The Cinema Cometh
This contest is now closed. But enjoy!
(Click here to go directly to the winning entries.)
See those two people on the rickety old ladders over there, putting up movie marquee titles? That's Cox and Rathvon, your kindly game hosts. But what are they doing with that box full of letters? Why are their movie titles looking so strange? Have Cox and Rathvon been nipping at the old vodka flask?
Relax, friends. We're not drunk (well, maybe just a little tipsy). And we're not crazy (well . . . no comment). But we certainly are anagram-happy! See, what we're doing is posting the titles of our favorite movies with *one word anagrammed* in each title.
For example, our matinee stars Kevin Costner and Vanna White in a saga of the American West (and a history of our native tongue) entitled "Dances with Vowels."
In our twilight show, we bring you an uplifting baseball fantasy (with a Cuban accent), as we present the much-acclaimed "Fidel of Dreams."
Our main feature of the evening is a classic Tennessee Williams production with a starring role performed, surprisingly, by Daffy Duck. Yes, we are presenting the debut of "A Streetcar named Eiders."
And finally, our anagrammatical late show is a horror flick. This one features a number of mad scientists competing, strange as it may seem, in a bridge tournament. Be sure not to miss "The Rebid of Frankenstein"!
Now it's your turn. Send us a movie title in which one word is anagrammed, thus altering the plot of the film. Add a descriptive blurb if it'll enhance the humor of your creation. Mail your entry to email@example.com. Multiple entries are welcome, but for our convenience pack your entries into one piece of e-mail whenever possible (and please don't use attached files). Senders of our three favorite entries will each receive cheers, confetti, and a free book from The Atlantic Monthly.
The Cinema Cometh will remain open through Friday, December 13. Winners and full results will be posted on Friday, December 20.
-- EC and HR
Results of The Cinema Cometh
"What would those boxing movies have been like," wondered correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org, "if Stallone's character had been called... 'Corky'?"
Questions like that are what we're here to answer, folks. In the happy crush of mail entries to this contest, we received lots and lots of movies comically altered by anagrammatization. Many of the lists submitted to us were too long to be displayed here in their entirety -- in fact, we've had to limit each list to our ten favorite selections. Dozens of the entries -- including some of the funniest ones -- were duplicated by contestants with like-warped minds. For example, we had many takes on "Hamlet and Louise," but our favorite blurb was from email@example.com (Tim Nott): "To be or not to be? What kinda dumb question is that? Just DRIVE!" We also had lots of "The License of the Lambs," about which Robmur said: "They can now legally hunt wolves -- but how?" And we had numerous duplicates of "Twelve Rangy Men," which JonDelfin described as: "A year with the New York Knicks." (The anagrams in these examples, lest the wordplay or the movie trivia escape you, are Thelma, Silence, and Angry.)
Here are others of the most popular features, along with the most common synopses of their plots:
"It's a Wonderful File" -- A video about anagram software.
"The Net Commandments" -- Cyberspace dos and don'ts.
"The ENIAC Mutiny" -- Computers try to take over the world.
"Honey, I Shrunk the Disk" -- The case of the disappearing data.
"Rare Window" -- PC feature that hardly ever works.
"No Time for Greatness" -- Andy Griffith never leaves his small town.
"Haricots of Fire" -- Refried beans wreak havoc.
"House of the Seven Bagels" -- A bakery caters to the Dwarfs.
"Jurassic Krap" -- Fossils we'd rather not see.
"Vole Story" -- A rodent romance.
"Moore and Juliet" -- A modern mismatch.
"Beauty and the Bates" -- A pretty girl chooses the wrong motel.
"Beauty and the Baste" -- Julia Child's Thanksgiving.
"The Dead Pesto Society" -- Drama in a high-school cooking class.
"Mr. Holland's Soup" -- More drama in a high-school cooking class.
"S*H*A*M" -- Actors unconvincingly pose as doctors...
"H*A*M*S" -- ... and overdramatize the Korean War.
"FEMA" -- Disaster relief goes musical.
"The Loin King" -- Tarzan of the jungle.
"Ashen" -- A gunslinging cowboy stops trying to get a tan.
