Friday, September 22, 2006

Felicie Translation

I got a great comment today. Green Clementine took the time to translate the Felicie text for me. This internet thing is great, no?
[My responses and comments will be in brackets, the rest is the text as it appears in the comments for that day]:

This video made me laugh so much! [It’s so good, it makes me laugh more every time. His face, when he has the audience sing the words for him, is priceless. There’s also
a book of photos of Fernandel in which he responds to a reporter’s questions only with facial expressions. – I say “also,” but actually the book is the reason I looked for him on YouTube in the first place.] Last time I heard it I was much too young to understand any of it. [Funny how good some of that old stuff really is. Especially the stuff about the sexes, particularly because it had to be indirect.] And as a special thanks to you, here is a rough translation [thank you]:

Felicie [Felicity is the English name, right?] too

It was in the corner of the Boulogne Woods*
Where I met Felicie
She came from the Bourgogne Region (= country girl)
And I came in a taxi
[The laugh in the video at this point might imply that he’s on the lookout for hookers – see the note on the Bois de Boulogne. But I think people are mostly laughing at his great timing.]
I soon found an opportunity
To start a conversation

The weather was wonderful
I sat on the grass
Felicie too [throughout, I think “Felicity did, too” brings out the double meanings most clearly]
I thought the trees are coming into bud
And mushrooms [snapdragons] are hatching/spreading [blossoming/breaking out]**
Felicie too [yes, zits and whatnot]
Next to us a bird was singing
The dew was dripping
Felicie too (= is sweating) [someone else even suggested drooling]
A bell tower was ringing
He had a funny bell
Felicie too (= weird face) [in German, the “cloche” (Glocke, bell) would refer to her nose, but funny face seems to be the consensus]

To seduce this pussy [cat]
I took her out at Chartier’s
As she is a fine lady
She ordered a roasted pork’s trotter [pig’s feet]
And while eating her trotter [actually, just “hers”]
I stroked her foot with mine.

I had lobster with tomato sauce
He [it] had hairy legs
Felicie too
Then I had some sort of pasta dish
Which looked like an andouille***
Felicie too [here I think it refers to her legs being like sausages, but entendres don’t always end at “double,” do they]
I had a gibelotte**** [my dictionary says “rabbit stew”]
Which smelt of shallot
Felicie too
Then a pear and a waffle
Only the pear was overripe
Felicie too [I think it’s still just the smell, but you never know how far the “overripeness” goes]

The Aramon wine was making her feeling dizzy
She whispered “when you’re ready”so
I took my trophy [conquest]
To the nearest hotel
It was the hotel of Abyssinia
And Calvados in one. (Calvados = part of Normandy) [I’m quite sure “reuniting Abyssinia with Calvados” implies some sort of joke, but it may just be that the hotel smelled like the liquor which carries the name of that region]

I thought the room was mundane [plain, ordinary]
It was very dusty
Felicie too [it may just be that she is dirty, but someone suggested that a disease is implied – I don’t know]
I quickly washed my hands
The sink had a leak
Felicie too [this one throws me for a loop. The writers may just be aiming at a funny image or incontinence, but I’m wondering what sort of disease she might have. And then I stop myself, since the song is from, what, the 40s?]
Under the wardrobe there was a chock [a shim, a wedge]
Coz it was very wonky [bow-legged]
Felicie too
There was also an armchair
Which was covered in fleas
Felicie too

The sheets were very flabby
And tickled [aroused] my legs
Felicie too [now, because this ends the song, my “comedio-poetic” mind tells me that it ought to mean as much as “makes me want to run away,” but no one else has suggested this yet. Nevertheless, I think it would make sense and a good ending for the song.]
[Thanks again, Green Clementine]

1 comment:

green clementine said...

We also have the name Félicité in French (my cousin is called Félicité).

'Reuniting Calvados & Abyssinia': could he mean that the hotel had no particular style and looked like a mess given the contrast between these 2 parts of the world?

You should try to watch some of the movies he is in. Particularly "La Vache et le Prisonnier" (Known as "The Cow and I" in the US according to the IMDB) and the "Don Camillo" series. And this nice Marseilles South-French accent he has!

Bourvil is another classic actor/singer/comedian of French post-war era. And I recommend the film "La cuisine au beurre" ( in which they both play leading roles. These two actors/characters are representative of the tradional contrast that exists in France between North and South, starting in the kitchen.

Bourvil is from Normandy (so am I, born in the Calvados region, and fed with liquor in my baby bottle) where people cook with butter and cream.

Fernandel is from Marseilles, Mediterranean coast, where people have always been cooking with olive oil.

This is a post WW2 comedy as we have them in France. I don't know how many were produced. They are hilarious. Part of the national healing process? I don't know. They are just great. As unkind to the Germans at the time as to the French authorities of the time.

One of the best 60's French comedy as far as I am concerned is "Le Corniaud" ("The Sucker").

I wish it were easier to find Classic French movies abroad. French cinema is one of the things I miss the most. I could just buy French DVDs on, but then not being able to share these treasures with my friends over here :(

Oh Dear I miss these movies...