Kenneth Lonergan, Peter Tolan
Peter Tolan Harold Ramis, Kenneth Lonergan
Baltimore Pictures, Face Productions, Npv Entertainment, Spring Creek Productions, Tribeca Productions, Village Roadshow Productions
Alessandro Di Giacomo
C.D. - Cine Doppiaggi
Robert De Niro:
Another film on the American mafia, produced by Americans (therefore told from their point of view) but this time very enjoyable, where the mafia, even though shooting and killing, are nevertheless likeable. Who’s merit is that? Maybe it’s because of the great actors who interpret the main stars, definitely due to the screenwriting and direction and also, maybe, thanks to the dialogues and dubbing.
The story in brief: a boss, Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro), after having experienced an attempt on his life, decides to go to a psychoanalyst, Ben Sobel (Billy Cristal), because he suffers from panic attacks. Obviously he finds it very difficult to admit he needs help - a boss can’t be afraid! - but decides that Ben must work for him and be at his service to help him (we won’t discuss in what ways…).
Sobel, in a typical Freudian approach, tries to get him to understand that he has to change his life, making him go back to his past (in particular to his relationship with his father, killed, when he was a child, before his very eyes), his criminal behaviour - in short, he’ll help him so much that Paul will end up in jail and we, the public, really believe that he’ll finally redeem himself. This won’t be the case, but that is another film.
The methods with which Paul asks for Ben’s help cause hilarious scenes upon which the entire film is based, one funnier than the other. The adaptations have been carried out brilliantly bearing in mind and recreating the film’s spirit with a great comic streak.
Here are a few examples:
in a meeting in the countryside, a driver waiting for his boss, finds a cow close to his car and he says to the cow «Vuoi diventare una bistecca al sangue?» (Wanna be a fucking rib eye?)
Paul: «Questa storia mi ha fatto venire il mal di testa» (This whole thing is like one big fucking headache).
Paul: «Dove l’hai studiata medicina, brutto scemo? Era un attacco cardiaco!» (Where’d you go to medical school? I got a fucking heart attack!)
Conversation with Jelly, his personal “assistant” , regarding Ben:
Jelly: «Mi sembrava uno in gamba; teneva pure il biglietto da visita». (He seemed like a smart guy. He had a business card)
Paul: «Ma veramente? Allora deve essere proprio uno scienziato!» (A business card? That’s like a real fucking achievement)
Jelly (Paul’s right hand man) offers Carl, one of Ben’s patients, 150 dollars to leave the studio thus to free the doctor for Paul; Carl, who has problems with asserting his personality, suddenly asks him for 300.
Jelly: «Non è mica tanto matto!» (He ain’t that fucking crazy!)
Carl: «Gli ho fatto raddoppiare l’offerta, ho puntato i piedi!» (I got him up from 150. I stood my ground).
All this perhaps demonstrates how it’s possible to avoid translating all the “fucking” references with the improbable and useless “fottuto” (which often happens), managing to be funny without losing or changing the meaning of the conversation.
After having got Ben’s acceptance, or better still, having “forced” Ben to take him in his care, Paul, leaving the studio, says to Jelly:
Paul: «Stavi a origliare?»
This exchange of words doesn’t exist in the original; seeing as they both have their backs to us, the dialogist managed to add them without creating any damage, supplying us with a further element to give us an idea of the relationship between the two characters involved.
When Ben allows himself to scold Paul’s intrusiveness, Paul takes offence: «Col tuo studiolo di merda e la tua casetta di merda a Merdopoli ti permetti di rifiutarmi?... Non sapresti curare neanche un pidocchio dalla scarlattina, brutto ciarlatano!» (With your schmucky little office and schmucky little house you’re turning me down?... You couldn’t treat a fucking two-celled amoeba, you fucking phony).
In my opinion, the Italian version is more realistic and more similar to how an uneducated criminal might express himself in an hysterical manner because he’s been rejected.
When they’ve all calmed down, Ben begins to ask some “intimate” questions, advising Paul to take some pills to help him a little, Paul once again reacts comically «Cominci con le pillole, e la volta dopo ti ci vuole la pompetta» (You start with the pills, next it’s hydraulics).
Finding Ben at the aquarium with wife and son, Paul’s men, wet by the fish, comment,:
Jimmy: «Secondo te quei bestioni ci pisciano in quell’acqua?» (You think those whales piss in that water?)
Jelly: «No, ma che dici? Vanno al cesso delle donne al bar all’angolo». (I think they use the men’s room next door to the Burger King)
In the Italian version, and I agree with it, no mention was made of the fast food chain.
In two moments in the original version, Italian expressions are used, and here the dialogist doesn’t appear to have been very creative, skimming over the real meaning in both cases. It’s more serious in the second case when at the meeting of the whole “family”, Jelly and Ben arrive; at a certain point Jelly says (in Italian): «Che sta facenno?», and Ben, who doesn’t know any Italian, imitates him, misunderstanding him: «Easter weekend».
In the Italian version the dialogue has been rendered with a double: «Comme jammo, cumpà?», which doesn’t explain the unconvinced facial expression of Ben’s interlocutor.
And it’s at this point that Ben, consulted, begins to talk with a strong Sicilian accent, ridiculous because forced.
Ben: “Mi chiamo Ben Sobel…Leone, noto pure come Benny Tredita, Sammy Nasone, Vito Mezzachiappa, Joe Bagnarola, e una volta anche come miss Phillis Levine (I’m also knows as Benny the Groin, Samy the Schoz, Elmer the Fudd, Tubby the Tuba and once as miss Phillis Levine) whereas here the solution has been quite excellent.
I found this film very funny, dubbed in an exemplary manner. Certainly reading the lines here, the comical effect isn’t the same, but I can assure you that the dubbing level in this occasion has been very high indeed; all the characters are comical without falling into any foreseen trap and they render each scene a unique one.
The stars deserve a particular mention: Ferruccio Amendola, decisively perfect; Massimo Rossi, exceptional in his role of psychotherapist, full of complexes, frustrated and frightened; Glauco Onorato coming to grips with a difficult role being the boss’ right hand man, a killer, a little stupid but a nice guy, faithful until death but very ironic.
And so a thank you to this adaptor who has given us a brilliant script, and a thank you to the dubbing director because they have been capable of rendering all the vivacity of the original version, cleaning it up of the free coarse language in favour of a grand comicality.
[original review in Italian by Arturo Pennazzi]