Take the 2-minute tour ×
Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Why is Django's wife's name spelt Broomhilda rather than Brunhilda (or Broonhilda)? I have only come across the latter spelling (and variants such as Brunhilde, Brünnhilde or Brynhilde) in the mythological story. I didn't actually notice that Django was pronouncing his wife's name with an M. But I do seem to distinctly remember Dr. Schultz pronouncing her name (in his German accent) more like Brünnhilde.

I see that there's a 1970s newspaper comic strip named Broom-Hilda where the titular character is a witch. The name is therefore a pun on Brunhilda.

Broom-Hilda

So, what gives? Is Tarantino tipping his hat towards the comic? If not, is he suggesting that the German plantation owners spelt her name so? Do the characters in the movie pronounce her name with an M? I don't remember if there's a shot where her name is displayed—perhaps in Greenville, or when the contracts are signed in Candieland.

(I don't believe that it is suggested anywhere that Broomhilda was also taught how to read and write by her mistress. Django only learns to do so midway through the film.)

share|improve this question
1  
I just finished reading the Vertigo comic adaptation, (which, BTW, was excellent,) and the name is in print countless times, spoken by Schultz (even as he is relating the legend of Brunhilde to Django), spoken by Django, spoken by EVERYone, and never is it spelled any way other than Broomhilda, with no explanation. It made me curious enough to consult the Great Google, who led me to this thread. I can only conclude that it was a complete oversight by Quentin, he simply didn't know any better (and, evidently, neither did any of his editors or proof-readers or whomever is supposed to prevent the –  user6175 Sep 20 '13 at 1:31

3 Answers 3

First of all, she is indeed spelled Broomhilda (with an "M") both in the credits and throughout the movie. I think it's only Schultz who calls her Brunhilda due to his habits. I just understood that as a parody of the original name, emphasizing her status as a slave, since she's supposed to carry a broom when cleaning up behind her masters, something along those lines.

I just thought it has always been her name. But given that her original plantation owners were Germans it may also be that her original name was indeed Brunhilda and the parody name was only developed later by other plantation owners, overseers, or co-slaves.

But it might also have another meaning, given that comic-strip and Tarantino's fondness for the 70s.

share|improve this answer
4  
It might also have been a mis-heard word taking on a life of its own, like Amsterdam becoming "Hamsterdam" in "The Wire". –  Will Feldman Apr 20 '13 at 20:19

Note that the proper spelling is Brünnhilde, so "broom" is not the only change, also the -e to an -a. Tarantino pretty obviously took the spelling from the comic strip, but I see no symbolism there other than the obvious: humiliation of a slave woman who inside was a proud valkyrie, and mocking Southern whites ignorant of the Nibelungenlied, their cultural heritage (Wagner's opera was first performed in 1869, so they would not have known about that). Tarantino mocked the whites' pretensions and facade in other ways, like how Calvin Candie favored French but didn't speak it himself (despite plenty of money and leisure time to learn it).

share|improve this answer
    
Yet the version of the Nibelungenlied told by Schultz in the movie wasn't really that accurate as well and was much more archaic and more similar to the Nordic Sigurd-legend on which the more modern and medieval Nibelungenlied was likely based on. So in fact this ignorance of the Nibelungelied could also be blamed on Schultz, too (or maybe Tarantino?). –  Sonny Burnett Aug 23 '13 at 15:55

I think the movie is purposely making many illusions to mid and late 20th century popular culture as well. Broomhilda is not the only character named after a comic strip. Leonardo Di Caprio's character is named Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs) he lives on the Candie-Land (similar to the children's board game) ranch. Django and Broomhilda are supposed to be the ancestors of Shaft according to IMDB. The name Django itself was taken from the hero of a string of spaghetti westerns, which in tun took the name from the famous Gypsy Jazz guitar legend, Django Reinhardt. I'm sure there are many other references as well.

share|improve this answer
1  
Sure there aren't other famous people called Calvin or other famous places called Candyland (apart from a board game)? Nobody argues that Tarantino scatters references to anything everywhere, but those in particular seem too far-fetched and unrelated when provided without any proofs. And besides that I cannot see in which way this answers the actual question at all. –  Sonny Burnett Aug 26 '13 at 23:52

protected by TylerShads Sep 20 '13 at 3:38

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.