Funny Accents

The Sound of Racism

published in Cinesonic: Experiencing the Soundtrack - AFTRS Publishing, Sydney, 2001
Farinelli (1994)


In cinema, there is no greater force of audiovisual fusion than the synching of labials to vocal utterances. In their fulsome fluttering lies the physical embodiment of animated performative speech, a sign of life through which we register the exchange of living beings engaged in communication on the screen. To prevent cinema from collapsing into an inhuman shadow play of ghostly marionettes, lips must match their words and prove their status as authored utterance. By any means necessary, speech must be tied to the body via either technologically mediated or metaphysically manipulated vocal chords. We appear desperate to will lips to speak to us in ways beyond their capabilities and beyond our ability to hear the grain of those voices - their oral origins and their vernacular tones. Yet there is much to be uncovered in that which has fallen on deaf ears.

Alien Music

Rock, Rock, Rock! (1957)

The closing credits to Gerard Corbiau's Farinelli (1994) silently lists two singers whose voices were recomposed - in some instances by amalgamating separate lines and even words - to provide the high arching voice of Farinelli, acted through the body and speech of Stefano Dionisi. Ironically, the vocal feats of the castrati no longer could be physiologically engineered by the human corpus of today's gender-controlled singers. The modern human has to be digitally configured via a process of Frankensteinian assemblage to recreate the old world effect of a holistic - if barbarous - modification of the body to produce a trans-gendered singing voice.

The opening credits to Will Price's Rock, Rock, Rock! (1957) presents a set of still images depicting the cast of the film, as Jimmy Cavello & The House Rockers' title track blares. Included is one person who never appears in the film - visually: Connie Francis, who provides the singing voice of Tuesday Weld. The blatant admission to this vocal fabrication is a wonderfully naïve expose of the oft-hidden mechanisms of Hollywood manufacture, yet it possibly is allowed only because of the presumption that rock and pop music is all fake anyway, and that none of its singers can actually 'sing'.

Two films; over thirty years apart in production; over two centuries apart in setting. Soaring castrati and searing pop: the former reaching the giddy heights of heaven just prior to the melting of its Icarian wings of desire, the latter reverberating inside the din-infested sonorum of the recording studio ready to be rendered as aural treacle. Both Farinelli and Rock, Rock, Rock! are stabilized however precariously by their lip-synching - artfully in the former, quite woefully in the latter. Even as they slip and slide on the oily sheen of their rendered surfaces, we can accept a technological and textual dialogue between the human body and the recorded object; between the performer and the record, the lips and the voice. The practice of mime frames both productions and prevents them from collapsing into a state of inhuman inexactitude - when that is exactly what we are perceiving on the screen every time Dionisi and Weld open their mouths like glittering fish gaping under the hot lights of a sound stage.

Ultimately, we do not care what Dionisi and Weld sound like when they sing, if they could sing at all. Nor do we care about the 'sound' of their character-related musics. Castrati arias and chintzy pop - snared by the cinematic and reduced for iconic and narrative purposes - need only bear some semblance to the real thing. Ultimately, both films foreground not the presence of Otherness in the face of normalizing conventions of audio-visual veracity, but the music of 'aliens' whose oral grain and aural vocabulary are grounded on a planet far enough away to prevent us from worrying too much about the accurate representation of their music. This is why pop 'outsiders' like Lux Interior and Diamanda Galas provided inhuman vocalizations for Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) and Roland Emmerich's Stargate (1994) respectively: bereft of suitability to any soundtrack of normality, their alien voices perfectly service alien scenarios.

