Trois Hommes et un Couffin - Three Men and a Baby

comparison of specific scenes - comparaison de scènes spécifiques

La soirée - The party  and La découverte du bébé - The discovery of the baby

Alejandro 11/22/2004.23:10:13
"I discussed with my team about why the set-up of this scene was different for both movies. In the american version, Peter sees the baby, then calls Michael thinking it's a joke, then (*after a while*) they read the note and realize the seriousness of the situation. In the french version, Pierre sees the baby and reads the note *immediately*, runs to get Michel and scream at each other about the seriousness of the situation. What I argued was that the set up in the american version was different simply to allow the american men to be funny, at least for a moment, while the french set up allowed the french men to be... well, french. There doesn't seem to be another reason to have changed that from one version to the other. I think the biggest difference, as in most of the movie, was that the Americans were always reasonably cool, they had control over the situation and tried to be funny as much as possible, while the French argued loudly and seemed nervous about the situation. Do people normally discuss that loudly in France? As in my last comment from the forum "Jack's return", I also noticed that the French discussion was very non-linear, they quickly jumped from one idea to another without fully exploring those ideas (although this could also be attributed to the nervousness they felt), while the American discussion was well structured and flowed great, maybe too great in this moment of distress."

Marie 11/23/2004.01:04:34
"I think that as a general observation, Americans do try to joke about a situation in order to ease some tensions. This is visible in this scene, but also in every day life...whenever I start to notice a person is getting uncomfortable or a fight is about to break out, I try to make a joke. So, in the same manner, would the French students say that French people tend to get agitated quite quickly in tense situations? We also noticed that in the French version of the movie, Pierre and Michel think of calling Jacque's mom, while in the American version that choice never comes up. We hypothesized that this had something to do with the American "independence" and the French "community" feeling. Do you all agree with this conjecture?"

la scène à la pharmacie et au supermarché - the scene at the pharmacy and the supermarket

le retour de Jacques-Jack - Jacques’-Jack's return

Aparna 11/19/2004.07:58:53
"I noticed a major difference in the way that Michael and Peter apprioached Jack. In the American version, they directly told him the problem whereas in the French version, Pierre and Michele ignored Jacques and then started yelling at him."

Tufool 11/21/2004.21:04:31
"What I noticed was that in the American version, when Jack returned, he just walked around the house until the ball hit him. But, would a person really just walk around quietly if the appartment looked the way it did? It just seemed a bit weird to me that he didn't shout, run to the bedrooms to check that everyone is OK. In the French version, Jacques came back to an apartment that was mostly cleaned up. He walked to his room, found a broken vase, and walked out angry, wanting to know what happened. In both versions, i felt that the 2 Jack's reactions were a little too casual towards finding out they were fathers"

Frances 11/22/2004.22:14:49
"In the French version, Michel and Pierre were much more emotional and angry with Jacques after initially seeming calm. Conversely, in the American remake, Peter and Michael were angry and violent at first, primarily because Jack had surprised them in the middle of the night. Afterwards, they calmed down and explained the situation rationally. I don't know why Jack wouldn't turn on a light as soon as he walked in the door though; that seemed strange."

Megan 11/22/2004.22:18:47
"Well, maybe he didn't notice the messy apartment because it was dark =) I thought it was interesting how Michael's first reaction to seeing Jack was to lunge towards him and start wrestling...although I don't think that most American men would react this way, it did seem that the American men weren't as comfortable displaying their emotions regarding one another as the French men were. But perhaps this was due to differences in their relationship as well..."

