Afyon Oppio

Director: Ferdinando Baldi

Year: 1972

English Title: The Sicilian Connection 

First scene: Funeral. Sicily. Women dressed in black. Rough looking characters with moustaches. A policeman asks to investigate the interior of the coffin, and so it is opened. “Undress the body,” he says. The shirt of the corpse, which has been returned home from abroad, is unbuttoned, revealing a stitched up chest. “And that?” Moustached man opens wound with stiletto. Bags of morphine. But an unlucky cop, as the mafia stuffs him in the coffin and nails the lid shut.

Thereafter, some wonderful scenes in Turkey, including one about opium production which seems to have inspired a certain scene in the recent Hong Kong film Protege. Yes, there are also a number of camp episodes, such as Turkey disco dancing, but it’s all good fun.

Looking at IMDB, I noticed that, while this film has an overall good rating, those who left comments did not seem to think much of it. My conclusion is that this is because they all saw the English version. Now, though it is true that Ben Gazzara is American and was clearly saying his lines in English, one should pretty much never choose to see the English version of Italian films. The reason is this: Pretty much all Italian films were made without live sound. The sound was always added in the studio. So, very often, they would get an international cast together and everyone would more or less just mouth their lines-in the 60’s and 70’s often enough in English, even though most of the actors did not speak English. Then several versions would be made, Italian, English, German, etc. The English speaking actors would often not even dub their own voices. The Italians always would. Furthermore, when dubbing foreign actors, Italians pretty much always do a good job. They are true experts at dubbing, and very often American films are actually better in their Italian versions. The latest Star Wars films are a good example. The English versions simply suck, but in the Italian, the princess’s awful California accent is exchanged for a very enticing Italian voice. Anyhow, a lot of the B movies from the 60’s and 70’s were released to an English speaking audience dubbed, unlike the films of guys like Fellini, who I suppose they were trying to sell to a different audience. And this is a real shame, because I think many of these films would be much more appreciated if people could see them in their Italian versions with English subtitles. 

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