Roberto Rossellini

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Scharphedin2
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Roberto Rossellini

#1 Post by Scharphedin2 » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:31 pm

Roberto Rosselini (1906-1977)

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Filmography

Dafne (short, 1936)

Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune (lost film, 1937)

La vispa Teresa / Lively Teresa (short, 1939)

Il tacchino prepotente / The Bullying Turkey (short, 1939)

Fantasia sottomarina / Undersea Fantasy (short, 1940)

Il ruscello di Ripasottile / The Brook of Ripa Sottile (short, 1941)

Un pilota ritorna / A Pilot Returns (1942)

La nave Bianca / The White Ship (1942) Legocart (R2 IT)

L'uomo dalla croce / The Man with the Cross (1943)

Roma, citta aperta / Rome, Open City (1945) Image (R1) / Arrow (R2 UK) Films sans Frontieres (R2 FR) / IVC (R2 JP) / Versatil (R4 BR) / Criterion (R1)

Desiderio / Desire (1946)

Paisa / Paisan (1946) Ventura (R1) double feature w/Two Women / Films sans Frontieres (R2 FR) / IVC (R2 JP) / Versatil (R4 BR) / Criterion (R1)

L'amore / Ways of Love (segment, 1948) IVC (R2 JP)

Germania anno zero / Germany Year Zero (1948) Image (R1) / Films sans Frontieres (R2 FR) / IVC (R2 JP) / Criterion (R1)

Stromboli (1950) Films sans Frotieres (R2 FR) / Versatil (R4 BR) / IVC (R2 JP)

Francesco, giullare di Dio / The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) Criterion (R1) / MoC (R2 UK) / Medusa (R2 IT) / Kinokuniya (R2 JP)

Les sept peches capitaux / The Seven Deadly Sins (segment, 1952) IVC (R2 JP)

La macchina ammazzacattivi / Machine to Kill Bad People (1952) IVC (R2 JP)

Europa 51 / The Greatest Love (1952) Imagica (R2 JP)

Siamo donne / We, the Women (segment, 1953)

Amori di mezzo secolo / Mid-Century Loves (segment, 1954)

Dove la liberta? / Where Is Freedom? (1954) Lionsgate R1

Viaggio in Italia / Journey to Italy (1954) BFI (R2 UK) / Films sans Frontieres (R2 FR) / Versatil (R4 BR) / IVC (R2 JP)

La paura / Fear (1954) IVC (R2 JP)

Giovanna d'Arco al rogo / Joan at the Stake (1954) IVC (R2 JP)

L'India vista da Rossellini (TV series, 1959) IVC (R2 JP)

Il Generale della Rovere / General della Rovere (1959) Minerva Classics (R2 IT) w/subs / Criterion R1

Era notte a Roma / Blackout in Rome (1960) Suevia Films (R2 ES) / Lionsgate R1 / Optimum (R2 UK)

Torino nei cent'anni (TV, 1961)

Viva l'Italia! / Garibaldi (1961)

Vanina Vanini / The Betrayer (1961)

Anima nera (1962)

RoGoPaG (segment, 1963) Imagica (R2 JP) / Tartan (R2 UK) (Part of Pasolini Volume 1 collection)

L'eta del ferro / The Iron Age (TV, 1964)

La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV / The Rise of Louis XIV (TV, 1966) mk2 (R2 FR) / Criterion R1

Idea di un'isola (TV, 1967)

Atti degli apostoli / Acts of the Apostles (TV series, 1969)

Da Gerusalemme a Damasco (1970)

Rice University (1971)

Intervista a Salvador Allende: La forza e la ragione (1971)

Socrate / Socrates (TV, 1971) Istituto Luce (R2 IT)

Blaise Pascal (TV, 1972) Eclipse (Criterion) R1

Agostino d'Ippona / Augustine of Hippo (1972)

L'eta di Cosimo de Medici / The Age of the Medici (TV, 1973) Eclipse (Criterion) R1

Cartesius / Descartes (TV, 1974) Istituto Luce (R2 IT) / Eclipse (Criterion) R1

Anno uno / Year One (1974) Istituto Luce (R2 IT)

Il Messia / The Messiah (1975) San Paolo (R2 IT)

Beaubourg, centre d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou / Beaubourg (1977)

Concerto per Michelangelo (TV, 1977)


Forum Discussions

Dubbing in Italian Cinema

More Rossellini?