Alejandro 11/22/2004.22:47:15
"I think when Michael jumps after Jack (after realizing that it's Jack) that's just a "funny" reaction, which makes sense because this is a comedy film, but I don't think it's a natural reaction. As we saw in class, it was interesting that in the american version the whole discussion was very well structured and it flowed logically and cronologically, while in the french version the characters said what they felt in that moment without caring what the others were interpreting (if anyting). I think this is related to language. For this I'll assume French is similar to Spanish (as I usually do, hehe). At least when I got here at MIT I had a lot of trouble writing essays in English because English requires each idea to be exposed in the introduction, then again in the beginning of the paragraph you're discussing it, then you present evidence and close by reminding your idea is correct. In a similar way it requires a lot more of structure just in general. Spanish is not that structured, when we write we don't make everything explicit and we don't think as linearly. I've also noticed in Spanish writers write their ideas as they come out of their head, not necesarily presenting the ideas in the best way possible for a reader to understand. I think this style of writing is also a style of thinking or at least speaking, and this is reflected in the discussions the three men have in each version."

Frances 11/22/2004.22:50:08
"No, what I mean is that generally, when I walk into a dark room, the first thing I do is turn on lights. Of course he didn't know the apartment was messy when he first walked in."

Andres 11/29/2004.02:27:29
"I agree with Alejandro's observation. I think it has to do with the way movies are made in America. They are very action-based. The director is interested in making whatever-has-to-happen happen. To do this, he's willing to sacrifice realism or the display of emotions. Also, let's remember how much Americans seem to like moral values. The moral lesson here had to be clear not only to Jack, but to the audience, too, so you can't have a dialogue as chaotic as in the French version."

la visite à (de) la mère de Jacques-Jack - the visit by (to) Jack's mother

Tufool 11/21/2004.21:10:28
"The two mothers are very very different. I feel maybe the ideal mom would be a mixture of the two. The American mother came to visit her son in a purple suit, black shoes, white gloves, and her hair was neatly tied back. The French mom was dressed the opposite way, and her hair were all over the place. But thats not where their differences end. I felt that the American mom was more sincere. Her reason for leaving the baby with Jack was to make him a better person. The french mom couldn't keep the baby because she was going to be travelling."

Alejandro 11/22/2004.22:55:32
"Even thought the american mom seems very moral and ideal when she teaches Jack a lesson, in this case I think it is a realistic situation. I don't know how to argue for this, but it's just observation of mothers, they tend to be like that, caring for their children to a deeper level than just well-being. On the other hand I wouldn't call any of the mothers less sincere. While one of them teached about responsability, the other was avoiding responsability. Yes, I think the french mother used the cruise as an excuse for not wanting to take care of the baby, which is a bad excuse but she didn't seem to have any better and she probably didn't want to confront him. I think this is also a believable reaction, with much less honor and respect, but still natural."

Frances 11/23/2004.00:10:32
"I definitely don't think that the French mother was using her cruise as an excuse to not take care of Marie. Umm, honestly. She has her vacation plans, and her punk son shows up with his illegitimate child and expects her to cancel her cruise to babysit? I don't think so. This is in no way avoiding responsibilty. What responsibility does Jacques' mother have to Marie?!? This is just another way of teaching Jacques responsibility, albeit indirectly. He has to learn that he can't just create problems and then show up to Mommy's house and expect her to fix everything. He's a grown man and he has to deal with things himself. Were his mother not going on a cruise, I still don't think that she would have taken care of the baby, and whether her intent would have been to teach him responsibility or not, I think that would be the right decision. Though that's just my own personal speculation..."

le départ de Marie-Mary/Marie's-Mary’s departure

la scène finale/ the final scene

Evans 11/23/2004.00:26:26
"Edgar and I looked at the final scene tonight, and noticed several key differences. First of all, the French Sofie was not asked inside, while the American Sofia was welcomed with open arms. The whole French scene centered around the baby, while Sophia was equally important in the American version. Secondly, the way the films ended was very stereotypical of both cultures. American endings are always happy with no loose ends left untied, while the French version ends in a more artistic manner with Sofie curled up in the crib. There is much more to be said about the interactions between the people, but I'll leave that to Edgar."

