Musical hat-trick

0103 Musical Hat-trick

Hat-trick (noun): three points, goals, etc. scored by the same player in a particular match or game; three successes achieved by one person (‘to score a hat-trick’). Word origin: late 19th cent.: originally referring to the club presentation of a new hat (or some equivalent) to a bowler who took three wickets successively in cricket. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary,, retrieved on 4 Oct 2019) Read on to learn more about the hat-trick I’m referring to.

This summer, my English-come-German husband and I had the opportunity to indulge in one of our favourite pastimes – le cinéma. As it so happened, we ended up seeing three films each of which was both a little gem of British culture and a gripping tribute to pop music. Check them out – they all come highly recommended by both of us.

Imagine the world, pop culture and language without the influence of The Beatles. This film takes you on an experimental journey and invites you to explore alleys off the beaten track of what we all take for granted. While watching I thought, It’s like listening to The Beatles’ music for the first time all over again. A unique experience. Ed Sheeran plays an amusing guest role with an even more amusing entourage. My favourite is his no-nonsense manager Debra, drop-dead adorably played by Kate McKinnon. The love story is somewhat soppy but ingeniously counterbalanced by the dry humour of characters such as Debra or scenes such as The Marketing Meeting of Meetings (‘You can’t call it The White Album, man!’). The film is entertaining and really enjoyable overall.

A visually stunning, poetic and sensitive portrait of rock legend Elton John. Makes it easy to appreciate his profound artistic talent even for people who might not relate all that much to the style of his music at first sight. Taron Egerton is a staggering delight to watch because he knows neither fear nor vanity. His interpretation of Elton John’s music gives it an entirely new, scintillating twist. Then there is also the intimate tale of little Reginald Dwight, a fragile, sensitive boy craving paternal affection. His story is told with compassion, while remaining unspoiled of excessive sentiment. The overall mise en scène is witty, imaginative and psychologically powerful, with the refreshing cinematography taking the storytelling to another, almost fairy-tale-like level. A feathered cushion for the heart and the soul and my favourite out of the three!

Blinded by the Light
Immerse yourself into teenage British suburban life of the 1980ies. This film is great fun, with Routemasterloads of references to the sociopolitical upheavals of the Thatcher era. My favourite quote is from a left-wing political activist, who describes her parents as ‘no-society Tory traitors’. A great complement to this is Tim Lott’s novel Rumours of a Hurricane – highly recommended. The film, which is based on a true story, features the music of US-American old hand Bruce Springsteen, which you don’t need to dig to like the film – because what the film is really about is becoming our own person. It is funny and sad, and ultimately uplifting.

Read here why you should watch these films in the original version.

The Pommes Buddha says: You can teach an old hat new tricks.

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Magnum in distress

Microphone And Singer

As most of you know, in Germany films are dubbed (see “An mein Ohr kommt nur Wasser und O-Ton”). So on TV and in most cinemas, Daniel Craig and Jennifer Lawrence speak German while their lips form English words. But of course, this being Germany, voice-overs are not services purchased randomly for each film project. No, there is method in this madness. Read on and see for yourself what this entails and why Herr Lehmann is not just a good book.

Each popular American and English actress has her very own German voice, i.e. she is usually dubbed by one and the same voice-over artist in whatever film or series she stars. Voice-over artists may have several actors, but each actor generally has one voice-over artist and thus a recognisable German voice.

Consequently, Germans, unless they are either proper cinema aficionados or interpreters and watch every film in its original version, would never recognise, say, Sean Connery by his real voice.

On the other hand, who’d expect that the unsuspicious-sounding name Manfred Lehmann belongs to the German voice of not only Bruce Willis but also Dolph Lundgren, Gérard Depardieu and Kurt Russell, among others?

As for animated films, the UK, in its own productions, and Germany both make it a crucial part of a film’s PR to use famous actresses and actors for voice-over. For example, the little snowman Olaf in Frozen is spoken by German ‘household-name’ comedian Hape Kerkeling. And UK-produced films such as Arthur Christmas or Flushed Away feature celebs such as Hugh Laurie, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet.

Sometimes, well-known voices can play tricks on you. Do you remember the American TV series Magnum, P.I.? A friend of mine knows a guy who works as a handyman for a film production company. One day, that guy comes home to find an answerphone message by Tom Selleck’s German voice saying, “Hey, Andreas, I have some computer trouble. Could you please give me a ring”? How cool must this Andreas be if Magnum calls him for help!

So voices can definitely leave quite an impression. As an interpreter, I’m very aware of that. Try my podcast to see if you like this text being read to you.

And now get in gear for next week’s road trip.

The Pommes Buddha says: The name is Bond. James Bond.

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