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'Birth of a Nation,' 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' and more movies with the same title, different story

Nate Parker, left, stars with Aja Naomi King

Nate Parker, left, stars with Aja Naomi King in "The Birth of a Nation." Credit: Fox Searchlight

If the title of Nate Parker’s drama “The Birth of a Nation,” which opens in theaters Friday, Oct. 7, has a familiar ring to it, that’s because it was also the name of D.W. Griffith’s controversial 1915 silent epic. Their stories, however, are decidedly different: Griffith’s film came under fire for its racist overtones and for glorifying the Ku Klux Klan, while Parker’s movie focuses on a rebellion led by black slave Nat Turner.

This isn’t the first time two unrelated movies have shared a title. You may recall these others.

MORNING GLORY (1933) Katharine Hepburn won her first of four Oscars as an aspiring actress in love with the thea-tah.

MORNING GLORY (2010) This rom-com focused on a morning talk-show producer (Rachel McAdams) who butts heads with the grizzled anchorman (Harrison Ford) she hires as a co-host.

MEN IN BLACK (1934) The Three Stooges wreaked havoc (what else is new) as dizzy docs at a hospital in this Oscar-nominated short.

MEN IN BLACK (1997) Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones played the males of the title hired to battle extraterrestrials.

MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941) Alfred Hitchcock’s sole foray into screwball comedy was done as a favor to Carole Lombard. She and Robert Montgomery starred as a couple who discover after three years that they aren’t legally married.

MR. AND MRS. SMITH (2005) Sparks — and plenty of bullets — flew between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a married pair who work as assassins for rival agencies. Their latest assignments: Each must kill the other.

HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1943) A Lothario (Don Ameche) arrives in Hades and via flashbacks pleads his case on why he doesn’t belong in Heaven.

HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1978) In this remake of “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” (1941), Warren Beatty played a football player who is killed prematurely and returns to Earth in the body of a recently murdered millionaire.

NOTORIOUS (1946) This Hitchcock gem featured Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman as undercover agents working to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring in Brazil.

NOTORIOUS (2009) A shattering portrait of rapper Notorious B.I.G. (Jamal Woolard), who was 24 when he was killed in a drive-by shooting.

BROKEN ARROW (1950) This Western starring James Stewart was one of the first to present a sympathetic portrait of American Indians.

BROKEN ARROW (1996) John Travolta and Christian Slater headlined this tale about terrorists stealing nuclear warheads.


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