Was ‘The Madness of George III’ Retitled for U.S. Audiences?

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The 12 months 1995 noticed the discharge of the movie The Madness of King George, a film whose plot targeted on the weird conduct of George III (1738–1820), the British monarch who was generally stated to have “gone mad” after dropping England’s North American colonies to the American Revolution. Modern medical consultants now imagine King George suffered from a metabolic dysfunction generally known as porphyria, and The Madness of King George offers with the political machinations that occurred because the king’s sickness incapacitated him, each bodily and mentally, for prolonged durations of time.

Coincident with the movie’s launch got here the rumor that its distributors had altered its title for the American market, altering The Madness of George III to The Madness of King George lest puzzled Americans suppose that they had missed the primary two entries of the sequence:

“The Madness of King George” is the movie adaptation of the Alan Bennett play “The Madness of George III,” its title modified as a result of the distributor was afraid Americans may suppose it a sequel.


[T]here’s a scrumptious story circulating right here — an instance of a “those-dumb-Yanks” story that some British individuals love to inform. It appears the movie’s title was modified from “The Madness of George III” as a result of American audiences would suppose it was a sequel and never go to see it, assuming that they had missed “I” and “II.”

Let’s clear up a pair of issues proper off the bat: First of all, the movie’s distributors had nothing to do with the selection of title. Second, the movie’s title was not modified nor was it totally different in America than it was in different elements of the world. The movie was at all times referred to as The Madness of King George, and it bore that title in all places it was exhibited. The confusion happened as a result of the film model was based mostly upon a play entitled The Madness of George III, however the movie’s producers opted to name their film The Madness of King George reasonably than sticking with the play’s title.

Okay, however why the title swap between stage and display variations? Did it have something to do with a concern that Americans may suppose they’d missed two earlier horror flicks in regards to the insanity of a personality named George? Americans could be a bit gullible and naive at instances, however Hollywood has had no compunctions about releasing non-sequel movies bearing titles akin to Leonard Part 6, creating sequels with names like Naked Gun 2½, or re-releasing the unique Star Wars movie with a subtitle figuring out it as “Episode IV.”

Alan Bennett, who penned each The Madness of George III and its display adaptation, attributed the title change to a “marketing decision” whereas jokingly invoking a comparability to Kenneth Branagh’s standard 1989 movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V:

Bennett jokingly defined that the title was modified to The Madness of King George as a “marketing decision,” in order to not confuse the sequence-saturated American viewers, “a survey having apparently shown that there were many moviegoers who came away from Kenneth Branagh’s film of Henry V wishing they had seen its four predecessors.”

Although Nicholas Hytner, the director of The Madness of King George, admitted that the retitling declare was “not totally untrue,” he additionally divulged that a very powerful issue was that “it was felt necessary to get the word King into the title.” The change was not primarily motivated by a perceived must cater to Americans’ alleged ignorance, however by a prudent recognition of cultural variations between America and the UK. America has at all times been a nation with out royalty, and thus utilizing “King George” within the title signaled rather more clearly to U.S. audiences that the work was a movie a few monarch than retaining the regnal title “George III” probably would have.

More necessary, maybe, is that to the extent U.S. audiences are accustomed to George III, it’s because the detested monarch towards whom the North American colonists revolted within the 1770s, resulting in the formation of an impartial United States of America. That he later suffered from a kind of sickness which profoundly affected his conduct is far much less identified to Americans, and thus a reference to ‘the madness of George III’ wouldn’t resonate almost as a lot within the U.S. as it would within the Commonwealth realms.

In an analogous instance, the 1997 UK movie Mrs. Brown, in regards to the relationship between Queen Victoria and private attendant John Brown, was marketed underneath the title Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown in America, the place the title “Mrs. Brown” wouldn’t readily have been acknowledged as a reference to the monarch Queen Victoria. That reality doesn’t show Americans are notably ignorant, a lot because it highlights that individuals are sometimes most accustomed to their very own histories and fewer so with others’.

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