The Neo-Realist Collection (Arrow)

Roberto Rossellini on DVD


Web Resources

Beginning Again from Zero: Post-War Reconstruction - Megan Carrigy (Senses of Cinema, 2003)

Germany Year Zero - Tina Marie Camilleri (Senses of Cinema, 2000)

Making Reality - Tag Gallagher (Senses of Cinema, 2004)

On Giovanna d'Arco al rogo - Tag Gallagher (Screening the Past, 2000)

Re-evaluating Rossellini - Martin Walsh (Jump Cut, 1977)

The Rise To Power Of Louis XIV - Derek Malcolm (The Guardian, 1999)

Roberto Rossellini - Hugo Salas (Senses of Cinema, 2002)

Roberto Rossellini - Michael E. Grost (Classic Film and Television)

Roberto Rossellini - Acquarello (Strictly Film School, 2000-2003)

Strombol - John Flaus (Senses of Cinema, 2000)

Volcano Girl: Stromboli - Fred Camper (Chicago Reader, 2000)


Books

The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini - Tag Gallagher (Da Capo Press, 1998)

The Films of Roberto Rossellini - Peter Bondanella (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

In the Name of the Father, The Daughter, And The Holy Sprirts: Remembering Roberto Rossellini - Isabella Rossellini (Schirmer/Mosel, 2006)

Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real - David Forgacs, Sarah Lutton & Geoffrey Nowell-Smith editors (BFI, 2001)

Roberto Rossellini's Rome Open City - Sidney Gottlieb, editor (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

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#2 Post by ellipsis7 » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:02 am

ERA NOTTE A ROMA from Optimum R2 UK on 18 Feb 08!

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#3 Post by HistoryProf » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:27 pm

Anyone have the Roberto Rossellini: Collector's Series from Lions Gate? any thoughts on the films/quality?

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#4 Post by cinemartin » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:43 pm

I'm not sure if anyone is aware of this, but Lionsgate has made Anima Nera available as an on demand movie on Amazon. I can't download it because I'm on a mac, but I can watch it on their website. It's not ideal (where's the DVD) but it's the only place I've seen this film. I can't comment on quality, but it does appear to have subtitles.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#5 Post by ellipsis7 » Wed May 26, 2010 4:58 am

L'AMORE (UNA VOCE HUMANA + IL MIRACOLO)is out in France from Films sans Frontières presumably with French subs... IL MIRACOLO is the one which caused such controversy in the US, the resulting legal battle liberating cinema from the strict censorship regime theretofore...

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#6 Post by JacquesQ » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:39 pm

Hello. Since there's a "hard block" against downloading films on demand from Amazon for URLs not within the US (as if the rights to such a movie were to be so heavily protected from intrusion by nasty Europeans !), I wonder whether a very kind soul - residing in the US, that is - would take the time to burn Rossellini's "[url=ttp://www.amazon.com/Anima-Nera/dp/B0018P9OLW/]Anima nera[/url]," only feature film of his that I don't have yet - except for some of the TV stuff of course -) on a DVD-R and ship it to me in France ? Of course I'll pay for the download + the disc + shipping costs (just some paper sleeve and disc shipped as plain mail is fine) + any costs associated with money transfer (PayPal being the easiest way) ; donwside is it costs you a little bit of time, advantage is you eventually can keep your own copy for free... Please let me know via private message. (Alternately or in addition, I can copy something for you, by Rossellini or other, eg something not available in the US except as an expensive import.)

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#7 Post by TMDaines » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:39 am

Stromboli and Viaggio in Italia upcoming on Blu-ray in Italy. Would be nice to think the rumoured Criterions would follow before long, but yeh.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#8 Post by Peacock » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:59 pm

I only hope they include the English tracks or these Blu's are pretty useless to all (may be misremembering what Gallagher wrote on Stromboli though).