Alien Voices

What's Up Tiger Lily? (1966)

Tokyo is an alien planet upon which Woody Allen never landed. It is a place where people eat funny, sound funny, talk funny. Those wacky Japanese. Can't understand a word they say, but they really crack me up. Such are the sentiments expressed in his comedic re-dubbing of 'some old B-grade Japanese spy movie from the 60s' to produce What's Up Tiger Lily? (1966). When the film's producer Henry G. Saperstein "had to buy this James Bond film to preserve (his) relationship with Toho", the film was in his mind totally inappropriate. As he told Toho: "This is a very good production, but everyone's Japanese." [1]

The film in question is Senkichi Tanaguchi's Kokusei Himitsu Keisatsu: Kagi No Kagi (1964, translated as International Secret Police: Key of Keys ). Firstly, it is a spoof of the James Bond cycle and its droll tongue-in-cheek tone. As such, Kagi No Kagi is no different in parodic tone than, say, Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik (1967, Italy) or Theodore J. Flicker's The President's Analyst (1967, USA). Each contain their own cultural take on the near-impossibility of Bond's smooth British character and his icy precision and control. Secondly, Kagi No Kagi - like the bulk of Japanese pop entertainment and heady exploitation - was produced primarily for a domestic market. Movie producers may have dreamt of international success with their product, but both the cultural specificity of postwar Japanese popular culture and the success it enjoyed within its domestic territories kept Japanese genre cinema isolated yet afloat for two healthy postwar decades (an epoch of Japanese cinema which remains largely unexplored by the West).

In short, Kagi No Kagi did not need Woody Allen to transform it into the post-dubbed satire What's Up Tiger Lily? in order to render it comedic. Nor did his off-beam humour necessarily illuminate anything about the comic codes already at work within the original film. In fact - like most modern and media-saturated forms of comic supply and demand - What's Up Tiger Lily? responds to a pre-existing comic moment, event or scenario, then restates it in the comedian's voice in order to embody and implicitly re-author the comedy. Allen replaced the original humour of the film with an ancillary humour which unfortunately implies that the original film was bereft of either irony, self-reflexivity or parody. Would it be 'funny' to take a comedy like The President's Analyst and redub it to 'make it funny'? The only reason it could be deemed 'funny' with Kagi No Kagi is because of its cultural difference and alien status.

While not overtly racist in either strategy or implementation, Saperstein and Allen's ignorance of all these factors allowed them to blithely instigate a curious cultural phenomenon that perplexes us still: the 'talk-over' (more on this later). Somewhere deep within the soundtrack of What's Up Tiger Lily? - well-hidden from the glare of the Americanized optical sound-head - lies an 'invisible soundtrack' whose transparent palimpsest explains, orients and qualifies why the original film is the way it is. Its identity as a cultural product - its audiovisual 'being' - has been transmogrified through the act of silencing its original voice.

What makes What's Up Tiger Lily? a fascinating by-product of this act of silencing is how Allen appears in the film. Following a three minute opening of an action climax from the original film - totally undubbed and raw in its alien status - the film is halted, then Allen is visually located within the film, sitting in an office being interviewed about how he enacted the process of post-dubbing we are about to experience.

INTERVIEWER: Ladies and gentlemen, what you have just seen is an excerpt from a motion picture that was made in Japan. I'm sitting here, chatting with Woody Allen, the 'author' of this film. Woody, is the word 'author' quite the correct term to use? I mean, what exactly did you do with that film? ALLEN: Well, let me see if I can explain this to you accurately. (...) We took a Japanese film, made in Japan by Japanese actors and actresses, and we bought it. (...) And I took out all the soundtrack - I knocked out all their voices - and I wrote a comedy. I got together with some actors and actresses and we put together our comedy in where they were formerly raping and looting. The result is a movie where people are running around killing one another, (...) but what's coming out of their mouths is wholly other.

While he brazenly explains that he removed the dialogue track and replaced it with a new script, his frankness belies an ignorance of the effects of his maneouvres. In a pre-PC era, this is partially understandable, yet the political implications of this practice remain snared by other ideological machinations.

