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".

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.

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

You'll need to find that list.

This is not the list I remember, but it's a good one:

A few serious offenders:

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

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

Thanks for the list.

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

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.

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