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 Posted:   Jun 14, 2012 - 5:41 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

David Lean's 'Summertime' has remained among my alltime top-10 favorite films list for decades. As much as I love widescreen films, this film is fine just as it is. I say this now since it's been viewed so many, many times in the ratio presented by Criterion. For some reason, it just doesn't matter at this point (to me anyway). I continually marvel at the breathtaking color cinematography by the great Jack Hildyard, and am amazed he was not even nominated for the Oscar in that year for this film - it was easily the very best of all the nominees (as well as the eventual winner) in cinematography for 1955.
Since everyone associated with the film is now dead, why not just enjoy it's charms as we've grown to know them over all these years?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2012 - 7:16 PM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

The trailer for DRAGONFLY SQUADRON is fabulous! DRAGONFLY SQUADRON was an Allied Artists picture as I recall. Wherever did you find the master elements???

They were in a dead storage account from a company that had gone bankrupt. Eventually, they would have been destroyed.

The 3-D Film Archive, of which you're a part, is a tremendously valuable historical resource.

Thank you, you might find this page with the Archive History of interest: http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/home/history-of-the-archive

I hope the high-def transfer of DRAGONFLY implies you will be doing a 3-D Blu-ray of the film.

Yes, we are. In fact, we're doing the HD masters off the 35mm left/right negatives at this very moment.

Are there any 3-D elements left on LOUISIANA TERRITORY?

The status of elements on this film is unknown. There are no surviving complete left/right prints. There are some sections that exist and the quality of the 3-D is very good. It was photographed by one of the pioneers in the field, John A. Norling. He had designed his own camera rig and certainly knew what he was doing.

I remember this airing on TCM. IIRC, Robert Osborne addressed this issue. From what I can remember (and this is perception rather than factual memory), he said that Lean was not interested in addressing wide-screen composition at the time, but shot it in a way that allowed exhibitors to crop it top and bottom if they desired to show it that way.

That was the accepted method of composing for widescreen while protecting for Academy. It became standard industry practice after the studios began composing wide in March/April of 1953.


If Lean protected for 1.85:1 on 1955's "Summertime,"

Actually, the opposite would be true. Lean composed for 1.85:1 while protecting for 1.37:1. You can't do the reverse.

As much as I love widescreen films, this film is fine just as it is. I say this now since it's been viewed so many, many times in the ratio presented by Criterion.

I respectfully disagree. The only reason it's been seen in 1.37:1 since 1955 is because for all that time, we've lived in a 4x3 world. Now that televisions have finally caught up to what happened in theaters 59 years ago, it would be nice to see these films in the compositions intended by both the filmmaker and cinematographer.

These statistics are worth repeating: Major theaters began installing new screens in the summer of 1953. A 12/5/53 survey of 16,753 operating indoor domestic theaters showed that 80% of downtown theaters and 69% of neighborhood theaters had installed widescreens. In total, 58% of all U.S. theaters had gone widescreen by the end of 1953. The conversion was slow in the Southern and North central parts of the country and that’s why the films were still protected for the standard Academy ratio.

SUMMERTIME was released domestically in June, 1955. Most of the theatrical engagements across the country would have been in widescreen.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2012 - 8:25 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

As Manderley said in post one, it's so obvious from any shot in the film that it's composed for widescreen. David Lean would never have had all that useless headroom ruining his meticulous compositions. Just look at any of his REAL Academy ratio films and you'll see it's true. Criterion, a supposedly tony company that never makes mistakes, has made several like this and they need to fix it before releasing this title.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2012 - 9:01 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....Criterion, a supposedly tony company that never makes mistakes, has made several like this and they need to fix it before releasing this title.....


I HAVE MADE A GRIEVOUS ERROR AND NEED TO CORRECT IT HERE:

The newly released Blu-ray which has been reviewed and frame-capped on the DVDBeaver site, and which I have referenced is actually the legit JAPANESE RELEASE OF THE BLU-RAY, out on June 8th, AND NOT A CRITERION TRANSFER OR RELEASE!!! Criterion has apparently not released this film on Blu-ray as of this date.

And so....to re-iterate....CRITERION HAS NOT MADE AN ERROR IN A BLU-RAY TRANSFER OF THIS FILM.......yet.