A typical - and often reductivist - view of media globalization takes the line that dominant western ideologies blare into and onto the terrain of non-western cultures through the expansion of broadcast and televisual technologies. These views posit ideology as a force which is beamed onto a sociological realm like a ray-gun from Mars. Not surprisingly, the analogies of distance are imbedded in and actively eat away at the viability of such politicized concerns: social members of those cultures may indeed desire Baywatch of their own volition; they may intake Rambo with an entirely anti-American view point; and they may reconfigure Tupac as a trans-urban figure within their own musicological settings. It is easy to make sweeping pseudo-ethical statements about the media's overbearing and decontextualized presence in places where it seems to 'not fit'. But that view itself presumes that cultures should behave in ways which 'we' have presumed they should, and such presumption fuels our ignorance of how non-western cultures consume, regurgitate, produce and critique western culture. The 'silencing' of the original voice of Kagi No Kagi is arguably more insidious than such meta-operations (the kind politicized sociologists tend to favour) due to its oral de-alienation.

The Roar of Monsters

Godzilla: King Of Monsters (1954); Godzilla (1984)

America took a different approach to 'silencing' Godzilla. A long trail of articles have textually related the American 50's sci-fi movie to critiques of reckless scientific endeavour in the atomic era, and Ishiro Honda's Godzilla: King Of Monsters (1954, dubbed and directed by Terry Morse from the originally titled Gojira ) has been cast under the same light. However little acknowledgement has been given to (a) what constitutes and impels the thematic drive in the original Japanese version, and (b) how the American dubbed version re-voiced this drive through a mix of post-dubbing, re-editing, re-shooting and re-mixing the original film. The story for Gojira - scripted by Take Murata and director Ishiro Honda from a treatment by Shigeru Kayama - is focussed on how Japan as a nation deals with the after-effects and repercussions of their own atomic testing.

The story was apparently inspired by an incident of a group of fisherman in the northern seas of Japan who were contaminated by radiation residue from underwater atomic testing conducted in that area, and certainly that incident appears wholesale early in the film. But rather than become enveloped in a series of mythological and moral layers typical of grandstanding American 50s' sci-fi, Gojira goes on to paint a complex picture of how government forces deal with the situation. In particular, social control is depicted as a regulating force which brings the urban into conflict with the rural. Many scenes involve heated debates between fishermen, council members, national advisors, workers' representatives, politicians and scientists. Gojira - the monster - enters Tokyo Bay not merely as a spectre of unregulated exploitation of nuclear energy, but equally as a grotesque sign of the megalopolis' ignorance of how it is tied to the island fringes of its floating land mass. Whilst at the meta-thematic level Gojira functions as a strange return of transcultural guilt and regret - self-scarred by the adverse effects of nuclear power imported from dissident Europe for American enterprise - the film also enacts a sociological drama rooted by its cultural specificity. [2]

It is precisely this duality between Japanese social drama and transcultural meta-thematic that is steam-rolled on the soundtrack of the Americanized Godzilla: King of Monsters (1954). Nearly all of the former is lost - removed and truncated - while the latter is amplified by the placement of American foreign correspondent with 'United World News', Steve Martin (Raymond Burr). The film opens with him waking up in the downtown rubble left in Godzilla's wake.

STEVE MARTIN: This is Tokyo - once a city of six million people. What has happened here was caused by a force which up until a few days ago was entirely beyond the scope of man's imagination. Tokyo - a smoldering memorial to the unknown. An unknown which at this very moment still prevails, and could at any time lash out with its destruction anywhere else in the world. There were once many people here who could have told what they saw. Now, there are only a few.

Burr's mono-dronal voice-over continues as we intercut between him on a very cheap American set and some breath-taking miniature work from the original Gojira courtesy of one of the sensei of dioramas, Eiji Tsuburaya. Filmed after the American Occupation (which finished in 1952, and during which all Japanese films had to be checked for propaganda content [3] ), the Japanese production is not overtly critical of America's atomic legacy, although the film contains uncredited imagery of actual radiation effects on children which is the very type of imagery the Americans were not keen to allow due to their desire to erase the actual effects of the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Bizarrely, it is Martin's hand-wringing monologues which elliptically point to atomic energy as a force of destruction, while evidencing Godzilla as an aberrant figure who inexplicably embodies that destruction, instead of locating it within the socio-economic waging of war through scientific application. If one were to sum up the discursive relation between the two versions, Gojira openly critiques atomic testing and sites the monster Gojira as the symbolic product of that process, while Godzilla: King of Monsters subtextually admonishes atomic testing and sites the monster Godzilla as an inexplicable aberration of that process.

