And Even More About
Reptilicus has garnered more mail than any movie I've reviewed...
five whole pieces! Two of which helpfully pointed out another piece
of the Historica Reptilicus, namely the whole reason the movie
was dubbed into English.
The first letter comes from frequent contributor (Mark
of Dracula and Breeders)
Howard Paul Burgess:
You left out one of the most fascinating
details about this very strange
movie. It was originally filmed in English.
Well, sort of English. The director had
the brilliant idea of having
the actors speak their lines in English, which they learned one syllable
at a time with no concept at all of what they were saying. Sort of
The head honcho for American-International
went to a screening of the
finished product. It was well into the screening that he realized
this was supposed to be English. It was in this sing-song like the
Swedish Chef on Sesame Street. Everything had the same lyrical lilt
it, even the lines like "We must destroy the monster before he
So it was dubbed by native English speakers,
who had an easy time of it
as they could match the lip movements exactly. However, the actors
not speak with the cadences of native speakers so they were forced
speak rather slowly.
Next, Grey Wizard, the proprietor of The
Unknown Movies page (which is, incidentally, highly recommended
- click on over!) sent the following excerpt from Samuel Z. Arkoff's
Flying Through Hollywood By The Seat Of My Pants:
[Previously, Sam was talking about his relationship
with Sidney Pink (THE ANGRY RED PLANET). A.I.P. invested $100,000 in
REPTILICUS, and Sam flies to Europe to see the rough cut of it.]
...But having seening not much more than a reel of the rough cut,
I shut off the projector. I leaned back in my seat with a horrified
expression on my face - and not because the prehistoric reptile was
'My God, Sidney, what have you done! You're going to have to loop
this entire picture!'
'What do you mean, Sam?" he said. 'It's already in English.'
'Well, you've got these Danes speaking English, and they've all
got that sing-song Scandinavian accent! That will nevery fly in the
U.S. This is a science fiction film - but those voices have turned it
into a comedy. If we showed it in the Sates the way it is now, audiences
would laugh themselves
silly until they got enough energy to demand their money back!'
Sidney had been in Denmark for so long that he didn't even hear
the Scandinavian accents anymore. He was so proud of his movie - much
prouder than it really warranted. 'Sam, you're kidding me on this one,
aren't you? These actors are speaking just fine. Just fine.'
'Look,' I said, 'we have to distribute this picture in the States.
Science-fiction aficionados are serious people. We can't run the movie
with the existing soundtrack. You'll have to get some American voices
and loop it.'"
[By the end of the meeting, Sidney and Sam
were furious with each other. Sidney threatened to sue A.I.P., and three
months later, he filed suit]
"But I figured it would never stand up in court. 'First of all,
the suit will drag on for two or three years just waiting for a trial
date, and that will hold up the release of the picture,' I warned Sidney's
lawyer. 'Then when we show it to an American jury, they won't be able
to understand half of the dialogue in the movie. Sidney will be the
laughingstock of Hollywood.'
Sidney arranged for his lawyer and a few industry friends to see
the film. A week after that screening, the suit was dropped, apparently
at the attorney's urging. Sidney agreed to have the picture looped with
American voices at Titra studios in New York. The picture was not a
big hit but no
one questioned the English."
Fantastic Film Appreciation Page gives this reason for the Pink
lawsuit: " Director Sid Pink filed his own
lawsuit against AIP and comic book publisher Monarch over near- pornographic
sex scenes in the comic book adaption of the film."