959 stories

'The Robe': The most influential movie nobody watches anymore

1 Share

There are many ways of looking at James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water: as a parable for colonialism, as a plea to respect the environment, and as the latest in the director’s career of innovative special effects works— and, for some, as a kind of cultural paradox. In the years between Avatar and its sequel, a narrative developed, and it’s one that I’ll confess to buying into at times: the original left no “cultural footprint,” it had been tremendously successful but slid from the collective memory, and its sequels would be both unwanted and unsuccessful. Currently, Avatar: The Way of Water is the fourth most financially successful movie of all time and seems poised to move into the third spot, which is currently occupied by another Cameron film, Titanic. (The original Avatar is still hanging out at number one.) Yet the no-cultural-impact takes have persisted even in the face of its undeniable success.

You want to talk about no cultural impact? Take a look at The Robe. A big hit in 1953, it’s virtually forgotten by anyone outside of film circles or under the age of 75 today. Yet, once adjusted for inflation, The Robe is the 52nd highest-grossing film of all time. That puts it ahead of all three Lord of the Rings movies, several Star Warses, Toy Story one through four and a bunch of other movies that are talked about more than The Robe, which isn’t really talked about at all. So, go ahead and point that accusatory finger away from Pandora and point instead to the Roman and Middle Eastern world of The Robe. But you’d be wrong again. Movies that find success on the scale of The Robe, which made over $36 million at the box office (some of it through re-releases in later years) and broke a long, troubling hitless streak at 20th Century Fox, never really disappear — even if they can turn almost invisible. 

Like Avatar in 2009, The Robe arrived in theaters touted as both an artistic achievement — “The most inspired story of love and devotion, faith and spectacle, that has ever come to life on screen,” the trailers claimed — and a technological breakthrough. That technological breakthrough: CinemaScope, “the new dimensional photographic marvel you see without glasses!”  There had been widescreen processes before CinemaScope, including Cinerama, which premiered the previous year. But Cinerama required a three-projector system and major theatrical modifications. (And, since it was hard to shoot in Cinerama, those who could show films in the format didn’t have much more to show than This is Cinerama.)

The Reveal is a reader-supported newsletter dedicated to bringing you great essays, reviews and conversation about movies. While both free and paid subscriptions are available, please consider a paid subscription to support our long-term sustainability

CinemaScope, however, required a lens that would translate its anamorphic photography into widescreen. With that and a little training, theaters could give viewers sweeping vistas and enveloping images. Its arrival came just in time, too: movies were losing ground to television and had to offer audiences something they couldn’t get at home. The Los Angeles Times ran a multi-page spread on the film over a month before its premiere with the headline “New Era Dawns With ‘The Robe’.” The accompanying text was equally breathless. 

Still, it’s stories, not technical innovations, that draw in crowds and The Robe might have been treated as a novelty if moviegoers didn’t respond to what was going on in that widescreen frame. Adapted from a 1942 bestseller by Lloyd Douglas, a minister turned novelist, the film stars a just-breaking-out Richard Burton as Marcellus Gallio, a Roman tribune who runs afoul of the prince regent Caligula (Jay Robinson) by outbidding him for an educated Greek slave named Demetrius (Victor Mature). For his offense, Marcellus finds himself reassigned to an undesirable new post: Jerusalem.

 There he encounters a cult growing around a man named Jesus, whose arrival in Jerusalem coincides with his own. Marcellus is a proud man with a merciful streak; Demetrius was bound for the gladiator pit before he interceded. But when called upon to crucify Jesus, he follows orders, despite the pleas of Demetrius, an early convert. He even gambles on, and wins, the robe Jesus was wearing prior to his execution, a victory with unforeseen consequences that leads to Marcellus’s own conversion and eventual martyrdom.

The Robe takes full advantage of its CinemaScope frame in virtually every shot, an accomplishment made all the more remarkable by director Henry Koster, who was not expecting to shoot the film in the new process until deep in production. Koster, a steady hand who’d worked since the silent era and helmed hits like Harvey and The Bishop’s Wife, fills crowd scenes with extras milling about the streets of Rome and puts the camera squarely in front of charging horses running at full speed. The film, made for $5 million, had to work. Producer Frank Ross had spent a decade trying to shepherd it to the screen, 20th Century Fox was flailing, and movies themselves seemed like they might be in jeopardy. (Hmm…) Mere adequacy wouldn’t be enough.

