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Some Like It Looped


ValeskaSuratt
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Some Like It Hot has been one of my five favorite movies since I was a kid.

 

 

 

Only in recent years did I notice that all of Tony Curtis' lines as Josephine were "looped" (replaced in post-production).

 

Only today did I finally research the topic and discover the truth -- that the voice of "Josephine" wasn't Curtis' at all, but was actually provided by one of the most prolific voice-over artists of the 50s and 60s, Paul Frees.

 

 

 

600full-paul-frees.jpg

 

 

 

The details were provided by a fan of "DVD Savant" Glenn Erickson:

 

 

 

"I had noticed on my own a long time ago that there was something fishy about 'Josephine's' voice. My ear was used to Paul Frees' vocal gymnastics from any number of cartoons, commercials, etc., and I suddenly realized that that was whom I was hearing. A year or two later, Curtis himself appeared on the summer television series 'The Copycats,' which, as you may remember, featured impressionists. He 'recreated' a scene from Hot with Rich Little portraying Jack Lemmon as 'Daphne.' And, the odd thing was, Curtis couldn't do that wonderful, Eve Arden-like voice he'd had in the film!

 

 

 

"Eventually, VCRs appeared, and I was able to tape the movie and study it. Yes, the room tone changed whenever 'Josephine' spoke. Yes, there was a lack of synchronization from time to time. And, yes, there was even a brief moment that didn't seem to be redubbed, with 'Jo's' voice a shrill falsetto, unlike the velvety purr it was otherwise.

 

 

 

"Years later, The New York Times ran an article on famous re-voiced performances, such as Glenn Close dubbing Andie McDowell in Greystoke, and James Keach doubling for male model Klinton Spilsbury as the voice of The Lone Ranger. They later printed a letter from a gentleman in Chicago in response. It seemed that he'd interviewed voiceover artist Paul Frees on his radio show, and Mr. Frees spoke at some length about how he'd been called in to dub 'Josephine,' when it became clear that Tony Curtis' efforts wouldn't do.

 

 

 

"I got the Chicago man's number from information and, feeling vindicated, called him long-distance that afternoon to talk about it. I'd been right, all those years! And yet, not one word of the story has ever appeared in print, aside from that letter. What do you think? ... Bob Gutowski

 

 

 

"Savant: I think it's yet another facet of filmmaking many people don't readily understand. A great many of the voices heard in films are not those of the original actors, and in the 50's and 60's Paul Frees practically had the voiceover market to himself, along with people like Marvin Miller (Robby the Robot). The listing in the Internet Movie Database doesn't begin to plumb the depth of Frees' presence in those years. You can see Frees acting onscreen as one of the scientists in Christian Nyby's The Thing from Another World, and as the French Fur Trader McMasters in The Big Sky, but most of us know him from his immediately recognizable narration for hundreds of movies and television shows. Frees' voice recordings from as far back as 1956 are still heard on Disneyland rides and old Disney TV shows. His is the portentious voice of doom heard in most of George Pal's films. He doesn't narrate The War of the Worlds, but is an onscreen radio reporter serving much the same function in that film. He was the king of science fiction narration: Frees is the warbly voice of the alien invaders that says " Do - oc - tor M - Mar - ar - vin" in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.

 

 

 

"It looks as though Frees was a one-stop shopping narrator for producers with problem characters and quickie line readings. Once your ear is cocked for his voice you never miss it again. He can be heard dubbing almost all the anonymous voices and soldier lines in Spartacus, so much so that after a few viewings you wish producer Kirk Douglas has spread the chore around to a few more actors! But the man could apparently bring forth scores of distinct different voices. For the American release of Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace Frees seems to have done all the male voices, which gets pretty interesting when four or five men talking in a group are each a variation on the same voice. It seems entirely appropriate that he be chosen to revoice Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot. Fortunately, Curtis' pride is saved by his perfect Cary Grant imitation as the bogus millionaire!"

 

 

 

http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s74frees.html

 

 

 

None of this is meant to detract from Curtis' wonderful performance -- any more than would pointing out that Yakima Canutt did the stunts for John Wayne in Stage Coach.

 

In fact, after having seen the fiilm at least a hundred times, it provided me with a new context for tonight's viewing of Some Like It Hot: appreciating how Frees' falsetto helped bring "Josephine" to life.

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You could spot Frees the other night during TORA, TORA, TORA doing the voice for Toshiro Mifune.

 

True story:

 

When we went to "The Hall of Presidents" at Disney World in 1980, even my six year old son noticed that all the Presidents sounded the same. It was Frees doing all the voices. He even mentioned that it sounded like some cartoon character which I've long since forgotten. It may have been one of those Rudolph or Frosty specials instead of a cartoon.

 

I do remember explaining to him that this was someone known for doing different voices and the wiseguy kid said "They don't sound different."

