Fun with Subtitles: The Mayor of Hell (1933), Cont.
OK, so last week I talked about the shitty, closed-caption transcription of the 1933 Cagney flick “The Mayor of Hell.” The characters were saying “Miss,” the transcription updated it to “Ms.” A Jewish kid called someone a “gonif,” the transcriber, gentile no doubt, went with “[INAUDIBLE].”
But this is the worst:
He's saying Fagin. As in the character from “Oliver Twist”—the corrupt man leading a group of Dickensian pickpockets. “Where's the Fagin that runs this joint.”
Look, I know how tough it is to transcribe. In the 1980s, I did it for a Taiwanese record company, which needed accompanying lyric sheets for their English and American records. I remember listening over and over to some songs and never figuring out certain words, and having to go with my best guess.
But this? This is embarrassing. For Warner Bros. and Filmstruck.
At the least, we're narrowing down the identity of the transcriber: progressive, gentile, not a big reader.