View Full Version : Film credits
03-05-2006, 07:36 PM
Surprised at seeing the extended credit list at the end of George Gigo's The Devil's Kiss yesterday, I suddenly wondered why most old european films don't seem to have proper credits. Usually you just get some names (in all kinds of different spelling) in the beginning of the film and that's it. In american films usually even the stupidest parts gets a name of the actor + description. Many eu actors are hard or impossible to identify because of this, which I find annoying.
Is there any special historical reason for this?
03-05-2006, 07:58 PM
Its the same with most films pre-1980. A few credits at the start and a THE END credit when the film was over. Just the way things were done.
For euro-films especially, the fact is that all the credits had to be individually shot in the language of the country the film was to be shipped too, and no distributor is going to sit down and spend hours translating random part credits.
03-10-2006, 09:31 AM
I highly doubt that translation issues are the reasons for why most European movies don't have cast lists with character descriptions at the end. They still had to translate all the crew credits and I'm assuming that there were professional people translating the credits. I guess that cast lists were somehow deemed excessive. Remember, old Hollywood films often didn't have any cast lists at the end either.
But you are right that this makes it very difficult to identify the actors - particularly the supporting actors. Often, the only way is to look up more films with some of those unidentified actors to try and find out who they are. I have been doing this for quite a while now and identifying Euro actors has pretty much become a hobby. Of course, there are other factors that make it difficult too. For example all the silly psedonyms that the actors often use. Just look at THE ARENA (1973) for example where almost all the actors are hidden behind idiotic Americanized names, so that you have Peter Cester = Pietro Ceccarelli, Sid Lawrence = Silvio Laurenzi, Dick Palmer = Mimmo Palmara, Marie Louise = Marie Luise Zetha etc. Just silly.
Even more bizarre are the amount of actors that go uncredited even when they play rather substantial roles that should warrant an on-screen credit. Some good examples of this would be Renato Romano's role in BOGEYMAN AND THE FRENCH MURDERS (1972), Lorraine De Selle in EMANUELLE IN AMERICA (1976), Agnes Kalpagos in SS CAMP 5 - WOMEN'S HELL (1976), Dakar in ZOMBIE (1979) etc. It doesn't make any sense for them to go uncredited and yet they do.
Also, note that in the case of co-productions with countries like Spain and Germany, the various language prints usually differ in who they credit and who they do not. The international English print (which is usually identical to the Italian version) of BATTLE OF THE LAST PANZER credits only the Italian actors and a few of the Spanish actors who play big roles. But a lot of Spanish supporting actors are not credited. However, in the Spanish credit sequence these actors are credited. So each county will usually list their own actors but often not care about the other actors. So in order to compile a more or less complete cast list it can be worth seeking out different language prints. In other words, a lot of hard work but it can be fun too.
03-10-2006, 11:08 AM
I always assumed it was because of strong(-er?) union laws in the States. So literally everybody involved in the production gets a namecheck ??
I remember reading an interview with Wim Wenders relating that he found it tricky to get his usual European crew to the US to film Paris, Texas because of American union laws.
(Please note this post is not intended to be political)
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