E.W.Korngold Web site

E.W.Korngold Forums

German film versions

General questions regarding E.W.Korngold

Moderator: fireatheart

German film versions

Postby Peter Timoney » Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:40 pm

Hiya

This is my first time writing in this forum. It is so nice to know I am not alone.
Can anyone from Germany tell me the state of the Korngold scores in the german language versions. Although I have lived there a few times I have not watched any Korngold movie.
The reason I ask is that a friend from Duesseldorf, a big film nut--although nothing made before 1950--has recently sent me a tape of the german version of BETWEEN TWO WORLDS. He was raving about the score. Although I already had the tape in english I watched it and was deeply horrified. Of the Korngold score little more than a few minutes remain and the rest is a much later addition and quite awful.
Once in Germany I also noticed the same with Adolph Deutsch's dark score for the maltese Falcon which was completely replaced by an unbelievable later jazz swing score, making Humphrey Bogart look just like those tacky posters that have ruined him to an extent in the 1980s. Can anyone reassure me that most of the Korngold movies have survived better, or do the people of that great country really think he sounds like what I have just heard. It would make spreading Korngolds good name there a little more difficult. Thanks for listening to the rant.
Peter Timoney
Regular visitor
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:21 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Guest » Fri Jun 10, 2005 12:50 pm

Dear Peter,
I have seen the films with Errol Flynn many thimes in the german tv.
If I'm remembering in the right way, I've heard many of Korngold's music.

Greetings from Germany, near Dusseldorf
Guest
 

German dubbings

Postby Brendan G carroll » Sun Jun 19, 2005 1:16 pm

Regrettably, the pre 1948 films released to TV were not dubbed using the original music tracks. As most were not shown in Germany in cinemas because the Nazis banned US films, the versions seen on TV were cheaply redubbed using stock music. DECEPTION is ruined because of this. The German versions of the pre 1938 films ARE with Korngold's scores however, if you can find the prints.

Nobody will spend the money to correct this sad situation. Maybe we should lobby Mr Turner?
Brendan G carroll
 

Re: German film versions

Postby Guest » Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:44 am

Can anyone from Germany tell me the state of the Korngold scores in the german language versions. The reason I ask is that a friend from Duesseldorf, a big film nut--although nothing made before 1950--has recently sent me a tape of the german version of BETWEEN TWO WORLDS. He was raving about the score. Although I already had the tape in english I watched it and was deeply horrified. Of the Korngold score little more than a few minutes remain and the rest is a much later addition and quite awful.


Hello Peter,

I am a Korngold fan from Germany and can tell you a bit more about the state of the Korngold film scores in their German language versions. Also what Mr. Carroll told you in his statement is only partly correct, because the situation here in our country is more complicated. It is often very annoying for film score lovers when they have to see a newly dubbed German version of a foreign film from the 30s or 40s!
With the Korngold movies the situation is the following:
The most famous films like ThE SEA HAWK, ROBIN HOOD, CAPTAIN BLOOD, JUAREZ, THE SEA WOLF, THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER and ELIZABETH AND ESSEX were released in German cinemas shortly after the Second World War in 1947, 1948 and 1949 (ELIZABETH AND ESSEX even as late as 1951!) in German dubbed versions with the Korngold music scores intact. In comparison to the US version, THE SEA HAWK was cut about 20 minutes and so has a duration of about 100 minutes, but nevertheless there is no other music in the German language version than Korngold's.
Now the great problem that we have here in Germany is: Have the cinema prints I just told you about survived the times or not? Often many prints of foreign films which had been released in the first years after the war have not survived and so the films themselves have to be completely re-dubbed.
From the list above only the German 35mm prints of THE SEA HAWK, ROBIN HOOD and THE SEA WOLF have survived and are therefore regularly shown on German TV with the correct Korngold music throughout.
But what happened with the other film prints? Well, many of those dubbed in the immediate post-war years got lost in the late 50s or early 60s when the German distributors had no longer any interest to exploit the films in German cinemas. Now if German TV wanted or wants to show these films, they had or have to re-dub the film and often the dubbing firms don't get the music tapes separately, but only IT tapes were they can't separate dialogue, music and sound effects anymore. Therefore they have to replace the original music with archival music in all the dialogue scenes and can leave the original music only in those longer scenes which don't have any dialogue (like e.g. Main Title or Finale or a few other longer sequences without much dialogue). This is the case with CAPTAIN BLOOD, ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER and JUAREZ. CAPTAIN BLOOD for example was first shown on German TV in 1974 - and so a new German dubbing had to be made just at that time because the older German 35mm print from 1948 was no longer in existence. Also the new German dubbing for ELIZABETH AND ESSEX stems from the mid-70s, and BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, which was never before shown in German cinemas at all, had to be dubbed for the first time even later at the end of the 80s for German TV.
So you can imagine that after such a long time often no separate music tapes are available for use for the German dubbing firms and therefore they unfortunately have to replace the music. This is such a sad fact here in Germany, which only now with all those DVD releases gets corrected n a small way, because there you can also view the original version with subtitles. But in German TV you will most often only see the newly dubbed German versions if the older cinema print is no longer available.
But as I said before, at least THE SEA HAWK, ROBIN HOOD and THE SEA WOLF are always shown on German TV with the original Korngold music, because there we still have those older German dubbed cinema prints from the late 40s.
I hope that I have cleared up those annoying facts a bit for you.

