The first official response regarding the outrage about alternate subtitles on the Let The Right One In DVD and Bluray, which Icons of Fright wrote about two days ago and which I reported yesterday morning, came from a senior Magnolia guy. “Apparently we were supplied with two different translations by the producers,” he explained, “and for some reason the DVD division used the alternate subtitles for the DVD.
Yeah, but what reason? I never got a clearly worded reply on this.
The Magnolia guy emphasized, however, that “there was no conscious decision to ‘dumb the film down’, which is absurd because the theatrical titles were perfectly understandable and accessible.”
And yet a piece of reporting that was posted yesterday on The Digital Bits revealed that the person who changed the subtitles works for Magnet, the Magnolia distribution arm for oddball films. One presumes that the decision was a conscious (as opposed to unconscious or subconscious) one on someone’s part. As the general consensus is that the alternate subtitles represent a kind of dumbing down of the film’s dialogue, it is therefore fair to say that the subtitles were consciously dumbed down.
The bottom line is that some Magnet person felt that subtitles that were simpler, less wordy, and more American-ized sounding would play better with the DVD market, which is thought to be a little more downscale that the folks who pay to see films of this type in art theatres,.
A Magnet spoksperson said the following to the Digital Bits: “We’ve been made aware that there are several fans that don’t like the version of the subtitles on the DVD/BR. We had an alternate translation that we went with. Obviously a lot of fans thought we should have stuck with the original theatrical version. We are listening to the fans feedback, and going forward we will be manufacturing the discs with the subtitles from the theatrical version.”
Digital Bits asked Magnet how people will be able to identify the new discs, when they’ll be available in stores and if there will be an exchange program for those who have the existing version.
“There are no exchanges,” Magnet replied. “We are going to make an alternate version available however. For those that wish to purchase a version with the theatrical subtitles, it will be called out in the tech specs box at the back/bottom of the package where it will list SUBTITLES: ENGLISH (Theatrical), SPANISH.”
All the fans want is for Magnolia to put this person on a downtown Manhattan street at a designated time and location any time over the next couple of weekends. This person will be the fox. The hounds — i.e., the fans who were so outraged by this decision and will now have to purchase an extra DVD or Bluray of LTROI when the corrected version appears — will agree to give the fox a two-block lead. The fox agrees not to take a subway or a cab. He/she will have to stay on foot during the entire chase. The hounds agree not to physically harm the fox when he/she is caught, although the throwing of fruit and vegetables will be allowed.