"True Trig" -- John Wayne shows off his math talents.
"Scalier Knee" -- Psoriasis sets in.
"The Shingle Patient" -- A skin condition recollected.
"The Thin Blue Nile" -- The history of Ethiopia.
"Bantam" -- A lightweight superhero.
"Goths"-Vandals from the afterlife.
"Pot Hat" -- Johnny Appleseed's story.
"Gulliver's Varlets" -- Tiny little villains.
"Planet of the Peas" -- Where the Jolly Green Giant reigns.
"The Towering Non-Fire" -- Much ado about nothing.
"Crayon de Bergerac" -- The animated version?
"From Here to Entirety" -- The uncut version?
"Farewell, My Volley" -- A tennis player gets too old for the tour.
"Iran Man" -- Ayatollah Khomeini's biography.
"Remark v. Remark" -- Debating championship.
"Dr. Gravelstone" -- A mad paver of driveways.
"Claimer on 34th Street" -- Santa turns out to be phony.
"The Pagers of Wrath" -- Violence in the business world.
"The Poisoned Adventure" -- The Snow White story.
"A Farewell to Mars" -- Hershey dominates the chocolate market.
"It's a Dam Dam Dam Dam World" -- Beaver comedy.
"Seminar of the Day" -- Lessons in butlering.
(anagrams: Life, Ten, Caine, Kids, Rear, Sergeants, Chariots, Gables, Park, Love, Romeo, Beast, Poets, Opus, MASH, Fame, Lion, Shane, Grit, Claire's, English, Line, Batman, Ghost, Top, Travels, Apes, Inferno, Cyrano, Eternity, Lovely, Rain, Kramer, Strangelove, Miracle, Grapes, Poseidon, Arms, Mad, Remains)
And that's just a selection! You'll find many more entries below. But first, our winners. For tickling our funny bone most effectively, we salute three masters of cinematic magic: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and Robmur! Stand up and receive your statuettes, folks!
"The Saddam Family" -- They're creepy and they're cocky/ Mustachioed and stocky/ They're all of them Iraqi/ The Saddam Family!
"Destry Dries Again" -- The young ranch hand lucked out again as straws were drawn to divvy up the bunkhouse chores. "Dang," thought the grizzled old cowpoke, up to his elbows in dishwater.
"My Larding Clementine" -- And she used to be so svelte!
(anagrams: Addams, Rides, Darling)
***And Other Top Favorites***
"Star Trek III: The Chaser for Spock" -- The first officer develops a drinking problem.
"Taro! Taro! Taro!" -- An Hawaiian war chant.
"The FIB Story" -- The untrue tale of T-men.
"Canon the Barbarian" -- Camera buff goes berserk... where's Nikon?
"Boorcop" -- A clumsy action film.
"Parroted" -- A copycat action thriller.
"The Confrere" -- Dirty Harry doesn't join this fraternity.
"Total Cellar" -- The cellar IS where this movie belongs.
"West Side Tyros" -- Young street punks act tough in the Big Apple.
"Destination Heart" -- To the core of matter
(anagrams: Tora, FBI, Conan, Robocop, Predator, Enforcer, Recall, Story, Earth)
"Rhapsody in Lube" -- Story of a composer in a garage band.
"Boys on the Ides" -- Women who date once a month.
"The Best Years of Our Levis" -- Nostalgic hippie film.
"King Kong Elvis" -- The later years.
"The Fowl Man" -- With the full moon, he sprouts feathers.
"Just Sauce" -- Murder in the kitchen (a chef-d'oeuvre).
"Dade Again" -- Floridian comes home.
"Thermos Day" -- Remake of "Picnic."
"Thorn" -- Kid sticks it to his parents.
"Cork Around the Clock" -- Life of a kitschy decorator.
(Anagrams: Blue, Side, Lives, Lives, Wolf, Cause, Dead, Mothers, North, Rock)
"Mon Clone d'Amerique" -- Alain Resnais' labyrinthine exploration of transatlantic genomic relationships.
"Clear and Present Garden" -- The CIA looks for moles.
"Parties of Penzance -- a light hearted romp through a summer of love at a British seaside resort.
