So your watching an Italian movie that has been dubbed into your language, weirdly although the dialogue does not always seem to match up, the mouths do seem to be forming the right words. Ever wonders why this happens?
We are of course looking at movies generally from Italy’s boom time, the 1960’s-1980’s, and the majority of these will have a cult/genre aspect to them. A time where Italy was making the same sort of movies as Hollywood on a fraction of the budget. A time where movies were pitched, sold, and then made in around thirty days, and often with a multi-cultural cast.
There are two reasons why the dubbing does not match up in the movie, the first of which is due to the casting. Often actors that were in fashion, and working on the movies would be less than comfortable working in alien dialogue. As a result you might often find that the cast speak in their native tongue, and then were dubbed at a later date, this way each actor could be comfortable with the dialogue.
The most common reason however is down to budgets; Italian movies were often shot in a rush, often with background noise, or discussions going on on-set. Italian directors had little time to recut, so if the actors stumbled their lines it would still make the cut. Adopting this approach meant that a movie could be knocked out in a quarter of the time. The completed footage would then be sent to a sound studio for dubbing into the appropriate language of the country, even if it meant just redubbing into the actors native tongue.
The process of dubbing is looked at in Berbarian Sound Studio.