 

For years there was a rumor that Frees had to loop some dialogue for Bogart in his last film THE HARDER THEY FALL. Even Frees denied it, but it still surfaces now and then.

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>clore says:

>You could spot Frees the other night during TORA, TORA, TORA doing the voice for Toshiro Mifune.

 

Toshiro Mifune was not in TTT. Besides all the Japanese in it spoke Japanese, obviating the need to have their voices dubbed.

 

Paul Frees dubbed Mr. Mifune in Grand Prix, constituting one of the great crimes in film history.

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That was it - I knew I spotted him doing Mifune in something the other day. Thanks for the correction.

 

Toshiro Mifune was not in TTT. Besides all the Japanese in it spoke Japanese, obviating the need to have their voices dubbed.

 

But Frees did do a voice in TORA, TORA, TORA, that of actor Shogo Shimada speaking English while playing Ambassador Nomura. It's unmistakably recognizable.

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> (Frees) doesn't narrate The War of the Worlds, but is an onscreen radio reporter serving much the same function in that film.

Well, he doesn't...and he does. While Cedric Hardwicke narrates the film proper, Frees does provide the narration for the faux Paramount black-and-white "newsreel" that opens the movie. Frees is also seen on-camera as the reporter dictating into his tape recorder as the clock counts down to the dropping of the atomic bomb.

 

The problem with Frees is that all his vocalizations were unmistakably him, so distinctive was the timbre of his voice.

 

 

>Toshiro Mifune was not in TTT. Besides all the Japanese in it spoke Japanese, obviating the need to have their voices dubbed.

 

>But Frees did do a voice in TORA, TORA, TORA, that of actor Shogo Shimada speaking English while playing Ambassador Nomura. It's unmistakably recognizable.

 

 

The confusion is understandable, because Frees did loop Mifune in the actor's role as Admiral Yamamoto in MIDWAY, a film in which the actors playing Japanese (playing, since they were all Japanese-Americans -- Robert Ito, James Shigeta, Clyde Kusatsu, etc. -- except for Mifune) all spoke English.

 

 

 

 

Mention should also be made of English-Greek actor George Pastell (George Pastelides), who was, in effect, the Paul Frees of the British film industry. His voice can be heard in movies as diverse as EL CID, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, and any number of James Bond films. Again, his voice is utterly unmistakble. even if his name is all but unknown today.

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Not long ago, I spotted Frees looping actor Peter Carsten in DARK OF THE SUN, but it was just in one scene, right before he and Rod Taylor have a fight.

 

Another candidate is Robert Rietty, he's got to be up there with Frees and Pastell.

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> The problem with Frees is that all his vocalizations were unmistakably him, so distinctive was the timbre of his voice.

That's part of what made this trivia tidbit interesting to me.

 

There's a pretty fair number of "Josephine" lines in the film and Frees -- unique pipes and all -- manages to give his readings a unique comic turn, yet they still sound more like Curtis' voice than Frees'.

 

For contrast, there's Bette Davis' supposedly pitch-perfect "imitations" of sister Blanche in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

 

It seems Aldrich must have thought this was such a clever gimmick, he used it three times -- "Oh, really ? Did she like it ?," telling the liquor store to deliver, and stopping the doctor from coming to the house -- even though it's so painfully obvious Joan Crawford just looped the lines.

 

In Some Like It Hot, even when "Josephine" is off-camera, Frees gives "her" quite a personality ... ("Da-ta-tah ... dee-tee-hee ... "):

 

http://tinyurl.com/894uyht

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So I’m watching this trailer for … what the heck is this a trailer for? / they never show a title on screen / don’t recognize anything he’s saying as a title / better check the schedule/ what’s going to be on Friday at 8:00 PM? / Goodbye Again / that’s a movie title? / I guess that’s what he’s whispering inside the echo chamber about four minutes into the trailer … so I’m watching this trailer for Goodbye Again and I recognize one of the great cartoon voices of all time because I am a total Frees freak …

 

> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}

>

> True story:

>

> When we went to "The Hall of Presidents" at Disney World in 1980, even my six year old son noticed that all the Presidents sounded the same. It was Frees doing all the voices. He even mentioned that it sounded like some cartoon character which I've long since forgotten. It may have been one of those Rudolph or Frosty specials instead of a cartoon.

>

> I do remember explaining to him that this was someone known for doing different voices and the wiseguy kid said "They don't sound different."

>

 

 

 

 

Now that you mention it, it does sound pretty much like Ludwig von Drake doing a bad Pepe Le Pew impersonation, but he’s still one of the great cartoon voices of all time.

 

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> True story: When we went to "The Hall of Presidents" at Disney World in 1980, even my six year old son noticed that all the Presidents sounded the same. It was Frees doing all the voices. He even mentioned that it sounded like some cartoon character which I've long since forgotten. It may have been one of those Rudolph or Frosty specials instead of a cartoon.

