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The Translation of Films, 1900-1950$
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Carol O'Sullivan and Jean-François Cornu

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266434

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266434.001.0001

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The reception of dubbing in France 1931–3: The case of Paramount

The reception of dubbing in France 1931–3: The case of Paramount

(p.221) 12 The reception of dubbing in France 1931–3: The case of Paramount
The Translation of Films, 1900-1950

Martin Barnier

British Academy

The international film trade changed dramatically with the generalisation of sound films. It became more difficult for Hollywood to export English-speaking films than during the silent era. One solution was multiple-language films, which helped French stars to become even more popular in France. The Hollywood studios quickly opted for dubbing as the best solution. The first two Paramount films dubbed into French were Derelict (as Désemparé) and Morocco (as Cœurs brûlés) in 1931. How were these dubbed versions received by critics and the trade press in France? Popular film magazines did not object to dubbed versions so much, while cinephile magazines considered they were rushed jobs. This chapter studies the evolution of the reception of dubbed films in France in 1931–3, using evidence from the trade and popular press. It traces the beginning of the opposition between original-language versions for upmarket movie theatres, and dubbed versions aimed at popular neighbourhoods.

Keywords:   Dubbing, film export, film history, film reception, Marlene Dietrich, stars, synchronisation, voice-acting, audiovisual translation history

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