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Author Topic: Song(s) of the South
Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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What? Dick Van Dyke's not really British?!? I've been living a lie! [Eek!]

I dunno Danvers, I think that Keanu is pretty close in the running with his "I don't even know WHAT this is supposed to sound like other than vaguely British" accent in "Bram Stoker's Dracula". But then again, Dick Van Dyke did put more er... I guess energy would be the right word, into his bad accent.

Mini-hijack here, but I was watching the Brit version of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy this evening, and I was a bit offended that they subtitled the guys at some points, and felt the need to flash actual definitions up on the screen for some of the Brit terms that were used. I mean, even if there are Americans who don't know what "gobsmacked" and "chuffed" mean, can't they at least get off of their duff and look it up? I hate when they dumb things down for us, like changing "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" to "Sorcerer's Stone". [Roll Eyes]

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Danvers Carew
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I read a poll of the worst attempts at a different accent in film recently in a movie magazine and I seem to remember Keanu Reeves's attempt was near the top of the list - it is pretty dire.

(quick google) Here's Empire's list of the worst movie accents in film history -

1 Sean Connery The Untouchables (1987)

2 Dick Van Dyke Mary Poppins (1964)

3 Brad Pitt Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

4 Charlton Heston Touch of Evil (1958)

5 Heather Graham From Hell (2001)

6 Keanu Reeves Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

7 Julia Roberts Mary Reilly (1996)

8 Laurence Olivier The Jazz Singer (1980)

9 Pete Postlethwaite The Usual Suspects (1995)

10 Meryl Streep Out of Africa (1985)


Some people hold that Don Cheadle's attempt at a cockney accent in Ocean's 11 is far worse than Dick Van Dyke's, but I haven't seen that film, so can't comment.

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wee wifey
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I'm damn sure everyone on this board know's what I'm about to say, as I've said it so often. But nothing, nothing is as painful to listen to as Tom Cruise in "far and away"

And Whilst I was on the subject- what was Leonardi di caprio's accent supposed to be in "gangs of new york"?

little miss

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Well, that's easy, Little Miss... it was a FOREIGN accent!! [lol]

As it wasn't identifiable as New Englandese, Midwestern American, Southern American, Ebonics or Valley-speak... it was exotic and beautiful...

Or at least some folks that don't travel believe...

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Dark Jaguar
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Syllavus, I would agree. Why translate something already in English? Then again, it's taken anime and video game translators a LONG time to finally figure out that the diehard fans in America want as accurate a translation as humanly possible. It would seem that the people responsible for localizing England's stuff have yet to learn that lesson. I would imagine they won't learn it though, because honestly, they can't justify their existance if they went for the totally accurate translation, what with just leaving everything as-is.

I will add that British slang is a little hard to "look up". Fortunatly those entries actually WERE listed at Dictionary.com.

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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by little miss:
what was Leonardi di caprio's accent supposed to be in "gangs of new york"?

I think they say somewhere in the DVD special features that they just made up what they thought a 19th Century New York accent would sound like.

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Fitz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Accoring to the internet movie database:


"New Yok" accent wasn't entirely fabricated, Scorsese actually did some research by listening to a voice recording of Walt Whitman and by reading an old play in which the dialogue was spelled out phonetically.

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StarlandVocalBand
The Red and the Green Stamps


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There is actually a lot of information about how different accents sounded in the 18th and 19th century.

A) As Fitz points out, for the 19th century one can work from very very early sound recordings: the "attributed-to-Whitman" recording can be listened to here.

B) There are, as Fitz also points out, lots of written texts where the "funny accents" are spelled out. (There are also some pamphlets and even books which were written to tell actors "how to speak in dialect".)

C) Another way to reconstruct the pronunciation of different words is by seeing what words are consistently rhymed with what other words in poems and song lyrics. (The most often-cited example is Lord Byron's poem "Don Juan", where the hero's name rhymes with "true one", "knew one", &c.)