Stefan
Guest
 

Postby Peter Timoney » Fri Jul 01, 2005 10:11 am

Hiya

Thank you very much Stefan. I had no idea that there was quite so much damage. Such news makes me almost want to take the name Korngold off the title credits of these TV versions in order to prevent damage to his reputation. Perhaps a little extreme!
How is the DVD situation for Korngold in Germany? Over here in Britain I can only think of Robin Hood as being available at present. God forbid any of those corrupted versions ever make it onto the german speaking market. I'm finding it hard enough to convince my german friends with a relative interest in such things.

Thanks

Peter
Peter Timoney
Regular visitor
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:21 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Stefan Schlegel » Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:09 pm

Hello Peter,

several DVDs of the Errol Flynn films scored by Korngold have now been released in Germany last month. I know that THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, THE SEA HAWK and CAPTAIN BLOOD are now available as DVDs here in Germany. ROBIN HOOD is already available for almost two years.
Of course the DVDs of ELIZABETH AND ESSEX and CAPTAIN BLOOD do also contain those corrupted re-dubbed German versions from the mid-70s with only a very small amount of Korngold music intact. But you also have the original English version on them with or without German subtitles. So it might be very funny if you switch back and forth for example during a dialogue scene between the German and the English version, because you will be very surprised which rubbish stock music you will then hear in the German language version. Those who only want to hear German spoken dialogue will never ever hear the correct Korngold score, which is a shame. But you can't alter it here in Germany- at least not regarding TV broadcastings. The only alternative - and luckily you have it on these DVDs!!! - is to view the original English version with German subtitles. Please tell that to all your German film friends who don't know anything about all those facts I have told you.
You also wrote that you got the BETWEEN THE WORLDS video copy from a film freak in Düsseldorf. I also know someone in Düsseldorf who might be the one you speak about. Could it be that perhaps we mean the same person? I myself think of someone called Jordan Jurtschak, who could be the person you have described in your posting.

Stefan
Stefan Schlegel
Regular visitor
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:03 am

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:14 pm

Hi Stefan

Thanks for the DVD tips. I will be in Germany for a week or two in September and I may just buy the corrupted versions just to see how bad they are.
Incidentally, the guy from Duesseldorf (I don't know how to work umlauts on this stupid computer) is called Dirk. Despite being a film fan he seems to have no conception of the greatness of film music before Jerry Goldsmith. Korngold, Rozsa, Newman et al mean nothing to him. He even thought the corrupted score of Between Two Worlds was excellent. He can tell you the name of every writer, director and cameraman of the last 50 years but somehow has not been able to grasp music or its worth. Shame.
Then again, from what you tell me, perhaps it is just as well he is not interested in the earlier scores if there is virtually no chance of hearing them properly.

