TED ELLIOT, TERRY ROSSIO
WALT DISNEY PICTURES, JERRY BRUCKHEIMER FILMS
BUENA VISTA INTERNATIONAL
ITALIAN DIALOGUE BY:
DUBBING SOUND TECHNICIAN:
DUBBING SOUND MIXER TECHNICIAN:
DANILO DE GIROLAMO
A rather unusual origin for Verbinski’s film “The curse of the black pearl”. Films are often adapted from books, in this case the idea for the film came from a Disneyland amusement park attraction. A bizarre but effective idea and the film is a sapient and lively mix of adventure, irony, love-story and a touch of horror.
The film takes place in the Caribbean sea and tells the tale of pirate captain Jack Sparrow, victim of a mutiny on behalf of his crew, whose command is taken over by captain Barbossa who loots and ravages the city of Port Royal and kidnaps Elizabeth, the governor’s daughter and Commodore Norrington’s betrothed. All this happens because a curse hangs on Barbossa and his crew due to a previously stolen Aztec treasure which has transformed them into wandering beings, apparently quite alive, but revealing themselves for what they really are in the moonlight: skeletons oblivious to feeling. In order to lift the curse, every single piece of the original treasure must be found but part of it is in the hands of young Elizabeth who in turn, had stolen it from Will Turner, a pirate’s son, saved from the sea. He’ll be the one, together with Sparrow, to save the young girl, with whom he’s in love, from the pirates’ grip.
The plot is captivating, the acting is excellent but the cherry on the cake is Johnny Depp. His interpretation of the uncouth don Giovanni pirate is superb: ironic and sparkling, with capricious unforeseeable moody gestures. A bonus for this film which had an enormous success at the box-office and which relaunched the pirate genre.
The dialogue adaptation has been done quite well, but has its limits. The labial synchronism has nearly always been respected apart from a couple of imprecisions. At the beginning, when young Elizabeth sees Will’s body in the sea, she shouts “Un ragazzo!”, which is too long and does not fit very well with the o of “A boy!”; further on, Ana Maria, after having slapped Jack, accuses him: “Mi hai rubato la barca, porco!”. The original line was simply: “You stole my boat”. The addition of “porco”, was easily avoidable. It would have been enough to recite the line more slowly, following the rhythm of the actress pronouncing every word. Furthermore, the appellative “porco” makes one think that the girl is upset with the pirate for having left her whereas she is only angry for having had her boat stolen.
The problem of not following the rhythm of the original actors is a fault we see throughout the film: the dubbers tend to privilege a greater speed, whereas it would be a good rule not to change the rhythm of the original lines of the film.
The principal limit of the adaptation is however found in the linguistic director’s choices: very often in the Italian version, the language is improved, using a higher level of terminology. For example, Jack teases the marine officers telling them that if he sees a civilian on the pier he will inform them “immantinente”, translation of “I’ll inform you immediately”. “Immantinente” is a far too stately linguistic choice for a pirate whose education would probably leave a lot to be desired despite having been around the world. It would have been enough to leave the original “immediatamente”, or to avoid the closure of the mouth at the end for the ‘m’ of “mente”, perhaps “all’istante” would have been better. Or when Elizabeth negotiates the sailing of The Black Pearl from Port Royal and threatens Barbossa with a “I’ll drop it”, referring to the medallion. The line was translated with “lo darò al mare” (“I’ll give it to the sea”). The social extraction of the governor’s daughter justifies the use of such an elevated expression, but if the line in the original film is a simple one, why change it in the adaptation? A banal “lo lascio cadere” would have been more than sufficient. A similar observation can be made regarding the governor who, turning to Will, orders him “If you have any information concerning my daughter, share it”. In Italian it became “se avete qualunque informazione riguardo a mia figlia, mettetecene a parte” “if you have any information concerning my daughter, render us participant…..” besides what we have just said about the dialogue adaptation, in this case the labial synchronism could also have been respected by choosing a more simple “condividetela con noi” (“share it with us”).
Other strange choices are for example those for Gibbs’ lines “tremano i polsi a pensare a quanti hanno perso la vita in questo passaggio”. “Tremano i polsi” is the “chilling of the bones” adaptation. The shot is not a close-up so the ‘p’ of “polsi” cannot be seen, however “tremano i polsi” is a strange expression, a “vengono i brividi” (“gives me shivers”) would have been better. Furthermore, Barbossa shouts at his crew: “Punished we were, the lot of us, disproportionate to our crime”, “puniti fummo, dagli dei pagani, con durezza eccessiva per il nostro peccato”. A religious element in the adaptation is introduced, with pagan gods and sin mentioned, totally non-existent in the original; furthermore the line was not a close-up, so there was no need to respect the lip movement which might have justified such a choice. It would have been better to stick to the original with: “Puniti fummo, tutti noi, con durezza eccessiva per il nostro crimine” “Punished we were, the lot of us, with excessive harshness considering our crime”.
These choices, although they do not hinder the correct interpretation of the film (the public would only ever realise by doing a direct comparison with the original film, in which the dialogue is often more laid back) are nonetheless incomprehensible, just as incomprehensible is the reason for which, when Elizabeth does a bonfire in order to be seen by the ships of the navy fleet, says that the smoke is a “a thousand feet” high, whilst in Italian the thousand becomes inexplicably a hundred. In this case it would have been better to translate feet in metres for easier understanding. Perhaps an oversight is when the crew shouts “Huzza!”. In Italian one would say “Urrà”, but the original English word was maintained.
The proverb adaptation is well done. For example, it is impossible to render the English expression “Davy Jones’ Locker”, typical sailor-like language which indicates the depth of the sea. To opt for a neutral sentence like “in fondo al mare” (at the bottom of the sea) was a correct choice. Likewise the proverb “Robert’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt”, usually used when instructions are given to mean “there; done” “voilà, ecco”, in Italian has been translated with “stretta la foglia, larga la via”, more or less meaning the same thing.
The dubbing direction is however excellent: every single voice has been chosen with care and perfectly adapts to the role to which it has been assigned. A particular mention has to be made regarding Jack Sparrow’s voice: Fabio Boccanera has managed to interpret the role in the very best way, his voice perfectly fits Johnny Depp’s eccentric recitative, giving him the right liveliness. So much so that if one compares it to the original voice, this latter seems almost flat, below tone.
However Carlo Cosolo seems to have slipped up at a certain point. The voice distribution has a little fault: the voice of the dwarf in the crew. Despite the fact that he’s male, his voice seems to be that of a woman. The intention was surely to present him as another comical element of Capt. Sparrow’s disorderly crew, but in the original version he has a perfectly normal male voice – why give him such a ridiculous voice in the Italian version? Thankfully he has only the one line (“Jack owes us a ship”) “Jack ci deve una nave”.
On the whole, the film is good with a discrete Italian adaptation, in which the dialogue script, not always exceptional, is compensated by a very careful dubbing direction.
[original review in Italian by Alessandra Basile]