Apparently Attack the Block (UK film about south London estate kids taking on aliens which did well at SXSW recently) is going to be subtitled for a US audience. We were having a chat about this at work, and a friend of mine was quite indignant about it, on the grounds that it was pandering to an assumption about the intelligence of American filmgoers.
I though she was being a bit, I don’t know, dramatic, maybe. I remember seeing Ken Loach’s My Name is Joe in the theatres in NZ, and it was subtitled. I was grateful for them – there were points when I simply could not understand the Glaswegian accent to hear what was being said.
Dopers, have you come across this before? No one at work had, but they’re mostly Brits. Aside from my Name is Joe, I couldn’t think of any other films that have had this treatment.
I live an hour and a half away from Glasgow, and I had a bit of trouble with some of the dialogue in My Name is Joe. It wasn’t incomprehensible, by any means, but it was tricky at times. There’s no shame, or “dumb foreigner” excuse, needed here.
There was at least one subtitled part…when they’re in the club and Tommy and Spud are yelling at each other to be heard. That’s probably in all versions, though, and more about the volume of the music than the accents…
The first english-language movie I ever saw which was subtitled in English was That Sinking Feeling, a really great movie about a young ne’erdowell in economically-depressed early-eighties Glasgow with an unlikely and not altogether well-thought-out plan for a profitable heist.
I saw it in a “club” theatre that screens foreign films that haven’t been rated by the BC Motion Picture Classification Office, and was gobsmacked by the subtitles, which seemed largely unnecessary and constantly distracting. (The “translator” paraphrased practically all idiomatic expressions, even when their meaning was transparent from context. Very annoying.)
I was even more annoyed years later, when I picked up a VHS copy and found that the dialogue had been completely re-dubbed to make it more easily comprehended by people who have never looked up from their own navels. It wasn’t necessary to subtitle the movie in English, and it sure as shit wasn’t necessary to dub it.
Subtitles are great if the movie is in a foreign language, but English subtitles for English dialogue is absurd, unless it’s for a scene that takes place in a noisy club or something. Dubbing English dialogue into a more homogeneous English is beyond stupid.
I was watching a documentary type show about snake handlers (you know, the snakes as part of religion folks) here in the US and one of the southern men who was speaking was subtitled. He happened to be speaking English at the time…
Bill Forsythe’s Gregory’s Girl was redubbed (still with Scottish accents, but less Scottishy) for its original release in America in 1981. The DVD has some clips of the original version; they’re nigh unintelligible. I still had to turn on subtitles to understand the redubbed version.