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Claim: The title of the 1995 British film The Madness of George III was changed to The Madness of King George by its distributors to avoid the possibility that American audiences would think it was the third installment of a "Madness of George" movie series.
Origins: 1995 saw the release of the film The Madness of King George, a movie whose plot focused on the bizarre behavior of
Coincident with the film's release came the rumor that its distributors had altered its title for the American market, changing The Madness of
Let's clear up a couple of matters right off the bat: First of all, the film's distributors had nothing whatsoever to do with its title. Secondly, the title of the film was not changed, nor was it titled differently in America than it was in other parts of the world. The film was always called The Madness of King George, and it bore that title everywhere it was exhibited. The confusion came about because the film was based upon a play entitled The Madness of
Okay, but why the title switch between stage and screen versions? Did it have anything to do with a fear that Americans might think they'd missed two previous horror flicks about the madness of a character named George? Americans might be a bit gullible and naive at times, but Hollywood has had no compunctions about releasing non-sequel films bearing titles such as
Although Nicholas Hytner, the film's director, admitted that the claim is "not totally untrue," he also divulged that the most important factor was that "it was felt necessary to get the word King into the title." The change was not primarily motivated by a perceived need to cater to Americans' alleged gullibility or ignorance, but by a prudent recognition of cultural differences between America and England. America has always been a nation without royalty, and thus using "King George" in the title established much more clearly to American audiences that this was a film about a monarch than
Of course, you have to wonder what Americans who didn't recognize
Last updated: 17 August 2007
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