And I wouldn't expect any Criterion's for quite a while as from what I understand the other Ingrid films are in variably not great shape and need lots of work, which hasn't begun yet.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#9 Post by knives » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:02 pm

I would think Europa '51 would be in good shape. I remember seeing it in a beautiful transfer not too long ago.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#10 Post by TMDaines » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:17 pm

Peacock wrote:I only hope they include the English tracks or these Blu's are pretty useless to all (may be misremembering what Gallagher wrote on Stromboli though).

And I wouldn't expect any Criterion's for quite a while as from what I understand the other Ingrid films are in variably not great shape and need lots of work, which hasn't begun yet.
I've read contrasting opinions elsewhere but I'd say Stromboli should be in Italian. The whole idea is Bergman isn't Italian and doesn't speak good Italian throughout the film. I don't think the argument of the language spoken on set holds much too much weight in Italian films as so many of them were productions with international stars and you'd have films switching languages in every scene dependent upon what was the easiest language to communicate in for the actors in a scene.
Last edited by TMDaines on Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#11 Post by ellipsis7 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:32 pm

STROMBOLI I think was financed by Howard Hughes (who had a thing for Ingrid B) & produced by his studio RKO, who then lacerated the US release version, while the Italians also apparently went their own way... However, I have a fondly preserved off air VHS recorded from the BBC Rossellini season late 1980's with intro by the late lamented Gilbert Adair... This is the complete version with an English language soundtrack... was accompanied by an interesting 1/2 hour making of docu entitled INGRID IN ITALY, lots of home movie colour footage on the volcanic island etc...

Il problemo - several versions exists of the Bergman/Rossellini films, and the rights are similarly disparate and confused... difficulty for Criterion is to both acquire the right rights and the definitive version at the same time, by no means an easy task... Methinks the upcoming Ital Blus may not necessarily be the solution...

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#12 Post by zedz » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:37 pm

I think any authoritative edition of the Ingrid films will need to present multiple versions of some (or all) of them, or else argue pretty strenuously why one version is preferred over another, since I don't believe it's cut and dried which one, if any, is 'definitive,' and the best surviving materials don't always correspond to the best version. I expect that if Criterion is working on such a set, it will be one of their most complicated and challenging undertakings.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#13 Post by Peacock » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:56 pm

Very true.. although I would argue Journey to Italy is cut and dry as it wouldn't make sense for the Joyce's to be dubbed into Italian when they are supposed to not be able to understand the language throughout.

Here's Tag Gallagher (hopefully he can jump in here and talk about the other films as well) on Stromboli's different versions:
There are three editions of Stromboli.

The first released was in the US by RKO, which reduced it to 82 mins, added a voice-over changed the editing, etc. All against RR's will. So forget about this one.

The next version was Rossellini's own English-language edition, variously cited between 102 and 107 minutes, but all the same version. It was shot with most of the people speaking English. And this was distributed internationally.

About a year later, Rossellini released an Italian dubbing just for Italy (but with Bergman's own voice), which added a short portion of a scene in the cemetery and altered the miracle at the end to make it more explicitly religious, and reduced the running time to about 97 minutes.

My preference is for the English edition (#2 above).

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#14 Post by tag gallagher » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:21 pm

I can't speak for Criterion, but I think they have the rights.

Rossellini always wanted audiences to see his movies in their own language. Also, almost all Italian films were post-synched until just recently, nothing in direct sound, and Italians, including Rossellini, almost never objected to dubbing -- I don't know why. Indeed, Italians frequently use different people for the dubbing, even when the actors who you see is Italian and speaking Italian, and no one objects (except the actors). Oddly, English-speaking audiences never notice that the Italian is dubbed.

I think with the history films it's better to have a language you understand easily, because reading subtitles is a royal pain and pretty much destroys these films. Aside from that, surely the goal would be to have sound in the same language as the actors were speaking when filmed, and preferably with their own voices.

