A Few Words About A few words about...™ Witness for the Prosecution -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Very interesting. Do you know when the specs were changed?
     
  2. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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    My understand is that it was composed 2.55:1, and when the mono optical track came in all prints went out at 2.35:1. Obviously it would be incorrect to project such a print at 2.55:1, but regardless the trades have correctly listed the intended compositional ratio. Which is something. Who knows how or why it turned out that way, but if we're relying on the trades to tell us how to watch our films today, then this is an example of them getting it right.
     
  3. ThadK

    ThadK Stunt Coordinator
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    Uh-oh. One of the times out of a thousand that the trade is incorrect.
     
  4. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    The world premiere was held at the Plaza in London on October 2, 1957 and the U.S. premiere was at New York's RKO Palace on December 18.

    The very first release with a mag/optical track was KISMET on December 23, 1955.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    In original discussion, a stereo track was on the table, but then dropped -- possibly as the budget rose. The film was shot as 2.55, but no prints were ever struck, and in 2.35, the lab neglected to center the image, presuming it had been shot regular aperture.No 2.55 printing matrices were ever produced, and all prints were 2.35 (off-center).As far as tracks, no stereo was ever recorded, and all stems, inclusive of music are monaural.As congecture, marketing may have released almost year old specs to the trades. 2.55 did not see the light of day until Mr. Crisp brought the film to its latest video incarnation.RAH
     
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  6. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Fascinating, thank you for the information.
     
  7. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    For spherical wide-screen films of this era, I have always suspected that the published aspect ratios had little to do with the "intended" AR of the film makers. Prints often had more vertical information on them than would be necessary for exhibition at the published AR. Projectionists would show them at varying aspect ratios depending on the theatre's properties and the whim of management.

    I have never examined a print of this film so I cannot say but I would not be shocked to learn that original prints were 166.

    The actual intent of the director and DP may be hard to discern.
     
  8. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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    If the published aspect ratios had little to do with the intended aspect ratios, why publish them at all? What other purpose do they serve?
     
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  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The published aspect ratios were generally correct, thus the rationale to publish them. On occasion they did not sync to facts, or changing facts.

    Which is why Mr. Furmanek's ongoing research is an important database. My point has always been that during the short era of aspect ratio change, that data should be accepted as a measured standard, subject to confirmation.

    RAH
     
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  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    And boy did that look beautiful -- somehow I had never seen the film, so when Film Forum had a brand new print from that same source, I saw it and was blown away. Fantastic film, beautifully photographed.
     
  11. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    Trade publications are not above making errors. I don't know how many times I've read an article in The Hollywood Reporter (especially obits) that had me scratching my head regarding "facts".
     
  12. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    Oh, that's so interesting Mr. Furmanek, thank you! I had always thought that BUS STOP initiated the mag/optical mandate in 1956 (I can't remember now WHY I thought so, though) so it's great to have it clarified. Thanks, again!
     
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  13. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Thank you Will, it's my pleasure.

    I was mistaken in my earlier post and have corrected the information. The very first release with a mag/optical track was KISMET on December 23, 1955.

    The first mag/optical print from Fox was in April 1957 with BOY ON A DOLPHIN and THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES.

    I'm sorry for the confusion.

    Mag-optical-Kismet.gif

    Magop2.gif
     
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  14. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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  15. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Very nice transfer of this wonderful film. But I think I must differ here and say it would look better at 1.85, but that's just me probably.
     
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  16. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter
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    What a marvelous film! Tonight was my first viewing and I am genuinely impressed and pleased! I think we'll show this in the Booth Bijou in the near future.Mark
     
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  17. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Glad you liked it. It's one of my favorites.
     

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