Laurel and Hardy are just as unfunny in Spanish

I caught about ten minutes worth of “La Vida Nocturna” on TCM the other night (Spanish dialogue, English subtitles). The plot is described on IMDb as “Stan lies to his wife about going to a nightclub with Ollie but Mrs. Laurel overhears the plot and outsmarts them both.” And that seemed to be it. Of the ten minutes I watched, two were of a dancer shaking her stuff (pretty racy for 1930) and the other eight were Stan and Ollie giggling.

I’m glad someone thought it was hysterically funny.

Ese es otro lío me has metido!

Isn’t that the film in which the English version was lost, but a Spanish version turned up?

Did Laurel and Hardy actually speak Spanish, or was it dubbed?

It looked to me like they were speaking Spanish.

The giggling could have been in English, I suppose. :dubious:

I’ve never seen it, but I read they did it phonetically, without understanding the language.

As a fan of Laurel and Hardy, I think one of the funniest films ever made was The Music Box. There’s one scene where Stan kicks a nanny in her backside (hey, he was provoked). When the nanny complains to a policeman, she says, “He kicked me in the middle of my daily duties!”

snort Took me about ten years to get that.

It would kind of lose it’s punch in Spanish, I imagine.

The best one-line description of Laurel and Hardy I ever heard was on the British version of Whose Line is it Anyway. John Sessions and another guy were told to do a sketch in the style of L & H, and the other guy was mucking it up. Sessions interrupted him and said in an Ollie voice, “Look, it’s quite simple. All you have to do…is be funny…slowly.

Ay! No es bueno!

Ben Mankiewicz, in his comments after the movie, said they were reading their lines from a chalkboard off camera.

Yep. All those films were done phonetically. I think French, German, and Italian were also done.

What’s amazing is not so much Laurel and Hardy doing that, but Hal Roach did the same thing with some of the early Our Gang shorts. Those kids also rattled off phonetic foreign languages.

You’d think it wouldn’t be to difficult even then to have bilingual people’s voices dubbed in for the actors, rather than making whole shorts over again several times.

Yes, and that’s the reason I’ve never really gotten into Laurel and Hardy. They are just waaay toooooo slow. I find them annoying to watch after awhile.

This is why it’s considered so funny – by people who speak Spanish. Their accents are absolutely ridiculous. Unless you speak Spanish fluently, though, you’re probably not going to realize it.

I remember seeing some of those Laurel and Hardy movies in Spanish. Indeed, they read their lines phonetically in Spanish, and -as RealityChuck says- part of the thing that makes it tremendously entertaining for native Spanish speakers is that they skewer the language mercilessly. Their accents are beyond hideous and go all the way round to being hysterically funny!

As to why no dubbing in early movies – possibly the technology was not well developed enough, and perhaps it was cheaper to just re-shoot the movie in the appropriate language.

As a matter of fact, there is a French-language version of “M” by Fritz Lang (with most of the original actors speaking French) and a Spanish-language version of Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula”, with all different, native Spanish-speaking actors. That Spanish version of “Dracula”, by the way, is extremely interesting to see – The whole movie is basically the same as the English original, BUT – because the crew were able to see the English-language dailies, they could try and improve them by thinking of better camera angles, better lighting, etc. Also, it is longer than the English-language original (104 vs. 85 minutes), so it has more time to set up situations and present characters.

The only actor allowed to see dailies was the one that portrayed Dracula – he was encouraged to imitate Bela Lugosi’s performance. The rest of the actors are “themselves”, and the characters come across somewhat “different” from the English-language original, which adds interest to the whole movie.

Link with information on the Spanish-language dracula:

Apparently, in the early days of sound, it was VERY common to re-film movies in different languages.

P.S.: Some “Dracula” trivia – When Bela Lugosi played the eponymous count in the theatre, he still didn’t speak good enough English, and learned all of his lines phonetically. By the time he filmed the movie version, he already knew English well enough, but he was told to keep the “strange” intonation he used in the theatre.

Interesting. How about all those cartoon noises foleyed (sp?) into Three Stooges shorts? Surely, they weren’t done during filming? Or how about singers being dubbed in ala Marnie Nixon? Of course, she showed up later than the '30’s. They didn’t dub in singing back then?