"Wild, We Barristers" -- A Bergmanesque British rendition of the story behind the OJ trial.
"The Tampons (il postino)" -- A cautionary true-life drama about one woman's struggle with toxic shock syndrome.
(anagrams: Pirates, Strawberries, Postman)
"Cents of a Woman" -- Al Pacino marries for money.
"The Prince of Edits" -- Barbra Streisand remakes "Citizen Kane."
"Manila House" -- Hilarious antics of Imelda Marcos and friends.
"The Cartel's Letter" -- Hester Prynne is caught running a drug ring.
"Inane Hall" -- Woody Allen gets an airheaded girlfriend.
"No Racy D'Bergerac" -- Overly censored version of romantic classic.
"It's an Underflow Life" -- A sewer worker discovers what life would be like without him.
"All the Pressed-Tin Men" -- Woodward and Bernstein uncover a conspiracy by Oz characters.
"Star Trek: On Reseating" -- Jean Luc Picard meets James Kirk, and they fight over who gets the captain's chair.
"Calypso Ape Now" -- Marlon Brando plays King Kong, finding a new hideout deep in a West Indies jungle.
(anagrams: Scent, Tides, Animal, Scarlet, Annie, Crayon, Wonderful, Presidents, Generations, Apocalypse)
"Mighty Atrophied" -- In his first movie after the Soon Yi Previn episode, Woody Allen shows us that he's getting kind of old.
"Tapestries" -- Demi Moore tries to gain custody of her daughter by dancing naked behind wall hangings.
"The Day the Heart Stood Still" -- A documentary about Dr. Kevorkian.
"Blazing Dadless" -- Mel Brooks's parody of arsonists without fathers.
"Forbidden Platen" -- The Serpent tempts Adam and Eve with typewriter parts.
"Star Trek II -- The Wrath of Ankh"-Featuring Ricardo Montalban as an angry Egyptian symbol.
"Rented Mercies" -- A widow's kindness helps out an alcoholic singer, but he has to pay her back.
"The Sore Tattoo" -- By any other name, it still hurts.
(anagrams: Aphrodite, Striptease, Earth, Saddles, Planet, Khan, Tender, Rose)
"An American in Pairs" -- Gene Kelly clones, clones, clones.
"Being Three" -- Sellers is kid president.
"Army Poppins" -- Nanny brigade.
"The Mosquito Tacos" -- Insect cuisine drives man mad.
"My Dinner With Arden"-I dated Our Miss Brooks.
"The Crying Mage" -- Erotic peculiarities of the sorcerer.
"Slut for Life" -- Painter's tart forever.
"The Spy Who Came in from the Clod" -- Burton leaves bore at the door.
"Shout Pacific" -- "Stop the war! Stop the war!"
(anagrams: Paris, There, Mary, Coast, Andre, Game, Lust, Cold, South)
"Crenelation" -- D.W. Griffith's epic about battlements in four different eras.
"Sherlock Sholem" -- Crime-solving in the shtetl.
"Trenchwise '73" -- Jimmy Stewart wanders the West with his trusty shovel.
"The Man with Two Bairns" -- Steve Martin as a Scottish father of twins.
"Langes in the Outfield" -- Jessica, Hope, and Ted join a coed softball team.
"Do the Girth Thing" -- Spike Lee fattens up at the local pizzeria.
"Tinsel Movie" -- Mel Brooks's Christmas film.
"National Lampoon's Octavian" -- The humor mag takes on the classics.
"Hanes" -- A gunfighter and his trusty skivvies.
"Downer Woman" -- Female superhero fights crime by depressing crooks.
(anagrams: Intolerance, Holmes, Winchester, Brains, Angels, Right, Silent, Vacation, Shane, Wonder)
"High Nono" -- Gary Cooper is a reluctant lawman who confronts the bad guys by shaking his finger at them and giving them disapproving looks. The bad guys laugh, then shoot him dead on the spot.
"True Girt" -- John Wayne complains, "These pants are too tight!"
"The Edda Poets Society" -- Of *course* they're dead, silly!
"Staph of Glory" -- Germ warfare as only Kubrick can do it.
