Peter Sellers, Yogurtiere

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While we're on the subject of yoghurting sprezzatura, let's not overlook the scene in the 1966 After the Fox in which Peter Sellers plays a monolingual Italian criminal masquerading as an American tourist in Rome:

(In his native Italian persona, Sellers speaks in Italian-accented English. Of course.) (I love this movie.)


  1. jimbino said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 10:18 am

    I loveda De Düva:

  2. latinist said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

    There's something like the reverse of this in "Gianni Stecchino," where Roberto Benigni, a poor Italian, has snuck into a fancy hotel; as he gets thrown out by the manager or someone, he's trying to pretend to be an American tourist, though he can't do much more to keep up the illusion than say "I am an American" in heavily accented English.

  3. Bookie said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

    I can't remember if it was this very blog that introduced me to him, but all this talk reminds me of the Italian music video where Adriano Celentano mashes a bunch of gibberish together and makes it sound vaguely like English.

  4. Jeff DeMarco said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

    This reminds me of the scenes in 'Allo 'Allo in which Herr Flick is learning how to speak English – a simple imitation of the perceived sound of speaking upperclass British English without resort to the actual words!

  5. Sili said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

    Gyd moaning.

  6. Beth said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

    And of course, "Prisencolinensinainciusol"

    GN: Indeed, as Mark noted in the "Yoghurt Medley" post a bit earlier on this page that I linked to, this thread originally got going with his post on Celentano last year.

  7. ?! said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

    Viennese audience: murmur murmur murmur
    Surgeon to Viennese professor: what are they saying?
    Professor: I sink zey are saying, "murmur murmur murmur"
    Surgeon: You may MURMUR all you like-

    I work with brain surgeons often but none of them have seen 'The man wuth two brains.'. They also don't say "its not exactly brain surgery" as often as I'd like.

  8. HP said,

    July 25, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    If you can get your hands on the 1959 Brazilian comedy O homem do Sputnik, it's worth it just to for Jô Soares's hilarious performance as the American spy. (I can only find three clips from this movie on in Internet, and none of them feature Soares.)

    Like a lot of Cold War comedies, all the foreign characters speak the native language (in this case, Brazilian Portuguese) with a heavy accent. But Soares goes the brilliant route of performing all of his dialogue as though it were read by an American with no knowledge of Brazilian orthography (e.g., ão becomes an unnasalized "owwww").

    (Of the three American characters, one of them is silent, the second seems to be channeling Jerry Lewis — or Jerry Lewis's Brazilian voiceover equivalent — and only Soares has significant dialogue.)

    It's really astonishing to hear a native Brazilian consistently render Portuguese dialog using American orthography (not to mention Runyon-esque swagger).

  9. Nick said,

    July 25, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    Bill Hader as Vinny Vedecci does a pretty good fake Italian, although the spaghetti-eating producer seems to know more actual Italian.

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