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HomeMovie"Name, sister, name!", or Top gun and company

“Name, sister, name!”, or Top gun and company

Date: August 20, 2022 Time: 05:09:26

Once upon a time, when DVD was just beginning to be invented and the concept of “online cinema” did not exist at all, our attitude towards Western cinema was completely enthusiastic. And not only because they almost always penetrated us exclusively underground, but also because they did it in good faith. Today, awareness has been completely lost, so, perhaps, no one really suffers that the distribution of Western cinema has practically died out in Russia. And it died out for all known reasons, although such extinction happened before, only the essence was different.

When in the 90s (also after well-known facts) suddenly everything became possible, the cinematographic consciousness of the former Soviet viewer was instantly occupied with VHS video cassettes with films for every taste. The distribution of films has simply become unnecessary: ​​domestic films have almost ceased to be made, and Western films were imported exclusively in category B, and even C, and even in terrible quality prints. Movie theaters have become furniture stores, car dealerships, or banal flea markets. So the 90s became the golden age of VHS, and the translators who translated and dubbed with their own voices all the western film production that reached us became stars, coming out of the underground and removing the conditional nose clip ( although this is a myth about a clothespin, it’s just that Leonid Volodarsky had such a voice).

Leonid Volodarsky

Thanks to videocassettes, translators, and a gigantic network of do-it-yourself video rentals, we’ve been able to see immortal movie classics, including old black-and-white movies, great movie musicals, modern action flicks, and (horror) erotica. Of course, there was also a hotter movie, but there was nothing special to translate there. At the same time, many, having rented a cassette and sitting on the sofa at home to watch it, stretched their faces in surprise, because this film had already been seen. True, under a completely different name.

alexey mikhalev

The name of the film is somewhat ambiguous. For example, our modern film distribution (during the pre-sanction period) very often sinned with this, introducing new titles that supposedly better reflect the essence of the film, to make it clearer for the Russian audience, they say. The tradition came from the USSR – the most striking example is Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot”, which in the former Soviet Union was known exclusively as “Only Girls in Jazz”. In modern Russia, these new names often border on weakness: “Kick-Ass”, “Konenaya” or “Double Kopets” are examples of this. And in the VHS era there were no standards for titles, so each translator called the film whatever they thought best. Some English films were imported to us from France or Germany, and they often liked to change the names of films there too, so it happened that the same film appeared on our cassettes under different names: one was a translation from native English, and the other German or French.

andrey gavrilov

Sometimes the number of name options for a film ranged from two to six; this applied to any film, that the French (“Ace of Aces” by Gerard Ury with Belmondo found under the name “Journey to Berlin”), that the British (“Brazil” by Terry Gilliam was under the name “Shlager” ), who is American (the movie that could be seen as “Indestructible”, “And a warrior in the field”, “Hard to die, but with dignity” and the literal “Dying hard” became the champion here, but it was destined to go down in history under the rental name “Die Hard”, when the image somehow, and even in widescreen format, reached our dying cinemas in 1991). Today I propose to recall the six most striking images that were extremely popular with our audience on cassettes.

Wassily Gorchakov

All these six films were translated by the best translators of the time. Therefore, here we will not mention the translators who entered the business much later – these are Yuri Serbin, Pyotr Kartsev, Andrey Dolsky and many others, including the notorious Goblin. Today we will focus on the classics of video translation, on its origins. The voices of these people are familiar to everyone who led an active film/video life in the ’80s and ’90s, as these seven people translated just about everything that came into our country. These are Alexey Mikhalev, Andrey Gavrilov, Leonid Volodarsky, Vasily Gorchakov, Mikhail Ivanov, Yuri Zhivov, and Alexander Gottlieb.

yuri zhivov

A frame from Paul Verhoeven’s “Total Recall” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the likable young Sharon Stone, placed in a header, reminds us that this is the most popular version of the title we’ve ever pasted on the film, and we can’t imagine another. This version was invented by Volodarsky, a “man with a clothespin”, although Gavrilov’s version, called “The Return of Memory”, was much more widespread. But he was the first one he caught. There was another version of Gorchakov, “The Return of Memories”, and Zhivov translated this picture much later (this can be heard by the color of the timbre of the voice, age), calling it, like Volodarsky, “Remember everything”.

Total Recall / Remember Everything, 1990

The legend of the VHS era is Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Thanks to Volodarsky’s incredibly poetic translation, we called him “Blade Runner” for a long time. Gavrilov made the image clearer and harsher, calling it “Receiver”. Here Volodarsky’s rule played again, because Gavrilovsky’s version was replicated further, but the name did not take root.

Blade Runner/Blade Runner, 1982

Martin Brest’s beloved comedy “Being on time before midnight” with the young Robert de Niro and Charles Grodin again remained in our memory thanks to Volodarsky’s translation. However, there was one feature: before him, the film came out with us on cassettes in Gottlieb’s translation and was called “A Trifle.” Volodarsky also mentioned it (the rarest case!), and then gave his own version of it. Mikhalev also translated this film – his version is called “Jog before going to bed”, but it was very difficult to find it.

Midnight Race / Arrive on time before midnight, 1988

Another legend is the movie “Top Gun”, which a narrow-minded person called “Upper Gun”. Tony Scott and Tom Cruise then made an imperishable: this year, by the way, we are waiting for the sequel. The number of translations speaks to the legendary nature of the film: as many as six. All versions were replicated in the same way, so we called the film “Top Gun” among ourselves, as Gorchakov called it, leaving it without translation – Mikhalev called the film “Air Guard”, Volodarsky – “School on the roof “, Ivanov – “Best Shooter”, Zhivov – “Forge of Aces” and Gavrilov – “School of Aces”.

Top Gun/Top Gun, 1986

Where are we without horror?) The legendary film by John Carpenter with Kurt Russell in the title role and the incredible and depressing music of Ennio Morricone is fixed in our minds under the name coined by Mikhalev – “Something”. Gorchakov called this film “The Creature”, and Gavrilov and Zhivov, following in the footsteps of Mikhalev, “Something” (they translated the film later). There was another option, “It”, who did it, I don’t know, but it was very rare, and then the name was assigned to the Stephen King adaptation of It.

The Thing/Something, 1982

I’ll end with a picture that was incredibly popular on cassette at the time: Wes Craven’s Electroshock. Gavrilov was the first to suggest the name, and so it came to the people. Gorchakov and Zhivov also used it in their versions. And only Ivanov did not bother and called the film “Shocker”, but his version was much less common than Gavrilov’s and Gorchakov’s versions.

The Surprise/Electroshock, 1989

If anyone remembers something more interesting and fun from the history of movie titles on videocassettes, please write in the comments! Because I can continue this topic for a long, long time)).

(c) petrus_paulus

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