Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 9:35 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I saw that Kino Lorber is releasing one of my favortie films, 'MARTY' on blu ray in July. I had the old MGM dvd (donated a long time ago to a library), but I seem to recall that it said on it's back cover, 'standard version, formatted to fit your screen'. There is some discussion at Kino Lorber's website among various members on their blog (of which I don't belong), about 'Marty' being shot originally in wide-screen but now being offered (even on blu ray) as 1:33. I won't mind buying the blu ray as 1:33 as that's (I think) the only way I've ever seen the film. But I thought that around 1954, the studios were switching to widescreen (I remember this from the supplements of Criterion's 'On The Waterfront'). Can you say for certain HOW Joseph LaShelle's Oscar nominated B & W cinematography was lensed? Thanks!

 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 9:42 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

From what I understand, the movie was shot in a format that made it possible for it to be exhibited 1:75, but that effect was achieved by masking top and bottom.

I fear the same argument is at hand as the one that rages from time to time over "Summertime"...with folks arguing that David Lean shot it only in Academy ratio when widescreen was totally the norm (and the way it was shown in many theaters).

 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 10:25 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Despite the topic title, I am NOT an expert on aspect ratios. Bob Furmanek is the person I know who has done the most research and has had the most hands-on experience with various 35mm formats. There are many others, of course. I am not one of them.

I can tell you that MARTY was definitely shot full frame, non-anamorphic, and was probably intended to be shown anywhere from 1:66 to 1:85.

UPDATE: THANK YOU for updating the topic title!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 10:46 AM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)



It's important to remember that unless a film is photographed in an anamorphic widescreen process such as Panavision, the aspect ratio will generally refer to how the film was PRESENTED, not photographed. IMDB (usually reliable in these matters) lists MARTY as being shown 1.37:1. This makes sense since its director was from television, and the movie was taken from a teleplay. The original live T.V. broadcast with Rod Steiger in the title role can be seen on a Criterion box set called The Golden Age of Television.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Despite the topic title, I am NOT an expert on aspect ratios. Bob Furmanek is the person I know who has done the most research and has had the most hands-on experience with various 35mm formats. There are many others, of course. I am not one of them.

I can tell you that MARTY was definitely shot full frame, non-anamorphic, and was probably intended to be shown anywhere from 1:66 to 1:85.


Sorry. I thought you were the expert at everything that goes on in a darkened auditorium.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 1:55 PM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

It's important to remember that unless a film is photographed in an anamorphic widescreen process such as Panavision, the aspect ratio will generally refer to how the film was PRESENTED, not photographed. IMDB (usually reliable in these matters) lists MARTY as being shown 1.37:1. This makes sense since its director was from television, and the movie was taken from a teleplay. The original live T.V. broadcast with Rod Steiger in the title role can be seen on a Criterion box set called The Golden Age of Television.

If it's one thing that IMDB can be relied upon, it's being totally unreliable when it comes to aspect ratios.

Bob Furmanek has established beyond doubt that the correct aspect ratio for MARTY is 1.85:1.

 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 3:13 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Despite the topic title, I am NOT an expert on aspect ratios. Bob Furmanek is the person I know who has done the most research and has had the most hands-on experience with various 35mm formats. There are many others, of course. I am not one of them.

I can tell you that MARTY was definitely shot full frame, non-anamorphic, and was probably intended to be shown anywhere from 1:66 to 1:85.


Sorry. I thought you were the expert at everything that goes on in a darkened auditorium.


Hmmmm....projection, maybe?

 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 3:49 PM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

When it comes to darkened auditoriums, the thing I'm most expert at is necking with my wife!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 4:10 PM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

1.85:1 is correct.

MARTY began filming nearly a year and a half after the transition to widescreen and was the fourth widescreen production from Hecht-Lancaster Productions.

You might find these articles of interest: http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/home/widescreen-documentation

http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/the-first-year-of-widescreen

 
 Posted:   Jun 23, 2014 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

TOLD YA! Bob's da man!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 3:22 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....It's important to remember that unless a film is photographed in an anamorphic widescreen process such as Panavision, the aspect ratio will generally refer to how the film was PRESENTED, not photographed.....


Nonsense!