A cheap but charming aspect of Godzilla: King of Monsters is the way Raymond Burr is positioned looking out of windows to cutaway scenes from the original Gojira . This process of intercutting him into the pre-existing footage at once places character Steve Martin on location in the fiction and actor Raymond Burr in production of the film, providing a self-reflexive though undisclosed trope in the American fabrication. In contrast, the shots of destruction in the original Gojira are not positioned as any character's point-of-view, but are imbedded in the meta-narrative level of the story, and hence are absent of the somewhat trite 'humanization' which the American film employs through Burr's on-site witnessing of the 'horror' of Godzilla's rampage. The music cue placement - thoroughly re-edited and re-positioned in the American version - uses spooky, brooding and ominous parts of Akira Ikefube's score over the scenes of carnage to locate the cause within the monstrous, whereas the original Japanese film uses more elegiac, mournful and muted musical moments over the same scenes to locate the cause within human endeavour and error [4] .

When Toho Studios embarked on their official remake of the original film many years later - for Koji Hashimoto's Gojira (1984) - the military tensions between America, Russia and Japan were all manifest and quite brutishly foregrounded. The American version - produced by New World Pictures - took a line not unlike Henry Saperstein did with Kagi No Kagi and rendered the film as a product whose inappropriateness to an American market had to be clearly admitted and thus exploited as an ironic item of ridicule. New World went as far as to insert Raymond Burr - then aged 58 - into the film as a retro-camp reprise of his role in the 1954 film. While this may have synched to the tacky movie-remake MTV-era of the times (when everything had to somehow reference 'Golden Turkey' movies), it proved to show how little self-consciousness - let alone awareness - Americans had developed of their imperialization via the textual territorialization of foreign films over the preceding thirty years. To this day, the precise intertextuality and transcultural fissures which carry Godzilla from hot social icon (Ishiro Honda's Gojira , 1954) to warm cheesy icon (Marv Newland's short Godzilla Versus Bambi ) to cool retro icon (Yoshimitsu Banno's Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster , 1971) to cold hi-tech icon (Roland Emmerich's Godzilla , 1998) reside deep in the relational fractures between the soundtracks of Gojira and Godzilla: King of Monsters . There lies the tectonic grafting of the monster's silent roar.

Silenced Commies and Amplified Auteurs

Battle Beyond The Sun (1963); Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968)

While there is yet to be a major survey undertaken of how multiple language films, foreign remakes and imported reconstructions constituted a cultural cartography for the global expansion of the sound film since the late 20s' [5] , for our purposes it is worth noting the postwar practice of importing so-called 'B-grade' foreign movies to be cut-up and repackaged as American product. The status of 'B-grade' is important here because - as with Godzilla: King of Monsters - key factors facilitate this practice.

Firstly, the exploitation genres of sci-fi, horror and fantasy from European and Pan-Pacific countries were deemed outside of the validated ambassadorial exchanges favoured by film festivals' curatorial search for supposedly 'higher quality' films with deliberately 'authored' internationalism (ie. films which humanistically 'commented upon' WWII). Secondly, the primacy of the 'B-grade' films as genre product rather than auteur artwork placed them as fodder for sale on the international market to American distributors who saw such foreign material as an economical way to create a surplus of product for their domestic US territory. And thirdly, the original language of these foreign films rendered them ripe for recoding and reformatting so as to make them 'suitable' for an American/western understanding - which of course only aided in the proliferation of pulped mythological narratives that universalized non-western narratives into American storytelling conventions.

