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.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing article!! The Italian 1938 dub have great voices, are one of my favorites <3
    I can help you for do an similar article about the Brazilian 1938 and 1965 dub, I’m doing a lot of searchs in olds magazines and newspaper, and I fins a lot of information about it :D

    ReplyDelete