Question from a reader: â€œSarah Palin and the fundamentalists make me think that “The Handmaid’s Tale” is now shifting from speculative fiction to fact. I read it when I was in my early teens and I remember being seriously freaked out. . .
“Some years after the book was published, a film version with Faye Dunaway and Elizabeth McGovern came out, and I clearly remember that it was distributed in the Philippines under the title “Slave Girls”. (Chalk one up for subtlety). I remember seeing the trailer – the usual technically polished Hollywood trailer – suddenly being spliced with its new title, a crudely designed sign that read “Slave Girls” in a faux handpainted logo. Can anyone among your readers or your circle of friends confirm or refute this? Did my brain just make that up? I would dearly like to know.â€
I remember that The Handmaidâ€™s Tale was retitled for the Philippine market. This is a common practice among the local distributors, presumably to increase the movieâ€™s box-office appeal. Who can forget how Jude, the film adaptation of Thomas Hardyâ€™s gloomy Victorian masterpiece, suddenly acquired the new title, “Bareâ€? Now thereâ€™s a bit of sexy stuff in Thomas Hardyâ€”check out the character of Eustacia Vye in The Return of the Native. Or the eponymous heroine of Tess of the dâ€™Urbervilles, whose film adaptation directed by Roman Polanski somehow avoided being retitled â€œDisgrasyada!â€ The print ad for Bare prominently featured an apparently naked Kate Winslet, fresh from the box-office bonanza of Titanic. The distributors managed to restrain themselves from throwing in a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio.
Adel has just reminded me that Hal Ashby’s Being There, starring Peter Sellers as the gardener whose babbling is mistaken for brilliance, was shown in Manila theatres as Supergenius.