Good Films with Bad Titles?

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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Daveismyhero
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Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Daveismyhero » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:21 am

Hello all,

I watched a film I really enjoyed last night (The Bad and the Beautiful - 1952). I had been putting off watching it for quite awhile, just because I didn't like the title at all.

So what good films would you recommend that have bad titles? I know good films and bad titles will differ from person to person, but please toss your opinion in the hat when you have a moment. Thank you in advance for what I hope will be a fun discussion!

Dave
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Scott Eckhardt
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Scott Eckhardt » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:21 am

Daveismyhero wrote:Hello all,

I watched a film I really enjoyed last night (The Bad and the Beautiful - 1952). I had been putting off watching it for quite awhile, just because I didn't like the title at all.

So what good films would you recommend that have bad titles? I know good films and bad titles will differ from person to person, but please toss your opinion in the hat when you have a moment. Thank you in advance for what I hope will be a fun discussion!

Dave
I don't recall seeing this film, but I DOOD IT, with Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell has to have one of the worst titles ever. (And I love Eleanor Powell). Also, I have never had the desire to see COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN based on that pompous, long winded title.
Last edited by Scott Eckhardt on Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Frederica » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:22 am

Daveismyhero wrote:Hello all,

I watched a film I really enjoyed last night (The Bad and the Beautiful - 1952). I had been putting off watching it for quite awhile, just because I didn't like the title at all.

So what good films would you recommend that have bad titles? I know good films and bad titles will differ from person to person, but please toss your opinion in the hat when you have a moment. Thank you in advance for what I hope will be a fun discussion!

Dave
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by drednm » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:28 am

Scott Eckhardt wrote:
Daveismyhero wrote:Hello all,

I watched a film I really enjoyed last night (The Bad and the Beautiful - 1952). I had been putting off watching it for quite awhile, just because I didn't like the title at all.

So what good films would you recommend that have bad titles? I know good films and bad titles will differ from person to person, but please toss your opinion in the hat when you have a moment. Thank you in advance for what I hope will be a fun discussion!

Dave
I don't recall seeing this film, but I DOOD IT, with Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell has to have one of the worst titles ever. (And I love Eleanor Powell). Also, I have never had the desire to see COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN based on that pompous, long winded title.
Jimmy Dean is actually quite good ... if stagey. Terrific performances.
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Dean Thompson
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Dean Thompson » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:49 am

Kiss the Blood Off My Hands. Good noir, but--ick.

Lonely are the Brave is a fine picture as well, but the English professor in me can't stand that pompous title couched in passive voice. Ymmv.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:34 am

The title that has always seemed the most box-office-self-defeating title in history to me...

Image

Which part was supposed to be guaranteed box office magic, "earthworm" or "tractors"?
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Rick Lanham
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:53 am

I mentioned in another thread that the titles of Lonesome and Ah, Wilderness! kept me from watching either until this past year.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Decotodd » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:53 pm

"Edward, My Son"
"Young Bess"
Both pretentious titles have kept me from watching either when they pop up.
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Javier » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:54 pm

The one film title that instantly came to my mind was Phffft.
If it is ever shown again at a theater, I would feel foolish trying to utter the title at the box office window.
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:55 pm

"The Boob". (In some way this was a disappointment as in Aussie slang, a "Boob" refers to a lady's mammary gland.)
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Daniel Eagan » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:24 pm

I thought the topic was good films with bad titles. Bad titles are everywhere, see above. But a title like The Finest Hours really disguises what was a pretty good movie about the Coast Guard. In fact Disney seems to have made a specialty of nondescriptive, generic titles that do no justice for what turn out to be strong films, like McFarland, USA.

Life of Crime does nothing to suggest that the film is actually a great adaptation of Elmore Leonard's The Switch.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:39 pm

"Ladder 49" was a picture about firemen. I suppose a ladder has something to do with firemen - but what was the "49" supposed to represent? That the fire brigade had 49 of 'em?
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by wich2 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:12 pm

Probably the number of the company/station house.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by wich2 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:15 pm

>I have never had the desire to see COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN based on that pompous, long winded title.<

>"Edward, My Son" "Young Bess" Both pretentious titles have kept me from watching either when they pop up.<

Ye gods - what a tough crowd!