However, I did go back and look at a few minutes of Criterion's standard def DVD transfer of the film, made in 1998. This transfer almost matches the new Japanese Blu-ray in framing, although the Japanese seems brighter and, naturally, is much sharper (based on the caps), but neither, of course, are widescreen transfers. (And, to be sure, the transfer on the Criterion standard DVD is now 14 years old.)

The Criterion box indicates it is the "original" 1.33-1 aspect ratio, transferred from a then-newly-made restoration of the film.

After looking at a bit of it in the flat 1.33/1.37-1 ratio, I pushed the "format button" on my new 60" flat-screen TV and viewed a few sequences at 16x9 (with no anamorphic distortion)---and it fits without question into the 1.85-1 ratio. Both live-action picture and titles seem accurate and correct when blown-up to the 16x9 format.

So.....I must take back my words about a "flat" transfer of this film by Criterion on Blu-ray.

This means, however, that Criterion still has the opportunity of making a 1.85-1 widescreen transfer of the film for Blu-ray before they release it---if they wish to take that opportunity.

That old bugaboo of "Artists Rights" always enters the equation, however, and if David Lean said he loved it mis-framed, then they are often wont to accede to these statements.

If they still feel they must release a 1.33-1 version of the film, then I think they should strongly consider a double-sided single disc or 2-disc double set for their Blu-ray release: One with the incorrect but apparently popular flat version, and one with the correct 1.85-1 framed version. This would probably satisfy all consumers.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2012 - 9:38 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

......The trailer for DRAGONFLY SQUADRON is fabulous! DRAGONFLY SQUADRON was an Allied Artists picture as I recall. Wherever did you find the master elements???

They were in a dead storage account from a company that had gone bankrupt. Eventually, they would have been destroyed.....


Wow! Another film artifact just barely saved from the dustbins of history once again.



.....The 3-D Film Archive, of which you're a part, is a tremendously valuable historical resource.

Thank you, you might find this page with the Archive History of interest: http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/home/history-of-the-archive......


Yes.....I know it well.



.....I hope the high-def transfer of DRAGONFLY implies you will be doing a 3-D Blu-ray of the film.

Yes, we are. In fact, we're doing the HD masters off the 35mm left/right negatives at this very moment......


Fabulous! Post your announcement on this Board when you're about to release it into the marketplace.



.....Are there any 3-D elements left on LOUISIANA TERRITORY?

The status of elements on this film is unknown. There are no surviving complete left/right prints. There are some sections that exist and the quality of the 3-D is very good. It was photographed by one of the pioneers in the field, John A. Norling. He had designed his own camera rig and certainly knew what he was doing.....


I didn't know Norling was involved. I seemed to recall that the copy on TCM almost looked like a 16mm print. I assumed it might have been shot in 16 and blown-up to 35 for the RKO release. Thanks for the info.



.....I remember this airing on TCM. IIRC, Robert Osborne addressed this issue. From what I can remember (and this is perception rather than factual memory), he said that Lean was not interested in addressing wide-screen composition at the time, but shot it in a way that allowed exhibitors to crop it top and bottom if they desired to show it that way.

That was the accepted method of composing for widescreen while protecting for Academy. It became standard industry practice after the studios began composing wide in March/April of 1953......


The "widescreen" version was always the ideal, and the "protected" Academy version was ALWAYS a compromise in these situations.



......As much as I love widescreen films, this film is fine just as it is. I say this now since it's been viewed so many, many times in the ratio presented by Criterion.

I respectfully disagree. The only reason it's been seen in 1.37:1 since 1955 is because for all that time, we've lived in a 4x3 world. Now that televisions have finally caught up to what happened in theaters 59 years ago, it would be nice to see these films in the compositions intended by both the filmmaker and cinematographer......


I'll join Bob F and respectfully disagree, too. Even if you're used to a film in another format, why continue to watch it when it's not correct?



......These statistics are worth repeating: Major theaters began installing new screens in the summer of 1953. A 12/5/53 survey of 16,753 operating indoor domestic theaters showed that 80% of downtown theaters and 69% of neighborhood theaters had installed widescreens. In total, 58% of all U.S. theaters had gone widescreen by the end of 1953. The conversion was slow in the Southern and North central parts of the country and that’s why the films were still protected for the standard Academy ratio.

