Reviews Interviews aSinc's point of view

Reviews Reviews



Chris van der Heyden ,Paul Verhoeven, Gerard Soeteman (inspired by the book "Grijs Verleden" by Chris van der Heyden)


Paul Verhoeven, Gerard Soeteman


Paul Verhoeven

produced by:

Fu Works, Hector Bv, Motel Films, Clockwork Pictures, Egoli Tossell Film Ag, Motion Investment Group, Vip 4 Medienfonds, Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures Gmbh

distributed by:


editing society:

Technicolor Sound Services

Italian dialogues and dubbing direction:

Massimo Corvo

dubbing assistant:

Nadia Aleotti

dubbing sound technician:

Antonello Giorgiucci

dubbing sound mixer:

Francesco Cucinelli


Carice van Houten:

Chiara Colizzi

Sebastian Koch:

Luca Ward

Thom Hoffman:

Massimo Lodolo

Halina Reijn:

Laura Boccanera

Waldemar Kobus:

Massimo Corvo

Derek de Lint:

Luigi La Monica

Dolf de Vries:

Bruno Alessandro

Christian Berkel:

Danilo De Girolamo

Peter Blok:

Ennio Coltorti

Ronald Armbrust:

Francesco Bulckaen

Frank Lammers:

Roberto Draghetti

Michiel Huisman:

Niseem Onorato

Johnny De Mol:

Stefano Crescentini

Matthias Schoenaerts:

Marco Baroni


Black book
(Zwartboek, Germany/GB/Holland 2006)

It’s been defined as Paul Verhoeven’s masterpiece and has provoked reactions and criticisms of all sorts. Over and above any considerations on its contents (revisionism yes or no? On which side are the good guys? The German SS had a soul?), what interests us is the quality of the Italian version, or rather, if the speech used by the various characters is true to the film and if the choice of the dubbers is a good one.

After a while we already note the large use of the expression “crucco”. We know that this word is slang for “German/s”, used precisely during the Second World War, but, however much the choice is historically acceptable, it’s irritating to hear. After half an hour though, it’s use noticeably diminishes (or perhaps we’re just used to hearing it). Therefore had they spread it out better during the entire film, it would have been adequate and would have been less noticed and the dubbing would have gained from it.

It must be said though that the adaptation isn’t bad, apart from a small mistake here and there.

An example: during a march after the liberation of Holland on behalf of the allies, Ronnie introduces Rachel to her fiancé whom we already know will become her husband because the film begins at the end «Questo è il mio boyfriend» (this is my boyfriend).

I remind you we are in 1946: perhaps “boyfriend” isn’t the most appropriate term, seeing that the two women are Dutch and have spoken to the Germans right up to that moment (we presume that they’re not particularly fluent in English), unless Ronnie wanted to intentionally include the man in the conversation. Too concise for a simple introduction in the midst of the confusion of the parade. “Fidanzato” (fiancé) would have been more appropriate for the period of time.

Then we have some slips in ‘dubbing-esque’ techniques. Example: two youngsters who work for a funeral firm help Rachel to hide after her family has been killed. She’s undeniably very pretty, and one of them expresses his appreciation in a rather evident manner. The other one reproaches him saying: «Fatti un giro!» (go for a walk).

Here the choice has fallen into using a common stereotype expression, normally used in dubbing to render working class speech. It would have been adequate (even though wasted) to the single character description but not for the period of time in which the event takes place, which should not be ignored: I have met many people who were between twenty and thirty at the end of the Second World War and none of them gave me the idea of ever expressing themselves like that.

Looking at the direction and interpretation, the chosen actors were capable of the role they were assigned. The only doubt is Massimo Lodolo: at times he gave the idea of always being in a pose.

More or less smooth flowing the rest of the film, except for one scene: Franken asks Captain Muntze to sign the death sentence of some prisoners; he refuses, publicly reproaching him. Franken remains dumbfounded, his expression turns to stone: his voice doesn’t. He shouts: «Heil, Hitler!», but the lip movement is reduced to a minimum and this leads to a sensation of a whisper rather than a shout, of a salute “fra i denti” (through gritted teeth) which should convey his repressed anger. And in any case, the tone of the conversation was not such to expect a shout at the moment of the salute. One should see the original though in order to make a comparison.

It’s astonishing to discover that the actor who gives Franken his voice is also the dubbing director. I compliment him regardless for having chosen the most interesting character from an interpretative point of view.

To be underlined, in addition to the principle characters, is the good work done by the line-up of the second leads who have contributed to the film’s success; in particular Boccanera, La Monica, Alessandro, Bulckaen, and also the not better identified wife of the notary.

[original review in Italian by Elisabetta Fumagalli]


Reviews Interviews a. point of view
Summary Staff Board of Advisors Write to us
Disclaimer ~·~ ©2005 ~·~ All rights reserved.