If history had taken some different turns, early films by Fellini might have been bought up and intercut with burlesque dancers to a soundtrack of Mambo Italiano sung by Louie Prima, while rubber-suited life-guards would have been filmed trampling through a bonsai exhibition and intercut with sections of early Kurosawa epics. The reality which befell a number of Russian movies actually suffered similar unimaginable fates: Alexander Ptushko's Sadko (1952, USSR) was recomposed as James Landis' The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (1961, USA); Karel Zeman's Cesta do Praveka (1955, Czechoslovakia) was reconstructed as William Clayton's Journey to the Beginning of Time (1966, USA); Aleksander Kozyr's Niebo Zowiet (1959, USSR) was excerpted to provide scenes for Thomas Colchart's Battle Beyond The Sun (1963, USA) and possibly Curtis Harrington's Queen of Blood (1966, USA); Pavel Klushantsev's Planeta Bur (1962, USSR) was excerpted to provide scenes for Curtis Harrington's Voyage to the Prehistoric (1965, USA) and Peter Bogdanovich's Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968, USA) [6] . The submersion and dilution of the high degree of artistry (and in some cases, social propaganda) of the original Russian films into a shallow swamp of dumb-arse American bravura and hysterical titillation is alarming and revealing.

While movies like John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Stanley Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove (1963) and Sidney Lumet's Fail-Safe (1964) will be cited as incisive reflections of how the Cold War operated on social thought-shaping and politically programmed behaviour, films like Queen of Blood possibly give a clearer picture of how culture was being formed and manipulated by America's collective view of those beyond the shadow of their grand unfurled flag. Kubrick, Frankenheimer and Lumet are the authorial harbingers of their films, recognized as having a 'voice' which speaks through their narratives. The 'voice' that speaks through films like Queen of Blood is not that of the auteur-defined receptacle of Curtis Harrington, but rather the collective non-individualist vocal noise of an Other culture, replete with its own folkloric and mythic strains, and it own formal, plastic and aesthetic conveyors of meaning in film. To either disrecognize or ignore the cultural specificity of the original Russian and Eastern Bloc films implicitly signs the para-racist pact which aided and abetted their Americanization. Granted, it is neither the province nor priority of quick-buck film distributors to be so concerned; nor are they reprehensible for operating the way they do. Yet it is a myopic, xenophobic and plainly uninformed intelligentsia who lauds the politicized and self-aggrandizing narratives of Kubrick et al in praise of their authorial bravery, while disregarding and dismissing the cultural forces which formed the polysemic and poly-political texts of films like Queen of Blood and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women [7] .

The Intelligentsia is the Enemy

Clive James In Japan (1987)

Australia has a rich cultural tradition of sending larrikin intellectuals over to England, and having them behave like rude barbarians while 'exposing' the 'stilted mores' of the British to themselves in a way that they would not accept from one of their own. The intelligentsia in Australia support this tradition greatly, because it allows them to sit back in their colonial armchairs and admire the clever-cleverness of our expatriates. One figure whom many of the Australian intelligentsia appreciate is Clive James - a journalist who specializes in over-written material dripping with over-wrought irony and wryness which he badly delivers in a droll manner as though there is something witty in the way he pokes fun at the excesses of popular culture and 'our' telling attraction to it. James has done many specials for British TV which foreground this oral mode of critique as 'presenter' and 'commentator', but possibly his most famous are the various reports he has done on modern Japan.

Now, modern Japan - not just the post-electronics izanagi boom Japan of the 60s, but more so the yendaka and bubaru epochs of 80s/90s Japan and its surplus of popular culture - is a superb period for showing how intolerant the west is of non-western cultures that have mutated beyond the binary distinctions and numerical layerings of First/Second/Third World frameworks. Thanks to the reportage of James and others (and still others to come), modern Japan is a weird world of rockabilly fans, crying businessmen, wacky inventions, absurd leisure activities, ridiculous fads, bizarre endurance contests and inedible food. This is unsurprising, not to mention uninspiring to even bother critiquing. However, the way James in particular has fostered this complete lack of understanding of Japanese pop culture while professing to 'rationally' show it up as a culture of stupidity is highly relevant to a phenomenon instigated by What's Up Tiger Lily? - the 'talk-over'.

