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July 2004, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 8 Jul 2004 11:37:23 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Dennis Bingham <[log in to unmask]>
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TORA TORA TORA was, of course, a famously troubled production that resulted in
a dull film.  Co-productions had become so common in the sixties that the
producers' approach probably could have been a lot less "ad hoc."  The
earliest and best known coproduction that comes to my mind is Paramount-UFA's
THE BLUE ANGEL.  However, the rise of independent Hollywood production, the
availability of inexpensive European and Asian locations and labor, and a new
postwar international cooperation brought an explosion of coproductions from
the late-fifties on.  The new Criterion Collection DVD of IL GATTOPARDO/THE
LEOPARD, a U.S. (20th-Fox)-Italian coproduction with an American star, Burt
Lancaster headlining an epic about Italian history, is very instructive as to
this practice.  The Criterion package includes both the Italian and English
language version as well as multiple supplements.

The phenomenon of the coproduction carried with it in the sixties the stigma
of the awkward polyglot bomb (e.g., the 1966 French-British film IS PARIS
BURNING?, the Italian-U.S. WAR AND PEACE [1956], etc.)  Fox itself based its
production of TORA TORA TORA on the successful model of THE LONGEST DAY
(1962), on which Williams is listed as an "Associate Producer and Coordinator
of Battle Sequences" and which employed the German director Bernhard Wicki to
direct the German-language sequences.

Dennis Bingham
Associate Professor and Director of Film Studies
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Dept. of English
425 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone (317) 274-9825

Quoting Mark Nornes <[log in to unmask]>:

> I am writing a little on Tora Tora Tora, using it as an example for
> some of the translation problems faced by international co-productions.
> Going through the files of the producer, Elmo Williams, I've been
> surprised at how ad hoc their approach to translation issues was. This
> got me thinking. Did Hollywood have much experience with co-productions
> before this, and particularly at this scale?  There were all the talkie
> era MLVs, but what about international co-productions.  I'm not sure. I
> suppose Welles and Eisenstein in Latin America come to mind. Who else?
> Markus
> ----
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> University of Alabama:

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