Peter
Guest
 

Postby Stefan Schlegel » Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:37 am

Hi Peter,

well you will see and hear that the damage on these corrupted versions of ELIZABETH AND ESSEX and CAPTAIN BLOOD is considerable. Unfortunately, I myself have often made the experience in all the last 25 years or so that most people here in Germany - even those very much interested in film music- won't even notice it when the original music in an old film from the 30s or 40s has been replaced by stock music. I don't know why this is so and why people are so insensitive, but often if I have told other film friends about what is going on with these German re-dubbings, they are more than surprised and won't believe it at first.
Just consider for example a film like CASABLANCA. Perhaps you know that in the old German cinema print from 1952 in our country they had cut all the scenes with the political background and above all the sequence in which the "Marseillaise" is sung. Anyway, just because about 15-20 minutes had been cut for this 1952 version, the uncut, authentic version had to be dubbed again in 1974 for TV broadcast. And what did the dubbing firms do? Apart from the Main Title, the song "As Time Goes By" and the Finale the whole original score was transcribed simply by listening to the original music in the original film version and re-recorded by something like a 20-25-piece orchestra. For foreigners this must be sheerly unbelievable, but this is the absolute truth. Of course, they did this because the musical leitmotiv was so important for the whole film and so somehow one needed to use the original music in some way or another. But with such a small orchestra it often sounds laughable. But if you would ask all the people who have seen this re-dubbed version either on TV or even in the cinema in Germany, about 99% would not notice that the music had been re-recorded for a small ensemble in 1974! This is really astonishing and I also don't understand it, but is is simply a cruel fact here in Germany.
Of course, we have the same problem with some of the Rózsa and Newman films from the 30s or 40s. Not with all of them, because for example THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, DOUBLE INDEMNITY or THE LOST WEEKEND are fully ok as regards the original music in the dubbing. There the cinema prints from the late 40s and early 50s have luckily been retained and are shown in this old version also on TV. But on the other hand something like THE FOUR FEATHERS, THE JUNGLE BOOK or FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO is almost completely destroyed, because again we have to talk of re-dubbings made during the 70s and early 80s, where the dubbing firms had no access to musc tapes only and couldn't therefore separate music and dialogue anymore. You can imagine the results if you only think about BETWEEN TWO WORLDS. Often, also the same pieces of stock music are used in the dubbings of those older films which makes such practice even more annoying than it already is.
Often with films from the 50s the situation gets better, because either the old German prints do still exist or because - if a re-dubbing has to be made - the dubbing firms have more easy access to separate music tapes. Not always of course and not always in their complete state, but nevertheless more often than for films of an earlier time.

Perhaps the soundtrack collector you are talking about is Dirk Hoffmann. I don't know if he is from Düsseldorf, but I know that he is a friend of Jordan Jurtschak (so he must live in the region of Düsseldorf) and that he is a big Horner and Goldsmith fan. So maybe it is the one you are talking about. It doesn't wonder me at all that he thought the German stock music in BETWEEN TWO WORLDS would be just the original Korngold music. Most people here in Germany don't have the slightest notion what is going on in the re-dubbing of old foreign films so the dubbing firms "win hands down".

Stefan
Stefan Schlegel
Regular visitor
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:03 am

Postby Stefan Schlegel » Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:35 am

Peter, I have to tell you another story about these German dubbings of the Korngold films which is just the peak of perversity.
Even well-trained academic music scholars have fallen prey to these dubbings and didn't notice it that the original Korngold music has been replaced. There is an academic, very analytical book about film music by two well-know German music scholars - both so-called music professors and really highly esteemed here in Germany -, which is called "Filmmusik. Eine sytematische Beschreibung" (Film music. A systematic description) and stems from 1980. The two authors are Helga de la Motte-Haber and Hans Emons. Now on page 144/145 of this book both of these authors come to the stunning conclusion that obviously in ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, THE BIG SHOT (1942) and HIGH SIERRA (1941) the same musical theme has been used in a love scene with dialogue (no wonder as all 3 of these films have been re-dubbed in the 70s, but of course our authors don't mention this and didn't notice it!!!). So they write the following:
"All of these 3 films moreover use the same musical theme - odd practice of the music departments -, which does appear in the first film under the name of Korngold and in the two last ones under the name of Adolph Deutsch."
Then they don't even feel ashamed at all to print the 5 notes of this musical theme (from the German stock music of the dubbing!) directly under this passage I have just quoted.
Can you really believe it that something like this is possible? If even such musical scholars fall prey to everything what the German dubbing firms do and have such a bad musical ear, how can you criticize all the other average people in Germany? One can only shake one's head and either laugh heartily or shed tears about such attitudes.
I can even quote you another short passage in this book, also about ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, from page 88. There Motte-Haber/Emons write that "meagre are the acoustic "set-scenes" Korngold composed for ELIZABETH AND ESSEX."
I may ask you: Have you ever in your whole life heard or read such nonsense? And something like this by truly "academic music professors"?

