Your Obedient Serpent (athelind) wrote,
Your Obedient Serpent

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Lost in Translation... from English to English

Every time a book or movie from the UK gets re-titled for its US release, there's inevitably a barrage of online commentary about how "American media dumbs stuff down", or, even more contemptuously, how stuff has to be "dumbed down" for narrow, provincial, red-state-dominated 'Mericans.

Funny how nobody ever says anything when a US film is retitled in the UK.

Yesterday, quelonzia and I watched the 2001 murder mystery, The Caveman's Valentine. The movie stars Samuel L. Jackson as a paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave in Central Park. One frosty Valentine's Day morning, he finds a frozen body on his "doorstep". Of course, he's certain that this is tied into his own delusional world-view, and is determined to find out what really happened.

The title is perfect: both poetic and descriptive. The theme of Valentine's Day and the body of the victim as a "Valentine" recurs throughout the movie.

In the UK, it was released on video as The Sign of the Killer.

I cannot think of a more banal, colorless, generic, dumbed-down title.

(I know that the UK doesn't celebrate the middle of February with the tree-killing orgy of greeting cards we strew about in the Untidy States, but a quick Wikipedia search shows that there are local traditions.)

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