Now very difficult to acquire, this release should have been the natural, UK-available counterpart to the Criterion Collection edition in America, which used the standard Italian print, with subtitles. But look at the cast: it's almost entirely English, and that is the language in which it was actually shot. When the film was released in UK cinemas, it was presented as an English film, with no titling, and (nearly) everybody re-recording their original dialogue under the direction of, IIRC, Mike Hodges. The only speaking major roles dubbed by someone else were those of Pina Bausch - yes, THAT Pina Bausch - as the blind princess, and the Archduke. (The Pavarotti-clone Italian tenor sings more than he ever speaks.) Yet this transfer is the same Italian-dubbed version as the Criterion, which robs us of direct verbal contact with the performances of Barbara Jefford, Freddie Jones, Jonathan Cecil, Peter Cellier and Philip Locke, among others. An opportunity missed, alas. And why, pray, is the cover a captured still from Amarcord - as the SS. Rex steams past in the night in the coast off Rimini, nearly drowning the whole town who's rowed out to see it - rather than a shot from E la nave va itself, which has the most glorious embarcation scene at the docks as its opener? Very silly and careless.
Still, the film is a masterpiece, both hysterically funny and infintely sad: and though it deserves far better treatment on DVD than it has received thus far, in any format it's a film you ought to see.