Acting Multilingual

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Acting Multilingual


Byline: Scott Galupo, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Acting multilingual

Who would've pegged the Laurel and Hardy comedy duo as polyglots?

German film historians have discovered long-lost footage of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy performing a routine entirely in German, the Munich Film Museum said yesterday.

Lest anyone get too impressed, Germans who've seen clips from the film are far more approving of the comedy than the accents.

"You can't actually understand what they say," said Klaus Volkmer, a spokesman for the Munich Film Museum.

"Their German is really broken," said Wolfgang Guenther, who runs the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Solingen. "That's the laugh effect. They didn't know German at all."

Turns out, Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy first shot their 1930s films in English, then reshot them with the same dialogue translated into German, French and Spanish - which they spoke phonetically - because it was so difficult to synchronize voices and actions in the early days of the talkies, the Associated Press notes.

The duo was known as "Dick und Doof" ("Fat and Dumb") and, like David Hasselhoff today, was immensely popular in Germany.

Chewing the fat

Kirstie Alley, the plus-size "Cheers" star behind the forthcoming "Fat Actress" reality series on Showtime, stands 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs in at 203 pounds. And she says, "I like who I am better than I've ever liked myself."

That's from Miss Alley's revealingly blunt interview in the current People magazine, in which the actress opens up about poor self-image, diet and exercise ("I got lazy. I haven't worked out for three years.").

"I do not consider fat a disease," she said. "What gene in my body says I have to eat four cakes instead of two?"

Contrary to conventional weight-gain wisdom, Miss Alley said she eats most when life is best. "The truth about me is, when I'm really upset" - like during her divorce from actor Parker Stevenson - "I don't eat. If I'm really happy, then I live my life like it's Christmas vacation. …

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