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Open Access Publications from the University of California

‘100% Italian’: The Coming of Sound Cinema in Italy and State Regulation on Dubbing

  • Author(s): Mereu Keating, Carla
  • et al.

During the critical transition from silent to synchronised sound cinema, various commercial and politically oriented solutions were adopted in Italy to cope with the challenges posed by the advent of sound film technology in domestic screens. This paper sets out to describe how in the first half of the 1930s the fascist government intervened to solve the question of audible foreign languages in Italian cinemas, and to limit the economic expansion of foreign distribution in the national territory. I shall observe the position taken by the translation of foreign cinema within the increasingly nationalistic environment and the function of dubbing in reinforcing the cultural and linguistic standardisation promoted by the regime. Economic protectionism, political film censorship, cultural propaganda and social concerns related to Italians’ literacy will be discussed as important factors leading to state intervention in the development of the dubbing practice.

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