As a piece of storytelling it’s sometimes light on its feet, sometimes heavy-handed, and sometimes just clunky. In a 1969 interview included on the film’s Blu-ray release, screenwriter Philip Dunne speaks of wanting to avoid the clichés of the genre, like “obvious religiosity” and moments when “Jesus appears on the screen everyone is stunned and overwhelmed.” The finished film kind of does this. Jesus never speaks and is seen from a distance, or obscured by the cross, or as a pair of dangling legs. The film’s middle section focuses not on miracles but on the day-to-day lives (and persecution) of early Christians under the Romans. 

The Robe largely stays down-to-earth despite its religious themes, but it also gives Burton some scenes that are virtually impossible to play, like a conversion experience while touching the robe. The final shot, of Marcellus and lifelong love Diana (Jean Simmons) smiling as they walk to their death while the background transforms into a heavenly blue sky is over-the-top enough to make up for any restraint that precedes it. (As the simpering, petulant Caligula, however, Robinson exercises no restraint at all. It's a terrifically fun performance.)

Biblical (and Bible-adjacent) epics were hardly new to moviegoers in 1953, but The Robe offered a blueprint for a new era. The old mix still worked. You could get away with a lot of sex and violence so long as it was packaged piously. But the new widescreen processes — CinemaScope and the competitors that followed — could have been designed specifically to immerse viewers in the past like never before. The Robe produced an immediate sequel in the form of Demetrius and the Gladiators, in which both Mature and Robinson reprised their roles. But its real legacy is the way it blew the door open for the widescreen epics that followed, from The Ten Commandments to Ben-Hur to Spartacus (to say nothing of countless lower-budget sword-and-sandals movies).


Contemporary reviews were largely kind, especially toward the film’s technical achievements, but some were unimpressed even with that aspect. In The Nation, Manny Farber seemed impressed by its “spectacular mural-type photographs in which every detail is clearly defined” but concerned that “the movement of the camera lens is usually a slow sideways one, giving you the impression of looking at the world through a slot-in-the-wall.” His is a measured review, but one with a dagger in its concluding sentence (“reminding me of nothing so much as the worst examples of calendar art”) to match its lede: “This is the age of elephantine, humorless films that show little if any artistic endeavor.” (A decade before “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art” Farber already had elephants on his mind.) Groucho Marx wasn’t sure, either, saying, in reference to Mature, “No picture can hold my interest when the leading man's bust is bigger than the leading lady’s."

The public, however, disagreed. The Robe played for months, rolling out across the continent after its New York premiere the reappeared in theaters semi-regularly for years. But while some of the films it inspired became institutions, The Robe seemed to lose its cultural foothold. Growing up, I remember it airing occasionally on TV during Sunday afternoons alongside epic als0-rans like Barabbas. Where other films survived widescreen epics going out of fashion, a change in taste undoubtedly hastened by the pan-and-scan era, The Robe mostly became an answer to a trivia question: “What was the first movie released in CinemaScope?”

That’s at once understandable and a little unfair. Watched today, The Robe has a you-had-to-be-there feel to it that even Martin Scorsese’s admiring Blu-ray intro sort of acknowledges. “More than twice as wide as it is high, a completely different mode of vision, at looking at action and space,” he says, recalling watching it as a kid. “That first viewing has always stayed with me, the beauty and wonder of that screen.” But there’s more than just spectacle at work in the film. Elsewhere on the disc, UCLA film professor Jonathan Kuntz notes the resemblance of its final scene to the HUAC hearings, an echo made more resonant by the writing contribution of Hollywood Ten screenwriter Albert Maltz, who went uncredited for decades. Koster, a Jew, fled Germany in the early 1930s and the scenes of Christians forced to flee underground to avoid persecution have a different sort of historic resonance. The culture put its footprints all over the film.

Ultimately it’s hard to imagine how deep and lasting a cultural footprint is anyway. It may have felt like time had washed away Avatar but feelings don’t always match with facts. And if The Robe has faded into semi-obscurity seven decades after conquering the globe (or at least North America, which was better equipped to exhibit CinemaScope films in 1953), the relics of that conquest can be seen scattered about in the films that continued what it started. Its influence can be seen in the work of countless filmmakers who saw the world it opened up and wanted to explore it for themselves. 