Tufool 11/23/2004.00:47:44
"I felt that the french version was more vague and more open ended. It sort of leaves the viewer to decided what kind of ending happens next. Towards the beginning of the scene, the men offered to keep the baby for a few days, but Sylvie gave them A LOT of bags, so i thought maybe she was planning on leaving the baby with them for a lot more than just a few days. The ending was kind of funny. When i first saw the crib, i what? another baby?? I guess that that Sylvie was in the crib at the end sort of emphasizes the different french title (3 men and a crib) So maybe it was to emphasizes the "crib" part of the title: at the start of the movie, the men found the baby in the crib, and at the end, they found the mom. What do u guys think??"

general differences - différences générales

l'histoire/ the story

Evans 11/15/2004.23:53:56
"Are you kidding me?!? The American version of the story is so stereotypical with the valiant protagonists catching the bad drug dealers and turning them in to police. I much preferred the French version for it's lack of needless action scenes, but I do love the song "Goodnight Sweetheart"..."

marie 11/16/2004.09:29:04
"Je préfère aussi la version française car l'humour est peut etre un peu plus fin et c'est moins axé sur le trafic des dealers. Le fait qu'on voit grandir l'enfant et que les rôles soient inversé à la fin est assez sympa."

Xiaojie 11/16/2004.09:30:29
"I agree with Evans, the American version was much more stodgy. Two scenes that illustrate the puritanical values of America come to mind: Jack's mother giving him a lecture on responsibility and catching the drug dealers."

marie 11/16/2004.09:32:24
"je continue... oui les rôles sont inversés car les hommes prennent le rôle de la femme et la mère prend la place de l'enfant et se laisse prendre en charge."

rubinopablo 11/16/2004.09:52:06
"J'ai péfère la version française. Alors la difference que j'ai remarqué est genre de l'histoire, le film américan est plus une comédie avec plein d'action où les personnages sont assez "personnages", tant que dans le film français l'action est liée aux relations entre les personnages peut-être plus "humaines" et ,bref pas très comédie."

Henri 11/16/2004.09:53:16
"En général, les versions originales sont meilleures et ce film confirme la règle. Les personnages français sont plus attachants, et le film est mieux ficelé avec de petits détails qui ont fait la différence."

Marie-Sophie 11/16/2004.09:59:30
"je pense que la version française est mieux tournée que la version française dans le sens où l'humour et l'histoire plus sont plus délicats... D'autre part, le film aux Etats-Unis a beaucoup "marcher" qu'en France, est-ce que cela est du au fait que se soit un film américain, avec un plus gros budget?"

Frances 11/18/2004.14:42:18
"I also preferred the French film; I thought that it was much funnier than the American version. It was also much more realistic. It seems highly unlikely that in real life anyone would just invite someone who they had a one night stand with (even if a baby resulted) to live with them as "one big happy family." Also, people do not take babies to construction sites. The actions and reactions of the characters in the French version were more believable. The humor in the American film was much less natural."

Edgar 11/18/2004.17:53:01
"I noticed that the beginnings of the movies were very different. In the American version, the movie starts by portraying the relationship between Jack, Peter, and Michael. It gives the audience a good view of their relationship and what their lifestyles are (they work during the day, but are always partying or with women at night). The French movie, on the other hand, begins with the party at their house, without giving any previous introduction as to who the characters are or what they do. I brought this up in class today, and Prof. Fursternberg said that reflects a cultural difference. In particular, it highlights the different ways in which an American and a French would approach / handle an unknown person. To the French students: if you go to a party and there are people that you don't know, what do you do? (i.e. do you introduce yourselves to them, or do you just sit there and wait for an introduction from the party host?) As to which movie I like better, I'm undecided. There are good qualities and bad qualities in both of them (with respect to each other, that is)"

Alejandro 11/18/2004.19:54:52
"I think I mostly agree with everybody in that the original French movie is more realistic and the American version had a lot of changes to show better moral values. I also wanted to note that I thought the French characters were much louder and argued a lot more than the Americans, while the latter group tended to be more friendly and colaborative with each other. Is this yet another display of moral values? I thought I heard somebody say in class that this was a Disney movie, which would have explaned a lot, except it's not. says it's from Touchtone Video."

Esther 11/18/2004.20:12:18
"I generally liked both versions, but I did think the semi-"suspenseful" drug ation scene in the American version was random and dumb."