In some cases, the choice is clear cut. Age of the Medici was shot with 95% of the people speaking English; so the English dubbing is preferable to the Italian dubbing. Pascal, on the other hand, was shot with Pascal speaking French and everyone else speaking Italian, but Pascal seldom shuts up, and he's Pierre Arditi speaking his native tongue. Socrates, likewise talkative, was French, with some of the bit players in Spanish, and he's ten times more intelligent in French (the actor's own voice). German and Spanish dubbings also exist for some of these films. To repeat: Rossellini wanted them in the language of the audience.

Stromboli was shot in English. Bergman dubbed herself in Italian. The two editions differ slightly in editing, because the Italian version (about 7 minutes shorter) was made about a year after the English one, so the miracle, for example, is more explicitly religious. Dramatically English makes more sense, because the heroine's problem is that she cannot communicate with the locals, and obviously much of that is lost if she's speaking fluent Italian. (There's also a 3rd edition, the 84-minute RKO US release, which was butchered totally.) Voyage in Italy, Europe 51 were both shot in English, with Bergman dubbed by Italians (and the Italian Viaggio in Italia omits a scene). Fear was shot twice, once in English, once in German, with quite different editing, but the English edition is superior and slightly longer and was used to make the Italian dubbing (all by Italians), although the German actor is still much beloved in Germany for the quality of his voice. Joan of Arc was shot twice, once in Italian, once in French, with Bergman's voice both times (but a third, French edition, dubbed her with another actress); she seems far more at home to me in Italian than in French. The Chicken was shot in all three languages.

The new Italians discs, alas, are only in Italian. No English for Medici, no English for the Bergmans. And Deutschland im Jahre Null, which was shot in German in direct sound, is in Italy only in the Italian dubbing (which wasn't even done by Rossellini).

India was made in French; I think only one print was struck. About nine months later, an Italian edition appeared, with some minor re-editing. The voice doesn't matter much, as it's all voice-over. But again only one print was struck and the Italian "restored" this about 20 years ago and in the process lost the last two minutes, replaced these two minutes with 3 short shots cobbled from the beginning and then, to cover their asses, announced that Rossellini (who was dead) had cut off the ending. Then they sold this edition all over the world. Now they have restored it a second time, just in Italian, and I am waiting to see if they have restored the ending (from the "lost" French print, which in the meantime was found in a closet).

The "restoration" of La macchina leaves a lot to be desired. They don't seem to be trying to do a real class job on these movies.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#15 Post by TMDaines » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:08 pm

tag gallagher wrote:Stromboli was shot in English. Bergman dubbed herself in Italian. The two editions differ slightly in editing, because the Italian version (about 7 minutes shorter) was made about a year after the English one, so the miracle, for example, is more explicitly religious. Dramatically English makes more sense, because the heroine's problem is that she cannot communicate with the locals, and obviously much of that is lost if she's speaking fluent Italian. (There's also a 3rd edition, the 84-minute RKO US release, which was butchered totally.)
Thanks for your input. Much appreciated as always.

I was reading elsewhere, and for the life of me I cannot remember where, that Bergman's Italian was broken, deliberately or otherwise, in Stromboli. I don't understand how it makes any sense whatsoever that she's speaking English as she's supposed to be playing a Lithuanian and communicating with Italians, no?

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#16 Post by tag gallagher » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:14 pm

I don't know about the quality of her character's Italian; I'll have to look into that.

As for speaking English, it's suggested I think that she had some liaison with a German; obviously she's educated and middle-class. Presumably English is the lingua franca. One couldn't get far with Lithuanian. Maybe more Lithuanians learned German than English, but most Germans learned English. Who knows? But it's not senseless than a middle-class educated Lithuanian spoke English.

Do keep in mind that this was, in theory, an American production by RKO, and she and most of the other actors were therefore filmed speaking English. So of course Bergman's character speaks English. Your objections would disappear if someone had bothered to insert a line explaining how she knows English.

If in defense of the Italian edition, one wants to argue that, in theory, in the name of authenticity or sense, a northern woman in a displaced persons camp was more likely to speak Italian than English (not an obvious argument!), one nonetheless has to deal with the colossal inauthenticity and total lack of sense that the woman on the screen is obviously speaking English but that Italian is coming out of her mouth.