Read the whole story
1 day ago
Share this story

WOW2LEV1.WAD: Xdoom an Erotic Conversion (wow2pic1) MAP01 (112,...

1 Share

WOW2LEV1.WAD: Xdoom an Erotic Conversion (wow2pic1)
MAP01 (112, 352, 256)
Author: Thomas Spaulding
Date: 1995-06-30
To learn how to Doom with one hand :). Just don’t take a rocket in the back while watching walls.

Read the whole story
31 days ago
Share this story

Television Review: YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS (1991, Charles Jarrott)

1 Share

Stars: 2.5 of 5.
Running Time: 95 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Richard Thomas (STEPHEN KING'S IT '90, WONDER BOYS, THE WALTONS), Charles Bronson (DEATH WISH 3, Mandom spokesman), Ed Asner (THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, LOU GRANT, JFK), Colleen Winton (THE X-FILES, BIG EYES), Katharine Isabelle (FREDDY VS. JASON, GINGER SNAPS), Frank C. Turner (UNFORGIVEN, multiple AIR BUD movies, Bev Marsh's creepy dad in IT '90).
Tag-line: None.
Best one-liner: "Aw, Frank, even you were a kid once."
eah, heh, it took me a lot of years to get over it.
"Nobody ever gets over it."

In a familiar, darkened alleyway:

"At last, we're going to spend Christmas the right way."

–"What do you mean? We've had plenty of good Christmas fare over the years. French survival horror, Arnold Schwarzenegger-directed romantic comedies, Arnold Schwarzenegger cold cocking reindeer, Grace Jones accidentally mailed to Pee-Wee Herman in a box, Nakatomi Plaza holiday celebrations, Vincent Schiavelli commandeering a life-sized toy choo-choo train of kidnapping and child murder, Tim Curry's shit-eating grin, Bob Mitchum and John Glover as scene partners, a John Waters Christmas, Grizzly Adams taking on Nazi elves, and my personal favorite, Gary Sinise using Ben Affleck as a dartboard."

"Ah, I don't believe, however, that you said 'Charles Bronson' anywhere on that list."

–"If there was a good Charles Bronson Christmas movie, we would have seen it already, right?"

"Wrong. Er––half wrong. What we've got here is YES, VIRGINIA THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS, a TV movie from 1991."

–"1991?! The same year as THE INDIAN RUNNER? Don't tell me you've brought me more 'stacheless Bronson!"

"No, no, there's Bronson 'stache here, no need to worry."

–"Is he playing with a baby rattle? What the hell is this movie about?"

"It's only about the most famous editorial in American newspaper history––Francis Pharcellus Church's 1897 reply to an eight-year-old girl named Virginia who asked if Santa Claus was real. Only he turned his response into a meditation on faith, fancy, romance, poetry, love, beauty, and childlike joy."

–Okay, I'm not sure where Charles Bronson is going to fit in here. Does he say 'Santa's good, I like Santa?' Does Santa try to steal his car? Does he shoot Santa?"

"No. Try and get into the Christmas spirit. He says, 'No Santa Claus?! Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.'"

–"Ha ha ha, that's pretty good, but I think his numbers are a little off. If he manages to flee the North Pole in time, Santa'll be lucky if he gets a hundred, maybe two hundred years. But I guess they didn't know about climate change back then."

"Will you stop it? It's Christmas!"

–"I just don't see how they turn this into a movie. What you just described is a ten minute vignette, tops. Girl writes Bronson; Bronson writes girl. Girl's heart is warmed. The end."

"Well, they do pad it a little. She doesn't even write Bronson till forty-five minutes into a ninety minute movie."

–"As long as they pad it with nonstop Bronson action, I'm all good."


–"Okay. Why don't you tell me what they actually pad it with."

"So... Richard Thomas is Virginia's dad."

–"'John Boy,' from THE WALTONS? 'Stuttering Bill' from the original IT?"

"The very same. Anyway, he plays an Irish dockworker (with a spotty accent) who loses his job due to racism

Ethnically motivated fistfights at the docks! What every kid loves in a Christmas movie.

and, despite being completely broke, is trying to scrape together enough to buy presents for his five-member family on Christmas."

