Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Les Douze Salopes

Here's a line from Michael Palin's 1969-1979: The Python Years:

Graham claims to have seen a hoarding advertising a film about my old school called "The 12 Salopians". It turns out to be Les Douze Salopes, The Dirty Dozen.
Ummm. After I decoded "hoarding" (billboard), I went to look up "Salopian". I knew it was one of those strange British demonyms, like Cantabrigian (Cambridge), Liverpudlian (Liverpool), Mancunian (Manchester), or Novocastrian (Newcastle), only a bit odder, like Leodensian (Leeds) or Verulamian (St Albans) (ok, I confess, I just learned that one, too). Turns out to mean "someone from Shrewsbury".

Fortunately, you don't need to know any of that for the joke to work.

Hmmmm. During Blogger's outage, this post went back to unpublished, and the comments got lost somehow. So I'll recap them: Barry pointed out that the "salopes" actually means "sluts" and the right word should have been "salopards", which means roughly "bastards". And I said that I'd checked and that was indeed how the movie was released. "Salopards" would still have prompted the Chapman quote, and MP apparently forgot the actual word.

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At 10:19 PM, May 11, 2011 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

It should be "Les douze salopards", which would loosely translate to "The Twelve Bastards". "Salope" is feminine, and has more the connotation of "slut", which wouldn't really work for the movie title.

At 8:51 AM, May 12, 2011 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

And indeed the movie was released as "salopards", which would still have prompted the Chapman quip, but I guess MP misremembered the actual word.


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