As I said, English-speaking audiences love to rail against actors dubbed in English, but never never never object to actors dubbed in Italian.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#17 Post by TMDaines » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:17 am

Thank you for the extra plot points. I guess that does make some sense then.
tag gallagher wrote:If in defense of the Italian edition, one wants to argue that, in theory, in the name of authenticity or sense, a northern woman in a displaced persons camp was more likely to speak Italian than English (not an obvious argument!), one nonetheless has to deal with the colossal inauthenticity and total lack of sense that the woman on the screen is obviously speaking English but that Italian is coming out of her mouth.

As I said, English-speaking audiences love to rail against actors dubbed in English, but never never never object to actors dubbed in Italian.
That is true but, as we all know with Italian films, post-synchronisation was common place. I don't think too much importance should be placed on what the language was on set, especially because of international casts and the fact an actor could be speaking multiple tongues on set dependent upon with whom she is working e.g. Alida Valli in Senso. Because of this, I don't think the dislocation between the moving lips obviously speaking another language and the language we hear in the film is a big problem. It's certainly not ideal, especially for those who live in a culture where we are somewhat adverse to dubbing, but for those who have grown up in markets where the dubbing of non-native films is the standard practise, that disconnect isn't even an issue. It certainly wasn't and still isn't for Italians. My partner, who isn't English, looks at me funny if I ask her if she finds it annoying that the lips don't match voices. It's a non-starter for most non-English audiences.

In essence, I think it's important to differentiate between a dubbed track purely for mass-distribution in a foreign market and post-synchronised sound.

I'm curious, in which language would these films have been shown at film festivals and the like?

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#18 Post by tag gallagher » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:32 am

Yes, Rossellini wanted Italians to see his movies in Italian, regardless of what language they were made in and regardless of whether the original language was in direct sound or dubbed.

And Italians virtually never showed non-Italian films with subtitles.

And yes, Italian audiences, in my experience, are generally unconscious or unminding of the drawbacks of dubbing, whether of Italian or non-Italian films.

But it was the English-language edition of STROMBOLI that Rossellini had exhibited in Paris and everywhere outside of Italy (as far as I know); and in fact it was the English-language edition that Rossellini showed, in the film's premiere, at the Venice Film Festival, Aug. 26, 1950. The Italian-dubbing wasn't released until Mar 9, 1951, and bore a new title, STROMBOLI TERRA DI DIO.

I don't know how people feel in other languages about dubbing. Jean Renoir, for one, loathed it, and although he warmly supported the French New Wave, he adamantly condemned their use of dubbing.

I don't know what distinction you'd suggest between "a dubbed track" and "post-synchronized sound." In Italy, Italian actors were also routinely dubbed in Italian by other Italian voices. Lip-synch in Roma città aperta is often outrageously bad.

The argument here was that it was senseless to have a Lithuanian speaking English in Italy. I replied that it's more senseless to have a character speaking English on the screen visually, but with Italian words spoken by someone else coming out of her mouth. Where is the art of cinema?

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#19 Post by TMDaines » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:03 pm

tag gallagher wrote:I don't know what distinction you'd suggest between "a dubbed track" and "post-synchronized sound." In Italy, Italian actors were also routinely dubbed in Italian by other Italian voices. Lip-synch in Roma città aperta is often outrageously bad.
As I suggested, the distinction should be made between a dub created purely for a foreign market, as an alternative to subtitling, and the "original" soundtrack, regardless of whether that was recorded on location or post-synchronised later. I'm aware the original soundtrack distinction is futile in many cases and for many films there are several distinct versions or several distinct soundtracks, which were intended to be created from the outset.

I see a issue we are encountering here is the director's views on dubbing. If Rossellini wanted Italians to see his movies in Italian does that mean the Italian soundtrack for Germania, anno zero is the right one for them, even though the German is nearly universally recognised as the "original" (or "correct" or "better") soundtrack?

