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by Peter Knegt
March 25, 2009 3:18 AM
3 Comments
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"Right One", Wrong Subtitles?

A blogger named RobG, at horror website Icons of Fright, has discovered an interesting contrast between the theatrical print of Tomas Alfredson's Swedish vampire flick "Let The Right One In" and its recent manifestation on DVD and Blu Ray. The film's subtitles seemed to have drastically changed en route to DVD, and in the blogger's words "have been completely dumbed down."

"Sure, the basic gist of what the characters were saying was kind of there, but missing completely was the dark humor, subtleties and character nuances which made the movie so powerful and a favorite amongst audiences last year," he writes. "I tried to carry on and ignore it, hoping that only a few of the translations were off... but... I was wrong. Just about the intent of every single line of dialogue was completely off and ruined the movie."

So RobG decided to do a little investigating. The subtitles became "so frustrating" that he stopped the US DVD, got his original screener copy and blogged a series of screengrabs from both versions to walk readers through "Right One"'s new subtitles.

His many, many examples (twelve scenes in all), include the scene in which the main characters Oskar and Eli share their first conversation. "Eli's immediate sarcasm sets up for the type of dark humor you can expect from the rest of the movie," Rob G writes. "It's not meant for 'laughs,' but it completely sets up the tone of the overall movie."

In the original version, Oskar asks Eli "do you live here" as she stands on the jungle gym. She responds, "I live right here, in the jungle gym." Oskar continues, asking "seriously, where do you live?" Eli responds "next door to you," leading Oskar to ask her how she knows where he lives.

In the US DVD translation, the entire conversation is simply Eli saying: "I live here. Next to you."

Another example comes when Haken is attempting to murder a boy to harvest his blood for Eli. "The boy's friend comes looking for him and breaks up this tense moment with a funny line saying 'Come on, man... You can jerk off at home,' Rob G writes.

In the US DVD version, the boy's friend simply says "Time to go home."

Rob G wonders: "How could this have possibly happened? The original screener copies carried the correct subtitles. The proof is above! Was it someone at Magnolia or Magnet's fault for this major, major blunder? "

His theory is that the original screener attributes that the subtitles were done by Ingrid Eng. "My guess is that in order to re-use them for the American version of the DVD, Magnolia/MAGNET probably had to pay Ingrid again for her services," he suggests. "Rather then do that, perhaps they hired someone else to do the translations for real cheap."

Check out Rob G's analysis here, though be warned there are some spoilers.

3 Comments

  • Peter Knegt | March 25, 2009 10:52 AMReply

    It never claimed or pretended to be a news story... articles linking and summarizing someone else's work have an occasional presence here at indiewire (and many other internet publications).

    But eshman, you are totally right, and know that we are currently awaiting a response from Mag/Mag and will update if one surfaces...

  • martin dantich | March 25, 2009 8:26 AMReply

    How is this a news story, as opposed to a reiteration of someone else's blog post?

  • eshman | March 25, 2009 7:38 AMReply

    So...maybe somebody should ask Magnolia/Magnet...