In the ElvisBlog column two weeks ago, I mentioned the DVD of Jailhouse Rock I bought in Rome while on vacation. For some reason, the Italians changed the title to Il Delinquente del Rock & Roll. I can’t figure out why they chose to do this, because Jailhouse Rock has a direct translation – Casa Carere Rock.
The back of the DVD packaging listed all 22 of Elvis’ films in the Italian series, and only three had the American titles we all know: Blue Hawaii, Viva Las Vegas, and Frankie and Johnny. This established that the names of people and places would stay the same in English and Italian, so the word Acapulco gave an easy clue to one other title. Café Europa confused me for a while, until I remembered that was the name of the nightclub where Juliet Prowse performed in G.I. Blues. Beyond that, the original American title that matched up with each Italian one was a complete mystery to me.
Back of DVD packaging. 22 Italian Titles at bottom right.
Fortunately, Giuseppe, our friendly vacation tour director, accommodated me and translated the Italian titles into English. For example, Fratelli Rivali translated to Rival Brothers, so I knew they were talking about Love Me Tender (Remember the Reno brothers who both loved the same woman?). I have no idea why they didn’t just use the direct translation, which is Amami Teneramente.
In fact, there were only three Italian titles in the series that translated to the same words as the original title. Stella Vi Fuoco means Flaming Star. Guai Con Le Ragazze means The Trouble With Girls. Paese Selveggio means Wild In The Country.
Some of Giuseppe’s other translations at least gave a clue to the American title. For example, I was pretty sure The Barefoot Sheriff was Follow That Dream (Elvis was barefoot on the beach a lot and he was elected Sheriff by the homesteaders). Crazy For Women was close enough to Girl Happy for me. Multimillionaire Lifeguard had to be Clambake where rich Elvis traded identities with lifeguard Will Hutchins. The Forbidden Punch invoked a boxing theme, so that had to be Kid Gallahad.
I could narrow down the options on some translations to two possible Elvis movies. Elvis played a racecar driver in three films, so Drive Real Fast had to be Spinout or Speedway (Since Viva Las Vegas had been identified). Singer at the Amusement Park could have been Roustabout or It Happened at the World’s Fair.
To answer the various title mysteries, I walked to a little shop in Rome with computer access rentals and paid 5 Euros for an hour on the Internet. I typed Il Delinquente del Rock & Roll in Google and soon had ten sites that covered Elvis’ Italian movie DVDs. Although this gave me the original titles for each Italian one, some questions still persisted. For example, La Via Del Male was used for King Creole, but Giuseppe said that translated to The Way to the Sea, and that didn’t sound right. So, I asked Anna, one of our vacationers who was an Italian native that married an American G.I. and has lived in the USA for the last 49 years. I thought her command of English might be a little better than Giuseppe’s.
Sure enough, she corrected Giuseppe’s translation to The Bad Way, which certainly fit King Creole’s plot. She also corrected Il Monte Di Venere from Mount Venus to The Mountain of Love (Venus was the Goddess of Love). This worked much better for Kissin’ Cousins, because the action took place on a mountain owned by Pappy Tatum, and Elvis had two Tatum daughters and all those Kitty Hawk girls to choose from. However, Anna suggested she had a little trivia about another Italian meaning for The Mountain of Love. “What is that?” I responded. I don’t remember her full answer, but when I heard the words “female pubic hair,” I nearly dropped my pen.
Anyway, here in list form, are the other movies that took some detective work to figure out.
Translation from Italian Actual Title
100 Girls and One Sailor Girls, Girls, Girls
Blonde, Redhead, Brunet It Happened at the World’s Fair
Oriental Adventure Harum Scarum
I Want To Mary Them All Spinout
Stop Everything, Let’s Start Again Double Trouble
Drive Real Fast Speedway
Singer At The Amusement Park Roustabout
3 Hunks, 2 Baby Dolls, 1 Treasure Easy Come, Easy Go
I have been told that Italian DVDs will not work in our American players. That’s too bad, because I would like to hear Elvis’ dialog in Jailhouse Rock dubbed in Italian. To my ear, the language sounds like everybody has just consumed three cans of Red Bull. It would probably be a hoot to hear Elvis say in Italian, “That ain’t tactics, honey. That’s just the beast in me.”
© 2008 Philip R Arnold All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net