It's interesting though. Even in countries where dubbing - or lectoring in Eastern Europe - is the standard practise, the preference does emerge for the "original" soundtrack once people have a vested interested in the film, academic or otherwise, rather than it just being something to pass a few hours. Non English-speaking film fans get just as annoyed as when they can't see the "original" version on their home video releases as we do.
tag gallagher wrote:The argument here was that it was senseless to have a Lithuanian speaking English in Italy. I replied that it's more senseless to have a character speaking English on the screen visually, but with Italian words spoken by someone else coming out of her mouth. Where is the art of cinema?
Fairly put and I agree.

For me personally it isn't so much about what language makes sense but what is the original soundtrack? (The answers to these two questions usually correlate but not always). Is it the intended soundtrack? What soundtrack would be used when presenting Stromboli as a piece of art? This for me is the question. If Rossellini decided to have Bergman speak English, and the natives in the film too speak English (do they?), then that is the version I'd prefer to see but I'll likely be alienated somewhat by the implausability of it.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#20 Post by tag gallagher » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:36 pm

The problem with almost all Italian films until recently is that there is no "original" soundtrack.

And the on-going never-ending problem for me as a Rossellinian is that everyone assumes that, because Rossellini was Italian, therefore the "original" version must be the Italian one. I can't tell you how many LONG arguments I have had trying to convince people that the "original" version of Deutschland im Jahre Null, shot in direct sound in German in Germany by German actors and recorded by French and German technicians, is not the Italian dubbing by Italian voices in Italy not even supervised by Rossellini. People persist in believing that the "original" version is Germania anno zero and that it is everything else that is dubbing.

Similarly with Stromboli, Europe '51, Voyage in Italy, Fear. People persist in referring to these films by their Italian titles, even though they were shot with major English-speaking stars speaking English and dubbed (or in direct sound) with these actors' own voices. People insist that the "original" is, say, Viaggio in Italia with Sanders and Bergman and Tony Burton dubbed by Italians. They insist on seeing Viaggio in Italia with subtitles and stick up their nose at the whole idea of an English "dubbing."

In Roma città aperta six of the principal players are dubbed by other voices. Thus the "original" sound is not original; it's merely the first and only soundtrack which the director created.

In the case of Stromboli, much of it was shot in direct sound and uses the actors' own voices; parts were dubbed in the studio. Same is true for Paisà. The "natives" speak Italian in the film, except for the priest (Renzo Cesano, who went on to a long career in Hollywood movies), and a few words by the husband. So the "original" soundtrack for STROMBOLI is the one Rossellini created for its Italian premiere and for distribution throughout the world. BUT a year later, he created an all-Italian soundtrack (using Bergman's own voice this time, but in Voyage in Italy, Fear or Europe 51), because in Italy you could not distribute a film with subtitles, so the only way to get it shown in Italy was by making an Italian version. Is this second soundtrack "original"? Well, it's "original" for STROMBOLI TERRA DI DIO.

In the case of the history movies made for tv, obviously subtitles were not an option. The films were co-produced by French, Spanish, sometimes German, Roumanian, Egyptian, etc tv companies. The idea was for each language-market to prepare its own edition. For none of these films was there anything that could be called an original soundtrack. To repeat: the whole idea of the projects was that there would not be an original soundtrack. So in these films, Rossellini's actors each spoke their own languages. As I said, during the shooting of PASCAL, Pascal spoke French and everyone else spoke Italian. In the case of AGE OF THE MEDICI (which was intended for American tv), since Americans cannot tolerated dubbed-looking English, almost all the (Italian) actors spoke English during the shooting to minimize the sensation of dubbing, and then everyone was dubbed in English (I don't know whose voices were used). Then a second dubbing was made for Italian tv (again, I don't know whose voices were used). Yet in the U.S. one sensitive intelligent internet critic proudly proclaimed he had of course watched it in the original Italian and of course had not consorted ever for a second with the despicable English "dubbing." Which makes as much sense as watching Citizen Kane in an Italian dubbing and refusing to watch it in English.

