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The story starts with Bella Dubois, daughter of a merchant/Sea captain. She decides to be a maidservant at Leon's castle because her father couldn't afford the debt at the moment. When Leon first meets Bella he has passionate feelings for her because of her bravery and she seems to understand his anguished memories.Their love is developing beautifully but encounters opposition in the form of his jealous cousin. Prince Leon finally convinces Bella that she is not a bet. He cancels her father's debt, frees her and they marry.
Italian voiced version 9.5, English voiced version 7.5
I've watched both language versions of Bella e la Bestia (tv miniseries); the Italian dubbed version and the English dubbed version. The drama was filmed in English but had the main release version dubbed into Italian by the Italian cast and Alessandro Proziosi (Prince Leon) and Blanca Suarez (Bella Dubois); the actors who were also portraying the main characters. Understandable, as it was a mainly Italian project. However, Preziosi speaks excellent English, yet he's been dubbed by a VERY bad English voice actor (Dermot Magennis) who reads the lines like a robot reading a laundry list. Trust me when I say he's more wooden than a complete Ikea warehouse.
I've also seen the Italian dubbed version with Preziosi voicing himself and he's BRILLIANT. Magennis is the one they used to dub Preziosi into English on another project and he was just as terrible - 'ear bleedingly bad' as one person put it and to the point they 'wanted to weep'. He truly is AWFUL; mind you Aisling Franciosi, the actress they got to dub Bella Dubois into English, was almost as bad. But at least she's not as bad as Magennis who makes Siri sound like she's worthy of an Oscar.
I've seen a few of Preziosi's other roles, including 'Medici: Masters of Florence', Lost in Florence', Tango per la Liberta' and 'I vicerè'. The same goes for Blanca Suarez; she was brilliant in 'Cable Girls' (currently available on Netflix UK), 'The Skin I Live In' and 'Bakery in Brooklyn'. In all she was exceptionally good and her English is flawless. So for both Suarez and Preziosi it boggles the brain as to why they were dubbed into English at all.
For the Italian voice track version, by Suarez and Preziosi in the roles, I would give this 9.5 out of ten. It loses the half mark only because Prince Leon's scar is not that bad and, although it can be said that a person's heart is what makes them a 'beast' or a 'beauty', to have it as one of the reasons he is so dark means it should've been better presented.
For the Magennis and Franciosi English dubbed version I give it a 7.5 because the terrible wooden delivery of the lines by Magennis sucks the passion out of the scenes faster than a hoover on a spider. Franciosi at least tries to infuse her words with some feeling; sadly it's just a bit lacklustre. Of course it could be because of Magennis' flat delivery, reminding me of those annoying automated telephone service machines, blanketing the entire endeavour in a flatness the Grim Reaper would love. Either way, my advice is see the Italian version with English subtitles.
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