Though the vast majority of movies are currently released on DVD configured to their original theatrical aspect ratio (with 16:9 enhancement), I thought it might be helpful to initiate a thread devoted to 2.35:1 movies which are reframed or cropped on disc, anywhere from 1.33:1 to 1.78:1. Some titles are more significant than others, but all are important because they do not represent the original theatrical AR. As I argued recently in another thread, the intended AR of any DVD should be as close to the original theatrical ratio as possible. After all, it's the theatrical print which represents the actual movie, not the reframed DVD. The issue has become clouded recently by directors who have chosen to shoot in Super 35 (a malleable format which allows for a variety of AR's across a range of media) for the express purpose of altering the AR for 1.78 presentations on DVD. For me, this sets a sinister precedent which could - in the long term - become more and more commonplace. Back in the old days (pre-DVD), 1.85 movies were configured on 1.33 TV's by simply 'opening up' the image at top and bottom, exposing slightly more info than you saw in theaters, distorting the original compositions and compromising the 'cinematic' quality of the image. Now, with the advent of 16:9 monitors, 1.85 films are represented with ease, but some directors seem intent on replacing the 1.85/1.33 conundrum with an all-new misrepresentation of cinematic images - the 2.35/1.78 conundrum. Worse still, very few people seem to be concerned about this creeping state of affairs. No one expresses alarm when 2.35 movies are reframed to 1.78 on DVD at the behest of directors, because - they argue - it's the director's choice, and their word is sacrosanct. Frankly, I'd like to shake such filmmakers by the throat and physically restrain them from working at any ratio wider than 1.85!! If they're so concerned about how their 'scope' movie is going to look on TV, they should frame at 1.85 and be done with it! There's no excuse for employing a 2.35 frame if you have no intention of using it for any other reason than it looks 'bigger' in a multiplex auditorium. And reviewers should be appalled when such compromised versions are allowed on DVD, with no prospect of the original version becoming available again for the forseeable future. Like I said, the only true version of the film is the theatrical release print, and the DVD should reflect that version as closely as possible, especially if the director has reframed his/her movie in the misguided belief that modern televisions are somehow incapable of displaying them in an effective manner. Anyone who compares the lateral scope compositions of 1953-1985 with the 'widescreen' images of today will see modern scope photography for what it is - 1.78 images cropped to 2.35, all the better to play on TV and home video. True, most people will see such movies on TV, but 16:9 is more than capable of handling the 2.35 image. It isn't perfect, but it will pass muster until 21:9 becomes a reality for home theater applications. Anyway, what follows is a list of widescreen movies which have all been reframed on DVD from 2.35 to some other ratio. The list covers all regions, though most of the entries are concerned with region 1 discs. I have a sneaking suspicion this is only the tip of the iceberg, and I would urge everyone to contribute their own findings, whether the film in question is a huge Hollywood blockbuster or some obscure foreign import. All discs mentioned in the following list are 16:9 enhanced, unless otherwise noted: BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS (2003) [New Line - US R1] Filmed in anamorphic Panavision and reframed at 1.78 on DVD. The film is available on disc outside the US in its original 2.35 ratio. COMMUNION (1988) [Elite - US R1] Filmed in Super 35. For a variety of reasons, this was released theatrically at 1.85 against the director's wishes, and he was only able to restore the film to its intended ratio once it was issued on DVD (2.35). In general terms, the theatrical print remains paramount, but COMMUNION is the exception that proves the rule. DRIVE (1997) [Ardustry/Platinum - US R1] Filmed in Super 35 and reframed at 1.33 on DVD. The film is available on disc in the UK in its original 2.35 ratio, from Medusa. DUNE (2000) [Artisan - US R1] Filmed in Univisium, a Super 35-clone