QUENTIN TARANTINO LAWRENCE BENDER, HENNING MOLFENTER, CHARLIE WOEBCKEN, UNIVERSAL PICTURES
DUBBING SOUND TECNICIAN:
SOUND MIXER TECHNICIAN:
FEDERICA DE BORTOLI
Samuel L. Jackson:
Inglorious Basterds is a masterpiece. Said that, it seems a rather sterile game to play to go looking for all the sources of cinema that Tarantino digested and miraculously presents us as if to say: I have enjoyed, now it’s your turn. He is so strong that he doesn’t care about anything, he doesn’t even care to make a film in which the characters all speak his language, even breaking the Hollywood tradition that no matter where in the world, everyone speaks American. In the original version everything works perfectly, and we suppose that it also worked for the American audience, known only to watch home-made films, regardless of the length and speed of the subtitles.
Universal Pictures Italia, on the other hand, must have thought that we were not up to it and forced the “undubbable” to be dubbed. Fiamma Izzo should have been more courageous and refuse a challenge that is lost at start; in fact her Italian version is all one big linguistic problem, but no matter what choices she could have made, it would have been anyway. Izzo’s choice was of a quantitative nature, since she chose to dub English and French in Italian and leave the bad Germans in their original language. It’s not long though before the chickens come home to roost; in chapter 2 in fact, the setting is Paris and the French is actually dubbed in Italian, leaving us wondering why, since the long dialogue at the beginning between Colonel Landa and the farmer LaPadite was left in French and subtitled. From this moment on, things get complicated, and everything that in the original was linked to the logic of reality becomes a whole lot of linguistic nonsense that makes you regret the good old films like Casablanca, in which everyone spoke American, was dubbed in Italian, end of story. It is not clear in fact, why in the scene in which Aldo and the other basterds pretend to be Italian film makers, Fiamma Izzo used the same old solution to make them speak in dialect, with the excuse that they are only able to speak dialect. This solution works when there are only a few lines in Italian, but this is an own goal: a part from the fact that an actor who only speaks Sicilian is not credible, but the most weird thing is that Landa speaks Italian with Aldo to test him and he doesn’t understand because he only speaks dialect. When the trick is found out, the two continue speaking in Italian (in the original they spoke English) and this time they understand each other leaving us gobsmacked.
So, from complication to complication, we get to the absurd of dubbing a propaganda film L’orgoglio della Nazione (The Glory of the Nation) projected in front of the Führer, simply to understand the connection between the question «Chi vuol mandare un messaggio alla Germania?» (who wants to send a message to Germany?) and Shosanna’s answer (in French, so dubbed) contained in the film message that precedes the final fire lavation.
In conclusion, since the mess was done, why leave all appellations – Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle, Fräulein, Herr Docktor – in original even in the subtitles
A part from all this, not even the translation is precise, starting from the exclamation «a quell’epoca le pellicole 35 mm in nitrato d’argento erano talmente infiammabili» when it isn’t the silver nitrate that is flammable but the support it was rested on, that is to say the celluloid; then we hear «hanno inventato nel loro delirio figlio di puttana», «cambierebbe colore al cavallo», «c’è una parola per una stranezza del genere, ed è: sospetta», and finally the usual French «mon amour» translated with «amore mio» instead of «amore».
A word about the billboards. The film is narrated through chapters, so the billboards are part of the narration and in the original they have their own graphic. Why not spend some money and downgrade them to subtitles? The incomprehension was so big, that the last chapter “Revenge of the Giant Face” became “La vendetta della faccia gigante”, a part from being less evocative it is definitely quite bad.
As regards the acting, I’d say that in general it doesn’t work: in a film that even changes the story, voice actors have a rather average tone without any sparks. Sandro Acerbo makes an attempt but is nowhere near the great Brad Pitt and acts leaving us the idea of a character who is good, normal, without the madness of the original. Even De Bortoli has nothing of Laurent Shosanna, who is a complicated woman, who has got balls: she escaped the massacre of her family, she is the manager of a cinema, she is with a black man and sacrifices her life to take revenge for her family and people. Stefano Benassi on the other hand, was incisive and adequate for Landa.
The supporting actors were better, most of all Francesco Pezzulli who was perfect.
When a film like this is impossible to dub, it is unavoidable that dubbing, no matter how good, is done bad, so the evaluation is affected by it. I give a 0 to the film distribution company that maybe in a rather Freudian way, did not think it was important to include an explanation in the Italian DVD version.
[original review in Italian by Giovanni Rampazzo]