As a forty-year camera veteran, I can tell you that the proper aspect ratio of any film is how it is seen through the marked groundglass of the viewfinder and composed in the camera, as supervised by the director of photography. There can be only one proper composition---all the rest are compromises---and that composition must be made for the widest ratio the film will be projected in. If the specs say that the film can be projected from 1.33 to 1.85, then the film MUST be composed in 1.85. 1.33 to 2-1, then 2-1 is the compositional requirement, etc.

As Bob Furmanek has proved over-and-over again to non-believers, nearly all of the non-anamorphic Hollywood films were being composed for matted-widescreen by mid-summer to fall of 1953. Unfortunately, a number of the non-believers remain non-believers, and probably didn't actually experience the projection of a 1953 film in person and at that moment in time.

I'm a total believer that 1.85 was the proper composed ratio for MARTY by 1955, but what I am not convinced of is that Kino Lorber (and the intransigent MGM Home Entertainment) have actually gotten back to the original camera negatives of the film to make a proper transfer. If you make your Blu-ray from a zoomed-in master (made years ago for TV), then you can never get the film to work properly in its intended ratio and that convinces uneducated people that the film was never intended to be widescreen. It is astonishing to me that all the knowledge and information we once had, and which was taken for granted as being the norm within the industry, has already been lost to time. We are so lucky that Bob Furmanek has been able to recapture so much of the correct information, but unlucky that there are still closed minds that won't receive it.

The other MAJOR problem with today's ratio decision-makers is that they continue to subscribe to the auteur-directors theory and apply it to old Hollywood filmmaking. With the possible exception of George Stevens and maybe Hitchcock, I can't think of a single director---from DeMille and Cukor and Negulesco and Wilder and Koster to Thorpe and Mankewicz and Minnelli and Brooks and Sirk and beyond---who could actually tell you what ratio they WERE shooting in.

Very few directors actually knew much about the mechanics of camera operation and really had nothing to do with setting the ratio of their films. That was determined by the studio upper management (in collusion with the sales department---who had to deliver the proper-sized films to their theatres as they re-equipped for the change), each films's producer, and the production management team at the studio, who had to engage the camera, grip, drapery, art, title, lighting, and construction departments in the chosen studio ratio so as not to waste money or time in over-or-underbuilding the settings or budgeting the lighting requirements.

Those finished production elements arrived on the soundstage the same day the director did, with everything in place, and the ratio a given.

 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 5:10 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Speaking of 1:85 matting, a couple of weeks ago I screened my IB print of THE MOUNTAIN for the Chelsea Rialto crowd. The film was originally shot in VistaVision and I have a full-frame 16mm dye transfer print. Ordinarily I wouldn't make efforts to matte a film (they don't make aperture plates for 16mm machines, even the arc machines that I use) but I had to do it for THE MOUNTAIN. You see, as Tracy is scaling a very sheer bit of the mountain, there is - under the "safe area" of the viewfinder - a very strategically placed MATTRESS! I think allowing the audience to see this would have defeated much of the tension in this otherwise nail-biting sequence! So I masked the top and bottom at the projection booth glass and we had a no-mattress 1:85 presentation. Not VistaVision ratio, but certainly better than it would have been at full frame!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 5:57 AM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

If it's one thing that IMDB can be relied upon, it's being totally unreliable when it comes to aspect ratios.


Yet still a drop in the oceans, aspect ratio now corrected :

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048356/technical?ref_=tt_ql_dt_7

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 7:21 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Thank you gentlemen for your input! However, something's still not right. After reading all your information I went to the various sites and found differing viewpoints all around. When you go to blu-ray dot com they have this regarding the blu-ray of 'Marty':
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Original ratio: 1.85:1

Go to Kino Lormar's site to buy blu-ray 'Marty', Aspect ratio: 1.66

Three different answers but if it was filmed at 1.85:1, WHY would they give is something else?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 7:23 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I have absolutely nothing to add in this thread, but since Ray Faiola reads it, I just wanted to ask about the FSM get-together some weeks ago. You never appeared, Ray? What happened?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

Thank you for being a voice of reason, Manderley.

May I share your comments with readers of the Home Theater Forum aspect ratio thread?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 10:18 AM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

Both the Hollywood Reporter and Boxoffice specify 1.85:1 for MARTY.