Frances 11/18/2004.22:30:10
"Ha ha, I agree Esther. The "bad guys" didn't really even come close to being a real threat."

Brian 11/18/2004.22:44:04
"I liked certain things about both of the films. I much prefered the comedy in the French version - but I think that was really because some of the translations didn't work. For instance, the part about first age or second age, and Pierre says "There are two ages?" In the american version, to say that you don't know the difference between a "newborn" and a "toddler" isn't as funny. But I did not like the way that the French friends of theirs decided to leave because there was a baby at the apartment. I don't think that French people don't like babies - I think most people find it hard to be mean towards an infant. I understood when Michel's date left that night, because she obviously didn't want to get involved with that, but these were friends and I don't think that they should have gotten upset and left."

Tufool 11/19/2004.02:12:58
"I thought the two films were very different, but i felt that this difference came mainly from who the audience would be. I did not know that I saw 3 men and a baby until the scene where the baby is found outside the door. This was years ago, maybe 10? maybe more. I don't remember, but what i do remember is that even for me at that age, I enjoyed it. Maybe even more than I enjoyed it this time. And although i didn't understand everything then, I felt that it was appropriate for a wider range of audience than the french movie. Yes, the french movie is much more realistic, but i feel that the American version can be classified more as a "family film""

Andres 11/19/2004.03:22:21
"I'll avoid subjective comments here: a difference in the story that I found surprising (since it seems to be unnecessary) was the fact that Jack was an actor and goes to Turkey, as opposed to Jacques, a pilot who goes to Thailand. Anyone dares suggest why the American writers would take the effort to change something so irrelevant? Now that I think of it, maybe it's just that, in the US, pilots don't have a reputation of being sexually promiscuous or involved in drug deals (or do they? i don't really know, i'm a foreigner), while actors do. I'm clearly improvising here. Any help?"

Angela 11/19/2004.03:57:53
"I'm tempted to say that I liked the American version way more just to liven up the debate (but that would be a lie so I won't) One factual/plot point I noticed was the differences in the two Jacques' reflections on losing Marie. In the american version, he didn't go much farther than to say "I miss her, I have this funny feeling right here...." In the french version, however, Jacques gets muuuch more drunk, wandering around in public with a pillow up his shirt and being quite a bit more philosophical (why is eve made out of adam's rib? we aren't able to create anything out of these ribs). I thought the French version did a better job with convincing me that these guys' lives really had changed fundamentally, and that they really did feel a strong absence when Marie left. The fact that the philosophical dialogue was dropped from the american version is a bit interesting."

Lauren 11/19/2004.10:53:14
"I think maybe the american jack is an actor because who would believe a pilot would have such awesome taste in home decorating. I spent the whole movie regretting that the 80s passed me by without shoulder pads, a t-shirt worn as a dress, or a single bad art-deco-ish mural. I've had the song from the opening credits of the American movie "bad bad bad bad boys...." stuck in my head for 3 days. I am interested in the way the baby was treated in each of the films. In the American version Michael and Peter get a babysitter to watch Mary when they go out, resulting in all the humor of a tied up woman, but in the French version they figure it'll just be okay to leave the baby alone for a little while. I admit I was somewhat taken aback at how much more acceptable it seemed to be to slap kids in it also okay to leave infants at home alone?"

Alejandro 11/22/2004.22:31:47
"I still can't believe how corny the ending of the american version was! The rest of the movie was a little ridiculous but at least it flowed, the end seemed like it was rushed by the writers. Silvia was waiting for them in front of their appartment, which I guess could happen, but then there's an unreal conversation that happen in less than a minute and lead to all the main characters living together and happy. Come on! At the same time I'm not surprised because I've seen many other bad movies that have this sort of deus ex happy ending."

le décor - the décor

GERSENDE 11/16/2004.10:05:45
"Le décor dans le film français ne choque pas. Les meubles de l'appartement se retrouvent encore à l'heure actuelle dans certaines habitations. Les vêtements de l'enfant ne sont pas vieillots, seuls, ceux des adultes sont un peu ringards. L'avantage d'un décor "actuel" permet au film d'être toujours "à la page" !"

