Sunday, December 17, 2017

1938 Italian Dub of Snow White

Italian is one of the twelve original languages that Snow White was first recorded in for its 1938 international premiere run. Biancaneve ei Sette Nani was distributed by Generalcine (the Italian agent of RKO) with a general release date of December 23rd. Earlier that year, the audio tracks were recorded at Cinecittà Studios in Rome.



Writers & Directors:

The dialog was freely adapted and written in a courtly style by film writer Vittorio Malpassuti and Simeoni. The song lyrics were reworked by two composer/lyricists Mario Panzeri and Umberto Bertini, along with singer Nino Rastelli. Edition coordinator was Cesare Cavagna. The dubbing sessions were directed by Alberto Carlo Lolli and Luigi Savini, with supervision from Roy Disney and Stuart Buchanan (see previous post).


Voice Actors: (Ages are listed at the time of the 1938 release.)

  • Snow White (speaking) - Rosetta Calavetta (1918-1993). She enjoyed a rich and prolific career as a voice actor, vocalizing the Italian tracks for some of Hollywood's biggest leading ladies. One of her earliest gigs was for Disney's Biancaneve. She was age 20.
  • Snow White (singing) - Lina Pagliughi (1907-1980). An Italian-American opera singer born in Brooklyn, NY but who moved as a teenager with her parents back to Italy. Age 31.

Left: Rosetta Calavetta cover of Oggi magazine (1952); Right: Lina Pagliughi (circa 1940s)


  • The Queen - Tina Lattanzi (1897-1997). Another respected voice artist and actor. Age 40.
  • The Witch - Dina Romano (1888-1957). Italian stage and movie actor. Age 48.

Left: Tina Lattanzi in Torment (1950); Right: Dina Romano in Giacomo l'idealista (1943)


  • The Prince (speaking) - Giulio Panicali (1899-1987). Film actor and also voice artist for numerous male A-list Hollywood leads. He also directed dubbing sessions later in his career. Age 39.
  • The Prince (singing) - Giovanni Manurita (1895-1984). Italian tenor who also acted in several films. Age 43.



  • Doc/Dotto - Olinto Cristina (1888-1962). Actor and voice artist. Age 50.
  • Grumpy/Brontolo - Amilcare Pettinelli (1886-1963). Actor and songwriter. Age 52.
  • Happy/Gongolo - Cesare Polacco (1900-1986). Actor and voice artist. Age 38.



  • Sleepy/Pisolo - Gianni Mazzanti (1910-2000). Few acting roles (photo not found). Age 28.
  • Sneezy/Eolo - Gero Zambuto (1887–1944). Director and actor. He also wrote several screenplays. Age 51.
  • Bashful/Mammolo - Lauro Gazzolo (1900-1970). Prolific Italian film actor. Age 37.



  • Magic Mirror - Aldo Silvani (1891-1964). Italian film actor. Age 47.
  • Huntsman - Mario Besesti (1900-1975). Actor and songwriter. Age 38.



Biancaneve was reissued by RKO to post-war theatres in Italy on January 1, 1950. Then again in a 16mm format on April 16, 1953. The final re-release of this 1938 Italian dub was distributed by Rank Films on December 13, 1962. Ten years later in 1972, Disney felt it was time to update the script and voice talents for a new generation (see list below). The original dub would never again be available to the general public--although you can find clips from it on youtube.



1938 voice cast:
  • Snow White - ROSETTA CALAVETTA (speaking); LINA PAGLIUGHI (singing)
  • Prince - GIULIO PANICALI (speaking); GIOVANNI MANURITA (singing)
  • Queen - TINA LATTANZI
  • Witch - DINA ROMANO
  • Doc - OLINTO CRISTINA
  • Grumpy - AMILCARE PETTINELLI
  • Sneezy - GERO ZAMBUTO
  • Bashful - LAURO GAZZOLO
  • Happy - CESARE POLACCO
  • Sleepy - GIUSEPPE MAZZANTI
  • Magic Mirror - ALDO SILVANI
  • Huntsman - MARIO BESESTI