–"That looks like some Bob Cratchit-y bullshit, and I don't have any patience for that. Hey, maybe he should've scraped together enough to buy some condoms instead."

"Whoa, will you stop it!"

–"Maybe the movie should be about Virginia? Isn't she in the one in the title?"

"Nah, it's a man's world, bub. Obviously this movie wasn't geared toward kids, or else the main characters probably wouldn't be cigar-chomping dudes who are about four hundred years old."

–"Is that Ed Asner?"

"Yep. And he's basically playing the exact character he played on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, and later, LOU GRANT: he's a gruff, hard-boiled, bossy newspaperman with a corner office and an (eventual) heart of gold."

–"Nice. So tell me about Bronson."

"As a semi-fictionalized version of the historical Francis Church, he's an alcoholic writer who used to be great, a muck-raking journalist who brought the fight to the robber barons. Asner tolerates him because, even completely soused, his pages are better than most of the other reporters. There are skeptics, however: there's a subplot where some pud named Cornelius (John Novak) busts his balls every time he's at the bar.

Obviously, this leads to a solid payoff where Bronson punches him in the face.

And I'm not gonna lie to you: this is where the movie peaks. Most everybody is trying their best––Bronson and Asner included––but I'm not sure how 'directed' they were. But I can't be too hard on it: it's a TV movie from 1991."

–"Wait, why is Bronson's character such a drunk?"

"Prepare yourself: here's the one truly affecting part of the movie. Francis Church is a mess because his wife recently died. Just like Charles Bronson's real-life wife, Jill Ireland, who succumbed to cancer a year before they filmed this. All of the graveyard scenes––in stark contrast with 95% of the movie––have a genuine poignancy."

–"Man, that's heavy. So how does drunken Francis turn it all around and become an inspirational figure?"

"This is where the teleplay writers get lazy. They have him get the assignment and then he walks around town. He, uh, sees some Christmas-y things on his walk and decides to, uh, throw the bottle away and write his historic editorial."

–"He must've seen some serious shit, then, huh?"

"He saw a toy drive..."

–"Uh huh..."

"And then he saw a cop about to beat a homeless man who looked like Santa..."

–"Uh huh..."

"And then Bronson looked concerned..."

–"Uh huh..."

"And then the cop didn't actually beat the homeless man."

–"Uh huh..."

"And that's about it."

–"Uh huh."

"Hey man, this ain't ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, nor is it supposed to be. In the end, Virginia's editorial is answered, 


Richard Thomas gets a job as a cop, and a bunch of other people get jobs as cops, too, including his stock Italian immigrant pal who I forgot to mention.

 Basically, everybody becomes a cop."

–"So...are they gonna hunt Paul Kersey, New York vigilante?"

"Stop trying to bring DEATH WISH into this. It's a sweet holiday movie, where John Boy says things like 'what a bright goose of a boy.'"

–"Now that is some of that Bob Cratchit-y bullshit I was talking about."

"Don't be such a bastard. Can't you derive any pleasure in the fact that Bronson was in a 'Christmas movie period piece?'"

 –"Eh, I guess."

"Oh yeah, one last thing: so Virginia––who never interacts with Bronson 'in-scene,' and is a supporting character in her own story––is played by Katharine Isabelle, who went on to become a minor horror icon. She's a lead in multiple GINGER SNAPS movies, and appears in THE X-FILES, FREDDY VS. JASON, GOOSEBUMPS, THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER, a 30 DAYS OF NIGHT sequel, and Bryan Fuller's HANNIBAL. Here she is interacting with a produce vendor, played by fellow minor horror icon Frank C. Turner (NEEDFUL THINGS, THE FLY II, ALONE IN THE DARK, THE HITCHHIKER, WATCHERS, THE X-FILES, the new TWILIGHT ZONE, and, most notably, as Bev's creepy dad in the original IT)!"

–"Uh. Cool."

