Brevity, wrote Shakespeare, is the soul of wit. It’s why we shorten the title of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and don’t refer to Macbeth as The General, the Witches and the Possibly a Dagger Before Him.
When it comes to cinema, filmmakers usually follow the same rule. See, for example, the recent abbreviation of Becky Albertalli’s book Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda to Love, Simon. But this isn’t always the case.
To celebrate the release of Mike Newell’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Friday, we’re taking a moment to celebrate those features which had writers whose love of language could not be tamed.
Here are ten films with extraordinarily long titles – let us know your favourites in the comments!
N.B. This isn’t a list of the longest as we decided to include some you’d have actually heard of!
1. Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2 in Shocking 2-D! (Lowell Mason, 1991)
With 41 words to its name, is it any surprise that this film’s a spoof? Written and directed by James Riffel, there’s no denying that the title’s an intentional joke but it remains the longest of all time. Part 1, incidentally, was never released. Parts 3-5, however, were.
2. Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (Peter Brook, 1967)
Usually shortened to Marat/Sade, Peter Brook’s film adaptation of the German Peter Weiss play is a rather different kettle of fish. It’s a drama of human suffering and the class struggle…and a bit of a mouthful.
3. Homework, or How Pornography Saved the Split Family from Boredom and Improved their Financial Situation (Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, 1991)
Back in Mexico, this one’s known as La tarea so the mind boggles.
4. Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes (Ken Annakin, 1965)
You’ll be unsurprised to learn that the film’s re-release saw the title officially shortened.
5. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
Among the other titles considered by Kubrick were Dr. Doomsday or: How to Start World War III Without Even Trying and Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Uses of Uranus – both irreverent, both long.
6. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006)
If the title’s hard to remember, the swimsuit was hard to forget…
7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Andrew Adamson, 2005)
The last Narnia film to have graced the big screen (there may or may not be another…) also had a fairly chunky title but none can best the original.