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Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

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stuart.uk
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Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby stuart.uk » January 7th, 2014, 11:15 am

Spoiler

It's been long known that many actors/actresses have been dubbed while performing in musicals, but some where well kept secrets such as Christopher Plummer in The Sound Of Music. The BBC recently did a documenatry on the subject

I'm not sure Singing In The Rain will mean the same to me after finding out Debbie Reynolds, a great singer in her own right, was completely dubbed, only because she struggled with the tune Would You. Yet Marnie Nixon only partly dubbed Marilyn Monroe on Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes allowing MM to sing the other songs from the movie.

I'd known for many yrs Natalie Wood was dubbed by Nixon in West Side Story (Though NW did her own vocals in Gypsy, but not Daisy Clover), but the revelation for me is that Natalie recorded Maria's songs, and on hearing her voice thought, while not in Nixon's class, she did IMO a very good job. I'm not sure if it's true, but according to the Doc, Nataile didn't know she was being dubbed until she watched the film premeire. It was suggested, being a major star, if Natalie had known she'd been dubbed, she'd have walked of the set. I was amazed to discover in WSS that Rita Mereno was dubbed for at least one song.

This is just a personal opinion, because I know others will disagree, but if an actor/actress can make a half decent stab at the vocals they should have been allowed to sing in these movies. To me it doesn't matter if it's not perfect or if they can't reach certain notes, because it would be IMO more realistic. However, the Doc also suggested that if the same movies were made today, the likes of Natalie Wood would have been allowed to sing their own vocals, rather than be dubbed.

To be fair in the documentary, Deborah Kerr said she wasn't up to the vocals in The King And I.

What the doc didn't mention was Ava Gardner being disgracefully dubbed in Showboat. or that Marnie Nixon also dubbed Audrey Hepburn in my Fair Lady, even though AH recorded a decent version of Wouldn't It Be Lovely which was also in the film.

Funnily enough, in the doc, Mark Lester admitted he was a terrible singer, so he was quite happy to be dubbed by a girl in Olivier.

It's funny how those actors/actresses with decent voices were dubbed, while James Stewart sang in Born To Dance and Clark Gable in Idiots Delight

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JackFavell
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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby JackFavell » January 7th, 2014, 4:01 pm

I will say, sometimes I hate knowing what I know about classic movie musicals. It would be nice not to know still. However, I find it annoying when actors and actresses think they can sing when they can't. Especially when there are those out there who really can... and they don't get cast.

Mostly though, I take those classics the way they are and like them anyway.

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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby sandykaypax » January 8th, 2014, 2:01 pm

My understanding that Debbie Reynolds was only dubbed for one song in Singin' in the Rain--the aforementioned "Would You". If you listen to "Good Morning" it's very clear that is Debbie's voice.

The role of Maria in West Side Story is made for a legit soprano. It goes up to a high B flat. I don't really mind Natalie Wood being dubbed--she is the perfect Maria in every other way, IMO.

I guess that I saw most of the big musicals when I was a kid, so I didn't know about the dubbing. So, it doesn't bother me that much. The only one that bugged me was that Ann Blyth was dubbed by Gogi Grant in The Helen Morgan Story. Blyth's soprano is more like Morgan's voice than Grant's alto. But I do love the way that Grant sounds on the soundtrack.

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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby stuart.uk » January 8th, 2014, 2:46 pm

Sandy-I think you're right about Debbie. It's a bit confusing however, as to which numbers Debbie sang and what she didn't. I think she was still dubbed when dubbing Lena Lamont. In Natalie's case, I just thought her voice sounded okay on her recordings of Maria's songs

Wendy-What that doc said was that film liked to cast a big name, to help secure the films success, rather than a lesser known stage star. However, I think it's a pity a young Elaine Paige never got a chance to play Evita on film rather than Madona, even though the bigger star was still good in the role. Carol Channing was overlooked twice in film roles she created on stage, MM in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Barbra Striesand in Hello Dolly. Though I don't think Channing would have been as good as the actresses who made the films.

Here's a funny think maybe not known in America,but Lee Marvin had a huge UK number 1 hit with Wanderin Star from Paint Your Wagon

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JackFavell
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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby JackFavell » January 8th, 2014, 2:55 pm

I saw them when I was a kid too, and I think that makes a difference in how we like the musicals, no matter the dubbing or not.

As far as Singing in the Rain, it's one dubbing revelation that actually makes the movie even MORE interesting - maybe because it's a Hollywood story anyway, all about the fakery involved in making movies. What I love best is that Jean Hagen actually dubs Debbie dubbing Jean Hagen for the Dancing Cavalier premiere scene when they are in the dialogue sequence. That's cool!

I think Rita Hayworth's voice double in Gilda is the best there ever was, she sounds just like Rita, and when I found out last year, I almost didn't believe it, she sounds so much like Rita.

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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby Rita Hayworth » January 8th, 2014, 3:36 pm

JackFavell wrote:
I think Rita Hayworth's voice double in Gilda is the best there ever was, she sounds just like Rita, and when I found out last year, I almost didn't believe it, she sounds so much like Rita.



