Mitt Romney’s full name is Willard Mitt Romney, but he never uses Willard. Can it have anything to do with a bizarre 1971 movie titled Willard? In the movie, Willard, unhappy in his job at a bank, befriends a rat and names it Ben. Eventually he meets Ben’s friends who live in the basement of the decaying mansion that is their mutual home. Gradually Willard teaches Ben and his rat friends to obey his commands.
Willard’s mean boss at the bank, Mr. Martin, fiercely portrayed by Ernest Borgnine, is trying to get him evicted so he can buy the old mansion. He pursues Willard into the basement where, at Willard’s command, in a horrific scene, the rats attack Mr. Martin and eat him. But soon after that, Ben, begins to get jealous of Willard’s girlfriend, played by Sondra Locke, and in the climactic finale, the entire rat army rises up, swarms over Willard, and eats him.
Mitt was 24 when the movie, Willard, came out. That was the year he graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. and married Ann. The movie, Willard, had no nudity or bad language so could have been shown in a proper Provo main stem theater. If Mitt Romney or any of his friends saw it, it’s understandable that Mitt might not have wanted to be called Willard after that.
But a name is not the only curious symmetry between Willard, the movie, and Willard Mitt Romney, presidential candidate, who now finds himself leader of some fierce new basement dwellers in one of his own mansions.