SUMMERTIME was released domestically in June, 1955. Most of the theatrical engagements across the country would have been in widescreen.....


These statistics can't be repeated often enough I say....... Thanks for providing them.

I suspect, Bob F, that you were reading the same trade papers and exhibitors' magazines I was when I was 13 back in 1953. Most of this stuff has been seared into my brain for nearly 60 years now!!!........ I used to bore my parents and siblings silly at the dinner table when I'd talk about these statistics and formats in those days! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2012 - 9:39 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

If Lean protected for 1.85:1 on 1955's "Summertime,"

Actually, the opposite would be true. Lean composed for 1.85:1 while protecting for 1.37:1. You can't do the reverse.




Oops. That's what I meant. To reiterate my previous question, if Lean protected for 1.37:1 on 1955's "Summertime," I wonder what he did on 1954's "Hobson's Choice."

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2012 - 9:46 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....Oops. That's what I meant. To reiterate my previous question, if Lean protected for 1.37:1 on 1955's "Summertime," I wonder what he did on 1954's "Hobson's Choice.".....


As has been pointed out, everything depends on the actual filming (not release) dates of the picture.

I haven't found any record of the actual filming dates for HOBSON'S CHOICE, yet, but I'll bet it's framed 1.33-1.

I think I may have a DVD somewhere around; I'll have to take a look at it if I find it.


 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 8:31 AM   
 By:   KonstantinosZ   (Member)

I've just seen some frame captures from the new Criterion Blu-ray of Lean's SUMMERTIME over on the DVDBeaver site.


by the way, the Bluray isn't by Criterion. The DVD is.
The Bluray is by a Japanese Company.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 3:18 PM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

There's a poster on the Home Theater Forum who was a Union projectionist in the 70's and 80's. He claimed that whenever they ran a film, they projected everything that was on the frame. Operators like that are part of the reason why people who viewed these films theatrically in the past 40 years don't realize they've been seeing them incorrectly.

I posted this image and asked which compositions look correct? Note; the top 1.85:1 image favors the top of the screen because someone is about to enter the cockpit.



Of course, if you remove the boom microphones and the tops of the set, all of a sudden Ed Wood and William C. Thompson don't look nearly so incompetent. The MST crowd won't like that!

Yes, the PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE Blu-ray is full frame...

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 4:20 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

I couldn't believe that guy's post, Bob. It makes you wonder where he worked, since most real movie theaters can't show Academy ratio.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 6:18 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....I couldn't believe that guy's post, Bob. It makes you wonder where he worked, since most real movie theaters can't show Academy ratio.....


In the late '70s-early'80s I used to go to the Vagabond Theatre over on Wilshire Boulevard quite a lot.

When Tommy Cooper was running it, he had a wonderfully mysterious arrangement with the studios in those days where he could talk them into allowing him to run original vault prints of Technicolor and black-and-white films from the '30s-'60s---always in 35mm---and many in nitrate original form.

It was an incredibly rare and special treat for those of us in the Los Angeles area, and I often went to several of his 3 or 4 double-bill programs each week. You might see THAT NIGHT IN RIO and DOWN ARGENTINE WAY in nitrate Technicolor one night, and a rare set of nitrates of Leisen's MIDNIGHT and FRENCHMAN'S CREEK another.

The projection was usually impeccable---and had to be---because these were such rare prints entrusted to Cooper's handling. They were always run in their proper aspect ratios.
(---Although, unfortunately, THE VAGABOND wasn't equipped for stereo sound for the '50s+ releases.)

Eventually, as was bound to happen, one weekend matinee screening was different. The top picture on the bill was MGM's HIGH SOCIETY. This print, while it looked OK, was not an original Technicolor IB VistaVision print. It had been made for reissues by MGM Labs and not Technicolor and thus, had no overprinted frame lines to narrow the image to a 1.85-1 ratio.

By the mid-1950s, VistaVision had been settled as a 1.85-1 process and composed in the camera that way, but when the negative was actually exposed in the camera the image filled the (horizontal) frame perf-to-perf. It was usually not protected for full Academy aperture in shooting because the final Technicolor printing mask of the frame-edges would cut off any extraneous detail.

And so, this MGM Labs "open matte" version arrived at the Vagabond Theatre to be projected, I'm sorry to report, by a young female projectionist who was then about half the age of the film itself.