Read the whole story
42 days ago
Share this story

Subversion and Sexiness in Three Hollywood Depression Comedies

1 Share

As much as I admire Ernest Lubitsch as a subversive force in 30s Hollywood, especially for The Man I Killed and Trouble in Paradise, I keep coming back to a particular anti-Lubitsch argument made to me by Elaine May, of all people, the one time I was lucky enough to meet her (in Bologna the summer before last). According to her argument, if I remember it correctly, Lubitsch pretended to be more daring, free, and worldly and less middle-class than his films actually were; her main example was Heaven Can Wait, which I suspect irked her in part on feminist grounds. When I asked her if she meant that Lubitsch was roughly akin to someone like H.L. Mencken, she said, “Exactly.”

I remembered this conversation when I recently went through Criterion’s excellent two-disc edition of Lubitsch’s Design for Living (1933), including an interesting interview with Joseph McBride about the script that I saw before reseeing the feature, and William Paul’s superb analysis of both Trouble in Paradise (1932) and Design for Living, which I saw just afterwards. McBride is very good about Lubitsch’s collaboration(s) with Ben Hecht (screenwriter) and Noel Coward (playwright), and Paul is especially acute about the way the usual terms of praise heaped on Lubitsch (such as “sparkling” and “frothy”), which often relate to food and drink metaphors, are actually instruments for undermining the seriousness beneath his playfulness. Read more

Read the whole story
58 days ago
Share this story

US Youth Observe Cuba’s Elections—and Learn About Real Democracy

1 Share
Cubans voting in municipal elections in La Habana on November 27, 2022

By Calla Walsh / Multipolarista

Cuba held elections for its organs of local government, the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, on November 27. A delegation of youth from the United States observed the vote first-hand as part of the US-Cuba Youth Friendship Meeting.

Coming from the fundamentally undemocratic US Empire, it was the first time that many participants saw a functional electoral system in which the masses actually participate, and in which the majority truly rules.

We observed voting in La Corbata, a neighborhood in La Habana currently undergoing transformation.

Become a Patron before Dec. 15 to receive a free book from Robert Scheer while supplies last.

The polling site was inside a newly constructed cultural-technological center, which also houses arts programs, classes, a computer lab, school graduations, and community events.

At first arrival, we were surprised by how efficiently the voting process moved. There were not long lines at the La Corbata polling site, while in the US it is typical for voters – especially in poorer neighborhoods – to wait in lines for hours to cast their ballot.

A local election official explained that all citizens and permanent residents of Cuba are automatically registered to vote at age 16. At 18, they are eligible to be nominated to run as a delegate.

The nomination process happens in the weeks leading up to the election. ​​Between October 21 and November 18, more than 6 million voters – 73% of those eligible – attended the neighborhood assemblies for the nomination of candidates.

Nominees are chosen by local community groups, including the Committees in Defense of the Revolution, the country’s largest mass organization, with more than 8.4 million members out of a population of 11 million; the Cuban Federation of Women, whose membership includes more than 85% of all eligible Cuban women over 14 years of age; and the Communist Party of Cuba.

The Communist Party of Cuba is not an electoral party; it does not “hand-pick” candidates; and party membership is not a requirement to run for office at all.

Before the election, the National Electoral Council goes house to house to verify voters’ information. This year, after Hurricane Ian devastated the Pinar del Río province in the east, election officials surveyed people still evacuated or sheltering there to ensure they would have voting access.

Cuban elections are always held on Sundays, so that voters are not restricted by their workdays to participate in democracy.

On November 27, polls opened at 7:00 a.m. and were scheduled to close at 6:00 p.m. The National Electoral Council used the power granted by the Cuban Constitution to extend the polling hours throughout the country for one more hour so that a greater number of citizens could exercise their right to vote.

In the US, elections that are scheduled on Tuesdays during work hours – combined with the inaccessibility of polling sites, strict ID requirements, racist voter intimidation, and a general lack of civic education – impede most of the working class from participating.

The US pushes the falsehood that Cuban elections are “not competitive.” In reality, every Cuban municipality must have at least two to eight candidates running, in order to ensure that voters have a choice. In La Corbata, three candidates were running, all of whom were women.

Competitiveness in US elections has continued to plummet as corporations expand their monopoly over our ostensible democracy, or rather, oligarchy. In the November 2022 midterms, less than 8% of US Congressional districts were considered competitive.

