Saturday, September 18, 2010

Catching Up on The Summer's D.V.D. Accent News

Playing catch-up again with the Google Reader feed...

The National, July 13, 2010, "Accenting the positive on screen" by Ben East.

Some of the worst accents committed to celluloid are American attempts at English – Don Cheadle in the Oceans series, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins to name but two...

Dick Van Dyke is better than Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Richard Gere

The Independent, July 14, 2010, "Film remakes: Maybe you can hire... the right actors" by Ben Walsh.

The catalogue of casting errors are legion: an unsympathetic Andie MacDowell as the love interest in Four Weddings and a Funeral, John Hannah as the gruff detective in Rebus, Madonna in anything, Jude Law, similarly, in anything, Keira Knightley's bounty hunter in Domino, Dustin Hoffman as the American journalist Wally Stanton in Agatha, Keanu Reeves in Little Buddha, Dracula, My Own Private Idaho, The Devil's Advocate etc, and Robert De Niro's needy monster in Kenneth Branagh's shambolic Frankenstein (1994). Not to mention the dodgy accent brigade: Josh Hartnett's Yorkshireman in Blow Dry, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, Julia Roberts's Irish maid in Mary Reilly, Tom Cruise's poor Irish farmer in Far and Away, and, worst of all, Richard Gere's IRA terrorist in The Jackal.

"Memorably imitated" is cute...

The First Post, July 2, 2010, "London’s Cockney accent will be gone in 30 years: The ancient East End way of talking is being replaced by a new hybrid known as Jafaican" by Jonathan Harwood.

And although the term Cockney dates back to the time of Chaucer, it is unlikely that the accent so memorably imitated by Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins has many similarities with the dialect spoken by Londoners in the 1400s.

LondonNet, July 1, 2010, "Cockney Accent 'Will Be Gone Within 30 Years' - Study to show that Jafaican most likely to take over from its older bruv"

Cockney has starred in famous TV and film productions. It is still the lingua franca of top-rated soap EastEnders, made a mangled appearance on the lips of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins and is occasionally used by Bart Simpson of The Simpsons to this day.

Sydney Morning Herald, June 17, 2010, "Stella idea in anyone's language" by AUTHOR.

Had the archive been around at the time, we might have been spared the vocal grotesqueries of Dick Van Dyke and Sean Connery, who topped Empire magazine's poll of the worst accents in cinema history for their work on, respectively, Mary Poppins (1964) and The Untouchables (1987). ''We get mail of thanks from many actors who are working with scripts that require obscure speech accents,'' Weinberger says.

Broadway West, June 14, 2010, "Stage West Presents ROLE PLAY, Begins 6/24" by Gabrielle Sierra.

In a 2002 interview with famed theatre critic Michael Billington, (Alan) Ayckbourn said, "When I started out, there were serious plays where the lighting was desperately dark and the tempo turgid, and comic plays where madness prevailed and everyone talked like Dick Van Dyke on speed. What I've tried to do is bring these elements together, which is a bit like dancing on the edge of a razor blade."

The Hell? I think the author is confusing Dick Van Dyke with Audrey Hepburn...

The Telegraph, June 8, 2010, "World Cup 2010: How does Fabio Capello compare with 1966 winner Sir Alf Ramsey?" by Jonathan Liew.

Ramsey: Took elocution lessons to gentrify his broad Cockney accent. A bit like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins.

Anglotopia, June 3, 2010, "Dispatches From the South – Hugh Grant, the Queen and Six Pints of Lager" by Mike.

If accounts of Brits travelling to the States (as well as my own experiences when I visit) are to be believed, your average American still holds as gospel the notion that Britain is populated by fish-and-chip eating, binge-drinking football-hooligans with bad teeth who talk like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, even when they are chatting up the Queen. And they’re all homosexuals. Except for Hugh Grant, and we’re not really sure about him.

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