There is something about things with exceptionally long titles; books, films, songs. It’s as if the writers just couldn’t contain their excitement and squashed as many words as possible into the title. Perhaps they also appeal to me due to my lazy nature. I’m not even required to turn over a book to read the synopsis if it’s all in the title. However this quirky feature is not an invention of the 21st century. It reached its peak in the 18th century when there appeared to be no limit to the length of a book title resulting in the book named –
‘The Travels Of Hildebrand Bowman, Esquire, Into Carnovirria, Taupiniera, Olfactaria, And Audinante, In New-Zealand; And In The Powerful Kingdom Of Luxo-Voluptot. Written By Himself; Who Went On Shore In The Adventure’s Large Cutter; And Escaped Being Cut Off, And Devoured, With The Rest Of The Boat’s Crew, By Happening To Be A-Shooting In The Woods; Where He Was Afterwards, Unfortunately Left Behind By The Adventure.’
We are so obviously deprived of titles such as these today. To battle this issue, I have comprised a short list of songs, books and films which deserve recognition for their unusually long titles.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
directed by Larry Charles
2006, 20th Century Fox
Too many people just refer to this film as ‘Borat’ but let’s appreciate its full name for once. This is a hilarious mockumentary following Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen), a Kazakh journalist, in America. The majority of the film is unscripted and the participants unaware of the comedic aspect of the film. It is certainly not for those who are easily offended but it is most definitely one of my guilty pleasure movies.
The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson
This book is unlike anything I’ve read or would consider reading usually. It tells the story of a man who escapes from his nursing home on his 100th birthday, robs a suitcase and sets off on an adventure. An adventure that could compete with those from his past which involved the atomic bomb and leaders such as General Franco, Harry Truman, Stalin and Kim Jong-il. I smiled like a lunatic while reading this book and it’s one of the few books that I will reread and enjoy just as much as my first time reading it. In fact, I will make the bold statement that this is my all-time favourite book.
Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
directed by Stanley Kubrick
1964, Hawk Films
This film also involves the atomic bomb, I swear I usually don’t show this much interest in nuclear warfare. The film begins with General D. Ripper, (who firmly believes that “fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face”), ordering an attack on Russia without the Pentagon’s knowledge. Following this, the president and his officials must decide their next move in the war room as the nuclear attack draws closer. Peter Sellers makes up the majority of the cast, playing three different characters, as the stubborn Columbia Pictures wouldn’t finance the film if he didn’t. His most notable character is of course, Dr Strangelove, an ex-nazi scientist who often mistakenly refers to the president as ‘Mein Führer’. This film gives birth to hilarious eccentric dialogue that I quote whenever I see the opportunity.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
The title of this book quotes Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “Sliver Blaze”-
Gregory (Scotland yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”
The novel centers around Christopher, a fifteen-year-old boy with an autism spectrum condition who also happens to be a Sherlock Holmes fan. One evening, he discovers the body of his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, and sets out on a mission to discover the murderer. He does so in his own quirky way, noting any relevant facts in his notebook. As his investigation continues, other mysteries unravel. This book is charming with all of its oddities such as the chapters going up in prime numbers and the straight forward matter-of-fact storytelling.
And because Fall Out Boy had too many long-titled songs to choose from, here’s their top 3:
- Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Couldn’t Get Sued
- I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
- thnks fr th mmrs (their record company wanted them to shorten their titles so they removed the vowels)