“A Man Called Horse” vs “The Man with the Golden Gun” - article usage

Henares

Senior Member
Polish
Hi,

I’d like to ask about the articles used in the films titles below:
  1. A Man Called Horse
  2. The Man with the Golden Gun
What do filmmakers want to imply choosing which article to use? Before watching the films I don’t know who is called “Horse” or who has a golden gun and therefore “a” seems more logical to me.
Thanks
 
  • Linguisticks

    Member
    English - Australia
    Well, you wouldn't say "a man called a Horse", just as you wouldn't say "a man called a John".

    As for the Man with the Golden Gun, the definite article is used because the focus is on only one man and one gun. Sure, you may not know anything before you see the film, but the definite article is used to make you curious about who the man is, and what happens with the gun.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    What do filmmakers want to imply choosing which article to use? Before watching the films I don’t know who is called “Horse” or who has a golden gun and therefore “a” seems more logical to me.
    The filmmakers used the titles that the authors (Dorothy M Johnson and Ian Fleming) -- or their editors -- chose for their stories when they were first published (1950 and 1965, respectively). I make no claim to understand how writers think, but the titles sound much better to me as they stand.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Before watching the films I don’t know who is called “Horse” or who has a golden gun
    And this is the point of the title! It makes you feel as if you should wath the film to find out who there men are.

    A title does not follow the same grammar as an ordinary sentence. You can understand the titles as "This is a film about a man called Horse / the man with the golden gun."
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The definite article is used when what it refers to is specific rather than general:

    A Man Called Horse. A story about a man who has the unusual forename of Horse.

    The Man with the Golden Gun. A story about a man who earned himself the epithet “the man with the golden gun”.
     
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