sabato 15 settembre 2007

Dub dub

I’m watching Ugly Betty in Italian. To be honest I much prefer to miss the TV broadcast of UK / American TV series, and get them on DVD but on this occasion I’m too into it to stop watching, even though the dubbing is making my ears bleed. OK, so this is a subject which has been expat- blogged to death – along with bureaucracy, waiting your turn (or not), the Italian healthcare system, etc.etc. I’m going to talk about it anyway. Firstly, the fact that many of the greatest, most well-known Hollywood actors are dubbed by the same voice really bothers me. The first time Luca and I were watching a film together and he came out with “this is usually Al Pacino’s voice”, it took me a while to work out what the hell he was going on about. Isn’t a major factor in what makes an actor great the way in which they deliver the role, their timing, tone and intonation? If you understand Italian, try watching the dubbed version of friends. “Could I be wearing any more of your clothes?”, delivered with perfect comedy timing by Joey, and followed by genuine audience reaction just does not work when conveyed as a serious question, and met with stony silence (audience laughter doesn’t seem to have been imported into the dubbed version). For those of you who, like me, grew up with The Fresh Prince of Belair at teatime every weekday, the clip that I found on You Tube at will either make you howl with laughter or cry with pain – these are the opening titles for the Italian version. Note the fact that Will (or “Willy”, as they call him here) is dubbed by some guy who must be at least 60 years old, and who is to rapping what Eminem is to flower-arranging. I guess if these programmes are going to be broadcast to a non-English speaker audience, there really is no alternative, and, when challenged on the subject, most Italians will bore you with a long, in-depth lecture on how talented their dubbing professionals are. Maybe that’s just what they need to do to convince themselves of the fact. Or maybe they just don’t know what they’re missing, and that’s rather a shame when you think about it.

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