Quote Du Jour: James M. Cain on Titles

Blowhard, Esq. writes:


James M. Cain had wanted to call his first novel “Bar-B-Que.” Alfred Knopf quite rightly thought that was a terrible title. Cain suggested “Black Puma” or “The Devil’s Checkbook.” The publisher disliked those, too, and proposed calling it “For Love or Money.” Then Cain thought of a title he really liked: “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” Knopf said he still preferred “For Love or Money.” Cain got angry. “There is only one rule I know on a title,” he wrote Knopf. “It must sound like the author and not like some sure-fire product of the title factory.” He suggested that “For Love or Money” might do very well for a musical comedy or a movie, or just about anything. He went on to name more all-purpose titles that sounded typical of the title factory, like “Hold Everything” or “Hell and High Water.” Knopf knew when to retreat.

City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940’s by Otto Friedrich

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
This entry was posted in Books Publishing and Writing, Movies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Quote Du Jour: James M. Cain on Titles

  1. plwinkler says:

    Looks like Hollywood studios have been liking the title “Hell and High Water” for a long time.
    Here’s director Sam Fuller’s 1954 Cold War nuclear thriller, “Hell and High Water”.


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s