Your Flavorwire was excited, very excited, to talk about Alfred Hitchcock this week, because the release of Universal’s big new Blu-ray box set of Hitchcock masterpieces was slated for tomorrow. Note the use of the word “was”; it’s been pushed back until next month, in order to correct some unfortunate issues with the transfer and, hilariously, some rather insane typos in the re-rendered opening credit sequence for Frenzy. So we’ll talk about Hitchcock when the set shows up next month — in the meantime, inspired by this embarrassing (and certainly costly) gaffe, we’ve assembled ten other instances of unfortunate cinematic typos. Some came at the marketing stage, some in DVD mastering; some even show up in the titles, which is the kind of thing you’d think someone would notice. Check out these goofy screw-ups after the jump.
The marketing machine at a Hollywood studio is massive and multi-headed, so it’s hard to take a film to task for a flub at the TV commercial level. But it’s also hard to believe that a giant spelling error could get past such a massive department, past so many pair of eyes, and yet that’s exactly what happened last summer, when (as reported by Huff Post), a TV spot for Magic Mike warned viewers that the film might make their “boyriend” feel inadequate. And maybe it did, but at least said boyriend might know how to spell.
The Great Gatsby
When we got our first look at the underwhelming trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s much-dreaded (and now delayed) 3D version of The Great Gatsby, we assumed its mistakes (like the hilariously anachronistic music cues, for example) were on purpose. But one wasn’t: as numerous sources gleefully reported, an establishing shot of Times Square circa 1922 misspells the name of the most popular revue of the days as the “Zeigfeld Follies.” Now that they’ve had time to fix that little error, though, we’re sure the film itself will be astonishingly true to the spirit of the Roaring Twenties.
Love in the Buff
This one came to our attention via our friends at Buzzfeed, who noted that designers of this poster for the sequel to the Chinese film Love in a Puff might have wanted to go with a slightly different typeface. Maybe one where the f’s don’t look so much like t’s. But on the plus side, the title for the porno version is all set!
The Happy Thieves
As DVD sales have dipped, studios have become more and more reluctant to invest the money for proper restorations, pressings, and advertisement of releases from their catalogues — especially because, with the format now over 15 years old, most of the potential big sellers have already been released, and those that haven’t are primarily of interest to cineastes and collectors. The solution: several studios have established “burn-on-demand” lines, in which more obscure titles are burned to DVD-R from the best possible materials in no-frills packaging, with little or nothing in the way of bonus features. It’s a nice way to get smaller titles into the marketplace with a minimal cost; it is also, unfortunately, bound to result in a lack of quality control. Such is the case with the “MGM Limited Edition Collection” release of the Rita Hayworth/Rex Harrison film The Happy Thieves, which, as blogger Jane Boursaw points out, was sent out with its very title misspelled on the DVD spine as The Happy Theives.
Norman Mailer: The American
It’s bad enough to misspell the name of your documentary’s subject on the DVD bonus feature menu of said documentary. But it’s especially bad to do it when the subject of your documentary is one of the greatest writers of our time — someone who surely understood the value of a good fact-checker and copy-editor. Seriously, what would Normam have thought of this slight?
Night of a 1,000 Cats
If there’s one thing you should really try to get right in filmmaking, it’s your title — it’s the kind of thing that’s really worth taking an extra ten seconds or so to, y’know, double-check. Of course, when it comes to low-budget imports, sometimes certain linguistic nuances can get lost in translation. That’s about the only explanation we’ve got for how the 1972 Mexican exploitation movie La Noche de los mil Gatos was given the rather redundant English title Night of a 1,000 Cats. Oops?
Attack of the the Eye Creatures
Another laughable error from the world of low-budget monster movies: such pictures were frequently retitled and re-released in an attempt to squeeze a few more bucks out of an unsuspecting public, so when American International re-released the 1965 grade-Z cheapie The Eye Creatures, they decided to give it some extra zing by rebranding it Attack of the Eye Creatures. Unfortunately, the whiz kid who grafted those words onto the title card didn’t exactly have an eagle eye for detail, and he added “Attack of the” to the existing title card, giving that version — the one seen by most audiences today, thanks to Mystery Science Theater 3000 — the title Attack of the the Eye Creatures. “Did Mel Tillis write these titles or what?” asked MST3K host Joel Hodgson.
Rat Pfink a Boo Boo
The story goes that auteur Ray Dennis Steckler (who had previously directed another MST3K favorite, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies) had titled his Batman spoof/rip-off Rat Fink and Boo Boo, after the film’s Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder characters. But when the title artist mistakenly left the “nd” off the middle word, Steckler didn’t want to blow the fifty bucks to fix the error. So he stuck with that gibberish title, a move which gives you a rough idea of the professionalism of the picture. In his later years, after the film had achieved a level of cult immortality, Steckler would insist that the title was correct, “but when I tell people the real story, they don’t wanna hear it, so you better print the legend.” Okey dokey!
Two Weeks Notice
Night of a 1,000 Cats, Attack of the the Eye Creatures, and Rat Pfink a Boo Boo were all absurdly low-budget productions where the title typos were — well, not necessarily understandable, but certainly more likely than in a big-star, big-studio, Hollywood production. So what are we to make of Two Weeks Notice, a 2002 romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, which clearly should have an apostrophe after the word “weeks”? “Don’t get confused by the 2002 movie Two Weeks Notice,” admonishes Grammar Girl. “They got it wrong.” So wouldn’t it stand to reason that if the movie had (according to IMDb) four credited producers, an acupuncturist, and a “chess consultant,” they couldn’t found a couple of dollars to have somebody make sure the title was correct?
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Universal made a similar error a few years later with Judd Apatow’s directorial debut, the story of a 40-year-old man who still has not enjoyed the physical act of lovemaking. But note, if you will, that we hyphenated the entire phrase “40-year-old,” like you do; while the title card in the film has no hyphens at all (also wrong), the original posters and promo materials put in one, between “year” and “old,” which would actually indicate that it is the story of 40 one-year-olds, all of them (obviously) virgins. Grammar nerds got all up in a tizzy about the flub when the film was released, and its DVD and Blu-ray covers correct the error with the proper hyphenation.
Those are some of our favorite movie-related gaffes — what are yours? Tell us in the comments!