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August 2000, Week 2


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Lang Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 Aug 2000 23:25:46 -0400
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>Does this seem like a reasonable idea? Are there films that we might use in
>teaching undergraduates that some of you might prefer to use in a dubbed

Quite reasonable.  But in practice dubbing too often works against that
good ole "suspension of disbelief."  Hong Kong films for instance are done
like Italian ones with the dialogue all dubbed later but in some cases
without a "native language" version.  HK films are designed to be dubbed
into Cantonese and Mandarin at the very least and often with other
languages as well.  (HK DVDs usually offer a rich choice; Bahasa anyone?)
Jet Li, for instance, speaks Mandarin and not Cantonese so all his HK films
have Cantonese dialogue dubbed by somebody else.  English dubbed versions
are often so disconcerting--even if fairly well done--that the often inept
subtitles are less distracting.  Of course martial arts films and kaiju
eiga benfit from this disjunction.

I once watched the US version of Bava's "Black Sunday" back to back with
the UK/European version "Mask of Satan" and it's amazing how much the
different dubbing of more or less the same film can affect the film.
They're both in English but the US one is watered down and clearly aimed at
the kids matinee market while the European version is more openly adult.
In one pub scene a man makes a reference in the US to getting something to
eat but the European one he talks about being drunk.  (They're easy to
compare since the US version is one tape and shown on cable fairly often
while the new DVD has the European version.)

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