THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

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Richard M Roberts
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THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

Postby Richard M Roberts » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:55 pm

Not necessarily a film you'd want to see more footage of, but here's a Spanish-dubbed version of Buster Keaton's British feature THE INVADER (aka AN OLD SPANISH CUSTOM) from 1935:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoUPi8X ... pp=desktop

RICHARD M ROBERTS

Chris Seguin
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Re: THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

Postby Chris Seguin » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:59 am

There's a theory that this is a dub of a French phonetic version shot at the same time as the English. It'd require a bit of side-by-side and some lip reading though! (One day I may actually make the effort!)

Ed Watz
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Re: THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

Postby Ed Watz » Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:31 am

Thanks Richard for sharing this with us. Chris, regarding your question about a phonetic French version, Lupita Tovar told me in 1992 that only an English-language version of THE INVADER was made, contrary to news reports at the time that a French version was planned to be in the works. Sam Spiegel blew a chunk of the film's meager budget on actresses he was "testing" for a foreign version, and his backer eventually cut the budget considerably so that only the English version was filmed.

That said, the Spanish-dubbed INVADER contains footage that was deleted prior to US release of the English language version, AN OLD SPANISH CUSTOM, partially at the request of the MPPDA, but there was also a little tightening which improves the American release. The scene with Buster buying all the trinkets from the locals plays better and has a proper Keaton feel to it in CUSTOM, whereas it's loosely put together in THE INVADER and loses some of its comedy payoff.

As the last feature film based on an original story idea by Buster himself, AN OLD SPANISH CUSTOM is discussed at length in my Keaton talkie book - and thanks to Richard, I'm adding more about THE INVADERto that chapter right now!

Thanks again, Richard!

Ed
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

Ed Watz
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Re: THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

Postby Ed Watz » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:48 am

Addendum below -
Last edited by Ed Watz on Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

Ed Watz
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Re: THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

Postby Ed Watz » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:19 am

A side note - the approximately 50-minute American version of this film, AN OLD SPANISH CUSTOM, could be director Adrian Brunel's first cut (minus the deletion requests made by the MPPDA in December 1935). Years later Brunel recalled that when the film was originally completed in 1934, it was considered too short to qualify as a feature release, necessitating the inclusion of trims to pad out the running time to 61 minutes.
It's possible that the American indie distributor of THE INVADER, J. H. Hoffberg (who rechristened his release as AN OLD SPANISH CUSTOM) was only offered the original director's cut. MGM picked up and distributed the longer version of THE INVADER overseas. But the shorter version plays better and flows more smoothly, an indisputable case of "less is more."

Ed
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

Richard M Roberts
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Re: THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

Postby Richard M Roberts » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:39 pm

Forgive me Ed, but I'm afraid I have to disagree with you a little bit, I think this longer Spanish-language version of THE INVADER plays a lot smoother than the American release version, which has always looked a bit choppy to me. The Spanish version also looks a lot brighter and less shabby. I'm sure the American censors wanted the gay caballero scene cut, and the Hoffberg version gives us the unadulterated Keaton material without the padding, but it also does run a bit like a rough-cut and looks a bit dark and dingy, where the Spanish version feels and flows like a better-budgeted film. It's the opposite of WAR, ITALIAN STYLE, which I think plays better in the American recut, all the Keaton and less Franco and Ciccio.

RICHARD M ROBERTS

Ed Watz
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Re: THE INVADER (1935) Buster Keaton in longer, spanish language version

Postby Ed Watz » Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:53 am

I respect and understand what you are saying, Richard, it's more a matter of preference for me that AN OLD SPANISH CUSTOM keeps Buster front & center nearly all the time. Probably I'd appreciate THE INVADER more if I were watching the original English language release. The wall-to-wall dubbing in CARAMBOLA D'AMORE annoyed me - I was put off by the fey British voice used for Buster in English - reminiscent of LE ROI DES CHAMPS-ELYSÉES, where Buster is speaking French yet he's overdubbed 98% of the time - or the English language dub BOOM ON THE MOON, where again his scenes speaking English are dubbed in English ("Yeah! Me P-O-Dubya!").

Speaking of WAR ITALIAN STYLE, I edited my print so that it features only Keaton's footage. It runs about as long as SHERLOCK JR., has good continuity, and Franco & Ciccio only show up briefly in the few scenes where they appear with "Il generale." To a Keaton fan, it's almost insulting that the Italian version allows Franco & Ciccio the last scene after Buster's "Thank you" and farewell. THAT is the film's real ending.

Ed
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)


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