Recent showings on Film 4 in the UK of ‘The Eagle’ film, based on Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth, have reminded me of my frustration and disappointment that the film was not itself called The Eagle of the Ninth. For many months during filming and productionthe it had the full title, but after test-marketing in the USA, the US film studio Focus Features insisted on shortening the title – because US audiences seemed to think The Eagle of the Ninth might be about golf! (I am not joking).
At the time I wrote that I chose to believe that the studio knew its business and its market, although the subsequent failure of their marketing in the US lead me to wonder a little more. The (standard) contract for the book rights gave those of us responsible for Rosemary Sutcliff’s book no veto or locus in the decision.
In many, but not all, countries the title was a full translation of the original title. In others, of ‘The Eagle’. So far I think I have found:
Brazil: A Aguia da Nova
France: L’ Aigle de la Neuvième Légion
Germany: Der Adler der Neunten Legion
Greece: O aetos tis aftokratorias
Hungary: A sas
Japan: 第九軍団のワシ /
Lithuania: Devintojo legiono erelis
Poland: Dziewiaty legion
Portugal: A Águia da Nona Legião
Romania: Acvila legiunii a IX-a
Russia: Орел Девятого легиона
Spain: El águila de la novena legión