(No tolerance for "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark," eh?)

Scott Eckhardt
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Scott Eckhardt » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:52 pm

wich2 wrote:>I have never had the desire to see COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN based on that pompous, long winded title.<

>"Edward, My Son" "Young Bess" Both pretentious titles have kept me from watching either when they pop up.<

Ye gods - what a tough crowd!

(No tolerance for "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark," eh?)
One "Jimmy Dean" would have sounded better, and less whiny.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by wich2 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:42 pm

...and folks would've expected a bio-pic about either a bisexual actor, or a sausage-selling singer!

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Scott Eckhardt » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:19 pm

wich2 wrote:...and folks would've expected a bio-pic about either a bisexual actor, or a sausage-selling singer!
LOL! How about BRING BACK MY SAUSAGE TO ME? Covers all bases.
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Wm. Charles Morrow » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:19 pm

Nicholas Ray made an excellent drama about rodeo riders, got Robert Mitchum and Susan Hayward to star in it, and then, dammit, somebody decided to call it The Lusty Men.

It was shown at Film Forum several years ago. When I stepped up to the box office window, I said: "Two for -- the 8:00 show, please." I wonder how many viewers there were expecting a different kind of cinematic experience.
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by oldposterho » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:46 am

Ace in the Hole/The Big Carnival suffers mightily from ... confusing titles. I think the original Ace... title reflects the deepest and darkest cynicism that is at the core of the film.

After it got retitled to The Big Carnival one can only imagine the perplexed looks on viewers expecting a circus picture.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Lamar » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:07 am

"I Dood It" was a catchphrase from Skelton's radio show. He played a character called the Mean Widdle Kid.
But wait, there's more from the Official Red Skelton Page:
"The phrase was such a part of national culture at the time, when General Doolittle conducted the bombing of Tokyo in 1942, many newspapers used the phrase, "Doolittle Dood It" as a headline. In 1943, after a talk with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Skelton used his radio show to collect funds for a Douglas A-20 Havoc to be given to the Soviet Army to help fight World War II. Asking children to send in their spare change, Skelton raised enough money for the plane in two weeks. He named the bomber "We Dood It!" In 1993, the pilot of the plane was able to meet Skelton and thank him for the bomber."
Also of interest:
"When MGM decided to use the phrase for the movie, they did so without the permission of either Skelton or his Raleigh cigarettes sponsor; Skelton asked for $25,000 from the studio in damages." No record of the final disposition of the case.
The movie is a dud. Eleanor's two big dance numbers are lifted from earlier films. The movie DOES have Lena Horne, Hazel Scott and the unsung Patricia Dane, a particular favorite of mine.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:28 am

Besides the obvious exploitation "classics" (Louisiana Hussy, Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, The Phynx, Skidoo, The Worm Eaters, and on and on), the title that threw me was You Never Know Women (1926). This is a William Wellman Paramount, rediscovered about 15 years ago and screened at several film fests, including Capitolfest, where I saw it a few years ago. It stars Florence Vidor, Lowell Sherman, and Clive Brook, and from that title I expected a mild frou frou. El Brendel was listed in support, and since I am Brendel Intolerant, or B-I as we buffs call it, I expected a load of his clowning. You Never Know Women turns out to be a florid melodrama with some comic highlights, fully exploiting a circus setting and shot in classic late silent style. El Brendel even has a dramatic scene where he starts to rave and weep -- and he's good!
You Never Know Women??? That's like Hitchcock reissuing Notorious as So She Married a German.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by tthacker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:40 am

Sh! The Octopus. :P
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Scott Eckhardt » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:04 pm

Dave Pitts wrote:Besides the obvious exploitation "classics" (Louisiana Hussy, Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, The Phynx, Skidoo, The Worm Eaters, and on and on), the title that threw me was You Never Know Women (1926). This is a William Wellman Paramount, rediscovered about 15 years ago and screened at several film fests, including Capitolfest, where I saw it a few years ago. It stars Florence Vidor, Lowell Sherman, and Clive Brook, and from that title I expected a mild frou frou. El Brendel was listed in support, and since I am Brendel Intolerant, or B-I as we buffs call it, I expected a load of his clowning. You Never Know Women turns out to be a florid melodrama with some comic highlights, fully exploiting a circus setting and shot in classic late silent style. El Brendel even has a dramatic scene where he starts to rave and weep -- and he's good!
You Never Know Women??? That's like Hitchcock reissuing Notorious as So She Married a German.
LOUISIANA HUSSY is one of those deliriously terrible films that everyone should see once. The one passable acting job in this hysterical gumbo is done by Betty Lynn. AKA Thelma Lou from THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:46 pm

