Kevin Thomas’ Feb. 1 review of the restored “1900" gives readers the impression that this version of Bernardo Bertolucci’s film has been redubbed into English. In fact, “1900" was conceived as a joint English/Italian production using American, Italian and other actors speaking in their native tongues during shooting. Parts of each scene were then redubbed into Italian or English as required. Thus, it is incorrect to state that the Italian-language version is more authentic.
“1900" was always intended to be released in English for the U.S. market. Until recently, however, only the Italian version had been available in the original length of more than five hours. The full-length English track (of the 1977 film) was not found until 1989.
It is sad that after so many years “1900" is misunderstood in the world’s movie capital and its U.S. debut is marred by an esoteric subtitle issue that overshadows its visual magnificence.