In the case of THE MESSIAH, which was financed entirely by Americans, the film was shot in English -- they even set up a school to teach everyone good English -- but with only a scratch track; the actual English soundtrack would have been dubbed later. But the Americans disagreed with Rossellini's script and so this English version never materialized. In this sense, the film was never finished. But an Italian dubbing was made, and also a French one, and also a German one, and I don't know how many other dubbings. These are all dubbings. Which is the "original" soundtrack?

Well, in all cases, my position is that the original version of a movie is the one in which most of the talking is done in the same language in which it was shot and by the voices that belong to the bodies we see on the screen.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#21 Post by TMDaines » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:46 pm

I'm not sure whether your frustration was targeted at me, but I pretty much agree with everything you've stated. The speech marks around "original" were to mark original as being used for lack of a better word. I still think it is fair distinction to distinugish between authentic soundtracks (post-synchronised) produced as part of the original project(s) and later soundtracks (dubs) created by/for foreign markets with no input of the director or the original team behind the film. I realise Rossellini films are perhaps the worst to have this discussion about because of the multiple language versions that were produced for many of his films and this can make this distinction less clear at times.

A lot of my ignorance over Stromboli was because it hasn't been widely available for a long time now and because I haven't seen it and I'm relying on second hand information, where it refers to purely Italian or English soundtracks, and thus making it sound as if one was purely Italian and one was purely English.
Last edited by TMDaines on Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tag gallagher
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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#22 Post by tag gallagher » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:32 pm

Well, I hope you see Stromboli soon and in the English edition. I'm not dismissing Stromboli terra di Dio; it too is interesting. But I do think the "real" Stromboli is the English one -- which in Italian archives is referred to as the "multi-lingual" edition. Surely Victor Perkins can lend you it?

No, my frustration wasn't at all aimed at you.

The distinction between a director's home-product soundtrack and third-party soundtracks for other markets doesn't hold up in Rossellini's case, as I've illustrated here with half-a-dozen examples. You'd also have problems applying this to Visconti's Burt Lancaster films. And with a zillion other Italian films. Are you aware for that for about 25 years, recently, almost all Italian films were shot in English (not in direct sound), with hopes for export, and then dubbed into Italian for the home market? How does that fit your paradigm? A really wonderful instance of this was La maschera (Infascelli, 1988) which was made in English and accepted by the New York Film Festival -- which, however, insisted on a subtitled copy of the Italian dubbing.

And in fact in Rossellini's case, it's even worse. Because after the 1940s he involved himself as little as possible with post-production. Particularly he hated dubbing rooms. He had absolutely nothing to do, for example, with the soundtrack of Acts of the Apostles: nothing. The shoot had been with people speaking Italian, French, English, Arabic or just numbers. A first Italian dubbing was made and RAI (the principal producer) rejected it because it was miserably done and most of the Bible verses were wrong. So Rossellini's producer at RAI (who was also his co-scenarist on many films) got two Jesuits and redid the entire dubbing. Rossellini had nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, Rossellini had asked Mario Nascimbene to do music, and when Nascimbene had done the entire job, Rossellini simply approved everything he'd done without suggesting a single change.

Probably the biggest debacle of his career resulted from his hatred of post-production. He didn't find out until just before the Venice premiere of Vanina Vanini that his producer had not only deleted about 20 minutes of historically-interesting scenes and replaced them with truly tawdry love scenes, he had replaced the excellent dubbed voice of the heroine with the woman's own voice (because she was his girlfriend and couldn't receive awards at Venice if her voice were dubbed by someone else), which was terrible and ridiculed by the critics and the poor woman had the most embarrassing night of her life. All this because Rossellini had never bothered to come himself to the editing room.

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knives
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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#23 Post by knives » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:37 pm

Does a non-embarrassing version of Vanina Vanini exist since you brought it up?

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#24 Post by tag gallagher » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:41 pm

Apparently not (but one always hopes).

Rossellini donated the one copy of his edition (with all the great footage that was chopped out) to the Cinémathèque française where it perished in a fire many many years ago. I've never met anyone who saw it -- except Jean Gruault of course.

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Re: Roberto Rossellini

#25 Post by knives » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:43 pm

That's unfortunate, but hopefully some day it could be found in an asylum or something.

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