A Few Words About A few words about...™ Mary Poppins -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Even the great Olivier had trouble doing a convincing American accent. I think a lot of British actors do a pretty good job sounding American these days.
     
  2. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Supporting Actor

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    In his autobiography Michael Caine tells the story of being cast as a southerner in HURRY SUNDOWN. Before shooting he happened to meet no less than Vivien Leigh and asked her about how to create a southern accent. She told him all he had to do is learn to say "foah doah fowd" (four door ford). Which may have worked for Ms. Leigh, but Caine's accent in HS is pretty awful... but then the movie is overall a pretty awful, if entertaining for it.
     
  3. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    I'm always surprised at how many characters in current American movies end up being played by British actors, and no one would ever suspect if they didn't know it in advance. I wish I had a nickle for every time I've watched an extra or listened to a commentary and fell off my chair to discover that a particular actor in the film was British. I don't think the same is true in the opposite direction nearly as often. You can almost always spot an American doing a British accent.
     
  4. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    Unlike any of the other actors of famous or infamous accent delivery mentioned so far (or any others that I can think of at the moment, but there must be some..?), one element Dick Van Dyke had to consider was how his accent would be carried over onto a musical soundtrack album both intelligible and pleasant enough to the (presumably at the time, mostly young American) ears for dozens if not hundreds of plays. It is hard to imagine the subject of just how much of an accent or how "different" Dick Van Dyke should sound in the role of Bert in the movie and on the soundtrack album was ignored by any of the major powers involved in the project. It is much easier to imagine the subject being brought up among Van Dyke, Mr. Disney, Mr. Walsh, director Stevenson, et al from the very beginning, long before day one on the set. If so, that would suggest he delivered it pretty much as the makers wanted it to be delivered.

    However, given the subsequent critical backlash to it, it is my belief it would not be in Dick Van Dyke's nature to ever say it had been a consensus decision, to in any way share or pass some of the "blame" for it to Mr. Disney, Mr. Walsh, director Stevenson or, for that matter, even the craft services provider if his or her opinion had contributed to the consensus decision to go with what we got. I believe that is something Dick Van Dyke would shoulder alone and with great humor, as he has, and carry it to his grave.

    I do have a question for those more familiar with the accents of the area and who might feel Dick Van Dyke settled on what he delivered because he was incapable of getting it right; How was his accent for the other role he played in the movie, the role that many first time viewers might not even know was Dick Van Dyke until the final entry of the end credits rolled up before the fade? I don't think I've ever heard a criticism of the accent he used for that role despite the fact that the character was every bit as British as the role of Bert.
     
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  5. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    Kudos to the cast of This Is Spinal Tap - I have many friends who refuse to believe they're American.

    Steve W
     
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  6. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    Off the top of my head, I think Kes was dubbed (Yorkshire West Riding), as was Gregory's Girl (Scottish), and weren't there subtitles for Lock, Stock and Two Smonking Barrels? For the latter, I think there was certainly some sort of extra on the DVD to explain cockney rhyming slang.

    Don't know how you got on with Trainspotting.

    Steve W
     
  7. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I've had the same experience but I think that had more to do with my being aware that the American actor was using an accent and I didn't know the nationality of the English actor. And like I said, many British actors seem to use a non-region specific American accent and that's their one-size fits all voice for any American role (whereas Americans playing Brits have to do very specific regions or they get criticized).

    As an example, I think English actor Charlie Hunnam does a great American accent on Sons Of Anarchy but it's the same one that he uses in his other American roles. He's got his stock American accent and it doesn't change. On the other hand, Idris Elba (another English actor) had a distinctly west Baltimore accent on The Wire but that's not the same American accent that he used on The Office or the one he used in Prometheus.

    For what it's worth, you can probably go to almost any part of the US and hear a number of different accents so English actors that have one American accent aren't wrong. They just don't have to be as specific as American actors doing English roles have to be.