The lights dimmed, the picture hit the screen and we were seeing a 1.33-1 image on the screen. Within the first two double-reels, we saw: The animation peg pins at the top and bottom of the screen holding the title cards over the background.....a very large and long phallic-looking microphone hanging from the boom arm and following Grace Kelly very erotically around the set.....wooden dolly planks lined up on the set floor to allow the camera to smoothly dolly in and out of the scene.....and a battery of 5K lights arranged around the back of the set acting as backlights to the star.

It was at this point that I marched up the aisle, popped my head into the projection booth, and asked the projectionist to look out the port window and describe what she was seeing.

She didn't see anything amiss.

I told her that the film was composed in 1.85-1 widescreen and that she should be projecting it that way. She said that this is the way the film had come from the studio and the image looked fine on the film reel---just like any of the other old films she projected.

By this time, a few others had wandered up the aisle to see what the problem was.

I suggested to her that what she need to do was to (A) Stop the screening momentarily, (B) Change the aperture plate in the gate from 1.33-1 to 1.85-1, (C) Change to the wide-angle lens, and (D) Adjust the screen masking to widescreen format. She complained, but decided, since others were now present, to work on this.

As the film continued running, she changed to the widescreen lens and set the masking to widescreen format. She thought she was finished. I asked her to look out the port again.

Now, of course, the film had been blown up to the proper widescreen size, but since she hadn't stopped the film and changed the plate in the gate, the image on the screen was rectangular 1.33-1, but was showing only the center portion of the image, with the top, bottom, AND SIDES cut off!!! Finally, she stopped the projector, changed the gate aperture plate, rewound ONLY that reel, and started again.

The rest of the film ran fine. Fortunately I'd seen the film so many times it didn't matter how badly it was projected at first and, in fact, I felt this was such an amazing incident that I'd never forget it---and I haven't. It was almost worth the price of admission!!!

Which reminds me of the time I went to a movie at the major LA house, the Cinerama Dome, and the first few reels of the film were being projected out of focus. I complained to someone (the only someone I could find in the theatre during that afternoon performance) and they told me they couldn't help me.

I walked up to the projection booth, opened the door, and looked in. Another young projectionist---just trying his wings on the sleepy afternoon screenings. I asked him to look out the port and see if he could focus the film better. He told me, "No. The regular night projectionist sets the focus and I'm not allowed to change it during the day." !!!!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 6:56 PM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

Wow, those are GREAT stories!

There's another Internet "expert", Jeff Wells, who maintains that 1.37:1 is correct for films like DIAL M FOR MURDER and ON THE WATERFRONT.

His reasons: that's the way he's seen them on television all of his life and that's the way New York repertory theaters showed them in the 1970's and 80's. When I told him of my horror stories with NY Union operators and botched dual-strip 3-D showings going back to 1979, he didn't want to hear it. He considers me to be a "Meat Cleaver Fascist."

On a recent SINGIN' IN THE RAIN thread, he said, "He'll deny it, but you just know that in his heart of hearts, Bob "meat cleaver" Furmanek would love to see this 1.37 to 1 aspect ratio film chopped down to 1.85. I'm aware that Singin' in the Rain was shot and composed for 1.33 or 1.37 and that a 1.85 cropping would be absurd. Furmanek, of course, knows this also. But hard-core meat cleaver types want to see 1.78 or 1.85 anyway. It's a compulsion, and about as pitiful and pitiable as they come."

How can you argue with that kind of logic???

Regarding the wrong aspect ratios in the AFI books; if there is somebody I should speak to in order to correct those mistakes, please pass along that information. The fact that TCM is relying on that for their site and people are relying on TCM to be accurate, it seems a good idea to correct that information at the source.

Best,
Bob

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 7:08 PM   
 By:   Pete Apruzzese   (Member)

I almost feel sorry for "introducing" Bob to Jeff Wells, but I'll admit I was getting tired of Wells calling *me* a fascist for saying the same things for a couple of years on his site. The best thing is that even Wells' regular posters now know that he's completely wrong about this subject.

Manderley - your second story reminds me of the time I was tossed out of the Bergen Mall cinema because I went up to the booth and went inside to focus a showing that I was attending. I figured since the booth was empty, and the manager had been unable to fix it earlier, that they needed help. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 7:29 PM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

Oh, don't give it a second thought Pete. You took the brunt of his anger long enough. I'm happy to wear the bulls-eye shirt for a while.

