Most travelers abroad have their favorite examples of mistranslation they have encountered, either to or from (in my, and probably your, case) English. Signs that warn of unexpected and unlikely dangers (If pulled too hard, toilet will hurricane onto floor.). Stores selling jeans that are the “nitgest level to wear.” A customer who orders breast milk instead of whole milk. And, of course, movie titles given unusual twists.
I learned today that Tremors, that 1990 Kevin Bacon vehicle, is called in German Land Of The Rocket Worms. Don’t ask me how I came upon this information, just know that my source is somewhere on the Interweb and is therefore above reproach. On a related note, I had a friend in college whose brother knew a guy in Brazil who could get you cashews, but that’s another story.
Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of watching the last 20 minutes of Pallottola spuntata 33 1/3 (Dulled Bullet 33 1/3), better known in the English-speaking world as Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult. It was an unusual movie watching experience. I had to stand in one place in the living room, between two drying racks full of clothes, because if I moved the picture went static and the sound went bonkers. I could only understand one out of ten words that Leslie Neilson and the others were saying. [Allegedly, nearly all movies coming into the country are dubbed into Italian. I guess I had better get learning.] Additionally, the cast of Dulled Bullet 33 1/3 - Mary Lou Retton, Weird Al Jankovic, James Earl Jones, Anna Nicole Smith, OJ Simpson, Vanna White, and others - has had a checkered run of it since the movie’s release, adding a rearview mirror peculiarity. But, thankfully slapstick comedy transcends language. As is so often the case, the little things add bouyancy to life, like thousands of ping-pong balls glued to an elephant.