Lamar wrote:"I Dood It" was a catchphrase from Skelton's radio show. He played a character called the Mean Widdle Kid.
But wait, there's more from the Official Red Skelton Page:
"The phrase was such a part of national culture at the time, when General Doolittle conducted the bombing of Tokyo in 1942, many newspapers used the phrase, "Doolittle Dood It" as a headline. In 1943, after a talk with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Skelton used his radio show to collect funds for a Douglas A-20 Havoc to be given to the Soviet Army to help fight World War II. Asking children to send in their spare change, Skelton raised enough money for the plane in two weeks. He named the bomber "We Dood It!" In 1993, the pilot of the plane was able to meet Skelton and thank him for the bomber."
Also of interest:
"When MGM decided to use the phrase for the movie, they did so without the permission of either Skelton or his Raleigh cigarettes sponsor; Skelton asked for $25,000 from the studio in damages." No record of the final disposition of the case.
The movie is a dud. Eleanor's two big dance numbers are lifted from earlier films. The movie DOES have Lena Horne, Hazel Scott and the unsung Patricia Dane, a particular favorite of mine.
I seem to recall the phrase 'I Dood It' being used in another 1940s movie, no idea what. An one of my nominees would be THE FOUR HUNDRED BLOWS, which strikes me as a pretty clumsy title...

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:11 pm

His Kind of Woman! (1951). Complete with the exclamation mark. No idea what to expect from an "ugh!" title like that -- probably some sexist Carry On kind of lover-boy musical, or a hayseed-loves-feisty-farmgirl piece of crap. Turns out to be a really good comic noir with a great cast.

Jim

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:46 pm

I seem to recall the phrase 'I Dood It' being used in another 1940s movie, no idea what. An one of my nominees would be THE FOUR HUNDRED BLOWS, which strikes me as a pretty clumsy title...
Yes, it's a French idiom that doesn't mean anything to English speakers. Pauline Kael's translation was "One Fell Swoop."
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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Paul Penna » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:25 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
I seem to recall the phrase 'I Dood It' being used in another 1940s movie, no idea what. An one of my nominees would be THE FOUR HUNDRED BLOWS, which strikes me as a pretty clumsy title...
Yes, it's a French idiom that doesn't mean anything to English speakers. Pauline Kael's translation was "One Fell Swoop."
An interview with Claude Barras, the director of My Life as a Zucchini, in which he mentioned Jean-Pierre Léaud's 400 Blows audition interview sent me on various searches, one of which came up with this:

https://www.thoughtco.com/faire-les-qua ... ps-1371219

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by wich2 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:55 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:I seem to recall the phrase 'I Dood It' being used in another 1940s movie, no idea what.
Along with many other trendy pop sayings from Movies and Radio, it was used in Warner Brothers cartoons.

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by JLNeibaur » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:58 pm

Each Dawn I Die
Racket Busters
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Pillow of Death
Mud
Lad: A Dog
Lord Love a Duck
Where Does It Hurt

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Re: Good Films with Bad Titles?

Unread post by Donald Binks » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:30 pm

I don't know if they were good films or not, but some film titles I found a trifle strange were:

"The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"
"The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini"
"Rat Pfink a Boo Boo"
"Freddy Got Fingered"
"The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain"
"Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla"
"Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers"
"The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing"
"I Still Know What You Did Last Summer"
"The Men Who Stare at Goats"
"My Own Private Idaho"
"The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants"
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
"Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?
"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"
"Koyaanisqatsi"
"Bedtime for Bonzo"
"Donkey Punch"
"I'll Never Forget What's'isname"
"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
"The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover"
"Octopussy"
"Vanilla Sky"
"Naked Lunch"
"The Adjustment Bureau"
"A Clockwork Orange"
"Shaun of the Dead"
"Hot Tub Time Machine"


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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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