"011 Dalmatians" -- For computer geeks who insist that their movies contain no more than three dogs, tops.
"The Satan Clause" -- Only a pact with The Devil could explain the success of "Home Improvement," no?
"Amen Streets" -- DeNiro, Keitel, et al. are muscled off their ground by evangelical drifters.
"The Name of the Sore" -- Connery as a monk identifies a plague in a monastery, but still, nobody buys the book.
(anagrams: Noon, Grit, Dead, Paths, 101, Santa, Mean, Rose)
"The Longest Dray" -- Inmates in a Georgia Prison organize a human tractor pull, led by Brut Reynolds.
"Old Ellery" -- After being attached to a farm family for twenty years the mystery queen dies in a real tearjerker.
"The Battle of the Bugle" -- Germans and Allies take turns depriving each other of much needed sleep in the Ardennes forest.
"Body Hate" -- Sweaty murder mystery has William Hurt at the gym.
"Abby It's You" -- Young Jewish girl in love with a Catholic boy goes on to dispense advice about growing up.
"Bagdad Face" -- Engineers in the Mojave Desert, perfecting a cruise missile capable of homing in on distinctive mug shots, enjoy their off hours in a funky isolated cafe. This spawned the blockbuster sequel "The Saddam Family."
"The Red Hoses" -- Andersen fairy tale about a volunteer fireman torn between polishing the equipment and getting it sooty putting out fires.
"Who's Boat?" -- A vintage sternwheeler slips its moorings and floats down the Mississippi.
(anagrams: Yard, Yeller, Bulge, Heat, Baby, Cafe, Shoes, Show)
"The Hackbunch of Notre Dame" -- Daring computer hackers crack French security systems, giving millions in tax money to the poor.
"Babette's Fates" -- Three mythical goddesses change the life of a young Parisian widow.
"Sleet Magnolias" -- Young florist deliveryman tries to complete his task during arctic winter storm.
"The Hoses of the Fisherman" -- Brave Captain repairs pumps and saves Russian trawler from sinking during tropical storm.
"Capes Jam" -- Caped Crusaders join together in concert to make money for distressed damsels.
"The First Views Club" -- Young women find success in hostessing X-rated movie viewings.
(anagrams: Hunchback, Feast, Steel, Shoes, Space, Wives,)
"Orb Roy" -- A Scotsman with one glass eye must fight the British for the return his property.
"Crocodile Undeed" -- About a Walter Mitty-type anti-hero in Australia.
(anagrams: Rob, Dundee)
"Greta Expectations" -- Swedish dreams of stardom.
"Oliver Twits" -- A film about Ollie North supporters.
"Being Ether" -- You are what you sniff.
"Yellow Semiurban" -- The pre-fab four.
"The Wrong Rousters" -- They're not my alarm clocks, lad!
(anagrams: Great, Twist, There, Submarine, Trousers)
"Act on a Hot Tin Roof" -- Early Judy & Mickey outing: "I know -- let's put on a show!"
"Der River Valley" -- Imperfectly translated Karl May western.
"Brith of a Nation" -- What happened eight days after the Birth.
"Ether on a Match" -- Prequel to "Towering Inferno."
"Sex, Elis and Videotape" -- Expose of Yale.
"I Led Three Evils" -- Confessions of one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
"Tow for the Road" -- Story of AAA.
"Babette's Feats" -- And you thought all she could do was cook!
"Secret of MINH" -- Vietnamese leader's autobiography.
(anagrams: Cat, Red, Birth, Three, Lies, Lives, Two, Feast, NIMH)
"Schindler's Silt" -- The story of how one man smuggled several tons of sand out of Nazi Germany.
"Three Days of the Cordon" -- An in-depth study of bank tellers' lunch hours.
"Duck Opus" -- The Marx Brothers meet Prokofiev.
"Pore Man" -- A dermatologist undoes face lifts when patients don't pay their bills.
"Freakbats at Tiffany's" -- High-toned horror movie.
(anagrams: Soup, Repo, Breakfast)
"A Moor with a View" -- The Merchant-Ivory version of "Othello."
