The dubbing in SITR contains a number of interesting contradicitons:
First, it (like many plot elements in SITR) is an homage to the film past,
where some films did have the actual actress dubbed with a different voice.
(Hitchcock's BLACKMAIL is a famous case in point.)
Second, the dubbing of Debbie Reynolds in *most* of the songs was done by
one Betty Royce, while the dubbing of the "Would You?" number for THE
DANCING CAVALIER was done by the "real" voice of Jean Hagen (Lina Lamont).
*That*, though, is a level of self-referentiality that is not made explicit
for the film audience in general--but probably was a hoot for the folks
on the set.
Finally, there's the dubbing itself. I haven't looked at my references to
check, but it's my understanding that the kind of overdubbing that has
"Cathy's" voice on a record that will go on the soundtrack over "Lina's"
was certainly not possible in 1929. The scene in the sound studio with
Cosmo also seems to indicate use of an optical sound track, which would't
come along for a couple of years. (In the case of BLACKMAIL, the actress
had to stand behind the set while Annie Ondra mouthed the words.)
Notice also the suddenly-soundproofed cameras that record the new musical
scenes (replacing those glassed-in isolation booths). Thus is film history
elided. It's a matter of convention and convenience, to be sure, but it's
also pretty typcial!
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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