This is a rather timely subject with me because, I've just seen my favorite movie of all time in its native Italian with subtitles. I first saw Federico Fellini's "La Strada" on PBS way back in the mid seventies, and I've been in love with the movie ever since. Every time I saw it, however, it was always the dubbed version...whether it was on TV, at the movie theater or video tape. I knew the film was originally made in Italian, but "La Strada" was exceptionally well dubbed with Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart dubbing with their own voices in the English language version.
I bought the brand new Criterion DVD when it came out earlier this month. It features the original Italian with subtitles and the dubbed English soundtrack with Quinn and Basehart. Although I was somewhat hesitant to watch the movie for the first time in the language it was made in, it didn't change my love and appreciation of the "La Strada" one iota. In fact I was quite surprised by some of the differences in the dialogue between the dubbed and subtitled versions. It was almost like seeing it for the first time once again.
Of course the DVD of "La Strada" is excellant...it has never looked better. The two disc set features an introduction by Martin Scorsese (a puzzler, in my opinion, on account of how violent some of Scorsese's movies are), the U.S. trailer, and a fascinating feature length Italian TV documentary on Fellini that covers his career from "La Dolce Vita" to "Amarcord". I can't tell you about the audio commentary because I rarely listen to them...they remind me too much of the moron who always manages to sit behind me at the cinema who can't keep his mouth shut. My experience with audio commentaries is that they add little to the appreciation of a film for me anyway. I'll give "La Strada"'s audio commentary a try sometime just to see if it's more tolerable than most DVD commentaries.