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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Bob Furmanek, Mar 20, 2012.
I already read it and edited my post.
Wilder had initially planned SABRINA for 2.1 widescreen but settled on 1.75:1 before the start of principal photography in New York on September 28, 1953.
It's interesting that the director himself was mulling over different ratios, rather than just accepting the studios preferred house ratio. Has this information come from some production documentation?
It came at a time when Paramount was planning to go wider than their initial 1.66:1.
It was announced for 2.1 on August 5 when Wilder was in New York for pre-production. Here's the precise quote from Variety:
Wilder, director of Par's "Sabrina Fair," said in N.Y. that he is planning on lensing the film in a 2:1 aspect ratio and that Michael Curtiz has skedded "White Christmas" for the same dimension. Par pix so far have been shot in an aspect ratio of 1.66 to 1. Wilder disclosed that he would use an 18m French lens but maintained he
Published Date: August 5th, 1953
Unfortunately, I don't have access to the full quote.
As I mentioned, the widescreen ratio was settled on 1.75:1 before shooting commenced, and "White Christmas" had settled on 1.85:1 as the recommended VistaVision ratio.
I don't suppose you have anything regarding this from the previous page?
No, just some mentions of art house bookings.
This clipping from December 1954 is interesting:
That clipping is a keeper, I think!
From Boxoffice: August 7, 1954. Note the various ratios listed.
Information like this was crucial to exhibitors looking to present the films properly. These pages were often used in projection booths throughout the country as important reference materials. Original reel bands on the prints would indicate the intended ratio as well.
Many of those reel bands were later discarded and by the time prints were used in repertory bookings in the 1960's and 1970's, uninformed operators projected these early widescreen films in 1.37:1.
Thanks for that page, Bob. The next Fox MOD that I'm slated to review (when I can find a moment away from all these other holiday releases) is The Gambler from Natchez, and now I know how it should be framed. (I'm sure it's an open matte transfer though I haven't looked at the liner notes yet.)
I told Schawn Belston a year ago that all of the Panoramic Productions were composed for 1.66:1.
He said that he didn't know that and was very appreciative of the documentation that I provided.
Interestingly, the one documentary on that page ("The Vanishing Prairie") is listed with the standard pre-widescreen Academy ratio of 1.33-1. Any reason for that? Just curious.
I really enjoy dipping into this thread and looking at all the old clippings and documentation, and I applaud the hard work that Bob and others have put into it. My curiosity was aroused to the extent of taking a disc off my shelf the other day and checking it out for widescreen-ness, so to speak. It's one of Carol Reed's lesser-known films, and I only heard of it because my parents pointed it out to me when it came on TV many years ago: A Kid for Two Farthings, about a young (fatherless) boy who mistakes a baby goat with one horn for a wish-granting unicorn. Set in London's Petticoat Lane open market, and featuring a young Diana Dors -- who is often billed as England's Marilyn Monroe, but who always struck me as England's Jayne Mansfield -- the film was released in 1955, meaning, it should have been in some sort of widescreen, yes? But my Home Vision Entertainment disc presents it in 1.33.
So I spun this disc, and found that the titles are clearly -- all of them -- centred for a widescreen presentation. I moved on, watching about a minute or two at each chapter stop, and discovered that there are even instances where the cameraman (Ted Scaife, Khartoum, Outcast of the Islands, The Dirty Dozen, etc etc.) tilted the camera up so as to keep heads in a widescreen frame, even though, at 1.33, there was already enough room. As to why HVE released it in full-frame, I have no idea. It is a Janus title, so perhaps that is just the way HVE received it from Janus; and since it's not a title that comes with much ballyho or intellectual gunnery, but just a well-made, mid-1950s flick, nobody bothered to check the correct AR. Note that IMDb still lists it at 1.37, i.e., academy ratio.
Vic, I suspect the documentary contained either 16mm or older pre-widescreen era footage. Interesting to note that Boxoffice specified standard ratio for that film even though the widescreen transition in theaters was over a year old at that time..
Jon Paul, that's a classic example of sloppy work and ignorance.
Quite honestly, up until we began sharing our research a few years ago, most people assumed that non-anamorphic 1953-1959 features were standard ratio.
Thank you very much for your kind and supportive words. They mean a lot!
Although it's worth pointing out that regardless of their recommendation of standard for the documentary, they've still gone with 1.65:1 for Madame de, which will have been completed in France, mid-1953 at the latest, maybe earlier (it opened September '53). Perhaps the U.S. distributor wanted it playing in widescreen regardless.
It looks like "Earrings of Madame De" began filming in late March/early April so 1.37:1 would be correct. You're right, Arlan probably tested it and found it acceptable for 1.65:1.
From my notes, it looks like the first widescreen films began production in France circa November 1953.
It's been brought to my attention that the usual on-line suspects who have been seeing SABRINA in the standard ratio for the past 50 years on TV, repertory bookings and home video cannot accept the fact that it was composed for widescreen.
If the pro-widescreen comments from Billy Wilder to Variety seven weeks before the start of principal photography are not adequate, here is the Variety production listing from October 2, 1953, four days after cameras rolled on location in New York.
I rest my case...
I don't think it was this forum. Hell, I'm going to rebuy this title on BD since RAH confirmed that this upcoming BD will be in OAR.
Thankfully, there are some who appreciate accuracy with respect to the directors original intent:
Jeffrey Wells again.