James' shows are ostensibly compilations of excerpts from the wide and wonderful world of Japanese TV [8] . Even considered within context, many of these shows are mystifying and confusing as to their intention, tone, audience and popularity. Taken out of context, they can only bubble and squeak like alien lifeforms stranded on a mediarized stage of freakiness. Yet James claims (through his narration) to orient and contextualize these shows by providing an 'insight' into the Japanese mind - a weird organism that actually watches these shows. Like an overbearing megaphone, James' voice forces the original TV soundtrack into submission. He functions like an Anglo-amped Zeus whose power lies in the proportionate relationship between his full-bodied frequencies and the thin crackling of the TV soundtrack. His 'talk-over' is a mode of vocal delivery which bludgeons the original text into a decimated residual version of itself. While we are told of his respect for Japan as a 'Nippophile' who has spent much time there, such credentials amount to little more than the diplomas of business behind dusty frames in used car salesmen's offices.

James' 'talk-over' odiously silences the culture he claims to address by refusing to even post-dub - let alone subtitle - his subjects. The presumption is that the surfaces of the cultural artifacts (the TV shows) speak for themselves due to their apparently 'unfitting' behaviour, where the Japanese aren't conforming and performing like animated mannequins in a Kyoto tea ceremony museum. In James' Anglophiliac journalistic employment of the 'talk-over', we have a return to the figure which 60s' critiques of cultural imperialism most abhorred: the silencing of an ethnic voice in all its original dialect, delivery and denotation. The removal of the sound of an original voice is always problematic. The replacement of it with another can be culturally traumatic. Not only is the cultural timbre of a voice erased, but it is replaced in a way that figures the act of replacement as necessary, desirable and - worse - commendable. The soundtrack can never state: I am not what I am; I am something beneath myself. Whereas, recorded music can simultaneously state: I am solely myself and I am the echo of so much more. The act of translating films and TV shows will never perform the indivisible at-oneness which the non-literal - like music - can execute.


In the half century of post-dubbed cinema and TV which has bounced back and forth across the globe since WWII, the imperial power and colonial might invested in the recreation of texts into western language as though they needed to arrive at that point is one of the most under-critiqued streams of production in a supposedly post-colonial epoch. I am less concerned with vaguely ominous ideological clouding as I am by the crystalline slime it leaves on the soundtrack. In the muting of voices, I maintain that a form of racial removal and ethnic erasure is, if not enacted, at least alluded to through a lack of consideration of the status of the original non-western textual object. Furthermore, the act of translation is not an operation of folkloric tradition, wherein mistranslation, improvized rewriting and even racial divisioning organically contributes to generic multiplicity, polyglottic texts and multi-lingual narrative forms.

The telling sign of how under-addressed the related phenomenae of post-dubbing, voice-overs and talk-overs is hit me most when in the late-80s, the ABC-TV network [9] screened episodes of The Samurai - a black & white Ninja action TV series produced in Japan in the mid-60s. While the show had played in Australia throughout the 70s in a dubbed format - one that was surprisingly true to the series' original tone - the late 80s' screening had a couple of 'comedians' crack jokes about sukiyaki, sushi and kung-fu all over the episodes. Like, my sides were splitting from laughing at the originality of these guys. Numerous comedians have driven these trajectories toward an ever-expanding auditorium of post-dubbed configurations, voiced-over planes and re-scripted narration (see footnote [9] again). More commonly, comedians stream their comedy through fake accents, false voices and fraudulent dialects. Their flip dismissal of Otherness possibly splits us into far more troubling cultural schisms wherein the sound of any accent is pre-rendered for us through a questionable oral colonialism. True to our Anglo roots, Australia loves to make fun of other cultures - as if we, a deluded expanse that attempts to farm wheat from rock and cattle from sand, surrounded by the roaring oceans of Pan-Pacifica, can maintain an air and voice of Anglo supremacy. Laughing at the Other while stranded in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere with its deafening de-Eurocentricism has to be the greatest and dumbest one-joke statement we as Australians persistently make.

