When we talk about a classic and favourite amongst many fans, I wonder how necessary an English dub is?
What I mean is, if you’ve seen the film dozens of times, and know the story inside out, why not watch it in it’s original form?
Although I have always loved ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’, I have also been irritated by some of the English translation, which seems to be word for word from the Italian dialogue … and rhythmically some of it just doesn’t sound natural, especially ‘Cheyenne’s’ monologues.
A few years back I watched the long Italian version without subtitles, and had no problems at all, in fact I found the film much improved … watching as a native English speaker with only a smattering of Italian, French and Spanish, the film takes on a stronger sense of menace, and the sometimes ‘flowery’ poetic dialogue seems much more convincing in the writer’s original language. Plus: I didn’t have to endure the painful sound of Jack Elam’s character dubbed by another English voice, and the unconvincing studio laughter from Strode and Mulock’s characters.
I’d urge anyone interested to give it a go … I found it very rewarding and closer to what I assume the director had intended. Leone could hardly comment on how an English phrase was delivered or which regional accent was appropriate … so it’s the Italian version for me for in future screenings.