"It's like going to see Abe Lincoln at Disneyland!"

 

...Don Masters (Godfrey Cambridge) upon encountering robot TPC (The Phone Company) executive Arlington Hewes (Pat Harrington) in the great 1960's satire THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST.

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  • 5 months later...

> {quote:title=Sprocket_Man wrote:

>

> "It's like going to see Abe Lincoln at Disneyland!"

>

>

> ...Don Masters (Godfrey Cambridge) upon encountering robot TPC (The Phone Company) executive Arlington Hewes (Pat Harrington) in the great 1960's satire THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST.

>

> }{quote}

Now there's a movie for TCM Underground. Heck, put it on in prime time. For my money, one of the great political satires of all time, a bit ahead of the curve in 1967 and now it's dated in all of the right ways.

 

What a supporting cast - Godfrey Cambridge, Severn Darden, Pat Harrington, William Daniels and a personal favorite, Walter Burke.

 

A few years after I saw the film, I started working for New York Telephone for a brief spell. The mock industrial short shown within the film looks just like the type of short that we were exposed to back then while in training.

 

And for added enjoyment, James Coburn plays the gong, just as he would during his Tonight Show appearances of the time.

 

6a00d8341c81bd53ef00e552c69efa8834-800pi

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>None of this is meant to detract from Curtis' wonderful performance -- any more than would pointing out that Yakima Canutt did the stunts for John Wayne in Stage Coach.

>In fact, after having seen the fiilm at least a hundred times, it provided me with a new context for tonight's viewing of Some Like It Hot: appreciating how Frees' falsetto helped bring "Josephine" to life.

 

This example shows how collaborative the art of film is...it often takes many elements and many artists working together to get one effect just right and make it classic.

 

Also, does anyone ever credit the woman who was Janet Leigh's stand-in for the PSYCHO shower scene? Miss Leigh did not stand in the tub under the water the whole time Hitchcock was shooting that.

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> {quote:title=ValeskaSuratt wrote:}{quote}Frees' voice recordings from as far back as 1956 are still heard on Disneyland rides and old Disney TV shows.

Most memorably, he is the voice of the "ghost host" narrator who leads visitors through The Haunted Mansion attraction.

He also did countless voiceovers for god-only-knows how many movie trailers...the one I know the best is The Abominable Dr. Phibes ("Probably the most terrifying motion picture you will ever see!"), and on that film's soundtrack album (which is more of a "music inspired by" thing), he sings several songs, a couple of which are actually heard in the background of the film itself. There's also a wonderful album he recorded of himself singing several songs and performing each in the voice of a different actor (Bogart, Karloff, etc.). He also worked with musican/comedian Spike Jones, most memorably on the song "My Old Flame", where he does a deliciously wicked impersonation of Peter Lorre.

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> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote}

> Also, does anyone ever credit the woman who was Janet Leigh's stand-in for the PSYCHO shower scene? Miss Leigh did not stand in the tub under the water the whole time Hitchcock was shooting that.

Neither was Anthony Perkins involved in that scene...Perkins stated (humorously, I might add) on some tv special which I have on video somewhere that it "was his stand-in" whom he mentions by name, and "he can take the rap for that scene from now on". It's the double wearing mother's dress and wig who stabs Leigh in the shower.

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Can we be sure it wasn't FREES in that shower? Seems this guy was EVERYwhere!

 

 

I've read that name several times in these forums, so I finally "wikified" him. VERY impressive resume( sorry, can't type the little accent mark). The only things I was familiar with were his voices used in Jay Ward cartoons( Boris Badenov, one of my favorites), and some film narration. I had NO idea of the scope of his work, and I thank all here for the information. He even did the John Lennon and George Harrison voices for the BEATLES cartoons in the mid-'60's! I'm going to start paying closer attention.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ7mPkO-jiy3CMhnMjK1VU

 

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Two shots of Frees as one of the scientists in The Thing. I wonder if Frees had anything to do with the cat-like cries that James Arness, as the Thing, makes in that film.

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*Greystoke* - Glenn Close dubbed Andie McDowell's voice for the entire film because Andie couldn't do a correct British accent.

 

*The Legend of The Lone Ranger* - Klinton Spilsbury was so bad as the Lone Ranger, his entire voice was dubbed by James Keach.

 

*Spartacus* - For the restored bath scene with Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis, Olivier's voice was redubbed by Anthony Hopkins.

 

*Bedknobs and Broomsticks* - For the restoraion of the film with additional restored scenes, David Tomlinson's and Tessie O'Shea's voices were redubbed by other actors...and not very convincingly, either. It's VERY obvious it's not the same actors doing the character's voices in those scenes. Angela Lansbury and Roddy McDowall redubbed their own voices where needed.

