Tag lines seek to express the essential appeal of a movie in a phrase which pithily encapsulates its theme, its interest and its mood. This form embraces a number of techniques:

The Rule of Three, including: ‘Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas’ (Army ofDarkness); ‘Small town, big crime, dead cold’ (Fargo); ‘Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness’ (Ed Wood); ‘For better. For worse. Forever’ (Tom and Viv).

Wordplay, as in: ‘His Majesty was all-powerful and allknowing. But he wasn’t quite all there’ (The Madness of King George); ‘Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now he’s writing to stay alive’ (Misery); ‘They overcame the impossible by doing the unthinkable’ (Alive).

Contradictions, such as: ‘They’re having a secret love affair. Only 50,000 people know about it’ (Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter); ‘Fifty million people watched. But no one saw a thing’ (Quiz Show).

Twists, like: ‘In the Wild West a woman had only two choices. She could be a wife or she could be a whore… Josephine Monaghan chose to be a man’ (The Ballad of Little Jo).

How Plays Work
David Edgar