The French and English credits of American series

September 6, 2012

We didn’t have much, as I was growing up in the 80s. We didn’t have much, but we had Dallas. And L’amour du risque. And Starsky et Hutch. We all loved them, and still do. Reruns keep the flame alive, to the point that "Dallas" was my cousin’s son’s first word. That’s why I was so looking forward to last night: Dallas was back! With the original baddies and goodies! I even missed playing football to be at home and watch it. So imagine my disappointment when the credits starting rolling and… no booming voices singing DALLAS, no singing describing what a tough and sunny world it is, nothing. No singing at all. And a different music. See for yourself:

Compare this

with this


Here are the Dallas lyrics in French, with the English translation, so you can appreciate them in their full glory:

French Dallas

English Dallas

Dallas ton univers impitoyable
Dallas glorifie la loi du plus fort
Dallas et sous ton soleil implacable
Dallas tu ne redoutes que la mort

Dallas patrie du dollar du pétrole
Dallas tu ne connais pas la pitié
Dallas le revolver est ton idole
Dallas tu te raccroches à ton passé

Dallas malheur à celui qui n'a pas compris
Dallas un jour il y perdra la vie
Dallas ton univers impitoyable
Dallas glorifie la loi du plus fort

Dallas a ruthless world
Dallas where might is right
Dallas under an unrelenting sun
Dallas only death is feared

Dallas home of dollar and oil
Dallas mercy has no place
Dallas revolver is king
Dallas where the past still rules

Dallas pity whoever doesn't understand
Dallas one day he'll lose his life there
Dallas a ruthless world
Dallas where might is right


However, I should have known this might happen. A couple of months ago, I was listening to the radio, and Stefanie Powers was mentioned. "Oh my god! That's Jennifer from L'Amour du Risque!" Blank look from my other half. I started singing the opening credits music. Blanker look, and yet, I have a lovely singing voice. I smelt a rat. After a quick search on the internet, I realised that the series' original name was Hart to Hart (clever), and that the French credits were completely different. Have a look:


Too much talking. We need more singing:


Again, the English translation of the French lyrics should give you an idea of what you've missed out on:

L'amour du risque

Hart to Hart

L'amour du risque
Jonathan et Jennifer
Les justiciers milliardaires

L'amour du risque
C'est vraiment leur grande affaire
Faire la vie dure aux gangsters

Jonathan Hart woh oh oh
Jennifer Hart
Jouent leurs atouts
Et sont les rois de toute la belle société

Jonathan Hart woh oh oh
Jennifer Hart
Les risques-tout de la justice et de l'amour

L'amour pour mieux risquer
Le risque pour s'aimer

The love of risk
Jonathan and Jennifer
Billionaires who fight for justice

The love of risk
They make it their business
To get in the way of gangsters

Jonathan Hart woh oh oh
Jennifer Hart
Play their trump cards
And rule over high society


Jonathan Hart woh oh oh
Jennifer Hart
Daredevils in the name of justice and love

Love for greater risks
Risk for greater love

What about Starsky and Hutch, I hear you ask. It's the same story:

English credits, that a gallic shrug would best describe:

BRILLIANT French siren-heavy intro, which simply drips with adrenaline:

Starsky et Hutch

Starsky and Hutch

Starsky et Hutch, Starsky et Hutch
Des nouveaux chevaliers au grand cœur
Mais qui n'ont jamais peur de rien
Starsky et Hutch, Starsky et Hutch
Deux flics un peu rêveurs et rieurs
Mais qui gagnent toujours à la fin (refrain)


Quand les bandits sont tous en cavale
En voiture c'est poursuites infernales
Mais Huggy sait où ils sont cachés
Pour les arrêter

Refrain

Refrain

Starsky and Hutch, Starsky and Hutch
The new knights with a big heart
Who never fear anything
Starsky and Hutch, Starsky and Hutch
Two cops who like to dream and laugh
But always win in the end (chorus)

When the bandits are running away
The car chases get crazy
But Huggy knows where they're hiding
And they get arrested

Chorus

Chorus


At first, I thought that the idea of a song in French was there as an exposition scene, to describe the setting and give us a flavour of what the series is all about. However, this theory quickly collapses with the English Hart to Hart credits, composed of a monologue by the adventurous couple's butler telling us all about them and what they do. So I can only conclude that the French love a sing along before their weekly helping of American culture.

Beyond the credits, watching this brand new Dallas was very interesting. I don't particularly remember thinking too much about the series as I was watching it in the 80s, but it felt like a different planet for a girl growing up in a tiny working-class village in rural France. Well, the updated version of the series still feels like it takes place a different planet. After all, it centres around the life of American millionaires, who have a back garden the size of Wales, where 70 year olds look like 30 year olds (Sue Ellen actually looks a bit younger than she did in the 80s) and where every day attitudes and practices are still very removed from life in Europe.

My favourite scene was when Bobby's wife gets woken up in the night by a noise downstairs. What does she do? Call the police? Wake Bobby up? Grab a lamp to defend herself? No. She quietly goes next door, opens a cabinet and chooses amongst five or six ENORMOUS guns, the like of which I thought were only seen on battlefields, and goes to confront the intruder with her advanced assault rifle. A surreal moment.

Anyway, Dallas was fun, but I don't think I'll be missing football again, especially as I no longer get to sing along to the credits.

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Posted by céline on September 6, 2012
Culture

Comments

Thanks for the videos and post! I wouldn't have expected such a difference between the English and French opening credits for those shows. But you know what? I totally agree with you! The French credits have WAY more power and punch. Those songs make the English originals seem cheap and tacky. Very oopmh-less.

My favourite is L'amour du risque. Definitely going to have that one stuck in my head now.

Posted by Sadie on October 4, 2012 9:19 PM

If those series were put in India they would have additional dance scenes :-)

Posted by Tłumaczenia Ekonomiczne Angielski on November 21, 2012 10:22 PM

Fun post! I enjoy your writing style and humor, and it's an interesting comparison between the French and English versions.

For some reason I just can't get myself to watch the new Dallas. I liked the show when I was a kid, but I'm kind of tired of that night time soap opera type of thing. Did you think it was worth tuning in?

Posted by Greg ( Video Translation Company ) on December 29, 2012 5:33 PM

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