MovieChat Forums > Private Schulz Discussion > Beef with the accents

Beef with the accents


I just watched this with my dad(who loves it), and my only complaint was that the accents are confusing as *beep*. I appreciate that its an English production with English actors, but I thought there could have been some attempt at a German accent to make the characters more defined. Unlike my dad, I don't see the fact that it was produced in 1981 as an excuse(for pure laziness imo).

Any thoughts?!

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Putting on faux accents when the characters are meant to be speaking their own language is absolutely pointless. I can't see any reason for it whatsoever. The programme would end up sounding likw "'Allo 'Allo". In a drama about ancient Rome should characters speak in Latinate (or Italian) accents? Of course not. However, you may have noticed that in the scenes where Schulz was meant to be speaking in English, he did put on a German accent, because in those circumstances he would have a distinct "foreign" accent.

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And then, of course, there was Ian Richardson's Scottish accent as Stanley Kemp...

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But of course Ian Richardson was Scottish, and his natural accent, although RP, did betray a slight Edinburgh lilt.

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Indeed he was, though many people mistakenly assumed he was English and the older he got the harder he found it to sustain a Scottish accent.

When he was playing Dr Joseph Bell in Murder Rooms and occasionally when he was in the company of fellow Scots the lilt was just about discernible. I think his original Edinburgh accent would have been quite different from Stan's.

I do agree with you that there was no need for the German accents, except when Schulz was in England and when he was being interrogated by the Americans/British.

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I do agree with you that there was no need for the German accents, except when Schulz was in England and when he was being interrogated by the Americans/British.


His accent was indeed different. Bear in mind that he was meant to speak several languages, so the chances are, he could speak them well.

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If I remember correctly, the characters spoke in their normal accents when they were supposed to be speaking their native language (i.e. German). It was when Schultz was sent to Britain and was supposed to be speaking English that he started speaking with a dodgy 'Ve haff vays' German accent.

I thought that was a really clever and funny touch, but you did have to stay with it until that episode to get the joke.

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Not only that, but the accents were meant to convey the class differences between e.g. the high-ranking officers and the common foot soldiers.

I think it was a brilliant idea, and definitely preferable to fake German accents.

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"but you did have to stay with it until that episode to get the joke. "

Not really - Schulz speaks English with his light German accent with the two British agents they kidnap in no-man's-land on the Dutch border in the very first episode.

The problem with his accent is that although very light, it is there, and he would have been 'spotted' upon his first words on his mission in England.

What puzzles me is that Schultz speaks without accent - and therefore in German - with the French Countess, although Schulz speaks fluent French.

If this were a serious drama production, I should prefer all characters to speak the correct language for the scene (using native speaking actors), without daft accents, and with switchable subtitles for monoglots. Schulz would speak accent-free English, too, if he had any hope of not being caught in England. But Private Schulz is a light comedy, so the solution chosen is quite acceptable.

Any comparison with Allo, Allo is unfair - that is high-camp hard-comedy, and the accents there are central to the show.

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I assumed that his French accent was meant to be so good that he didn't have an accent (if that makes sense - he didn't sound German when he spoke French) whereas his English accent wasn't as good, and so he sounded German.

Sorry, I know you posted a while ago, but I've just finished watching the series - and thoroughly enjoyed it! - and I noticed your post.

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