which renders a 2.00:1 ratio, despite the fact the movie was produced for TV. The disc version is reframed at 1.78. THE EIGHTEENTH ANGEL (1997) [Columbia Tristar - US R1] Filmed in anamorphic Panavision and reframed at 1.78 on DVD. EXORCIST THE BEGINNING (2004) [Warner Bros. - US R1/UK R2] Filmed in Univisum. As with DUNE (above), cinematographer Vittorio Storaro insisted on using this irrelevant cinematic 'process' (worse still, the studio allowed him to use it!), framing the movie at 2.00:1. However, it was released theatrically at 2.35, and that has been carried over to the DVD version. Storaro is unhappy with the compromise, but I don't have much sympathy for his standpoint, given that the Univisium specs correspond to no known theatrical or television standard. FAIRY TALES (1978) [Full Moon - US R1] Filmed in an uncredited anamorphic process and cropped to 1.33 on DVD. THE HAIRDRESSER'S HUSBAND (1990) [Second Sight - UK R2] Filmed in anamorphic Panavision and cropped to 1.33 on DVD. The film was originally released on disc in the UK by Tartan, who provided a 2.20 version, without 16:9 enhancement. HALLOWEEN III SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982) [Anchor Bay - UK R2] Filmed in anamorphic Panavision and reframed at 1.78 on DVD. This is part of a HALLOWEEN box-set recently released in the UK, and the disc is not only horribly misframed, it's also badly censored. Sadly, Anchor Bay were unable to get hold of an alternative print. The US disc, released by Universal, is correctly framed and completely uncut. ICEMAN (1984) [Universal - US R1] Filmed in anamorphic Panavision and cropped to 1.33 on DVD. Inexcusable. A LIFE LESS ORDINARY (1997) [Fox - All regions] Filmed in Super 35. As with COMMUNION (above), this was released theatrically at 1.85 against the director's wishes, and the correct 2.35 ratio was only restored when the movie was released to DVD. ME WITHOUT YOU (2001) [Columbia Tristar - US R1] Filmed in anamorphic Panavision and reframed at 1.78 on DVD. The UK version (from Momentum) is correctly framed at 2.35, and there's an audio commentary in which the director specifically addresses her use of the widescreen frame. ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (2003) [Columbia Tristar - All regions] Filmed in HD24p Widescreen, which renders a native 1.78 image, from which the 2.35 theatrical frame is optically extracted. The movie - intended to replicate the look and feel of widescreen spaghetti westerns from the 1960's - was reframed at 1.78 on DVD at the request of director Robert Rodriguez. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have 'protected' the frame for 1.78 during principal photography, which means the image has been blown-up and pan-scanned in some places to remove booms and dolly tracks at top and bottom of the frame. THE RECRUIT (2003) [Buena Vista - All regions] Filmed in Super 35 and reframed at 1.78 on DVD. This was done deliberately by director Roger Donaldson, who framed for both 2.35 and 1.78 during shooting, for the specific purpose of releasing a 2.35 theatrical print and a compromised 1.78 version on DVD. As such, the film is neither one thing or another, and sets an appalling precedent... SET IT OFF (1996) [New Line - US R1] Filmed in Super 35 and reframed at 1.78 on DVD. This was done at the director's request, at a time when 16:9 TV's were still a minority purchase in the US. The previous laserdisc release was framed correctly at 2.35. SPACEHUNTER ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE (1983). [Columbia Tristar - US R1] Filmed in McNabb 3-D and framed at 1.78 on DVD. However, this is a special case: It was filmed in a process which actually pre-empted the introduction of Super 35, exposing the full 1.37 frame, from which the theatrical 2.35 image was optically extracted for the 3-D release prints. However, the film was screened theatrically in 'flat' (non 3-D) engagements at 1.85, exposing more of the image than the 3-D print, and this is the version which has been transferred to DVD. However, the movie was conceived and executed as a 3-D feature, and the 3-D version was 2.35, so... STAGE BEAUTY (2004) [Lion's Gate - US R1] Filmed in Super 35 and reframed at 1.78 on DVD. The film is available on disc outside the US in its original 2.35 ratio. TRUE BLUE (1996) [Cinema Club - UK R2] Filmed in Super 35 and reframed at 1.78 on DVD.