subtitles and subtexts

There’s been plenty of talk about the latest Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. Downey himself caused some of the controversy with his comments on The Letterman Show in December. (Currently on YouTube: part 1 and part 2.)

The discussion (half way through part 2) touched on the relationship between Holmes and Watson. After a brief bantering exchange, Downey says: “Why don’t we observe the clip and let the audience decide if he just happens to be a very butch homosexual. Which there are many. And I’m proud to know certain of them.”

I thought of that last night when I saw part of the film with amateur Spanish subtitles.

There is a scene early on where Holmes is shooting a gun in the parlour at Baker Street. Watson knocks and puts his head round the door, saying, “Permission to enter the armoury.”

For any English viewer, this is all perfectly innocuous. But, however well I understand what’s going on on screen, I can never resist reading the subtitles. With more attention to sound than to meaning, Watson was reported saying, “Permiso para entrar en el armario” – “Permission to come into the closet.”

So, even if there is anything going on between them, it sounds as if they aren’t going to be making any public announcements.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

2 thoughts on “subtitles and subtexts”

  1. You saw part of the film with subtitles and the rest without? Or did you only see part of the film? Sorry to be pesada but I´d like to know what you thought of the film (which my aunt walked out of – too much knock-’em-sock-’em).


    1. There was a reason for putting it like that – well done for spotting it was strangely phrased!
      In fact I saw the whole film. It didn’t really match my idea of Holmes, but it was an enjoyable – though violent – romp.
      I’m not sure I’ve ever walked out of the cinema. But then, I’ve normally read the complete plot with all the spoilers before I ever see a film.


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