D) There is also retrospective reconstruction; there are some general rules within language-families on how pronunciations shift over time, as well as some sociological and demographic factors that affect local pronunciations. For example, one reason there are residents in both New Orleans and Brooklyn who are known for saying "dese, dem, and dose" (instead of "these, them, and those") is that native speakers of French (N.O.) and Italian (Brooklyn) don't have a "th" sound in their first languages.

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Garth
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quote:
Originally posted by Danvers Carew:
I read a poll of the worst attempts at a different accent in film recently in a movie magazine and I seem to remember Keanu Reeves's attempt was near the top of the list - it is pretty dire.

(quick google) Here's Empire's list of the worst movie accents in film history -


Since that list doesn't include Kevin Costner in "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves", it is clearly without merit.
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Tootsie Plunkette
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I love Cyd Charisse, and Silk Stockings is one of my favorite films; but when she speaks, her "Russian" accent is SOOOO painfully bad! Shut up and dance, Cyd!

"Coam kheeerrerah."

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Phildonnia 2
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Garth:
Since that list doesn't include Kevin Costner in "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves", it is clearly without merit.

I think they must only have been rating serious attempts at accents.

In "A Fish Called Wanda" John Cleese does a brief put-on of a American accent, and you'd just about swear he was born and raised in eastern Texas.

Wait a sec.. What was the topic?

I remember Song of the South from my childhood, and yes, it would be pretty offensive by today's standards. It sucks that such a happy and culture-laden story is irretrievably tarnished.

Similar fates have befallen G&S's "The Mikado" (which is seen by some as insulting to asians)
and "The Fantasticks" with its screamingly funny "Rape Song".

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Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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"French Kiss" was on this morning. My knowledge of Parisian French is limited as all the French my family speaks is with a Canadian accent, but there was something terribly off about Kevin Kline's "french" accent. It seemed like he was trying far to hard to sound like an American being a frenchman, rather than to sound like someone who actually is from France and speaks the language.

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Rhiandmoi
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I thought he was an american pretending to be french in the movie?

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What is .02 worth?

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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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No, his character was French.

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Billy Biggles
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Posted by Danvers Carew
quote:
'fairly regularly' is a bit misleading - I did notice it was on a few years ago, I think around Christmas, and I've seen it in the listings a few times before that. It's not shown as often as, say, 'Mary Poppins', but it has been shown at least once fairly recently and once or twice before that.

Thank you, Danvers, I am glad to see I'm not completely doolally yet. And what synchronicity is this...? Song Of The South on Beeb Beeb Ceeb 2 next Thursday morning. Hurrah! I will be making a video (for my personal use of course). I hope I enjoy it as much as I did - omigod - forty four years ago.

Billy "I can remember when he was young; I can remember when I was young" Biggles

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Danvers Carew
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Yep, I just noticed Song of the South is on BBC2 at 11am today for UK viewers, if anyone was interested in seeing it. I'm assuming it'll go out uncut.

I'd be interested in seeing how closely the film matches your 44-years-ago memory of it, Billy.

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drewdimera
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I saw the movie during its last release, in '86, and remember the live-action material as pretty boring, just filler. And while it does present numerous offensive stereotypes, do you really think that a realistic and true rendering of Reconstruction could have been released in 1946? Southern theater owners (and perhaps a few in the North) would have gone bananas.
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Evil Kitty Cat
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I think I had seen it in 1980 and I also had one of those Disney story books that came with a cassette of it, but it only contained the ´Tar Baby´ part of the story.

I didn´t see it again until I lived in Scotland a few years ago and a friend of mine had it on video. I then downloaded a copy from the internet. I really enjoyed seeing it after so many years, but now as an adult I can certainly understand why it is a film that Disney doesn´t want to release on DVD.

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Gunslinger
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by little miss:
And Whilst I was on the subject- what was Leonardi di caprio's accent supposed to be in "gangs of new york"?

I think that was more of a "Leo can't do accents" problem than a research problem. Daniel Day-Lewis did Bill the Butcher's accent correctly (he was the one that used the recording of Whitman as a reference).

To get back on topic, I know I've seen the animated parts of Song of the South, and some of the songs were in sing-along videos (in the '80s, this was). I see bootlegs of the whole thing (or at least tapes claimed to be such) all the time at flea markets.

