I posted last week about the Italian “sequel” to Spaceballs, Balle Spaziali 2 – La vendetta. In the comments, friend of the site bmj2k, of Mr Blog’s Tepid Ride, suggested I ask a mutual acquaintance (Mac, a musician and occasional alien) from the Relic Radio OTR forums, who happens to be Italian, if he had any insight into the hows and whys of Italy’s fake sequels.
Here’s what he had to say:
OK, let’s see if I can explain the horrible mess Italian distributors make (or used to make, as now there’s more information regarding films even before they are released here)…
1 – the title gets changed in order to exploit the success of another film that has nothing to do with it. Around 20 years ago, a film called “Four-legged policemen” (I have no idea what the original title was, police dogs were the stars, I suppose) obtained some success over here. Soon afterwards, the film “Loose Cannons” was imported; while nothing else was changed, the title became “Two-legged policemen”. Invariably, the result of this kind of operation is that the few people who go see the movie are disappointed because it’s not a sequel at all and tell their friends not to go see it. The rest of the movie-going population who didn’t like the “first” film, do not go see the alleged sequel because they’re not interested. The result is – every freakin’ time – a complete flop. So why they keep/kept doing it, is way beyond me.
2 – the film is judged not interesting enough for the Italian audience, so – thanks to the devastating magic of dubbing – the whole film gets changed. Examples:
A dramatic film on cavemen and dinosaurs (from the 60’s) that didn’t have any dialogs (might be one million years bc, but I’m not sure) was turned into a supposedly funny film by having a guy talking over the whole film making what were supposed to be humorous comments on every scene. The result was depressing to say the least. The hilarious “Shaolin soccer” (which I saw in its original language with fairly correct English subtitles and really made me roll on the floor) was turned into the worst smelling cr*p I’ve ever seen by having it dubbed by famous soccer players who couldn’t act to save their humongous bank accounts and by using local (Italian) dialects, not to mention what was done to the original lines. Again, this kind of thing results in abismally unsuccessful films, so why they keep/kept doing it, is way beyond me.
There’s a lot more, but I guess you got the general idea.
I love the idea of famous soccer players dubbing Shaolin Soccer – it almost makes me want to see The Mighty Ducks dubbed by mush mouthed athletes from the NHL, or A League Of Their Own dubbed entirely by the starting line-up of the NY Yankees.
After bmj2k questioned the legality of such a move, Mac added:
Because the title was in Italian (Balle Spaziali, where balls may mean both “lies” or “testicles” as in English – how refined…), so the rights are probably with the Italian distributor or whatever.
Copyrights are the craziest thing.