Besides, no publicity is bad publicity and with some 3-D Blu-rays in the pipeline, this can't hurt.

I once had to go up in the booth at New York's Film Forum and show the Union operator how to adjust framing on a dual-strip 3-D show. For ten minutes (and several calls to the booth that went ignored) he gave people eyestrain projecting a dual-strip print of THE NEBRASKAN.

He didn't know the large knob marked FRAME would lower the image to align the picture horizontally with the other print.

Sigh...

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 7:31 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....Wow, those are GREAT stories!.....

And, in the words of Orson Welles, "It's All True"! smile


.....There's another Internet "expert", Jeff Wells, who maintains that 1.37:1 is correct for films like DIAL M FOR MURDER and ON THE WATERFRONT.

His reasons: that's the way he's seen them on television all of his life and that's the way New York repertory theaters showed them in the 1970's and 80's. When I told him of my horror stories with NY Union operators and botched dual-strip 3-D showings going back to 1979, he didn't want to hear it. He considers me to be a "Meat Cleaver Fascist."

On a recent SINGIN' IN THE RAIN thread, he said, "He'll deny it, but you just know that in his heart of hearts, Bob "meat cleaver" Furmanek would love to see this 1.37 to 1 aspect ratio film chopped down to 1.85. I'm aware that Singin' in the Rain was shot and composed for 1.33 or 1.37 and that a 1.85 cropping would be absurd. Furmanek, of course, knows this also. But hard-core meat cleaver types want to see 1.78 or 1.85 anyway. It's a compulsion, and about as pitiful and pitiable as they come."

How can you argue with that kind of logic???.....


It's very hard to argue. Continuing education is the only answer. What is probably best is the kind of work YOU'RE doing----and I think Jack Theakston is also helping tremendously in this area----documenting it, and getting it out there, particularly to film education institutions.

Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't start a small group of lecturers who might be on call, like doctors, to clear up these ratio illnesses.....

As a retired cameraman, I have to say that one thing these people don't understand or realize is that when you look at one of these films of the period, where the ratio is not known, you can often tell whether it's widescreen or Academy by the camera movement---particularly with regard to tilts up-and-down.

For a generic example---when you are looking at an Academy open-matte image---if a performer is sitting in a chair in a medium wide shot and he stands up and there is enough head room in the shot for him to do so without his head being cut off when he is standing or without the camera moving.....BUT the camera tilts up anyway, adding more headroom---it is obvious that the operator MUST tilt up because he is seeing a 1.85 framing on his viewfinder, and if he doesn't tilt up, the performer's head will be cut off in 1.85, even if it is an unnatural "false move" in the Academy-sized image which only adds more head-room.

It's all so agonizing.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine in those heady days of the early 50s when all of this was starting to happen that one day most of the technical issues and standards everyone accepted and knew then would be so screwed up or forgotten 20-40 years later.

I don't know how old you are Bob F, but I'm 72, and I sometimes think I'm a voice crying in the wilderness about these things. As intent as so many film academics are about trying to see these films as they were originally presented, you'd think they'd stop to listen to the people who actually made them or knew something about them.

Unfortunately, the auteur theory, with great emphasis on the Director took hold in the '60s and '70s and the Director often became the "go-to" authority on much of this. The trouble is that in this early period, the Director was often the least-likely person on the crew to know exactly what was happening in the technical realm. I wish many of the film writers, researchers, historians, understood the inner-workings of the old studio system better.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 7:35 PM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

There's another Internet "expert", Jeff Wells, who maintains that 1.37:1 is correct for films like DIAL M FOR MURDER

Interesting fact : the aspect ratio from the Region 2 DVD release is 1.85:1






and the aspect ratio from the Region 1 DVD release is 1.37:1



(pics from : http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare7/dialmformurder.htm)

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 7:50 PM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

Manderley, I'm 51 so I certainly was not around when all of this was happening. But I've been researching this area of production and exhibition since the 1980's. I believe in utilizing documented, primary source materials to get the true facts. Memories can be tricky things, especially when they are going back 50+ years ago!

Jack Theakston was the first one to really get the ball rolling with this data on various websites about 5 or 6 years ago, and he's just 26. It gives me hope for the future!

