Question: A few weeks back, some friends and I were dying of laughter at the sight of a semi-young Bill Shatner in a non-English-speaking movie whose title we didn't catch. Two questions: What language is he speaking (I say Polish, they say Latin) and what's the movie's title? We figure Shatner probably didn't make too many movies outside his native tongue. SN
Flickchick: The movie is Incubus (1966), starring William Shatner
and Allyson Ames, and it's not in anybody's native tongue. It's in Esperanto, an artificial language developed between 1877-1885 by one L.L. Zamenhof of Warsaw, Poland, which was then part of Russia. Having grown up in a region in which people were conspicuous (and often violently) divided by languge, Zamenhof conceived the utopian idea of a universal language that would be easy to learn and favor no individual over another. Esperanto features a regular and phonetic spelling system and grammar, and is designed to facilitate creating new words from existing Esperanto vocabulary (rather than having to borrow neologisms from other languages). Esperanto clearly failed to become the polyglot world's lingua franca, but it has many fervant supporters to this day ? do a Web search and you'll see. Incubus has a long and bizarre production history; if you're interested in learning more about it, I highly recommend checking out issue number 53 of Video Watchdog magazine (their website is www.cinemaweb.com/videowd/), which contains an extensive and thoroughly researched article about the film's origins and aftermath.