Megan 11/18/2004.20:52:44
"One of the most noticable differences to me was the lighting -- in general, the American version seemed to be a lot lighter -- lots of whites, etc, whereas the French version seemed a lot darker. Did anyone else notice this?"

Brian 11/18/2004.22:50:04
"I think the most noticable thing about the decor was that their apartment reflected their jobs in the american version and I think that was kind of nice - as someone mentioned earlier, it was difficult to see the relationship between the three men in the french version. I really still have no idea what Perre's job was..."

Evans 11/18/2004.23:16:55
"yep, i noticed the light thing right at the beginning. I could barely see in the french party scene. good call megan."

Tufool 11/19/2004.02:17:03
"Although I felt that the art was flashy in the american version, and i probably still don't get how the appartment is set (its sort of like a maze right?) I agree with Brian, that the style of the appartment reflects the men's jobs. All three do something more or less "artsy" and the appartment sort of brings the 3 men together. You can sort of guess where or how they met because they have that in common. Whereas in the French version, you can't really tell what the 3 mens relationship is, or what bonds them."

Alejandro 11/22/2004.22:14:28
"Yeah, I did notice that in the french version the appartment is very standard, the three men didn't care much about customizing it. The american appartment had a pool table and the room where Peter had his videocassettes, etc. All things the french didn't have but could have (or have something equivalent, something with a touch of personality). Not that the french don't have personality, but the three men don't reflect it the appartment."

la relation entre les hommes et la police/the relationship between the men and the police

Brian 11/18/2004.22:56:29
"I think the relationship between the men and the police in the french version was kind of laissez faire - they didn't really think that they had anything to do with the drugs - it wasn't their business, so why try to apprehend these criminals? I think they may hbe seen it as, if Michel didn't screw up and toss away the package in the first place it never would have happened. In the american version there is this notion of civic duty where every citizen should be looking out for bad guys. I don't know if you have this in France, but over here a real popular thing is a "neighborhood watch" where insane people with no jobs hang around all day looking for suspicious things in their neighborhoods.."

Andres 11/19/2004.03:33:16
"The relationship with the detective, in the American version, was more relaxed and friendly. They offer him water and address him more freely, as we can see also at the end of the action scene. He even plays with the baby. Of course, this is a result of the difference in the degree of politeness in both societies; in France, you would be much more distant with someone you basically don't know."

Lauren 11/19/2004.10:57:19
"I was a little confused because in the french version the police just come up to them on the street and ask for their IDs, whereas in the American version the mounted police officer (is he only on horse back to set up a poop joke?!) tells them they are parked illegally. is this to make the police look better to Americans? like they don't stop random people and ask for ID? or is it a difference in the powers of law enforcement?"

Brian 11/21/2004.22:45:04
"Actually I think this is a big european difference that I never thought about. In European countries it is illegal to not carry identification. American tourists are warned that they must always carry ID on them (though we rarely do in practice). This isn't the case in America, where a driver's license is just a license to drive a vehicle. It's used as ID, but not everyone has to have one. In most european countries you need to have a government issued ID, a passport, or something else. French students, correct me if I'm wrong but I think that was the case.."

the relationship between men and women/la relation entre les hommes et les femme

Marie 11/19/2004.08:27:00
"We noticed a few differences in the relationship between the men and women in the two films. In the French version, it seems like each man sleeps with many women, or has slept with many women. None of the men seem to stick to one woman. However, in the American film, Peter was with the same woman throughout the entire film. Women seemed more respected in the American film, as if they actually played a part instead of just being sex symbols. Also, I noticed that in the American film, Peter asked his girlfriend to take care of Mary, while in the French film, Jacques looked at the woman he was sleeping with and she immediately replied: "Don't look at me...just because I am a woman!" Peter's girlfriend was shocked that he would ask her to take care of Mary. So it seems to me that the role of women as caregivers is much more engrained into the French culture than the American culture."