Stefan
Stefan Schlegel
Regular visitor
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:03 am

Postby Guest » Tue Jul 05, 2005 8:13 pm

Hi Stefan

When we look at older musical histories or dictionaries we find the same intellectual slackness in relation to composers like Korngold in the english speaking world. Even now that Korngold tends to be mentioned more often I frequently find the entries lazy and derivative, indeed frequently wrong. I have even found articles in the past which try to denigrate Korngold by attacking Brendan Carroll for his enthusiasm for his subject.

This sadly is no mere german problem. In Britain it seems every movement must have a counter movement. If something is announced as the next great thing (eg Korngold), especially if it gets people emotionally excited, there has to be a snobbish reaction against it. For every description of Korngolds 'masterly orchestration' it seems there has to be another claiming 'sugary sentimentality'. Sadly, despite Korngolds rising star I feel that in the absence of actual performances of the real variety of his music, people listen to the critics and do not give him or his music a chance.

I hope I am just being overly pessimistic here as there are also many good reviews and positive voices. In Germany with the badly dubbed films it is understandable that people do not know better, but in the long term there may be hope due to education, assuming the films themselves are treated with more respect. I am more worried about intellectual cultural bigotry which leads to such lack of interest and proper research that dreadful analysis of the 'facts' end up in books such as the ones you mentioned.

I noticed when I first moved to Germany that many british and US films which I had seen before, frequently had dialogue changed in the dubbing, not only to give easy translations of rude language or unfamiliar place names, but on some occassions political organisations in films were given different names, causes and even nationalities. This was most prominent in ARD and ZDF, less so on channels like Sat 1 and RTL. I wonder if some german scholar has ever done a study into such changes in the dubbing process, how it reflected the attitudes of the country at the time to the source film material etc, etc. I think the treatment of film scores and their corrupted versions would make a lovely chapter or two in such a study. Until such a thing I fear we may have to suffer the present impasse for some time to come. You are right. Few of my german friends are at all interested and are surprised by my irritation at the translation in some films.
Unless Spielberg directs a thrilling film about Korngolds life, (his escape from Europe while agonising over Robin Hood before the happy ending of winning the oscar despite adversity) I'm afraid we have to keep chipping away slowly at the doubters.

All the best

Peter
Guest
 

Postby Stefan Schlegel » Tue Jul 05, 2005 11:24 pm

Hi Peter,

I myself think that Korngold's reputation has heavily increased in Germany throughout the last 10 or 15 years. And probably not because of his films, but because of his concert works and operas which have been re-evaluated. Probably also the many CDs which have been released with his works have contributed to this fact. I personally remember that in the 70s for example you couldn't hear anything by Korngold on the radio. Nowadays you often get the opportunity on classical German radio stations to hear his works for piano, his chamber and symphonic works or excerpts from the operas - of course mainly from DIE TOTE STADT - on the radio. So certainly a great many things have changed over the years and I wouldn't be that pessimistic in that relation. Often also his VIOLIN CONCERTO is performed in greater cities or I myself have even seen a nice performance of DIE TOTE STADT in the mid-90s in Ulm, which is about 100 kilometres away from my home town here.
Nevertheless, regarding the dubbing of the films nothing at all has changed and almost nobody seems to care about that. This is really strange, and one often has to think that the audience which listens to the Korngold concert work is another one than the one that listens to his film scores. I think that at least in Germany there is some truth in this observation.

