Movie-related fact-checking has today brought me incidental amusement, via a few of the more bizarre translations of English-language film titles to be found around the world. I started small, with the rather worrying French and Belgian rendering of the 1998 flick Wild Things as Sex Crimes. Progressing to Italian, I chuckled a little harder at 1968 car caper The Love Bug becoming Il Maggiolino Tutto Matto (“The Totally Crazy Beetle”); and slightly harder still—although I’m not proud of this—at its 1974 sequel, Herbie Rides Again, appearing in West Germany as Herbie groß in Fahrt (translation, unamusingly, “Herbie, largely in transit”).
In Israel, still more inventive linguists clearly prevail, and even a rapid online survey yielded masterful conversions such as Groundhog Day into Waking Up Yesterday Morning, Spaceballs into Crazy in Space, Fatal Attraction into Fateful Courtship, and—a particular favourite—The Naked Gun into The Gun Died Laughing. My special achievement award, however, belongs to whoever decided that the 1992 zombie horror fantasy Army of Darkness would be best presented to Japanese audiences as Kyaputien Supamaketto, or “Captain Supermarket.” Genius like that needs no justification….