When Cuban voters enter the polling station, they confirm their voter information, receive a ballot with straightforward instructions, and fill it out in a booth. Then, they place their ballot in a box guarded by local elementary school students.

Youth have always worked at the forefront of the Cuban Revolution, so it is a very honorable role for them.

Any citizen can assist in the public vote-counting process. Official results are reported the same day – unlike in the US, where it takes weeks or even months to tally votes, despite being one of the richest countries in the world, with access to much more advanced technology than blockaded Cuba.

If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the election moves to a runoff the following Sunday. This will be the case in 925 of Cuba’s municipalities after the November 27 elections.

Moreover, the community can recall their representatives at any point once their terms begin.

Another key difference between US and Cuban elections is that in Cuba, there is no “traditional” campaigning. The community-nominated candidates cannot spend any money on campaigning, but they are still accessible to voters to discuss any issues.

Candidate biographies, highlighting their experience serving the community and their membership in different organizations, are posted outside of the polling place.

Voters make an informed decision based on the candidates’ genuine qualifications, not on flashy campaign mailers or attack ads made by Super PACs.

As a result, the energy at the polls was completely different than what is typical in the US, where crowds of campaign volunteers or paid workers gather outside holding signs, passing out literature, and urging voters to support their candidates.

Political violence often escalates outside of polling sites in the US. During the 2022 midterm elections, there were even armed militias intimidating voters at ballot drop boxes in some states.

In the US, and all capitalist “democracies,” elections are determined by the amount of money invested in a campaign, which buys advertisements, mailers, staff, and other resources to reach likely voters.

record-breaking $9.3 billion was spent on federal elections during the 2022 US midterms.

Political campaigns in the US more closely resemble reality TV shows – sensational, polarizing, and completely divorced from the material issues at hand.

North Americans’ shallow conception of democracy contributes to their confusion about the Cuban system. Some believe ridiculous anti-communist propaganda claiming that Cuba is staging its elections or paying actors to tell us lies.

As I wrote in Multipolarista in May, it is easier for many North Americans to believe that Cuba is lying about their democratic achievements – free healthcare and education, guaranteed housing and employment, constitutionally enshrined anti-racism and gender equality – than to come to terms with the fact that our own government is choosing to deny us those same rights.

The far more advanced character of Cuban socialist democracy is exactly why the US is so intent on obfuscating and blockading Cuba’s reality. Their example shows us what is possible.

For more than 60 years, a small island of 11 million people has resisted the biggest, most violent empire in history. If a true workers’ democracy can be realized 90 miles from our shores, it can be realized here too, and in every corner of the world.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

* indicates required
Calla Walsh
Calla Walsh

Calla Walsh is a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of organizations across the United States fighting to end the US war on Cuba.

The post US Youth Observe Cuba’s Elections—and Learn About Real Democracy appeared first on scheerpost.com.

Read the whole story
60 days ago
Share this story

Zelda: Link’s Awakening Turbo-Français

1 Share

La traduction française de Zelda: Link’s Awakening a un charme particulier. Le texte de Véronique Chantel est plein de rimes, raccourcis, bizarreries et étrangetés, qui collent parfaitement à l’esprit « Twin Peaks » du jeu. Tout cela en respectant les contraintes techniques de la Game Boy, qui obligeait par exemple le texte français à être à peu près de la même longueur que le texte anglais ou japonais – d’où la nécessité de faire passer les informations essentielles en peu de mots.

Une capture d’écran du jeu, avec un pêcheur expliquant à Link « Sois un peu plus motivé ! »
« Vis ta vis ! Sois un peu plus motivé ! » Ce pêcheur m’a longtemps fasciné.

Mais le texte français comporte malgré tout une imperfection : les lettres majuscules n’ont pas d’accent. C’est dommage, car au delà de la lisibilité, le sens de certains mots change parfois en fonction des accents : « OEUF SACRE » n’est pas la même chose que « OEUF SACRÉ », ni « NAUFRAGE » que « NAUFRAGÉ ».

Une capture d’écran du jeu, avec un texte « VAS VOIR L’OEUF SACRE », sans accent sur le E de sacré.
Un Œuf Sacre, c’est quand même pas la même chose.

Cette omission est dûe à un compromis technique.