No language is more supreme and more terrifying in the way it wields the power of its written and enunciated word than the English language, and much of what is being addressed here is the loss of voice which floats unnamed and unacknowledged to the ether, caught in the western trade winds which billow across the globe between Great Britain and the USA. We maintain a quite desperate belief in our own language - named 'English', which itself has to be a problem if you're Australian - and its ability to translate everything in and from the non-English world into something we can understand. Yet if our desire to understand is greater and more stubborn than our willingness to listen , then we are bound to hear little, comprehend naught and be massaged by a surplus of presumptive and ungrounded explication.


1. As reported in Stuart Gilbraith IV's Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! - The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films , Feral House, California, 1998.

2. See my Monster Island: Godzilla and Japanese Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy in Post-Colonial Studies , London, Vol.3 No.1 2000, for further discussion of these aspects of the original Godzilla movies.

3. See Tony Barrell & Rick Tanaka, Higher Than Heaven: Japan, War & Everything , Private Guy, Sydney, 1995, for a discussion of the tangential affects of the American Occupation upon Japan's cultural production.

4. Interestingly, many American importers of Japanese product for dubbing have complained of how the Japanese put their music 'in the wrong places'. For more on this 'difference' in Japanese sound and music as confronted by American distributors, see my Neon Genesis Evangelion in Real Time , Sydney, No.31, 1999.

5. Some initial visionary research has been conducted in Ginette Vincendeau's "Hollywood Babel - The Multiple Language Version", Screen , London, Vol.29 No.2 Spring 1988; an informative overview of the importation of kaiju eiga (monster movies) into American is contained in Stuart Gilbraith IV's Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! , ibid.

6. This list has been produced by cross-referencing information contained in: Ed Naha, The Films of Roger Corman - Brilliance on a Budget , Arco Publishing, New York, 1982; Michael Weldon, The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film , Ballantine, New York, 1983; Phil Hardy, Science Fiction , William Morrow & Company, New York, 1984; and various issues of the essential Video Watchdog , edited by Tim Lucas since 1990, Cincinnati, which painstakingly notes dubbing and editing changes made by American distributors of foreign/imported movies.

7. Let's be clear. If you think there's nothing wrong with doing this to 'crappy old movies' than I'm sure you'll have no problem with the following suggestions for recycling movies: (a) compile any tits-and-arse footage from Kieslowksi's Three Colours trilogy, speed it all up, set it to the chase music from Benny Hill and use as filler for a British breakfast TV show; (b) redub Schindler's List and make endless jokes about farting, starving and cooking with gas, and sell it by mail-order throughout Germany; (c) take the action sequences from Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket , process them through some fancy digital effects and sell them off as background material for karoke bars throughout Asia.

8. In Australia, James' specials predictably play on the ABC-TV network: a wannabe-BBC.

9. The legacy of What's Up Tiger Lily? can be heard in numerous comic permutations - some less racist than others. These include Canada's Second City Television re-dubbing of an unnamed 50s' western serial; America's Beavis & Butthead and their talking-over video clips played on MTV; Australia's live-performances of Double Take and their talking-over the original soundtracks to Astro Zombies and Hercules . Even non-comic translations and post-dubbing of foreign genre films for quick release in America is whipped into a racist vortex as films like the dubbed Fists of Fury (1971) and Way of The Dragon (1972) (and numerous Hong Kong production from the 70s) almost mock the very material they are translating.

Text © Philip Brophy 2001. Images © Respective copyright holders