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RichardPepponeBack in the day when I spoke very little English, my first meeting with Laurence Olivier happened through the dubbed version of his Richard III, in which Richard was voiced by Gino Cervi. Now, Cervi is a fine actor, but in Italy he is mostly known for playing the earthy mayor Peppone opposite Fernandel’s Don Camillo, in the movies based off Giovannino Guareschi’s books. So… let us say that it was a trifle disconcerting to have Richard speak with Peppone’s voice.

When, a few years later, I saw the movie in the original, I was prepared to fall for Olivier’s voice – except, I didn’t. Trouble is, I have a predilection for deep, dark voices. baritones, basses. Also, the way Olivier uses his voice – while deeply individual and very forceful… well, let us say it doesn’t always help.

Then, to make things a whole lot worse, I was pointed to Peter Sellers’ parody of Olivier’s Richard – via the Beatles…

There. See what I mean by “a whole lot worse”?

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