Pour chaque traduction, les programmeurs du jeu ont ajusté le code du jeu aux nécessités typographiques de chaque langue. Par exemple, la version japonaise permet d’afficher des diacritiques sur certains caractères ; et la version allemande gère les lettres comportant des trémas. Et le code utilisé pour afficher les diacritiques sur les lettres majuscules peut utiliser au maximum deux signes différents (par exemple un tréma et un accent).

Mais le script français aurait besoin de trois accents : aigu, grave et circonflexe. Plutôt que de passer un temps précieux à supprimer cette limitation, l’équipe de traduction a donc préféré désactiver la gestion des accents sur les majuscules. Vu les contraintes de temps de développement, on les comprend.

Restaurer la gestion des accents

Toutefois, en explorant le script français, il s’avère qu’une unique ligne de texte comporte une majuscule sur un accent : il est écrit « NAUFRAGÉ ». Et de fait, dans les graphismes stockés en mémoire, on trouve bien deux accents : ◌́ et ◌̀.

Comme la gestion des diacritiques est désactivée pour le français, dans le jeu cette lettre est simplement affichée comme un « E » majuscule, sans accent. Mais cette lettre est un vestige des tentatives d’intégrer la gestion des diacritiques à la version française, avant que soit finalement entérinée l’absence d’accents sur les majuscules.

Heureusement, en utilisant le code-source restauré de Zelda: Link’s Awakening, il est possible de compiler une version française qui ré-active la gestion des diacritiques. Cela permet à cet accent de s’afficher dans le jeu.

Une capture d’écran du jeu, avec un dialogue « NAUFRAGÉ » avec un accent sur le E de naufragé.
Cet accent, désactivé dans le jeu original, n’avait pas été vu depuis 29 ans.

En modifiant le reste du texte, pour ajouter des accents aux autres majuscules, il devient alors possible d’afficher des accents sur toutes les majuscules du jeu !

Une capture d’écran du jeu, avec un dialogue « TOUT SUR L’ÉPÉE TOURNOYANTE » avec deux accent sur les E de épée.

Accents circonflexes

Toutes ? Presque. La limitation technique originale, qui empêche de gérer plus de deux types d’accents, est toujours présente. Comme les accents aigus et graves sont déjà présents, il manque l’accent circonflexe – ce qui empêche d’écrire un mot comme « POISSON-RÊVE ». Fâcheux.

La solution serait de trouver un espace inutilisé dans la mémoire graphique où stocker les pixels de l’accent circonflexe. Ce n’est pas simple : sur la Game Boy, la mémoire graphique est très limitée – et les accents doivent occuper le précieux espace des graphismes qui sont chargés en permanence en mémoire.

Comment faire ? Après quelques recherches, il s’avère qu’un emplacement n’est utilisé par le jeu que lorsque l’inventaire est ouvert. Il serait donc théoriquement possible, quand le jeu ouvre l’inventaire, de remplacer l’accent circonflexe par le graphisme dont l’inventaire a besoin – puis de restaurer l’accent circonflexe à la fermeture de l’inventaire.

Et ça marche ! Grâce à cette astuce, il est maintenant possible d’afficher les trois types d’accents dans le jeu.

Une animation du jeu, montrant l'accent circonflexe être remplacé en mémoire graphique lorsque l'inventaire s'ouvre.
Avec de bon yeux, on peut voir dans la mémoire graphique l’accent circonflexe être remplaçé par un autre symbole lorsque l’inventaire s’ouvre.

Il est donc enfin possible d’afficher correctement le texte ci-dessous :

Une capture d’écran du jeu, avec un dialogue « POISSON-RÊVE » avec un accent sur le E de poisson-rêve.
Hourra !

Le résultat, c’est le mod le plus futile de tous les internets.

Zelda: Link’s Awakening Turbo-Français ajuste le script français de Zelda DX, pour ajouter des majuscules aux accents partout où cela est nécessaire. Parfaitement in-dis-pen-sable pour les fans français du jeu.

Vous pouvez télécharger :

Pour celleux que ça intéresse, le code-source de ces modifications est également disponible.

Bon jeu !

Une capture d’écran du jeu, avec un dialogue « Bon baisers de Kyoto! VÉRO ❤️ » avec un accent sur le E de Véro.

Read the whole story
78 days ago
Share this story
Next Page of Stories