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Old 08-14-2019, 06:18 AM
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Question Marks in Movie Titles


When Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out (based on Gary Wolfe's wacko novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? it was pointed out that the title had not only been changed, but they had dropped the question mark. This was done, it was claimed, because there's a Hollywood prejudice or superstition against question marks in titles.


Here's a group of question mark-less films:
https://letterboxd.com/mook/list/why...ve-a-question/


In fact, though, there are plenty of movie titles with question marks in them, many of which did pretty well at the box office:
https://www.imdb.com/list/ls004630614/

In one case, they actually changed the title to add the question mark. Nan and Ivan Lyonms' comedy/mystery novel Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe became the film Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?

So, two questions:

1.) Any other films where the question mark is pointedly missing, or can be shown to have been removed by a title change?

2.) Is this "superstition", in fact, a Real Thing? If so, how did it get started?
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:35 AM
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Don't know, but I'd like to complement you on a unique and interesting thread. Never really considered this before. Now, you've got me thinking about movie titles whose meaning would be significantly changed by the addition of a question mark. LOL
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:41 AM
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Casual Sex? had one and didn't really need it.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

My hunch is that, as with private names, punctuation is not officially part of it, but it winds up in there as an affectation.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:48 AM
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A number of movies are titled "Quo Vadis" and about half of them have the question mark. Most are based on the Harry Sinkiewiecz novel.

Last edited by Horatio Hellpop; 08-14-2019 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:58 AM
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I invented the question mark.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop View Post
My hunch is that, as with private names, punctuation is not officially part of it, but it winds up in there as an affectation.
I think punctuation marks in titles (of movies or anything else) are problematic, because it's hard to remember whether they're an official part of the title or not (they generally don't get pronounced).
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:17 AM
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They Shoot Divas, Don't They? is a clear reference to another title.

One problem I have with Rotten Tomatoes is that they "clean" the title when you type in a search to prevent accidental commands being fed to the DB. But "?" is okay.

Apostrophes are now okay there but I don't think they used to be. BTW: There's quite a few titles with apostrophes out there, including some current movies.

And of course the ones referenced in my first line.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:48 AM
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I've never heard of this movie, but I just saw it mentioned in another thread: Man's Favorite Sport?
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
I invented the question mark.
That's outrageous!

What do you think of chestnuts?
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:58 PM
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I forgot to mention the title where I keep forgetting it has a question mark: The Love God? starring Don Knotts. (A great film, btw.)

My problem is pronouncing the title as a question. The Love ... God?

Last edited by ftg; 08-14-2019 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
I forgot to mention the title where I keep forgetting it has a question mark: The Love God? starring Don Knotts. (A great film, btw.)

My problem is pronouncing the title as a question. The Love ... God?
THE Love God?
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:03 PM
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I was going to make some lame joke about movie titles not using enough interrabangs, when I discovered that there is actually a movie whose title IS Interrabang.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:06 PM
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This is an opportunity to ask a two-part trivia question that I always carry in my back pocket:


Name the only movie released since 2000 that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar with a title that ends with an exclamation point.

SPOILER:
Moulin Rouge! (2001)


Now name the only movie ever nominated for a Best Picture with a title that ends with a question mark.

SPOILER:
Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf? (1966)



mmm
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:13 PM
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At a more mundane level, back when theater marquees used movable plastic letters, did theaters have punctuation marks in their letter rooms?
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:44 PM
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When Airplane! had its sequel, I wish they had used Airplane!! as its title.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:40 AM
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Movies if they had a question mark would actually spoil the movie

SPOILER:
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:46 AM
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As I recall, the late Helene Hanff, while working as a theatre publicist, claimed she had to stay up all night adding the exclamation mark to the posters for Oklahoma, because the out-of-town tryouts were badly received and the powers-that-be thought it needed something to mark it out as different from the conventional expectations of a musical at the time.

Last edited by PatrickLondon; 08-15-2019 at 05:47 AM.
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