Friday, September 6, 2019

Voices of the Spaghetti Western ~ “The Mercenary”

As we know most of the Euro-westerns were co-productions from Italy, Spain, Germany and France which incorporated British and American actors to gain a worldwide audience. The films were shot silent and then dubbed into the various languages where they were sold for distribution. That means Italian, Spanish, German, French and English voice actors were hired to dub the films. Even actors from the countries where the film was to be shown were often dubbed by voice actors for various reasons such as the actors were already busy making another film, they wanted to paid additional salaries for dubbing their voices, the actor’s voice didn’t fit the character they were playing, accidents to the actors and in some cases even death before the film could be dubbed.

I’ll list a Euro-western and the (I) Italian, (S) Spanish, (G) German and (F) French, (E) English voices that I can find and once in a while a bio on a specific voice actor as in Europe these actors are as well-known as the actors they voiced.

Today we’ll cover “The Mercenary”
[(I) Italian, (S) Spanish, (G) German (F) French, (E) English]

Franco Nero – (I) Nando Gazzolo, (G) Hansjörg Felmy
Tony Musante – (I) Pino Locchi, (G) Arnold Marquis
Giovanna Ralli – (I) Rita Savagnone, (G) Eva Katharina Schultz
Jack Palance – (I) Renato Turi, (G) Martin Hirthe
Eduardo Fajardo – (I) Bruno Persa, (G) Friedrich Schoenfelder
Franco Ressel – (I) Ferruccio Amendola, (G) Harry Wüstenhagen

ARNOLD MARQUIS [1921 – 1990]

Arnold Marquis was a German actor and voice talent. He was one of the best known and most frequently used dubbing voices of Germany, known especially as the voice of "Tough Guys" like John Wayne, Charles Bronson or Lee Marvin.

Born in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia Germany on 6 April 1921, the son of a banker. He was brought in contact with theatre by the head of the Bochum Schauspielhaus Theatre Saladin Schmitt who also gave him his first acting job in 1939. Shortly thereafter Marquis was drafted into the Wehrmacht and wounded several times during World War II. Returning to Germany, he moved to Berlin. After some acting jobs, he was contacted by a representative of the Rank Organization who was looking for a dubbing voice for Stewart Granger. His sonorous voice impressed the British film executives and in 1946 he received his first voice-acting assignment for “Madonna of the Seven Moons” (1945).

Although he appeared in a number of film and TV productions over the decades, beginning in 1948 and ending in 1989, he never succeeded in establishing a "normal" acting career for himself. He was, however, the best-paid German voice actor, receiving daily wages of around DM 1,000. Among those actors he dubbed for German film versions were Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Yves Montand, Richard Widmark, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, George C. Scott, Lino Ventura, Trevor Howard, Bud Spencer, Jack Klugman, and Lee Marvin. To German viewers, his distinctive gravelly voice became closely associated with many of these international film stars. This effect was most pronounced in the case of John Wayne, who reportedly personally selected Marquis as his voice-actor. After Wayne's death in 1979, Marquis published a music single "John Wayne, der Held" (also known as "Ich war die Stimme von John Wayne").
Marquis has been described as the "King of Dubbing Artists" (König der Synchronsprecher), and he was one of the most-used voice-artists ever, having accumulated over a thousand credits to his name. He did not like the label Synchronsprecher (speaker), preferring Synchron-Schauspieler (actor) instead.

Arnold also appeared on stage at Berlin Boulevard theatres and his voice appeared in cigarette commercials for a brand that was using a Western theme for its advertising. According to his obituary in Der Spiegel: "As he grew older, he became ever more like his alter ego, John Wayne."

He was married three times and had a daughter called Gwendolyn. Marquis had problems with alcoholism and had to go through rehab. After smoking 80 cigarettes a day for decades, he died of lung cancer on 24 November 1990, in Berlin, Germany.

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