1972 voice cast:
  • Snow White - MELINA MARTELLO (speaking); GIANNA SPAGNULO (singing)
  • Prince - ROMANO MALASPINA (speaking); BRUNO FILIPPINI (singing)
  • Queen - BENITA MARTINI
  • Witch - WANDA TETTONI
  • Doc - ROBERTO BERTEA
  • Grumpy - MANLIO BUSONI
  • Sneezy - VITTORIO DI PRIMA
  • Bashful - SILVIO SPACCESI
  • Happy - CARLO BACCARINI
  • Sleepy - GIANCARLO MAESTRI
  • Magic Mirror - MARIO FELICIANI
  • Huntsman - VITTORIO DI PRIMA
  • Narrator - LUCIANO MELANI

Special thanks to Nunziante Valoroso for sharing invaluable information on this post. Cast credits list courtesy of  Antonio Genna.

1938 Cinema Magazine - Italian Interview w/ Stuart Buchanan

In preparation for the 1938 release of Snow White to international markets, the Disney Studio created 12 different versions of the film. Scenes which contained English text, such as the storybook opening, were redrawn in the appropriate language. The dubbing of the additional 11 soundtracks was overseen by Roy Disney and Stuart Buchanan.

It's not that either of these men were fluent in foreign languages. They were not. Rather, they simply knew what Walt Disney was looking for in regards to the sound of the voice talent. The actual directing of the actors was left up to native speakers. Some of the dubbing sessions took place in southern California, but most were overseas.

While in Rome for the Italian recording, Buchanan was interviewed by a magazine reporter. The piece appeared in the April 10, 1938 issue of Cinema, no. 43. Pictured on the cover is Eleanor Powell. Accompanying the article are a couple of rare photos from this period of both Roy Disney and Stuart Buchanan.



The article was recently translated for us by Snow White expert, Nunziante Valoroso:
Roy Disney and Stuart Buchanan are in a hotel in Rome. Roy isn’t very cordial, speaks only English and smokes a cigar. It seems strange that a man speaking only English has come to Europe to supervise the foreign dubbings of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Really the supervisor is Stuart Buchanan, the Disney Studio Casting Director. The fact is that even Buchanan speaks only English.
REPORTER: How it’s possible that you could approve a good dubbing without knowing the languages?

BUCHANAN: It’s easy. Walt Disney wants Snow White to be seen as if the movie was made directly in the languages of the dubbings. So we must find, in every country, the right voices that sound identical to the original ones of Snow White, the dwarfs, the prince the Queen, and all the characters. Should the voices be very different, the movie would suffer and then it would be better just to show it in the original language. This is my job, to make sure the voices fit perfectly with the images. So that Sneezy has his typical voice, that Sleepy would show, even in his speaking, his tenancy to sleep and so on. What is important to me is the sound, not the words. That’s why, even if I speak only English, I’m able to supervise different dubbings. We tested this way of working in Hollywood, where we recorded the French and Spanish versions.
REPORTER: With good results?
BUCHANAN: Excellent.
We objected, then, that he could never know the exact sound of words in Italian, the exact meaning of the script phrases. Buchanan answered : “It’s not my business. It’s the responsibility of the effective dubbing directors.”And he showed us a first Italian translation of the script, made by an Italian professor living in California.
The interviewer's name is unknown. The issue is simply signed, "THE REPORTER". Special thanks to Nunziante Valoroso for sharing these images from his collection and for taking the time to translate the article.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

1983 Disneyland Scary Adventures Poster

Snow White's Adventures was updated at Disneyland with the 1983 Fantasyland renovation. This "Scary Adventures" poster was created for the new ride. Designed by Leticia Leiever. Measures 24" x 36".




In 1984, a commemorative reproduction of this poster was made available to members of the Disneyland Magic Kingdom Club. See it in an earlier post.

Also see the Snow White ride posters from the other theme parks:

Snow White's Adventures Mural Photo

An early press photo of a young park guest looking at the ride queue mural for Snow White's Adventures at Disneyland. It comes from the IMS Vintage Photos archive in Scandinavia. Measures approximately 7.5" x 9.5". Back is blank.