Mitch Paradise

Call me old fashion, but I just don’t see why there are movies with the same title as a previous movie that is completely different. I’m not talking about remakes or sequels.

This is not about Clark Gable and Marlon Brando dueling it out in their respective versions of “Mutiny on the Bounty.” No, this is about “Crash” and “Crash.” Oh yeah, everyone loved that Oscar winner from a few years back (well, everyone who saw it), but how many remember the David Cronenberg twisteroo about people who get sexually turned on by crashing their cars? Now there’s a movie, and we should be able to know we’re talking about that “Crash” when it gets mentioned by title without a lot of explanation.

Same with “Heaven Can Wait,” or “Bad Boys” or “Hot Pursuit,” “Kicking and Screaming." Did anyone see either...? You get the idea.

Now, like that once-every-thousand-years when a full solar eclipse happens to be in a place you can get to without having to hire a pack animal (remind me some time to tell you about the plane and two buses to Tuxpan in 1991 for that experience), we have currently opening, back-to-back, two movies with the same name as previous features. “The Birth of a Nation” is actually coming out in October, but is already way out-publicizing the Labor Day Weekend opener, “Morgan.”

“What?” you say. There was another movie called “Morgan”?

Yes, Ashley, back before Cyborg flesh was considered a must in personal grooming, there was a wonderful British movie, “Morgan,” (Please, I know, original title in Great Britain, “Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment," but released here as just the name) about the tribulations of a man desperate to recover his wife and reconcile his looming psychosis and his (and his mother’s) devotion to Karl Marx, with the requirements of everyday life. A matchless David Warner (Morgan) deserved at least an Oscar nominations, but it was a tough year, what with Richard Burton, Michael Caine, Paul Schofield (a very British year).

So completely has today’s “Morgan” eclipsed its namesake, that the original “Morgan” does not even come up on an IMDB general search as an option unless you add the original title verbiage, and Googling “Morgan the movie” gets you Morgan Spurlock on page four with no sign of the earlier film in sight.

“The Birth of a Nation” purposely purloins its name from a Century ago’s 190-minute giant of the silent era. Parker, and his telling of the Nat Turner Rebellions, clearly wants to tag over the original, now more notorious for its promulgation of post-Civil War black stereotypes and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. But stomping on a classic title is a punch line with a very short half life, and I’m curious about what other choices he must have considered. Turns out, by the way, “Nat Turner’s Rebellion” was available without book rights.

The English language is so wonderful and varied. If you can be so creative as to put together an entire movie that actually gets distribution, can you not be creative enough to put an original title on it?

Do you not wish it to stand alone in the universe in all its glory? I guess my Cyborg self will have to wait now ‘til 2116 for the next “Birth of a Nation” - the story of the 21st Century Civil War between the Bernie Sanders Brigade and the rest of the world.



Categories: The Biz

About The Author

Mitch Paradise is a WGA member who’s worked in network TV and executive produced Showtime’s “Bleacher Bums.” Mitch also published in “The Huffington Post” & “The Wrap.”

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