During their 34-year working relationship, Stanley Kubrick and his assistant Tony Frewin kept a list of potential movie titles called “Titles in search of a script.” Frewin reveals the list with commentary explaining the source of the titles in the book The Stanley Kubrick Archives.
I MARRIED AN ARMENIAN: Said matter-of-factly to us by a woman publicist. Stanley thought it a great title for a 1940s-style Warner Bros. musical.
IF ONLY THE FÜHRER KNEW!: This was a common saying in Germany in the 1930s whenever something went wrong or somebody did something wrong. Used mockingly with the eyes looking upwards.
HOT SHEETS, LEG CANDY, LEG MAGIC, FEEL TIGHT, PARTITION MAGIC: Five vehicles for Sharon Stone. Partition Magic was the name of a software package in the days of DOS that almost allowed you to run two programs concurrently.
ONLY MINISTERS OF THE THIRD REICH MAY USE GREEN INK: Stanley read somewhere that this was, in fact, true. He thought it would make a great art house double bill with Wim Wender’s 1971 film, The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick.
COFFIN NOT INCLUDED: A 1940s noir thriller. When I was researching props for the morgue scene in Eyes Wide Shut I had a catalogue from a company that supplied funeral parlour equipment. One of the illustrations showed a bier with a coffin on it. The caption read: “The Excelsior Bier (coffin not included.)”
DR STRANGLE-GLOVE: Stanley’s title misunderstood by a switchboard operator at Shepperton Studios while he was making the film.
OSMIROID AND OBLIVION and OTHER BARRELS, OTHER NIBS: Two art house films about European writers. Lots of sensitivity, lots of angst. Osmiroid made some of Stanley’s favourite fountain pens. Oskar Werner in the lead?
TWIG THE ENHANCER: Heroic quest and Tolkien-type fantasy. Stanley’s house was in a sink as regards mobile phone reception, so, the company put in an enhancer to boost reception and transmission. After a few weeks it went down. An engineer turned up and fixed it. We asked him what he had done. He replied, “I had to twig the enhancer.”
NIGHTCLUBS, MORGUES, HOSPITAL: A comedy with Steve Martin.
IN THE PENILE COLONY: Not penal … Kafka meets Marilyn Chambers?
ONE BAG, ONE NOTEBOOK: Art house angst, Oskar Werner again.
THE WIZARD OF AUSCHWITZ: A concentration camp film with a feel-good ending.
AUSCHWITZ AND ME!: A musical. The follow-up to Springtime for Hitler?
SHARP SHADOW ON THE WALL: Arty noir film set in the 1940s with not a lot happening.
THE TWO WALLYS: From Wally Veevers and Wally Gentleman, two of the SFX supervisors on 2001: A Space Odyssey.
SIGHT GAGS FOR PERVERTS: How Dr. Strangelove was described on its release in a review in the Bulletin of the American Film Institute! Stanley cherished this.
SOME LIKE IT COLD and JACK THE SNIFFER: An intriguing double-bill for forensic science buffs.
SPEAKING ALARMS: Low budget Brit film seen by nobody.
KIRA THE KARAOKE GIRL: A low budget art house film from somewhere in the Balkans. Lots of tears. Depressing ending.