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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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Bit late in the conversation, but anyway...

Di Caprio's accent was (according to the DVD commentary track) supposed to be a second-generation accent (remember, Leo's character is with his Irish father to the age of 8 or so, and then gets shipped off to Juvie (as it were) where he is raised among all kinds of accents -- "native," immigrant, and otherwise.

Hence, his adult accent is supposed to be deliberately muddy -- and there's some code-switching going on, too (for those who kept up with the American accents thread).

--Logoboros

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fictional lie
I Saw Three Shipments


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um...the cartoon parts were actually EXTREMELY racist, too, not just the live-action parts. exe: when br'er fox takes a pile of tar and dresses it in clothes, and br'er rabbit hops along, thinking it is a black child. The dubbing keeps calling it a "tar-baby"...um, unless they change the dubbing, that is pretty fucked up.
This movie is easily available on DVD from ebay.com, but obviously it is a bootlegg. Although it was available on laserdisc, and if you get a copy from that, usually it is perfect quality. caveat emptor.

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Troodon
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What is racist about that?

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Silas Sparkhammer
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quote:
Originally posted by Troodon:
What is racist about that?

"Tar" could be a reference to race, as in "Touched with the tar-brush."

Silas

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Chimera
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The thing that surprises me is the amount of money that people will pay for bootleg copies. My father has the "original" (overseas release) and a VHS version made from that. He also has a two deck VHS recorder. In theory he could crank out copies all day and I don't think he's alone in that. It just seems like after the first few copies got out that there would be more supply than demand. I don't think this movie will ever be in great demand anyway... By the time its released everyone who wanted a copy or was just interested in what the deal was about will probably already own one. I'm confused at disney's decsision on this unless they are planning to release a special set with behind the scenes footage of Uncle Remus being beaten when he messed up his lines.

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What is the use of women?"
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Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Call me overly literal, but I thought they referred to it as a tar baby, because it was made of... well... tar.

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chillas
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quote:
Originally posted by Something Wicked Syllavus:
Call me overly literal, but I thought they referred to it as a tar baby, because it was made of... well... tar.

Yup, me, too ... I saw it when I was young and it never occurred to me at the time that "tar baby" could possibly have meant anything other than that.

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Chia-a-chow
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by night of the living chillas:
quote:
Originally posted by Something Wicked Syllavus:
Call me overly literal, but I thought they referred to it as a tar baby, because it was made of... well... tar.

Yup, me, too ... I saw it when I was young and it never occurred to me at the time that "tar baby" could possibly have meant anything other than that.
Yes, weren't the whole point of the B'rer rabbit and B'rer Fox stories to be subversive?
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fictional lie
I Saw Three Shipments


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um...Tar-Baby was a term used in the early 1900's for "little nigger" (literal)...basically a slave child. It is a racist term through and through. YES the baby was made of tar, but it was meant to be a rascist eptiet.

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chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


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quote:
Originally posted by fictional lie:
It is a racist term through and through. YES the baby was made of tar, but it was meant to be a rascist eptiet.

Yes, thank you for that special delivery from the "department of things we all already knew."

The point that I (and I believe Syllavus, as well, though she can speak for herself) was trying to make was that as a child and upon first seeing that movie there was no reason for me to take it any way other than literally. They said "tar baby" and there, indeed, was a "baby" made of tar. The racist undertones had to be explained to me later, when I was much older. Clear enough?

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by fictional lie:
um...Tar-Baby was a term used in the early 1900's for "little nigger" (literal)...basically a slave child. It is a racist term through and through. YES the baby was made of tar, but it was meant to be a rascist eptiet.

For a phrase to be a racist epithet, it is not enough for it to be used to refer to a certain race during a time when that race was discriminated against. For example, I would not consider the word "negro" to be a racist epithet, because although it was used during a time when the race it refers to was discriminated against, it was not intrinsically an insult. Modern Americans have tried to distance themselves from the past by replacing the word "negro" with other words, but that does not mean that old works that use "negro" should be censored - even when children are watching, it would be enough to say "that's what black people were called in the past, but it is not right to call them that now", IMO.