    While on the accent topic, I loved James Gandolfini's accent on The Sopranos because it was subtly distinct from his normal speaking voice or the accent that he'd use in other roles.
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I agree. Rachel Weisz is the "Brit who can't do American accents" who stands out to me the most - she always uses the same flat Midwest accent and it sounds uniformly fake. She's a good actor but someone needs to tell her that there are other American accents! :D
     
  9. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    The great Emma Thompson can't do a convincing American accent either....I love her to pieces but didn't believe her in PRIMARY COLORS for a single second.
     
  10. Malcolm Bmoor

    Malcolm Bmoor Stunt Coordinator

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    Something like Caged Birds Don't Sing.

    I think you're remembering (I can't imagine anybody else does) SPARRERS CAN'T SING, or without the accent, SPARROWS CAN'T SING.

    Reading the collection of posts on this topic there appear to be a great number of highly paid dialect coaches 'takin' the piss', if you'll excuse the vulgar yet authentic London expression.
     
  11. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I'm Scottish and to be honest on my first viewing even i didn't understand some of the accents in Trainspotting, for the USA they re-dubbed parts of it, for example words like ken/know, skag/smack and post/mail were featured in the redub, mind you i am Scottish Borders and the accents can vary in different parts of Scotland, some of it can be strong whereas in the Borders the accents are much lighter although we do have our own Scottish slang words used in the everyday community.

    I don't mind if accents are correct or not in films, the script and entertainment value are more important to me and Dick Van Dykes accent has never bothered me, maybe we need a new thread on the subject matter.
     
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  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The film to which I was referring earlier in the thread is Sparrows Can't Sing (1963).

    RAH
     
  13. ThadK

    ThadK Stunt Coordinator
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    Someone wanted to see an actual cel from MARY POPPINS... well one just sold on Heritage.

    Have fun...
     

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  14. John Maher_289910

    John Maher_289910 Supporting Actor

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    I'm sure I've already posted in this thread about my lack of concern for DVD's accent in MP, but I'm too lazy to look. Not only have I no concern for his accent, I love his performance so much, that even the accent is right for Bert, imo. Bert just has to be different from Mary or the Banks family, and that, he is. It so goofy to me, that such a great performance seems to be plagued by the petty complaint of his accent. Do these same people take Katharine Hepburn to task for her Bryn Mawrish accent as Eleanor of Aquitaine?
     
  15. Dan_Shane

    Dan_Shane Stunt Coordinator

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    MARY POPPINS is a fantasy film. Sticklers for "authenticity" or "reality" should be watching a different movie. Bert is a caricature role, and as such Van Dyke plays him to perfection. Hearing his faux-cockney makes me smile in a way Tommy Steele's Irish accent in FINIAN'S RAINBOW does not (as good as Steele is in that part).
     
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  16. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Yes. Tommy Steele's Irish accent is MUCH better in The Happiest Millionaire! :D
     
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  17. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    I guess some of these people have never seen a Sean Connery film that isn't a Bond. :)

    Accents...it amuses me that even some very mild accents (some Australian, certain English & Scottish) get an English lol dub track for the NA market. And we wonder why they don't go to a lot of trouble re accents...even some British people complain they can't understand the accents from regions of their own countries (city!) and why are there no English subtitles (very common).
     
  18. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Oh, I can't watch Gossford Park without the subtitles.
     
  19. stevenHa

    stevenHa Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Mr. Harris - I wanted your opinion on the look of some scenes in the blu ray - for instance the early scene where Mary is descending from the clouds and is over the treetops is much darker and consequently loses detail compared to what I see on the dvd and what I think I recall seeing theatrically when it was originally released (it looks more like a daylight scene previously). Is this a mistake on the blu ray or is this what the Disney technical people know to be correct ?
     
  20. marcco00

    marcco00 Stunt Coordinator

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    i too have always thought that the contrast was too low on the 'mary poppins' transfer & should be brighter.

    adjusting my tv settings did not help.
     

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