"The Unbearable Lightness of Begin" -- Biopic of the Israeli leader.
(anagrams: Room, Being)
"Loco Runnings -- A group of Jamaicans starts a new railway company.
"Ether Sisters" -- Young women decide to enter the fascinating world of anesthesiology, but...
"Hips of Fools" -- ...they soon find that most of their patients are overweight due to their own stupid habits.
"Reside Under the Elms" -- A real estate agent advises people to live in the park.
"Trial of the Pink Panther" -- I always knew he'd go too far one of these days.
(anagrams: Cool, Three, Ship, Desire, Trail)
"Froster Gump" -- A slow-witted cakemaker.
"All About Vee" -- Musical biopic of a 1960s hearthrob.
"Even Cowgirls Get the Lubes" -- Adventures of a Wild West auto mechanic.
"You Only Veil Twice" -- One wedding and one funeral.
(anagrams: Forrest, Eve, Blues, Live)
"Plan Nine from Outre Space" -- The artist formerly known as Prince teams with Michael Jackson to produce the truly bizarre.
"The Mite Machine" -- The Orkin man captures his first starring role.
"Smatter of the Heart" -- This season's hit "splatter" film.
"Teas of Eden" -- Epic period piece examines the cultural impact of England's trade with the Orient.
"Tern" -- The smash Broadway musical about a group of ornithologists struggling to make it in New York.
(anagrams: Outer, Time, Matters, East, Rent,)
"Peerless" -- Gets the Oscar it deserves.
"Star Trek: First Can't Cot" -- Riker gets no sleep.
"The Crib Clue" -- A preacher investigates a series of child murders.
"Priest Seat" -- Demi Moore is a preacher by day, stripper by night.
"Resist Peat" -- In the sequel, a nude Demi Moore protests use of fossil fuels.
"I Test Spare" -- In the rousing conclusion, Demi Moore changes a tire while nude.
"Home for the Solid Hay" -- A horse family reunites.
"No Hemp, None!" -- A man smokes way to much dope, becomes a genius, then decides to give it up.
"The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Moan Unit" -- Hugh Grant hates to exercise.
"The Shingle Man Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain." -- A roofer has a spiritual experience.
"Sea Err" -- A sailor screws up and drowns.
"Belt Our Child" -- Two parents can't deal with their son.
(anagrams: Sleepers, Contact, Crucible, Striptease, Holidays, Phenomenon, Mountain, Englishman, Eraser, Trouble)
"Where Angels Fear to Trade" -- Cutthroat Competition in the Casbah.
"The Mad Busters": The Saga of the Keaton Family.
"The 39 Pests" -- Alien Insects invade the Earth.
"Holiday Nin" -- Anais takes a break.
"The Handmaid's Late" -- It's tough, finding a reliable servant these days.
"Divorce, Cinerama Style" -- Feuding couple, wide apart.
"Why Shoot the Cheater?" -- The case for abolishing capital punishment.
"Nude" -- It was so hot on the Arrakis set that the actors shucked all their clothing.
(anagrams: Tread, Dam, Steps, Inn, Tale, American, Teacher, Dune)
"Plan 9 from Route Space" -- SMTP gateway servers devise a way to shorten multiple hops requiring packet-parsing.
"Beauty and the Beats" -- Documentary examining the aesthetics of the turtlenecked Kerouac/Ferlinghetti crowd.
"Ye Tuba and the Beast" -- Marching brass band vanquishes a fire-breathing dragon in Merrie Olde England.
"101 Damn Talias" -- Glenn Close plays Francis Ford Coppola's sister in many unpleasant incarnations.
"Mutiny on the Nut-Boy" -- Passengers aboard a cruise ship conspire to overthrow the lad who brings them almonds and cashews.
"Fat Asian" -- Cartoon sumo wrestlers cavort to classical music.
"Wrenlace of Arabia" -- Nature film reveals intricate nest festoonery of small Middle Eastern birds.
"Gitover!" -- Using a simple positive affirmation, Hitchcockian cowboy psychiatrist exhorts bedazed patient to recover from illness.