Wendy, Son of a Gun, I completely forgot to share this to everyone here ... her voice was partly dubbed was a masterpiece of when she did "Put the Blame on Mame" ... if you listen the guitar version with Uncle Pio - that's 100% Rita Hayworth - the one with the iconic black gown version is almost uncanny because the singer/voice double made it sounds like Rita. That's why many people thought Rita Hayworth can sing ... but Anita Ellis actually sang the song. But, she listen to Rita Hayworth voice very closely and made it Rita. That's was a masterpiece of audio wizardry back in those days and believe me - its fooled many people into believing that Rita Hayworth can sing. For what you written at the top is true to its letters!

Guitar Version with Uncle Pio - Is 100% Rita - Not Dubbed by Anita Ellis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN9YRvNcLlE

Black Gown Version - Anita Ellis did this Masterpiece to make it sounds like Rita.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY2IpSCV-Nk

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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby sandykaypax » January 8th, 2014, 4:19 pm

I have to respectfully disagree about Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! I absolutely love Streisand, and I do enjoy the film version of Dolly, but she was a bit too young for the role and had zero chemistry with Walter Matthau. I saw Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly on tour in the 1990's stage revival and she was FANTASTIC. She OWNED that role. I cannot even adequately explain what was so wonderful about her performance, she just had stage presence and charisma for DAYS. Maybe that wouldn't have translated to film well, but I wish that she had played the role on film.

The only other performer that I have seen on stage that radiated as much talent and charisma was Chita Rivera. Not that I've seen that many, but these 2 ladies stand out.

Sandy K

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JackFavell
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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby JackFavell » January 9th, 2014, 9:38 am

I agree about Channing, I would have LOVED to see her in that movie.

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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby loureviews » January 9th, 2014, 5:19 pm

I don't think it makes any difference, but I am pleased that many years after the event many of the secret dubbers are now being acknowledged (few were at the time, I seem to remember South Pacific did give a nod to Giorgio Tozzi singing for Rossano Brazzi but that's about it).

There seem to be two groups of 'classic' musicals - those which have big stars singing with a little bit of talent (Gable, R Taylor, J Stewart, Harlow, R Montgomery) and those with big stars who might have had some talent in say, dancing (Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth, Vera-Ellen) but couldn't carry a tune and had to be dubbed. It doesn't matter.

I enjoy musicals whatever, to be honest. It's nice to know that Marni Nixon is Maria AND Eliza AND Anna but it doesn't mean that Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn and Deborah Kerr gave performances of lesser power because their voices were helped. I do find it interesting though that many more women than men were dubbed - it's questionable, for example, when hearing the original tracks for Singin' in the Rain, whether Debbie's singing was lacking more than Gene Kelly's, but I think he was only ever dubbed in the French film he did in the 1960s.

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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby JackFavell » January 10th, 2014, 7:52 am

Great point about Gene's voice. I swear I just saw him dubbed in Cover Girl, but I suppose it could have been his voice trained a little more and a little younger. And of course it's a proven fact that Debbie could carry a musical by herself.

My problem with Guys and Dolls has nothing to do with the fact that Marlon and Jean sing for themselves. They do a pretty good job of it, and I actually like Marlon's voice a lot. My annoyance is at the switching out of incredibly terrific songs for merely meh songs.

(and on a side note, I sure do wish I could have gotten to see Sam Levene as Nathan Detroit)

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Re: Are classic musicals marred by dubbing revelations

Postby Fossy » January 10th, 2014, 6:48 pm

Debbie Reynolds songs in “Singin` In The Rain”

According to “Dubbers”

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952): Betty Noyes for Jean Hagen (singing "Would You?") / Jean Hagen for Debbie Reynolds ("dubbing" Jean Hagen's Lina Lamont screen dialogue)


And according to IMDB

All I Do Is Dream of You
(1934)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Originally from Sadie McKee (1934)
Sung by Debbie Reynolds (uncredited) and Chorus

Good Morning
(1939)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Originally from Babes in Arms (1939)
Sung by Gene Kelly (uncredited), Donald O'Connor (uncredited), and Debbie Reynolds (uncredited)

Would You
(1936)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Originally from San Francisco (1936)
Sung by Betty Noyes (uncredited) dubbing for Debbie Reynolds

Singin in the Rain (in A-Flat)
(1929)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Originally from The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)
Sung by Debbie Reynolds (uncredited), Gene Kelly (uncredited), Donald O'Connor (uncredited), and Millard Mitchell (uncredited)

You Are My Lucky Star
(1935)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Originally from Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935)
Sung by Gene Kelly (uncredited), Debbie Reynolds (uncredited) and offscreen chorus

Main Title
(uncredited)
Conducted by Lennie Hayton
Performed by MGM Studio Orchestra
Sung by Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds

Would You? (End Title)
(uncredited) Chorus
Conducted by Lennie Hayton
Performed by MGM Studio Orchestra
Sung by Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Chorus


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