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There is a real art to giving films great titles. You need something memorable, punchy and exciting.

So, what did they call the 1952 film noir starring Claude Rains & Märta Torén?

"The Man Who Watched Trains Go By"

Yeah, that would've had them flocking to the cinemas.

I know, I know, the film was based on the book by Georges Simenon which was also called "The Man Who Watched Trains Go By".

However, in the US the film was distributed with a much more catchy title: "The Paris Express".

@fitheach
Italian is a goldmine for this.

They had the guts to release "Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind" as "if you break up with me I'll erase you", which makes it sound like a cheap romcom.

I remember finding a collection of these examples a few months ago, but I don't have it right now.

@mprv
Considering it was Italian "...I'll erase you" makes it sound more like a mafia film. 😃

You'll need to find that list.

@fitheach
This is not the list I remember, but it's a good one: on.techprincess.it/10-titoli-d

A few serious offenders:

Original -> Translation
"lost in translation" -> "love, translated"
"citizen Kane" -> "fourth power"
"Shaun of the dead" -> "the night of demented dead"

@mprv
Citizen Kane makes sense: fourth power as in fourth estate. "The night of demented dead" works for me, too.

Thanks for the list.

@fitheach
You're welcome!

Now that I translated them back into English they're not that bad 🤔

I just wish they stopped shoving the word "love" in titles to make sure the audience understands it's a love story, even when it's not there in the original

@mprv
Film titles in English also often suffer from keyword stuffing. When it is too obvious it can work against the film.

Some great films manage with inexplicable titles. Your example from earlier, Citizen Kane, only makes sense once you've seen the film. Likewise The Shawshank Redemption.

Mostly though the studios play it safe and try to avoid complex titles.

@wim_v12e
Not at all like Trainspotting (1996), I guess.

@fitheach That one puzzled me, as I hadn't read the book. The film has nothing to do with trains.

@wim_v12e
It is a while since I have seen the film or read the book. Trainspotting was a euphemism for taking drugs, specifically heroin. The "heros" of the story would meet at the disused Leith Central Station. This euphemism was not explained in the film (I think).

@fitheach @wim_v12e I did not know this. Great movie. To paraphrase Ewan McGregor's character : The English may be wankers but we're colonised by wankers.

@wim_v12e @fitheach Yeah it's always nice to travel and experience foreign culture and food like bingo and deep fried Mars Bars. 'Two little boys had two little toys'. lol

@wim_v12e
So, is "The Man Who Watched Trains Go By" any good?

It gets some mixed reviews online.

@fitheach I think so, but that is probably because (1) I like Claude Rains a lot (2) it reminded me of home, it was filmed in the north of Holland I think and (3) I like trains ^_^
To my mind it is a rather existensialist story, and I like that too. It's not surprising because it is based on a book by George Simenon.
I remember that the DVD quality is not great and the direction is nothing special. But I would recommend it.

@wim_v12e
Thanks.
I'll add the film to my list. Hmmm, I wonder if I should try to get the book first before viewing the film.

@wim_v12e
Quite by chance I came across this poster for "The Man Who Watched Trains Go By". The poster was used for the Belgian release of the film. Thought you might be interested.

That poster and some others of Märta Torén from this website:
mubi.com/notebook/posts/movie-

@fitheach That's nice! Proper bilingual and all.
Some of the posters on that page are much better than this one. I haven't seen "Assignment - Paris", have you?

@wim_v12e
If I get time I'll be watching "Assignment - Paris" next week (I got it on DVD). I was looking for stuff on the film and came across that site with the posters.

That first "Damasco '25" poster certainly makes me want to see "Sirocco". 😃

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