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The Translation of Films, 1900-1950$
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Carol O'Sullivan and Jean-François Cornu

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266434

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266434.001.0001

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A ‘delirium tremens’: Italian-language film versions and early dubbings by Paramount, MGM, and Fox (1930–3)

A ‘delirium tremens’: Italian-language film versions and early dubbings by Paramount, MGM, and Fox (1930–3)

(p.151) 9 A ‘delirium tremens’: Italian-language film versions and early dubbings by Paramount, MGM, and Fox (1930–3)
The Translation of Films, 1900-1950

Carla Mereu Keating

British Academy

This chapter sheds new light on the strategies that Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Fox developed in the early 1930s to target the Italian-speaking market. It documents how the Italian government, local film traders, and the press responded to the majors’ Italian-language production during a critical turning point for the national film industry. The chapter draws on a range of historical records (diplomatic, censorship and administrative state documents, film prints, press reviews, and other publicity materials) from Italian and North-American archives. The findings show that the majors’ experiments with Italian dubbing and versioning were not always successful and elicited ambivalent responses in Italy; the findings also demonstrate the gradual emergence of dubbing as the most commercially viable solution for both the US majors and the Italian establishment. Incongruities in the archival records, and the scarcity of surviving film prints, pose interpretative problems and call for further empirical research in the field.

Keywords:   archival research, dubbing, film translation, Fox, Italian-language versions, MGM, Paramount, audiovisual translation history

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