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Parallel Language Films: Laurel and Hardy speaking Spanish? German? French??

Four leading men, five different languages.
Four leading men, five different languages.
Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

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Back in the day of silent films, Hollywood studios could market their movies all over the world easily: all it required was a few translated title cards and you could ship any film anywhere. But as talking pictures crept in, things got a little more difficult. CLICK THROUGH to see what the solution looked (and sounded) like!

Dubbing and subtitles hadn't been invented yet, so studios had no choice but re-shoot each new movie with a different cast: one in English, one in Spanish, sometimes even Romanian and Polish. This Wednesday, February 9, the Hollywood Heritage Museum will show some rarely seen clips from these films and host a discussion about why they came to be. Off-Ramp's Kevin Ferguson with the Museum's president, Richard Adkins and film archivist Daryl Maxwell.