locate it for me.)
- My Affair with Annie
- Alex's Friends
- Rusty James
- Palace of Dreams
- Just As We Were Falling in Love - there just aren't words to describe how bad this is. Unfortunately, there is no such word as "serendipity" in Hebrew - the easiest explanation of the concept takes three words.
In Danish (contributed by Carthag)
Originally I had thought to make this an open node, with other furr'ners adding their own writeups in the languages I do not yet speak. Alas, after consultation with several editors and repeated invocation of the phrase "GTKY Node", not to mention "If you do that the whole node will end up getting nuked", I have decided to try and maintain a growing list of translations in all languages all by myself. Perhaps this will teach me something about international psychology. So, if you have any personal favourites, in whatever language you find most comfortable, please /msg me and I will add them to the list. The more the merrier.