The Reporter was read primarily by production people within the industry and Boxoffice was the bible for exhibitors around the country.

When both specify the same ratio, that's pretty solid evidence.

Plus, if you look at the film, you can see the camera is constantly tilting on medium shots to keep the actors safe for widescreen. If the primary intent was 1.37:1, those camera moves would not have been necessary.

It's very obvious but some people who have only seen the film in 1.37:1 for the past 55 years have a hard time believing they were not seeing it as Mann intended.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 10:38 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Why then, I wonder, would Kino Lorimar (who's putting out this title next month in blu-ray), say on their site that they've 'remastered the film'? If they remastered it, why would they give us a 'smaller' and / or different screen size? They've also acquired 'SEPARATE TABLES' for later in July on Blu-ray as well as 'ON THE BEACH'. These are, (I think from United Artists/MGM)? I really do want those titles as well, but not if they've just reduced Charles Lang's beautiful cinematography of 'Tables' to 1.66; unless that's the way he shot it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 10:52 AM   
 By:   Bob Furmanek   (Member)

Maybe they are not doing original research from documented, primary source materials as we have done?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 24, 2014 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

Well it appears I'm getting hammered pretty good here.

On closer inspection though it appears that both Bob's and Manderley's informative responses support rather than refute what I was trying to say, namely that the aspect ratio issue is one of how the film is presented, unless it is shot in a widescreen anamorphic process (and sometimes as with Siegel's 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' even that can be contestable).

Both responses emphasize time and again the theaters' presentations as determining how these 50's films especially (like Shane) were presented.

From Bob's article:

"SHANE became the first feature in 1953 shown in wide screen when it premiered at Radio City Music Hall on April 23. Initially composed by George Stevens for 1.37:1, it was presented with a 30 x 50 image in the ratio of 1.66:1."

"This SMPTE test loop is similar to what was used originally by projectionists setting up for different presentation ratios. The primary difference in this 1995 loop is the omission of 2.1 and the inclusion of 1.78:1 as opposed to the 1953 ratio of 1.75:1."

The second quote is especially revealing here, the key words being "by projectionists."

From Manderley:

"As a forty-year camera veteran, I can tell you that the proper aspect ratio of any film is how it is seen through the marked groundglass of the viewfinder and composed in the camera, as supervised by the director of photography."

"Any film"?? If it's that cut and dry why this later?

"I'm a total believer that 1.85 was the proper composed ratio for MARTY by 1955." (I think you meant 1.85:1)

Why "believe"? Don't you know? If the D.P. is supervising this pre-determined aspect ratio why is there still so much confusion over which is right on so many films? On countless films especially those in the '50's like 'While the City Sleeps' different aspect ratio transfers exist even on DVD! And both compared to one another have visual information missing from either the top and bottom or the sides.

What about the many films that undergo "hard matting"? Can you say for sure that all of the films photographed after say 1955 were done so just so that they could undergo this change later?

Finally you speak of "non believers". (I'm not a member of either camp by the way you describe them) but there are those people who wrongly think that a film intended to be PRESENTED in 1.66:1 or 1.85:1 is exactly the same as a film PHOTOGRAPHED in CinemaScope, and that is only what I was attempting to shed some light on. Bob's mentioning of Shane being presented in different aspect ratios, and films like 'The Big Trail' would seem to dispute your "one size for all" argument.

Using your words again: "Unfortunately, a number of the non-believers remain non-believers, and probably didn't actually experience the projection of a 1953 film in person and at that moment in time."

Again "projection" is the operative word here.

I never argued for a standard aspect ratio screening, transfer, DVD or Blu-Ray or whatever of 'Marty'. I may have been wrong about the reliability of IMDB. But that was a minor reference point, not the thrust of my response to Montana Dave's query.

I'm not sure about your assertion about Directors either: I'm reminded of Fritz Lang's statement that widescreen is only good for "snakes and funerals" (ironically made in a Scope film). So I think they, in general, have a little more to do with the aspect ratio process than you're giving them credit for.

Honestly though, the main reason I'm writing all this is because you said "Nonsense" to my response. That hurt. I respect your knowledge and expertise on this subject and others regarding films and have appreciated your past responses. But I think you may have mis-understood my post. Honestly, I hope this one helps.

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.