The ever reliable Arbogast on Film points us to this item at Icons of Fright, which compares the subtitling of the recent Magnolia DVD and Blu-ray release of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN to the subtitles that appeared in the theatrical print and the advance review screeners that went out to journalists last year. The long and the short of it is that the American home video version offers a rather blunt and tin-eared translatio that omits the dark poetry of th original.
The article is filled with screen grabs that show the distinction. For those who don’t want to click through and check them out, I’ll cite one example: When Hakan is cornered and defaces himself to hide his identity (and thus protect Eli, the vampire whom he serves), he cals out Eli’s name in the original subtitles. The American DVD drops this poignant cri de coeur in favor of having Hakan say, “I’m trapped” (as if U.S. viewers couldn’t figure out why he was taking such desperate action).
Concludes RobG, a huge fan of the film:
I hate to say this because I’ve been a huge advocate of this movie from the get-go, but because of my love of this movie, I have to strongly advise against buying the Magnolia/Magnet US DVD or Blu-Ray version of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, because it is NOT the version of the movie the director would’ve wanted you to experience. Perhaps there’s a good import DVD version of it out there somewhere? Or maybe Magnolia can rectify this disasterous mistake and re-issue the DVD again in a year or so.
And while wer’re talking about LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, I should point out that Arbogast offers an excellent analysis of the film here. He hits some of the same points I made in my review, but with a certain subtle, deft precision that leaves me feeling envious. You should also check out the lengthy discussion in the comments attached to the Arbogast review.
UPDATE: The DVD distributor promises that the problem will be fixed on subsequent pressing, with the packaging clearly marked to indicate that the disc will feature the “theatrical subtitles.”