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December 1996, Week 3


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Eugene Walz <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 17:38:56 -0600
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Perhaps this is a convenient place to confess and apologize. If there is
anyone out there who was in a movie theatre in Geneva, Switzerland in
August of 1968 watching Will Penny, le solitaire, I apologize for the
disruption I caused. But Watching Charlton Heston's lips move while a
mellifluous, romantic Frenchman dubbed his craggy voice was just too
hilarious. Every time Charlton opened his mouth, I LAUGHED. None of the
rest of the audience found it at all funny; so I was eventually asked to
leave, holding my sides in amused anguish.
        Dubbing can be gauche and inappropriate. On the other hand,
subtitling can sometimes be unfortunately but necessarily abbreviated.
French, for instance, speaks faster than the English translation can be
printed and read. So things get left out. I can remember watching a
subtitled version of The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie and hearing one
of the characters say something like "Vous etes trop discrete." Even though
one would think this an important sentence to subtitle, it did not fit in
the time allotted the shot. Repartee must be almost impossible to subtitle,
I would guess.
Gene Walz
University of Manitoba
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