 

 

*Night of Dark Shadows* - For the restored Director's Cut...which unfortunately is NOT being released on DVD in October...all of the surviving actors were called in to redub their own voices where needed, almost 40 years later.

 

> {quote:title=kingrat wrote:}{quote}Another example is Harvey Fierstein dubbing Cathy Moriarty as the soap opera actress Montana Moorehead in SOAPDISH. For certain plot reasons the character needed a deeper voice. A very funny film.

Strange because Moriarty has a deep voice to begin with... :0

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> {quote:title=kriegerg69 wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=ValeskaSuratt wrote:}{quote}Frees' voice recordings from as far back as 1956 are still heard on Disneyland rides and old Disney TV shows.

> Most memorably, he is the voice of the "ghost host" narrator who leads visitors through The Haunted Mansion attraction.

> He also did countless voiceovers for god-only-knows how many movie trailers...the one I know the best is The Abominable Dr. Phibes ("Probably the most terrifying motion picture you will ever see!"), and on that film's soundtrack album (which is more of a "music inspired by" thing), he sings several songs, a couple of which are actually heard in the background of the film itself. There's also a wonderful album he recorded of himself singing several songs and performing each in the voice of a different actor (Bogart, Karloff, etc.). He also worked with musican/comedian Spike Jones, most memorably on the song "My Old Flame", where he does a deliciously wicked impersonation of Peter Lorre.

 

OMG! My Old Flame !!!!! -- "Dat eye dat kept WEEENKING ... and BLEEEENKING ... toddlmph ... iggleschnitz ... !!"

 

If you're familiar with THAT, maybe you've also heard of an album called Paul Frees and the Poster People ?

 

It includes such tracks as:

 

Peter Lorre "singing" Hey Jude ...

 

 

 

... Humphrey Bogart snarling Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head ...

 

 

 

... and (my favorite) Sydney Greenstreet's "cover" of the the immortal Sugar, Sugar by the Archies ...

 

 

 

 

Some Googling turned up a fairly lengthy list of Frees' voices though it's incomplete -- for example, none of his work on SLIH is listed:

 

http://www.voicechasers.com/database/showactor.php?actorid=1248

 

What a task it'd be to put together a full list since so much of it was unbilled ...

 

Like ... I only noticed when Some Like It Hot ran this past Saturday that in addition to Josephine, Frees is ALSO the voice of the funeral home director, Mr. Mozzarella, who lets Pat O'Brien into the hidden speakeasy in the opening scenes.

 

As with all the great, A-list voice-over guys, he worked ALL the time, and there are very few professions that pay as well -- like, they get out of the limo, walk into the booth, read (sometimes just a line or two which takes about two minutes -- and SOME of these guys flatly refuse to do re-takes !) and then they walk out $10,000 richer.

 

There's another V/O guy -- less famous but who you hear all the time, especialy in movie trailers, but he also turns up occasionally on camera (as in The Unsuspected, which just aired on Claude Rains Day): Art Gilmore, who just died last year at the ripe old age of 98.

 

I got to work with him in the early 1980s and he told an hilarious anecdote:

 

While announcing the Rose Parade sometime in the late 40s-early 50s, he got very annoyed when some executives sitting near him kept talking while he was trying to announce. Finally, when they were too engrossed to realize the show had cut to a commercial break, he loudly announced, "And here's comes the Rose Queen ! And look at the t**s on her !!"

 

He said it was like the control room scene in Network when Howard Beale announces his impending suicide -- "Did you HEAR that ???"... "WHAT did he just say ???" -- but they DID shut up for the rest of the broadcast.

 

Finally, there's a something I don't understand: this thread is from back in March of this year ... why did it suddenly "spring back to life" ? (No biggee ... just curious ...)

 

 

 

 

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Ya know VS, I find it astounding to learn that Tony Curtis evidently couldn't affect a falsetto voice when playing "Josephine" and thus they had to have Frees do it for him. I mean, what guy CAN'T talk in falsetto?

 

(...and in SOME cases such as in the Brothers Gibb, even make a CAREER out o' SINGIN' in that manner, EH?!) ;)

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The mentioning of Psycho here has reminded me of another instance of voice looping, and pretty blatantly POOR voice looping at THAT...

 

William Castle's 1961 ripoff of this Hitchcock film titled Homicidal.

 

The main character of Emily is played by actress Joan Marshall(billed as Jean Arless here) , but Ms.Marshall ALSO plays the male character of "Warren" in this baby too. But, evidently there was no way Ms.Marshall could sound convincing as a man, which is key to the plot, and so producer/director Castle had to have her voice dubbed over by some other guy in order to ATTEMPT to make it convincing.

 

(...and as I mentioned above, with LESS than successful results)

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