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The Politics of Dubbing

Film Censorship and State Intervention in the Translation of Foreign Cinema in Fascist Italy


Carla Mereu Keating

During the late 1920s and the 1930s, the Italian government sought various commercial and politically oriented solutions to cope with the advent of new sound technologies in cinema. The translation of foreign-language films became a recurrent topic of ongoing debates surrounding the use of the Italian language, the rebirth of the national film industry and cinema’s mass popularity.
Through the analysis of state records and the film trade press, The Politics of Dubbing explores the industrial, ideological and cultural factors that played a role in the government’s support for dubbing. The book outlines the evolution of film censorship regulation in Italy and its interplay with film translation practices, discusses the reactions of Mussolini’s administration to early Italian-language talkies produced abroad and documents the state’s role in initiating and encouraging Italians’ habit of watching dubbed films.
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Chapter 1: Film Censorship and the Translation of Silent Cinema: An Overview


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Film Censorship and the Translation of Silent Cinema: An Overview

During the first two decades of the twentieth century the governments in power in Italy intervened with a series of legislative measures to specifically tackle the question of cinema and to control the national circulation and public exhibition of domestic and foreign motion pictures. The increased awareness of political bodies for the social and cultural influence exercised by the cinematic medium was not an isolated incident pertaining exclusively to Italy, but a phenomenon which was spreading across the world hand in hand with the development of domestic film industries, the international circulation of films and cinema’s growing mass popularity and appeal (Biltereyst et al., 2013).

The institution of film censorship under liberalism

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