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Re: Shoes of the Fisherman [Re: Alice] #417697 11/02/17 02:14 PM
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Fr. Al Offline
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As for actors with Slavic accents, there was number in Hollywood, many of them Jewish. There was Oscar Homolka. an Austrian born Jew . I don't know whether he actually spoke a Slavic language. I recall him playing a Soviet General in "Billion Dollar Brain. " In that movie there was also a scene where people supposed to be speaking Latvian were actually speaking Polish! It may be that Hollywood simply couldn't find Latvian speakers or there may have been other considerations. The average American would not have known the difference. Of course, a Slavic language speaker would have recognised the Polish. Latvian and Lithuanian are somewhat related to the Slavic languages. I would say that if the Slavic languages are siblings, Latvian and Lithuanian would be first cousins.
Which brings me to another actor, Charles Bronson. He grew up near Johnstown , PA. He spoke Lithuanian and Russian before he learned English. I couldn't see a tough guy like him playing a Pope!

Re: Shoes of the Fisherman [Re: Alice] #417706 11/03/17 06:21 PM
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Mark R Offline
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Bronson was also a Lithuanian Tartar.
Hollywood had a community of exiled Russians and a fair number of Russian Jews. I am married to an (unsuccessful) trained stage actress who is also a polyglot. Most film actors have a bad ear for accents. Recent actors also benefit from horribly inaccurate accent coaching. At one time good New York actors probably had good ears for accents from constant exposure. British actors used to be tops but they couldn't nail accents and even now they barely speak Standard English themselves. It is really tacky in American films in which actors are given accents when they would be just speaking their own language among themselves...or where the bad Germans have German accents and the good Germans talk American.

Re: Shoes of the Fisherman [Re: Alice] #417754 11/10/17 09:46 PM
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Fr. Al Offline
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You are correct about Charles Bronson. It appears that Oscar Homolka was not Jewish, although one of his wives was. Homolka is a very Czech sounding surname.

Re: Shoes of the Fisherman [Re: Alice] #417857 01/01/18 07:23 AM
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Karl Malden was born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago: his father was a Bosnian Serb and his mother was Czech. According to Wikipedia, Malden's first language was Serbian, and he was fluent in it all his life. He did not learn English till he was in kindergarten. I think that it might have been very interesting had Karl Malden played Pope Kyril in The Shoes of the Fisherman instead of Anthony Quinn.

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