Question About Language Tracks?

Hi,

I was just wondering what the consensus is on the following quote. It’s taken from the New York Times.

Spaghetti westerns, however, possess no “original” language. They weren’t shot with any sound at all: Italian filmmakers, from directors of cheesy gladiator epics to Federico Fellini, often shot silently, synchronizing sound and dialogue in postproduction.

Is this accurate? I’ve always considered Italian to be the “original” soundtrack, but I’ve not seen many DVDs/Blurays in Italian with English subs.

Thanks!

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Hmmm…That is an interesting question. I’ve always gone by the crew of the film, the major financiers, and the supporting and secondary cast. To me, if the majority of the cast and crew were Italian, the main producers and backers were Italian, etc., then I consider the film an Italian language production. Now granted many of the films made in the SW genre were Italian/Spanish/German co-production, but again I go by the director, the writers, and so on. The same goes for the Spanish and German Westerns as well. Arrow Video has done some SW’s on Blu Ray, and all of them include the original Italian audio with translated English subtitles. Many SW Blu Rays and DVDs from Germany include the Italian audio track as well, though the majority of them don’t include English subtitles. Because I’ve seen so many Italian language films since my College days, I have a basic understanding of the language and can watch them without subtitles.

This was a really interesting post, I always thought I was the only one on the forum who viewed the SWs as originally Italian language productions. Thanks.

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But the fact remains that they were indeed filmed without sound and then dubbed for all marketa, including Italy. “Original” is relative, but the language of the original screenplay was likely often Italian and hence the Italian track is often closest to the writers’ intentions. Also, for the rare cases the actors came in and dubbed themselves, it was common place for even the Italians being dubbed by other (available) Italians

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If nobody minds me going off on a slight tangent the fact that Italian films were shot in silence is one of the things I love about Italian cinema; I love how the soundtracks are like paintings where you know everything is there because the filmmakers and editors wanted it there. I know I’m a bit biased because I’m immune to dubbing which a lot of people aren’t and for them the dubbing makes it harder to get into but I find the whole process a lot more immersive.

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But there is bad dubbing and unsuitable voice actors of course … It’s also worth mentioning that virtually all mainstream films including English language are ‘dubbed’, re-recorded, filtered etc …

Listen to the audio on headphones of any major film, and you will hear how lines of dialogue are pasted together … sometimes because of a weak recording, maybe with unwanted background noise … and that’s just the beginning. Every sound effect heard is added post production. So maybe dubbing snobs shouldn’t be so dismissive of international productions ? :wink:

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Yes that is true to be fair.

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