Jack and I got into a rather heated debate with members of the Criterion board several years ago over MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION. We provided all sorts of data and studio documents to illustrate the 2.00:1 intended ratio. They were up in arms and argued that all the excess headroom was part of Sirk's mise-en-scène. You see, the dead space above Jane Wyman in the hospital room was representative of the isolation and desperation of her character.

Yeah, sure.

Then there's the film school professor who showed an open matte transfer of DR. STRANGELOVE. He told his students the shifting mattes were intentional and meant to heighten dramatic tension.

Or the operator who insisted THE BLOB was shown correctly at Blob-fest in 1.37:1 because "low budget movies were never intended for widescreen." When I asked him to explain the hard-matted effects shots, he grumbled and walked away.

You are absolutely right in studying camera movement. We've utilized that method on a number of the very early non-anamorphic widescreen titles where we can not find documentation. When you see the camera pan up to follow someone far below the top of the full frame image, that's a tell-tale sign of a film composed for widescreen.

You know your stuff!



 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 7:51 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

This lack of knowledge by contemporary researchers manifests itself in different ways.

For MGM: WHEN THE LION ROARS, I was shooting an interview with one of MGM's major art directors, Edward Carfagno.

The interviewer was asking Carfagno how it was to work with William Wyler on the sets for
BEN-HUR. Carfagno said, "I didn't speak to Wyler until the film was in finishing set-building in Rome."

The interviewer persisted and said, ".....but didn't Wyler have important input into the creation and look of the settings as you went along?"

Carfagno said, "No. The only thing he said to me was when they were already built and standing on the grounds at Cinecitta, but yet unpainted.....he said to me, 'Make them look lived in.'"

The interviewer kept up, "But you weren't the only Art Director on the film, didn't he talk to the others?"

Carfagno: "No. The sets were created, designed and engineered in Hollywood in 1955-56, three years before Wyler was hired for the film. He only came onto the film in Rome as the sets were finishing construction."

Cedric Gibbons (MGM's Head Art Director) knew everything about shooting and directing a picture. He would supervise the budgeting and construction of the sets from the scripts, long before a director was ever assigned. The director came onto the completed set, staged the action and scenes, and directed the scenes, integrating Gibbons' pictorial vision with his own.
Often, Gibbons' work came off looking better than the Director's.

This kind of information is anathema to the "auteur theory" of the Director-in-charge and can rarely be reconciled by students today.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 7:55 PM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

That's a great story and speaks volumes.

For a good example of the resistance to correct ratios, check out this discussion: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/321437/david-leans-summertime-blu-ray-available-at-amazon-japan

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2012 - 8:09 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....Jack and I got into a rather heated debate with members of the Criterion board several years ago over MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION. We provided all sorts of data and studio documents to illustrate the 2.00:1 intended ratio. They were up in arms and argued that all the excess headroom was part of Sirk's mise-en-scène. You see, the dead space above Jane Wyman in the hospital room was representative of the isolation and desperation of her character.....


I remember this very well.

Sad, but amusing.

One of the things that no one takes into account is continuity---the continuity of studio operations.

Once committed to a process or technique, the studio must re-gear and TOTALLY COMMIT to the process. There is no going back-and-forth between wide-screen or 1.33-1 films or surely someone will screw up. They had learned that lesson well in 1953, where a few films were caught in the change-over months and, as a result, some scenes for a film (before the changeover) were shot 1.33-1 and some scenes (after the changeover) were shot 1.75/1.85-1. Unfortunately some of these films got projected in widescreen later in the year and, thus, the 1.33-1 footage looked horrible while the widescreen footage worked perfectly fine.

Once the studio has committed, the Camera Department must set its standards, regrind or re-mark the ground-glass camera finders, re-jigger the matte box, set new aperture plates; the Art Department must change how it builds its sets, height and width; the Electrical Department decides how low the "greens" will be set on the soundstages and if the wider set requires more ground cable on the stage floor; the Title Department must have new markings for its safe-title areas; the Company Trademark must be re-designed and shot; new release print and negative leaders must be designed with new information; Distribution exchanges must know what format a film will be released in---how wide, what sound system---so they can sell the films to the theatres who can run them properly. The list is endless.

 
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