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What is the meaning of the word "Fall" in the movie title Legends of the Fall? Does it mean "autumn" or does it mean "downfall"?

I am native German speaker and I cannot currently figure which one is meant here. Both meanings would make sense to me.

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    As a British English speaker living in the USA ... it doesn't feel right that it would mean Autumn, but is more likely a reference to the Biblical Fall. IMDB trivia says that it refers to the biblical fall, but notes that the translation of the title into other languages translated it into Autumn. It would be interesting if someone has a definitive sourced answer. – iandotkelly Feb 16 '18 at 17:45
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    Well, the movie is based on the 1979 novella of the same title by Jim Harrison. So, the meaning of "Fall" in the movie title should be the same as in the novella title. – ibrahim mahrir Feb 16 '18 at 18:44
  • @iandotkelly Heh, oddly I always thought it does mean the season fall. Speaks for how interesting the question is, I guess. (In my local translation it's simply called "legends of passion", though). – Napoleon Wilson Feb 16 '18 at 19:06
  • @NapoleonWilson.... that may be British bias. I think its the full title "Legends of ...." that makes it sound to me like its unlikely to be about a season. Need to find someone that has read the book. – iandotkelly Feb 16 '18 at 20:04
  • In French it is indeed translated as "Légendes d'Automne", as in the season. It never occured to me the original title could be about another kind of "Fall". – kikirex Feb 17 '18 at 0:11
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According to IMDb trivia:

The title refers to the biblical fall from innocence. In Sweden, however, the title was translated as "Höstlegender" meaning Legends of the Fall (the season, as in autumn). Similarly, in South Korea, the title was "Gaeul-ui jeonseol" interpreting "the fall" as the autumn season. The same in France, where it was named "Légendes d'automne" also in Romania, named "Legendele toamnei".

Perhaps it refers to autumn, since the story, is told through the eyes of an old Cree scout who remembers time in terms of seasons.

In my opinion, Jim Harrison, the author of the novel with the same name, meant the title to serve both interpretations.

  • When quoting external sources wholesale, please make sure to put them in proper quote formatting and mention the source it's from, preferably with a link thereto. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 18 '18 at 17:08
  • Besides that, though, that IMDb statement doesn't really seem to provide any backing to its claim either. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 18 '18 at 17:10
  • I think intentional ambiguity on the part of the author is the most likely explanation. Intentional ambiguity is a widely used and powerful literary device. There is at least one entire book on the subject. – Todd Wilcox Feb 18 '18 at 19:04
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Simple lingual logic: As the Ludlows are of Cornish decent (and proud of it, all though Anthony Hopkins mostly speaks with the sound of his native Welsh), they most likely will NOT use American English for the season - that is, if the title suggests a season, it would most likely have been "autumn". So. Along with the plot, it can only mean the downfall or falling (apart) of a family, values, moral, civilization (contunue the list at your liking as you choose an interpretation among the many possibilities). A modern version/theme of the Buddenbrooks or any other family saga-novels.

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