You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

ON THE TOPIC OF ACCENTS, Tom, your blog reminds me of the time when I was browsing through the main "Resource Centre" (University euphemism for Library) at Griffith when I stumbled over a book dealing with film stereotypes. The name of it will forever escape me but I know exactly where it was shelved in 1997!

Items to note: In Hollywood Robin Hood films of the 50's, Robin Hood and his merry men always had American accents, while the Lords had toffee English ones - as opposed to the reality, where the merry men would be grunting in Anglo-Saxon gutterals while the Lords "wipe[ed] their a** with silk" (thanks Merovingian) in speaking French, as the Norman conquerors.

This phenomenon was repeated in K. Costner's "Prince of Thieves" (try saying "I will not rest urn-til my farrrthr is a-ve-an-ged like Kevin and you will hear what I mean) with British thespian Alan Rickman as the baddy. This American / British conflict apparently reflected the concerns of the American Revolution, and was much more appealing to US audiences than the centuries-old England France debacle.

However, the Patrick Bergin version of Robin Hood (made in the same year) has an Irish Hood (Bergin), and an English Prince John (Edward Fox), although I suppose this is an English production, not an American one, the heroes are Irish (proto Americans) but the evil-doers remain the same. Robin Hood is thus sort of like a modern-day IRA terrorist going about his business of restoring justice to the common folk.

As an aside, the parody, Men in Tights had a British hero in Cary Elwes, a Welsh Sheriff of Nottingham, and an American King John. Almost a role-reversal of the traditional Anglo-American antagonisms.

Interestingly, in the stumbled-over book there was also a chapter about horror movies, with one of the key characters being the "last girl" who survives until the end. Apparently this genre is true to form in movies such as IKWYDLS, Scream etc (although I claim no responsibility in having actually seen these films, so my comments are doubtless unreliable. Readers are urged to draw their own conclusions.

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