Amazon, if I recall, doesn’t note specifically which version they offer & it’s possible other online sellers may not either. Check the posted serial number to be sure:
BVP00748 MP879BRR2_A 01 030MM LO = original
BVP01041 MP879BRR4_A 01 020MM LO = corrected
I just watched this film today and most definitely enjoyed it. My only problem with the film was actually that the dialogue was quite weak. The default setting being the dubbed version should have made me wary right from the beginning. I did attribute this weak dialogue to the fact that it was a translation, but I had no idea that the subtitles had been dumbed down this severely. Thanks for the link showing the differences!! These were some of the scenes that bothered me the most!
Thank goodness the copy I watched was a rental… I don’t plan on buying it now unless I am able to grab one with the original subtitles.
Too bad… this is such a great film!!
Does anyone know if the corrected subtitle version has been release in Canada?
A somewhat subjective point but the problem with ‘dumbed down’ English subtitles can be split even more finely between American English and British English subtitling.
Generally speaking I find American subtitles – 80% of subtitled films in the UK seem to emanate from the US – tend to feel the need to translate simple foreign words such as bonjour, merci, etc. that English subtitles created in Britain tend not to bother with. Maybe it’s a geographical issue or one of cultural exposure, but such words have long since been broadly understood, if not assimilated into the British idiom, yet many American tracks religiously translate these words. This is especially true of simple French but also odd bits of Spanish and German too.
Whether this counts as dumbing down, I’m not sure, but it certainly can be irritating e.g. the substitution of the more American ‘Mom’ for the formal ‘Mother’ in the recent White Ribbon grated somewhat.
I don’t think Criterion DVDs suffer from this kind of ‘bonjouritis’, though.
What about the Blue Ray? Is that the corrected version or the original?
I think new Criterion’s should have multiple English subtitle options. I find the subtitles on older versions are often more entertaining then the newer versions. I am thinking mainly of Japanese, Kurosawa films. If you do not know what a RONIN is for instance, the newer subtitles for Yojimbo are not much help. I recently watched an old VHS tape of Yojimbo, and I thought the subtitles were clearer and more entertaining.
I would think that they could have two or even three English subtitle options: >literal, >entertaining, >original 1960s English release. I have a Japanese movie with subtitles and explanatory notes on the top of the screen. Maybe the aesthetic experience is reduced, but I still find Japan to be a mystery wrapped up in an enigma, so I like to have more clues!!
Also “Hidden Fortress” contains some crude language in the sub-titles right at the beginning of the movie. I would like to show this film to young children who would enjoy the “Star Wars” connection, but I always decide not to. The older VHS tape has more appropriate subtitles. But it is a low quality VHS tape!!
So, there are 4 types of subs! >literal, >entertaining, >original 1960s English release AND “Rated G”!
Just a though…
I see what you’re saying but there’s a problem with this. “Ronin” is a word used in English and in dictionaries, so if there’s confusion you can always look it up. I know, I know, pausing movies etc. But the thing is I once saw a DVD from Tokyo Pop, I believe it was Miike’s New Graveyard of Honor, that included subtitles that defined or more basically illustrated the meanings of the cultural words. The result was very, very noisy. You had subtitles running for long past the dialog and filling up at times half the screen, and they ended up becoming more distracting and confusing than informative. It just became too much information at a certain point.
If DVD releasers want to go down that route I would hope they keep the multiple subtitle options so that I could stick with more direct translations. However then we begin asking DVD distributors to take on additional costs for a good not too many people are all that concerned about (first considering the limited audience for subtitled movies, then considering the basic quality of most subtitles, for which this thread shows the rare poorer result*).
*Bad subtitles such as these used to be very common in the days of VHS and used to be called out often by critics. But over time subtitles and translations started to be made with more respect for the content, which is why the Let the Right One In fiasco is now considered in my mind ‘rare’.
Finally, there’s the issue of poetics. It’s an issue written about in most forwards of translated editions of books by the translator — do they keep to the closer literalized meanings which informs the greater part of the story and information, or do they try to preserve the beauty of the language presented so that the audience can get a feel for its craftsmanship and artistry? Most translators aim for a balance. In the Criterion DVD for Throne of Blood they include an option for a poetics rendition and a accurate meaning rendition. I, personally, found the poetics rendition to be laughter inducing in its essentially 19th century, Victorian anachronism, so there’s also the issue of how our relationship with ‘poetic language’ and ‘accurate translation’ changes as our language changes. The poetics subtitles were explained in the booklet for the movie to be an older subtitle presented about the time the movie first got to the West, even if not that many decades ago nevertheless still a time when Victorian language was more appreciated as formal and beautiful than now, where modernism’s argument for a poetics in getting to the damn point and the rise of popular culture has made us generally culturally prefer shorter, faster, information-dense sentences.