Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Motion Picture Simul-Cast

Some YouTuber has dug up something interesting: the last part of this clip (around the mid-point of the embedded clip) is an excerpt from the French version of The Merry Widow (1934). Early in the talkie era, before it became easy to dub movies into other languages, studios sometimes experimented with shooting two or more versions simultaneously, in different languages. With The Merry Widow, they brought in a separate French cast to support the two stars, Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald.

The clip presents three versions of this scene: one in the censored post-Code print (see here for details), one in the uncensored print used on Turner Classic Movies and elsewhere, and finally the scene from the French version, with a French actor replacing Edward Everett Horton.

Jeanette MacDonald's French isn't great, but it's no worse than a lot of actors who try to speak English.

1 comment:

Erica said...

It's hard to tell 'cause the quality is so murky, but the dude in the middle...Edward Everett Horton?

It sounds like him but can't tell if it is him....I just adore him, as far as outstanding old character actors go.