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December 1995, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Evan Cameron <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 21 Dec 1995 12:00:01 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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David Smith:
I have always favoured subtitles over dubbed versions, accustomed as we
are to bad dubbing, without giving much thought to the possible
limitations of subtitles.  Recently, however, I have rethought the matter,
and must now admit that - with respect to long takes of dialogue! -
dubbing has a singular advantage.  No one viewing the dialogue scenes in
long take in a subtitled print of STALKER (Tarkovsky), for example, can
gather any idea at all of the effect the original version conveys, for
one's attention is continually being snapped to the bottom of the screen
to follow the dialogue.  Not until one encounters (e.g.,) the long take
of the handcar passage into the zone accompanied by sound-effects but NO
dialogue, hence no subtitles, can one gather what one is missing in the
dialogue sequences through the constant visual intrusion of the
subtitles.  A dubbed version, carefully done, would be much preferable
here, and in every other instance of long-take dialogue I know (e.g.,
Fellini's 8-and-1/2).  One must remember, as well, that we are accustomed
to bad dubbing overall; as AUTUMN SONATA indicates, it can be very
effective when done well, even when dialogue is presented in short takes.
Evan William Cameron                            Telephone: 416-736-5149
York University - CFT 216 (Film)                Fax:       416-736-5710
4700 Keele Street                               E-mail:    [log in to unmask]
North York, Ontario
Canada  M3J 1P3
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