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please to note - - - the actors in SPELLBOUND do NOT - - - repeat: do NOT - -
- speak with British accents.  .  .  they speak with Hollywood accents . . .
almost no one in Hollywood spoke anything remotely like American English
until the breakdown of the studio system - - - remember the comical elocution
lesson in SINGIN IN THE RAIN - - - or think about the way Kim Novak spoke in
almost all her roles . . . a certain Britishness was simply considered classy
and common in movies through the forties and fifties, and only actresses and
actors whose stock in trade was a kind of tough American quality (John Wayne,
Glen Ford, Barbara Stanwyck) or a kind of AMerican plain spoken honesty (Jimmy
Stewart is the classic example) could be counted on to speak anything like a
real human language.  Think for a minute of Myrna Loy and WIlliam Powell, or
Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn; they were clearly American characters but their
language was something no human ear ever heard outside of a movie house.
 
The issue of race remains a confounded and confounding one (as is the whole
ugly bag of what is now called the politics of personal identity), but this
peciliarity of Hollywood's perpetual concern for respectability, reflected
for years in a kind of Britsh toniness in speech, is at best a minor side-bar
to the real issue.
 
Mike Frank
 
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