As to your question about the dubbing process. There is some scholarly work about this and particularly one by a good friend of mine in Regensburg called Wolfgang Maier. He studied German and English philology and his final thesis, which was also published as a book, deals with the problems of dubbing here in Germany. This book is called "Spielfilmsynchronisation" (dubbing of feature films) and came out in 1997. I also helped him with the treatment of scores in the process of dubbing, and so one of his chapters in this book indeed deals with "the role of the music in the dubbing process" and how scores have been replaced by stock music in re-dubbed German film versions.
He also writes about the problem that in German dubbing often political background or allusions to Nazism had been eradicated. Sometimes even certain names or persons have been altered to weaken the politcal background or to alter their (perhaps) German nationality. He analyzes some films in particular like CASABLANCA, THE THIRD MAN or DIE HARD which have been altered very much through the German dubbing process. Not only thorugh cuts, but also through alteration of the dialogue. Therefore I would recommend you this book very much.

Stefan
Stefan Schlegel
Regular visitor
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:03 am

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:10 pm

Hiya

The book on synchronisation sounds good. Have you any publishing information about it and where I will probably find it?

You are right that I am probably being overly pessimistic regarding Korngold matters. I got to know Korngold properly only after the revival was well underway. I can barely remember the neglect before this time. I am merely concerned that ordinary non specialists seem to know little and care less about old films and their music and somehow despite all the progress there seems to be a large step towards universal acceptance which has yet to be made. My concerns are really about society in general and not about the wonderful music, articles, books and recordings which are fighting our corner well. Anyway, I love to be proved wrong on such matters. A scotsman always likes to see a glass (of beer or whisky) half empty rather than half full. It gives greater pleasure to see it filled to the top again.

greetings from Glasgow

Peter
Guest
 

Postby Stefan Schlegel » Mon Jul 11, 2005 10:56 am

Hello,

the book about synchronisation was published by Peter Lang Verlag in Frankfurt. I think it is probably out of print, but you can find a copy for example on the Abebooks site at the price of 15 Euro:
www.abebooks.de

As I said before, I am again and again astonished that people here in Germany don't notice it when the original music of an old film has been replaced by stock music. For example just in this thread here our German colleague from near Düsseldorf wrote (see above) that in the German versions of all the Errol Flynn films he had heard the original Korngold music. Well, naturally this is true for THE SEA HAWK and ROBIN HOOD, but I wonder if he has ever seen CAPTAIN BLOOD, ELIZABETH AND ESSEX or THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER in their German version as they are regularly shown on TV.
Such statements might occur because in parts of these re-dubbed versions you CAN hear the correct Korngold score, but only in those parts without longer dialogue. In all dialogue scenes the original music has been removed! But perhaps it is more difficult to notice it there, because most people often pay more attention to the spoken word than to the music which lies behind the dialogue. At least this is my guess why dubbing firms can mask it so well that they have replaced the original music with German stock music. Therefore most spectators who see these films and hear that the Main Title is ok will also think that all the rest of the score is also by Korngold, because they have no idea about the practices of the German dubbing firms.
The only thing we can do about this is to enlighten all the friends we know who are interested in old films or in the Korngold music itself, because otherwise the most of them would never learn it by themselves. This is sad, but absolutely true, because I can't tell you how many friends and colleagues I have already had to inform in the past years about these dubbing facts in Germany. And there were many friends among them with a great interest in old films - and nevertheless they didn't notice it by themselves what had happened! Most people simply are too credulous and can't imagine that in Germany such things would happen at all. But of course they do all the time!!!

Stefan
Stefan Schlegel
Regular visitor
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:03 am

Dubbing Problems

Postby Brendan Carroll » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:05 am

Gentlemen!

THANK YOU for your marvellous discourse on this topic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a great deal!

I wish to make one tantalising addition to your discussion. In the case of some Korngold films, the original separate music tracks DO survive...so it is feasible to redub them with the music & German dialogue. KINGS ROW, CONSTANT NYMPH, PRINCE & PAUPER, CAPTAIN BLOOD, JUAREZ, OF HUMAN BONDAGE - all are complete!

But who would pay for such a big job?

Maybe one day I will be rich & I can do it.

BRENDAN CARROLL
Brendan Carroll
 


Return to Questions regarding E.W.Korngold

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron