MovieChat Forums > Fellini - Satyricon (1969) Discussion > Whats going on with the dubbing?

Whats going on with the dubbing?


Does anyone know whay there is this weird dubing over the whole movie. Maybe it is just the copy that I watched. Its like they made the people speak half in English and half in Italian then just completely dubbed whatever language was the language of the viewers over the whole thing.

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Fellini's films are all post-dubbed. That is, he shoots without sound and dubs the track over top of it later. He generally takes little concern with making the words match up with what the actors are saying (which is often just counting).

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When I watched the movie, everything was messed up too. Fellini is weird!

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Fellini said in his published shooting script about the movie that it should look like a badly dubbed foreign film in any country it plays in, he did it deliberately. For this reason I think the dubbed Engish version is better than subtitles--not only does it free you to watch the images (are they really saying things that help you understand the movie anyway, lol) and the dubb is done by some of England's best actors.

"You can keep your pyroxenes, magnetics and coarse-grained plutonics as far as I'm concerned..."

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This was one of the first things I noticed about the film as well. Its probably the only film I have seen that mixed original italian and english with mostly english dub-overs. Personally, I would have liked to see one or the other, or subtitles, but thats probably just what I am used to. This is just something I wasn't expecting.

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If you watch any Italian horror this sort of thing happens a lot--Italian actors speaking English for the camera then dubbed in with an actual non-Italian accented voice. I don't know why they did that, other than to make it in English speaking countries. But in general it seems like all Italian movies, at least at one time, were made by throwing out the dialog track and replacing it later. Sounds like a lot of work to me.

Anyway, if you're talking about how certain parts aren't translated/subtitled, they aren't talking Italian, they're talking in gibberish. Fellini wanted it to sound as foreign as possible, as though the background characters are speaking in dead languages that no longer exist. That "chucka-chucka" chant happening during the minotaur sequence is apparently a recording of a famous "monkey dance" done in an actual long-dead language.

Well, I still support that this is one film that benefits from being dubbed--it's all visuals and the subtitles just take away from the experience, they add very little, ultimately. Better to watch it with no translation at all, in my book, than constantly scanning the bottom of the screen for information you can't really use to make sense of this movie...


If everyone around here is going to start telling the truth, I'm going to bed

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Hello everyone, Fellini-fans and non-Fellini-fans alike. I love you all -- no one is victimized in my universe. It's a universe that largely resembles that of Fellini-Satyricon, but without the violence and victimization. But I digress...

TonyDood, how did you know that stuff about the terrifying "chucka-chucka" chant from the movie? I have been searching for background information about this film for ages, but I can never find anything, save for a 1970 Ebert on-set interview and various DVD reviews. The documentary 'Ciao Federico!' would be fascinating for me, but I don't wanna shell out $25 for a shoddy third-hand VHS copy from ebay.

Now, to add my thoughts regarding this discussion, which I'll bet you're all DYING to hear...yeah...I bought the R1 DVD and have watched the film several times, both in Italian with subtitles and in English. The dialogue discrepencies between the two are very frequent and sometimes quite extreme -- the subtitled version is very literate and classy, while the English dub is earthy and constantly amusing. Since Fellini approved the English dub, and all its differences, we can assume he was never too concerned with Satyricon's dialogue.

Since Hiram Keller and Martin Potter are both English-speaking actors and since they do most of the talking, it makes sense to watch the film in English. Another three good reasons to do so? Okay -- 1) The English dub's dialogue is more vulgar and therefore much funnier. 2) It means you can enjoy the beautiful imagery without distraction. 3) Fellini wanted us to.

My universe is perhaps a bit more like Wonderland, of 'Alice in Wonderland', but that's beside the point.

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I've never had anyone agree with me on this subject before!

Answer: my friend told me about the "chucka-chucka" monkey dance, she saw it performed in Thailand actually, I believe--it's a whole ceremony that is quite famous, apparently.

Plus, I own the soundtrack, and they credit it there as "The Monkey Dance" or something, and at the end of the movie there's a similar credit, though you wouldn't know that THAT is a credit for that caterwauling sound! .

I agree, the English language track is "naughtier," and more fun, than the subtitles, the way they interpret the characters into different classes of English people and how vulgar everyone talks.

I know there's an old documentary that went with "Satyricon," I wish I could see it again--they had it on the Criterion Laser Disc. It was amazing. It showed Fellini on the set, directing, and the actors, in their native tongues. It shows Cappucine discussing something with Fellini. It's actually kind of disapointing to have the "magic" taken away, and man--Fellini was a real bastard on set!!


If everyone around here is going to start telling the truth, I'm going to bed

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The documentary you speak of is the same as our aforementioning friend: "Ciao, Frederico!"

Please forgive me
I never meant to hurt you~

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The "monkey chant" during the gladiator scenes is actually is from Bali. It's called ketjak or kecak, and it was created in the 1930s. The dance and story is based on the Hindu epic called the Ramayana. You can read more about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/kecak

The Balinese music/dance is also featured in the Ron Fricke film called Baraka.

Music From The Morning Of The World: The Balinese Gamelan & Ketjak, The Ramayana Monkey Chant , a recording of the whole chant can be purchased at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000005IZB/qid%3D1122846379/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/103-9255680-4323803

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It's also used to similar (surrealist) effect in "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden," in one of the scenes where she's having another insane hallucination...

If everyone around here is going to start telling the truth, I'm going to bed

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I think my husband had to buy Baraka for his Religious Philosophy class... does it have a scene of a bunch of monkeys sitting in a hot spring surrounded by snow? I never saw the whole thing, but he got a kick out of that scene.

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it's a traditional balinese chant called "kecak":

http://www.edwebproject.org/bali/gallery/kecak.html

a lot of the music on satyricon is indonesian in origin. it struck me as being very strange when i first saw the film, but now i think it works beautifully. especially the gamelan that plays when you see the huge magnificent ships...

this:

http://www.nonesuch.com/Hi_Band/albumpage_exp2.cfm?album_num=506

has a lot of the indonesian music from satyricon, including what sounds like the same recording of the monkey chant. i noticed he credited a bunch of folkways lp's, so it may very well be the same.

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Cha cha cha cha, etc. Listen up onehundredmonths, I myself listened to a few snatches of that CD on amazon (free 30-second samples -- simply not long enough) and have decided to buy it, what with it sounding atmospheric and endlessly fascinating. I love the music in Satyricon, and although I'm not sure how 'enjoyable' it'll sound when divorced from the phantasmagorical imagery, at four British pounds on eBay it's worth the risk.

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When I first saw this the dubbing drove me crazy. I really wanted to know what some of the characters were saying or mumbling after the subtitles went away. Later on I got use to it and just let it go( I have the DVD and I haven't heard the english dubbing yet).

Speaking of the "monkey chant" I remember seeing it done by natives on that 70's soft core porn movie called "Emanuelle". When I heard that I knew it sounded so familar.

"I never loved anyone like I loved myself.

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the dubbing was done intentionally. fellini wasn't concerned with the matching up of the lines and the actors because, we, as film appreciators wouldn't notice such miniscule problems especially when there is so much more to focus on in the movie. I didn't even notice it when i watched the film because i was so distracted by the cast, the colours and the weird, mis-matched, storylines!

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As far as I know, all Italian films are shot without sound because the cameras they use (or used) actually produced higher-quality images than those used in the US, and used a mechanical process that produced so much noise that the live sound would be useless anyway. So, all dialogue is dubbed. (e.g.: Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns.

-coy_dog0

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The italian version uses also two languages : italian (dubbed in english) and latin (that sounds like italian).

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Most of what folks are saying in this thread come pretty close to the truth of the matter, but the simple truth came out in an interview I'd read on the matter. The guy asks Fellini about the post-process dialog, and he expressed it as a simple matter of control. He put it this way: "Who wants to hear footsteps?" More precisely, if he wants footsteps (or any other sound), that's what he puts in there. If he doesn't want a sound, it's not in there. Post-processing dialog is just part of the process that gives him that control.

It can help you understand his flicks a little. If you hear something--anything--in the movie, it's significant.

One more side note: I also see it as hailing from his childhood experience putting on puppet plays. He famously saw his flicks as elaborate, "growed-up" puppet play productions.

--
And I'd like that. But that 5h1t ain't the truth. --Jules Winnfield

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