(anagrams: Outer, Beast, Beauty, Dalmatians, Bounty, Fantasia, Lawrence, Vertigo)
"Arm lice on 34th Street" -- The heartwarming story of an infestation of a new breed of crab lice that attack only the upper appendages of white-bearded short men.
"Dead Clam" -- After the loss of their son, a couple is terrorized at sea by a reanimated mollusk.
"Atomic Face" -- A compilation of 60's shorts about the effects of nuclear radiation on acne.
(anagrams: Calm, Cafe)
"The Reed Hunter" -- Oboist in search of the perfect mouthpiece.
"Soldier Lube" -- Keeping the wheels of war turning smoothly.
"From Russia with Vole" -- His mission: to smuggle a small rodent back to the West.
"Rebel Without a Sauce" -- A young man's struggle for gastronomic acceptance.
(anagrams: Blue, Love, Cause)
"A Man Called Shore" -- In this remake of the Richard Harris classic, today's worst comic actor plays an ever-adolescent fool who pokes dated, racist fun at his Indian captors and inspires Siskel and Ebert to amputate their thumbs.
"Rats Wars" -- Galactic rodents fight over lunar cheese.
"Guess Show Coming to Dinner" -- The whole Jeopardy gang arrives at your door along with the Pizza Hut delivery guy.
"They Shoot Shores, Don't They?" -- Paparazzi hound Dinah's family.
(anagrams: Star, Who's, Horses)
"The Grown Trousers" -- In Nick Park's new animation, crazy inventor Wallace comes up with a "shrinking" ray that can be used to store items. But something goes haywire in the restoration process. Help, Gromit!
"A Mite to Kill" -- Rifle-toting exterminators.
(anagrams: Wrong, Time)
"The Claret's Letter" -- Wino's fate.
"North by North Stew" -- Cary grant gives cooking lessons in the Antarctic.
"The Last Action Hoer" -- About a ruthless gardener.
"The LSAT of Sheila" -- An Australian girl tries to get into law school.
"West Ides Story" -- Musical version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, set in present-day Manhattan.
"Mean Setters" -- Cujo sequel.
"Forget Parsi" -- A language study film for immigrants from Bombay.
"Dreidl of the Sands" -- The Las Vegas casino adds a new gambling table in time for Chanukah.
"Sweating to the Isolde" -- Operatic workout video.
"For a Few Dollars, Rome" -- Budget travel guide.
"Lumber in the Bronx" -- Sequel to "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
"My Dinner with Nader" -- In which Ralph tiresomely lectures his tablemate about the dangers of food additives.
(anagrams: Last, Side, Streets, Paris, Riddle, Oldies, More, Rumble, Andre)
"Slot Weekend" -- A casino flick.
"Beauty and the Esbat" -- Dark tale of a coven and their rituals.
"Fiber Encounter" -- About an explosion at the mill.
"Romancing the Steno" -- An office tryst.
"A Streetcar Named Reside" -- Story of some homeless folks.
"Apocalypse Won" -- Now there's a story!
"Closely Watched Strain" -- Notes from a psychologist.
(anagrams: Lost, Beast, Brief, Stone, Desire, Now, Trains)
"Cape Fare" -- Nick Nolte and Robert DeNiro running a little New England seafood
restaurant. (anagram: Fear)
"Primal Fare" -- A documentary focusing on the basic food groups.
"Tucker: A Man and His Madre" -- An entrepreneurial genius challenges the designs put on his life by his mother.
"Dade Poets Society" -- Floridian meter readers gather bimonthly at the Miami Beach YMCA.
(anagrams: Fear, Dream, Dead)
"The Bi-dregs of Madison County" -- The lives of the lowliest of the two way swingers in one midwest county.
"The Goths and Mrs. Muir" -- A kind and gentle Englishwoman defends her home from the rampaging Germanic hordes!
"From Here to Tiny Tree" -- The hero decides to relocate to Japan after the war and help rebuild their economy through sales of bansais.
"Crocodile Denude" -- Paul Hogan slips into soft-core porn.
"I Trash" -- Dustin Hoffman is a garbage collector in the desert.
(anagrams: Eternity, Dundee, Ishtar)
Copyright © 1996 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.