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Author Topic: Unforgiven - original title Cut-Throat Ws  (Read 3255 times)
shabby chic
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« on: January 16, 2003, 02:10:05 PM »

In Richard Schickel's (spelling?) he wrote the original title was Cut-Throat W (I can't wrote that word).  He wrote that Eastwood ordered a name change, and this Unforgiven was born.  Schickel is not very clear.  Did Eastwood come up with the title Unforgiven or the script writer?  
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AKA23
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2003, 02:16:50 PM »

The original titles were different (either the William Munny Killings or the Cut Whore Killings ) and it was Eastwood, reportedly, who came up with the simpler and more poetic title of Unforgiven later on in the production.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2003, 03:57:49 PM by AKA23 » Logged
Hemlock
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2003, 02:19:32 PM »

Maybe he came up with the title while he was watching old John Huston/Burt Lancaster western? ;D
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KC
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2003, 06:11:30 PM »

"Cut-throat whores?" That doesn't even make sense ...  ???

Quote
cut·throat
n.
A murderer, especially one who cuts throats.

The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

The whores may be ruthless, but they're not cutthroats; it's one of their number who has been cut ... everything but her throat (and her, well, Munny says it, I won't). Everything above her throat, anyway.

According to Schickel (Clint Eastwood, p. 452), the title of Peoples's screenplay when Eastwood first saw it in 1983 was The Cut-Whore Killings. Eastwood changed it to Unforgiven, after asking Peoples' permission, when he finally put it into production in 1991. Sometime in between it was given the working title The William Munny Killings; I have a "production draft" screenplay dated 1984 that bears that title.

KC
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shabby chic
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2003, 11:18:29 AM »

Thanks, KC.  I couldn't remember the original title very well.  ;D But if you read the Schickel passage more carefully you will read that Eastwood simply ordered a name change, and it does not in fact state that he himself came up with Unforgiven.  I have the feeling that Clint did make it up, but Schickel's writing wasn't very lucid.

"Cut-throat whores?" That doesn't even make sense ...  ???The whores may be ruthless, but they're not cutthroats; it's one of their number who has been cut ... everything but her throat (and her, well, Munny says it, I won't). Everything above her throat, anyway.

According to Schickel (Clint Eastwood, p. 452), the title of Peoples's screenplay when Eastwood first saw it in 1983 was The Cut-Whore Killings. Eastwood changed it to Unforgiven, after asking Peoples' permission, when he finally put it into production in 1991. Sometime in between it was given the working title The William Munny Killings; I have a "production draft" screenplay dated 1984 that bears that title.

KC
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Conan
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2003, 03:40:36 PM »

  Another working title was "Whore's Gold".  I heard this on Leno about a year ago when Kevin Costner explained how he tried to a get part in the movie.
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AKA23
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2003, 03:59:31 PM »

Yikes! That's a terrible title. Aren't we glad that Clint decided to go with Unforgiven, and that Kevin Costner ended up having nothing to do with the project?  ;D
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Christopher
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2003, 05:16:01 PM »

I don't know if there would have been a good role for Costner in Unforgiven, but when Eastwood did work with him the results were pretty good.

Wouldn't that have been something if the title had stayed The Cut-Whore Killings?

"And the Best Picture of 1992 is... The Cut-Whore Killings." :o
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KC
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2003, 11:09:27 PM »

... if you read the Schickel passage more carefully you will read that Eastwood simply ordered a name change, and it does not in fact state that he himself came up with Unforgiven.  I have the feeling that Clint did make it up, but Schickel's writing wasn't very lucid.

When I answered you hurriedly last night, I hadn't seen the following passage in Schickel, on the page BEFORE the one I was referring to, that is, on p. 451:

Quote
[Eastwood] knew something the outsiders did not, that he had in his possession a script that would return him triumphantly to his genre roots and yet speak in clear metaphors to certain pressing issues of the moment. He had held it quietly to himself not because he had any doubts about it, but because he knew that a day would come when he would need to draw on its redemptive power. Before he went off to shoot it in the fall of 1991, he made one, and only one, significant revision in David Webb Peoples's screenplay: When he originally purchased it, the script had been called The Cut-Whore Killings. That had been changed to The William Munny Killings. Now Clint ordered another title change. Henceforth, this film would be known as Unforgiven.

I agree, that's a little ambiguous, but I took it to mean Clint not only ordered the title change, but selected the new title himself. Of course, someone else may have suggested it first; I guess we'll never know.

At any rate ... here's what he had to say about the title when he was interviewed by Cahiers du cinéma in August, 1992:

Quote
Can you explain to us the choice of the title Unforgiven, which has no equivalent in the French language? Moreover, there is already a film by John Huston that bears the same title.

Yes, I think I was given to understand that there is no French translation for "Unforgiven," and that the film is being called "Eem … Impitoyable," that's it. Huston did make a picture by the same title, in the fifties I think (editors' note: The Unforgiven, 1960). Well, it's a good title, it seemed to me to suit the film perfectly, and since I think the film by Huston isn't one of his best, like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre or other classics, I didn't see anything wrong in using it for mine.
(from Cahiers du cinéma, no. 460 (October 1992); reprinted in Clint Eastwood: Interviews, p. 183)

KC
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shabby chic
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2003, 01:15:08 PM »

Thanks, KC!  That's a great quote.  Do you know where one could find that entire interview?
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KC
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2003, 04:31:39 PM »

Here ...



You'll find the entire interview, translated by yours truly ;), on p. 176-186. Click on the picture above to order from Amazon.com, with which this site is affiliated.
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