I am not saying that you are wrong. I am just asking whether "tar baby" was used as an insult, or whether it was just a way to refer to black children.

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Chimera
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I too saw the movie when I was younger and had a set for books and tapes on it. For some reason my father really likes the movie. He also really likes all the Mr. Toad/Wind in the Willows stuff, my son even has a Mr. Toad alarm clock that he gave us... but "Willows in the Winter" (I think that's what it is called) is rather depressing and I don't know if I'd recommend it for children. Ok back on topic: I never realized, as a child, that the tar baby was racial. My son watches the movie on occasion and he doesn't make the association either. The big part of the movie that bugged me was when the girl got her dress dirty and couldn't go to the party. Why couldn't Uncle Remus just help her clean up instead of telling the kids a story. Don't get me wrong, I love story tellers but the kids missed a party.

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Elbe
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by fictional lie:
um...Tar-Baby was a term used in the early 1900's for "little nigger" (literal)...basically a slave child.

Are you sure about that date? I don't think there were alot of slave children during the early 1900s, at least not in the US.

Personally, I think they should release it with a disclaimer. While I don't think it needs one, there will always be groups of people who take everything personally, like the "'picnic' is racist" people.

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fictional lie
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
The racist undertones had to be explained to me later, when I was much older. Clear enough? [/QB]
Yeah, it is for me...but not for everyone who apparently didn't know what a "tar-baby" was, and I was merely pointing out WHY Disney probably has not released the movie now. Because it is racist...and I was trying to say that it isn't JUST the live-action scenes.
It isn't even so much that movie is "racist" because that is the way things were then, it just is somthing that wouldn't be taken too lightly now a-days.

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Remember, though, that the term "tar baby" goes back to the original stories collected by Joel Chandler Harris. Harris was a careful collector of folk tales, and he gathered them from former slaves. The term is one used by the tellers of the oral stories to refer to the object made by Brer Fox.

By the way, in my college days I helped gather materials for the Dictionary of American Regional English, and I remember that the suffix -baby is used as an all-purpose diminutive in middle Georgia, where Harris first heard these stories from his informants. Usages were like this:

"This here's my puppy. She's my little doll baby."

"We played in the mud, makin' what they call mud pies now, but we called 'em mud babies."

"They said there was a mean animal up in them woods, some kind of boogerbaby."

Anyway, the point is that "tar baby" certainly appears to be the term used before the Civil War by the slaves themselves to refer to the thing Brer Fox made, not an epithet forced on them by whites--though whites certainly could have co-opted the term, as they did the Spanish "little ones" (pequenos), turning it into the offensive "pickaninnies."

ETA: The "stick-tight" story, by the way, is almost universal in folklore. Harris himself later heard Cherokee versions of it, and he didn't know whether the Cherokee got it from the slaves or vice-versa. Since his time, stories analogous to the tar baby story have turned up all over the world, in Africa, Asia, Polynesia, and North and South America, as well as in Europe.

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I still don't see the movie as racist. I see definite class distinctions but they also apply to the white characters as well. (e.g. the white girl who wanted to attend the richer boys party but couldn't because she got her only fancy dress muddy) Uncle Remus didn't appear to be a slave since he choose to leave. Everyone seemed fairly free but there was still some class warfare going on. (Next time I watch the film I'll try to pay attention to it... I actually find it fairly boring.) A child who sees a baby made out of tar who gets called a tar baby isn't going to think of that as a racial thing. It was a trap. I guess the bee hive and the briar patch also have some underlying racial themes that I just happened to miss. I'll admit its not a modern film but I think people are making way to big a deal about it. WAIT! Wasn't the kid who cut through the pasture to get to Uncle Remus as he was leaving hit, and nearly killed by a bull? A BLACK bull? Oh, I guess Disney really was a racist SOB who was trying to scare white people into thinking that the 'blacks' were out to kill them. Ah darn, I forgot that it was Uncle Remus who brought the kid back to consciousness at the end.

BTW I live in the Tarheel state, should I be offended?

--------------------
"The question for joining the protected forum for real magicians should be:

What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

Posts: 7622 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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