Why did Murder Inc. need two directors, how does a movie like OSS 117 wind up with different subtitles on different prints and more movie questions answered!

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Question: This morning, I finally saw the 1960 true-life crime drama Murder, Inc. and found it to be quite compelling. My question is: why did the film have two directors (Burt Balaban and Stuart Rosenberg)? Was there some behind-the-scenes drama you can share with us? I read every column and miss it terribly when it doesn't appear. Best wishes --Jay

FlickChick: There is a story, though it's less juicy drama than a tale of bad timing. Stuart Rosenberg, who's best know for directing Cool Hand Luke(1967), with Paul Newman, began his career in television. His credits included episodes of the New York-based crime dramas Decoy and Naked City, which I'm sure is why he was offered Murder Inc. as his feature directing debut.

But Rosenberg left during production in support of back-to-back strikes by Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America. Burt Balaban, the film's producer (and one of the Balaban movie dynasty; he's Bob's cousin), took over and finished the film.

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Question: I recall seeing a movie possibly made in the seventies which was based on the Philadelphia Experiment. It wasn't the 1984 version although the plot was similiar especially when the sailor meets his friend who had gone back to the past and was now much older than him.
Regards -- Max

FlickChick: I'm wondering if you're thinking of The Final Countdown, which also involves time travel and a naval ship -- the USS Nimitz, which was actually used for the film except that in The Phildalphia Experiment, the ship is thrown forward from 1943 to the present, while in The Final Countdown it's thrown back from the present to 1941. The Final Countdown was released in 1980, but that's barely out of the 1970s. Does anyone have another suggestion?

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Question: Hi, Maitland! Add my name to the list of people who miss the weekly podcast. I looked forward to listening to it on the treadmill every Friday.

I recently saw OSS 117, which I loved. I saw it a second time at a different theatre and there were noticeable differences in the subtitles, such as misspelled words, gaps in translation and poor punctuation. How does this happen? Are there different companies that put together the films for distribution? Thanks! Dale

FlickChick: I called a friend who books films, and he was as baffled as I was; he called the distributor of OSS 117, who in turn suggested I call the lab where the American subtitling was done that's how curious your question made me, along with everyone I spoke to along the way.

Two possibilities kept coming up: That the prints represented different print runs and that adjustments to the subtitles were made between them, or that there were multiple source prints and the subtitles were done from different translations.

Nick Pinkerton from LVT Laser Subtitling very kindly applied himself to figuring out what happened in the case of OSS 117, and here's what he came up with: "I think the difference in this case was between a print, probably engraved at our Paris office from files prepared in the UK by a speaker of British English, and a print that we engraved here, on which the subtitles would have been 'Americanized' for spelling and, in some cases, the translations revised. I remember that there were some alterations of the original translator's revisions of puns and other little linguistic plays."

So there you have it.

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Question: I don't know too much about movies, but I recently saw interviews on the TV Guide channel to with some of the people who were in The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger, who say that his net worth or maybe what he had in property; I don't remember the words was only Is he only worth $145,000. Geeze, even I, a single gal down in Texas, have more than $145,000 in "estimated assets!" Is that true? I guess it might be, but just thought I would ask! -- Sam

FlickChick: I've read new reports that mention the sum of $145,000, but they're only referring to Heath Ledger's US assets; the number comes from legal documents that were filed in New York after his death. But apparently the bulk of Ledger's estate is in his native Australia and I've read estimates in the area of $20 million, all of which he left to his parents and three sisters.

I would imagine the exact sum will come out at some point in the future, because Michelle Williams, the mother of Ledger's two-year-old daughter, will have to file a court claim in order for the child to inherit any portion of the estate. Ledger's will was drawn up before the child was born and never updated. Which, frankly, isn't all that surprising: I'm sure Ledger's lawyers advised him to redo his will after his child was born, but at 29 it's easy to procrastinate.

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