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Jorge 11/21/2004.20:38:38
"It was interesting to see that the Americans tried to teach Jack a lesson by leaving him with all the work - although it was obvious that they would have loved to help...I mean, the fact that they had to check up on Jack and Mary once in a while, and actually left the opera/play to go see what was wrong proved that they were really worried about Mary and would have preferred to help. In the French version, they behaved a bit more like friends by actually helping him with the baby - they even sat down to determine who was going to have what shift, etc. Despite the fact that it seemed that they were far more upset when Jacques arrived (with respect to the American version), they told him what they needed to, and probably felt that leaving him to do all the work to simply teach him a lesson would have been worse for him and Marie. Like somebody else said in another forum, they may have yelled at each other more, but I feel like it was all in relation to Marie and being stressed about her."

Tufool 11/21/2004.20:54:14
"In the French version, I felt that their relationship as friends and roommates was more realistic than in the American version. They argued a lot more, about little things, but the arguments don't last more than a while, and everything is fine again. I lived with 3 girls last year, and we argued A LOT about little things, but exactly 2 minutes later, we were best friends again...sort of like in the movie. In the American version I felt that the guys' relationship was more proper...a little too proper to be true."

l'expression des emotions/the expression of emotions

a 11/16/2004.10:07:43
"Nous pouvons remarquer que les français ont tendance à être plus expressifs : ils crient, parlent fort, réagissent plus facilement. Les américains sont plus calmes. De plus les français démontrent plus facilement leurs sentiments que les américains. Etes-vous d'accords avec ce point de vu ?"

Frances 11/17/2004.02:55:33
"I agree with your comment. It is interesting though; today in class we discussed the verb "se sentir" and were talking about how in French, there are fewer ways in French to express feeling as compared to English. Perhaps in the films, the French express their feelings to a greater extent with their body language, tone of voice, and expressions, compared to the Americans who appear more calm, but may be expressing these same sentences with the actual words they are speaking."

Esther 11/18/2004.20:16:03
"I agree with the first statement that the men in the American version seemed more calm in general, and their reactions were not quite as strong. Yet we noted in their own way, the men in the American version were more open about their affection for the baby, whereas for in the French version, it seemed as though the men were slightly more secretive about their affection for Mary."

Lauren 11/19/2004.11:02:47
"This may be because (as we've talked about in class) the men in the American movie have to be all good as opposed to the all bad drug dealers. they are thus strong, masculine, and properly affectionate to their baby. they never appear as stressed out about the baby and manage to carry on working even before Jack gets back. good Americans can do it all!"

Tiphaine 11/21/2004.10:07:52
"Lauren je suis d'accord avec toi, dans le film on a appuyé la distinction entre les dealers et l'affection des hommes apportée au bébé ! c'est justement le bien contre le mal...un peu d'espoir et de fraicheur dans un environnement si glauque..."


S 11/16/2004.09:52:15
"American mothers / French mothers In the ameican society, women are more erased than ni french society. In french movie, women often howl, are depessive, sad... In american movie, they have little role, they are near their children, they're often at home... American society is more pathriarcal than french society."

Eric 11/18/2004.23:59:35
"I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "women are more erased." Do you mean to say something more along the lines of "hidden?" I think most of your adjectives were lost in translation (women howl?, depessive?). I would agree that women stayed at home much more often in the past, but I don't think that is the case nowadays. Women play just as active a role in society as men."

Andres 11/19/2004.03:45:46
"At the beginning of the story, the American Jack seemed to me much less obnoxious than the French Jacques. Of course, Jacques evolves as a character and becomes reasonably likable. I guess in the American version this change makes the baby's arrival look more like an unfair punishment and emphasizes the difficulty of dealing with such a weird situation."

Aparna 11/19/2004.08:01:48
"I noticed that the American men seemed to be less embarassed to show their affection towards the baby. I recall one scene in the french version where Michele is making cooing noises to the baby in the bedrooom, and suddenly becomes stiff when Pierre comes in. Also, I noticed that in the American version, they took care of the baby together - they didn't have separate roles or shifts like in the french version"