"The Fugitive: Season 2, Volume 2" -- A Personal Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by David Von Pein, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    THE FUGITIVE: SEASON TWO, VOLUME TWO

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    QUICK DVD STATS:

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    With the March 31, 2009, DVD release of "THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 2, VOLUME 2", exactly one-half of the 120 episodes of "The Fugitive" have been made available on stunning-looking Digital Discs from CBS/Paramount.

    Episode numbers 46 through 60 of this distinguished and, in my opinion, peerless 1960s dramatic television series show up in crisp, clear black-and-white on this 4-Disc DVD set.

    As far as the music goes for this collection of episodes, it sounds to me as if there's a lot more of Mark Heyes' new music (i.e., the background music that sucks) in this S2V2 set than there is the S2V1 "fixed" set, which was made available to customers by Paramount in February 2009 to replace the horrid original DVD release of S2V1, which had all of the original 1964 music ripped out of it.

    Peter Rugolo's original "Fugitive" music is in place throughout each episode in this S2V2 set, but there are still many, many places in these episodes where the new replacement music pops up, which is almost always much worse than the original Rugolo/CBS music. But, thankfully, the new stuff doesn't totally dominate each and every episode.

    Still, it's a terrible shame, in my opinion, that this exceptional TV show known as "The Fugitive" (which I consider to be the best dramatic series ever to air on U.S. television) can't be released on DVD in its complete, unaltered, as-it-originally-aired form.

    But I will say this as well -- A slightly-musically-altered "Fugitive" on DVD is still better than no "Fugitive" at all on DVD.

    Perhaps we should try to get Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard to pass a law that requires all "Fugitive" episodes to always be released on Digital Versatile Disc in 100% unmutilated fashion....with the penalty for breaking this strict law being -- Having to listen to the totally-ruined soundtrack on Paramount's June 2008 initial DVD release of "The Fugitive: Season 2, Volume 1" (the unfixed "All Heyes" version).

    With a law like that one on the books, there's no way that CBS/Paramount would ever tamper with this one-of-a-kind TV series ever again. [​IMG]

    ===================

    SEASON TWO, VOLUME TWO:

    Falsely accused and sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit, Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) is kept on his toes and, as always, on the run throughout these fifteen programs that close out a very successful sophomore year for "The Fugitive".

    The popular series ended up as the #5 program on television for the 1964-1965 season, garnering an overall Nielsen rating for that season of 27.9, which meant that almost one out of every three homes that owned a TV that year watched the plight of Richard Kimble every Tuesday night on ABC.

    "Corner Of Hell" and "Brass Ring" are my two favorite episodes from the second half of Season #2. But several of the other episodes in this DVD set are programs that I don't recall having seen in the past at all. I must have missed taping some of these when the A&E cable network ran reruns of "The Fugitive" in 1995.

    So this boxed set is providing this writer with some brand-new television programs to watch. And that's kind of a nice experience too, being able to see some of these episodes for the first time, in uncut form (albeit with a few musical alterations), on these pristine-looking DVDs from CBS/Paramount.

    Some of the guest stars that pop up during the last half of Season 2 include the following names (many of them making return "Fugitive" appearances):

    Celeste Holm, Angie Dickinson, Jack Klugman, Murray Hamilton, Telly Savalas, Robert Duvall, Ed Begley, Andrew Duggan, Steve Forrest, Ed Asner, Bruce Dern, Shirley Knight, Pat Hingle, and James Doohan.

    Each of the shows in this DVD collection appears to be full-length and uncut, just as they originally aired in early 1965 on the ABC Television Network. The average length is approximately 51.5 minutes per show.

    The four episodes on Disc 1 have the following precise running times:

    "Brass Ring" -- 51:37
    "The End Is But The Beginning" -- 51:39
    "Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want To Meet" -- 51:28
    "Fun And Games And Party Favors" -- 51:38

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    DVD SCREEN CAPTURES:

    Here's a sampling of images taken from this Season 2, Volume 2 DVD set, courtesy of DVD Beaver.com (click on each picture for a super-sized version, which amply illustrate the excellent DVD picture quality that exists within these 15 episodes):

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    MORE DVD INFO:

    4-Disc Set.

    Single-sided, Dual-layered discs.

    No subtitles.

    Closed-Captioning is included.

    No bonus material.

    7 chapter breaks per episode.

    Silent/Static menus.

    A "Play All" option is available.

    Episode information is printed on the inside panels of the clear, see-through DVD case. Two hinged "pages" hold all four of the discs inside the standard-size case. The discs do not overlap each other. It's a nice, space-saving case design.

    Packaging (Photo) Note -- The picture of David Janssen on the front of the DVD case is a silly one, IMO. An alternate "wanted" poster of Richard Kimble has been created for the DVD cover, which isn't a realistic "wanted" poster at all.

    Why CBS/Paramount didn't simply use a picture of the famous "wanted" poster of Kimble that is seen in many episodes throughout the series is a mystery to me. The "real" poster would have been a much better choice for the DVD cover art, instead of a newly-created fake one.

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    ===================

    THE EPISODES:

    This second volume of Season 2 contains the following episodes (I've thrown in a few comments along the way for some of the shows, plus a look at each of Dr. Kimble's fake names that he used during these fifteen on-the-run adventures, and the dates when the episodes were first shown on ABC-TV):

    46. "Brass Ring" (First Aired: January 5, 1965) .... Alias: "Ben Horton". .... Angie Dickinson and Robert Duvall start off the second half of this season with great style, as each puts in a solid acting performance in "Brass Ring". Kimble, as Ben Horton, acquires a job to care for the wheelchair-bound Duvall.

    The 33-year-old Dickinson (who is supposed to be 26 years old [almost 27] for the purposes of this "Fugitive" script) portrays "Norma Sessions", a woman who certainly isn't all that she seems to be on the surface.

    "Brass Ring" contains an interesting combination of sad, happy, bittersweet, and poignant moments, and Act IV provides ample twists and turns to keep you guessing (along with a final scene with Duvall that is really quite chilling....and disturbing, IMO).

    Unfortunately, however, this episode is pretty much totally ruined (IMO) by the "new" substitute music that permeates many different portions of it, particularly during the crucial scene in Act III which has Duvall suddenly sitting up in bed on his own. The replacement music in that important scene just cannot compare to the original 1965 underscore. And the climax of Act III is destroyed by the heavy use of "new" composer Mark Heyes' loud horns.

    Plus, all of the "merry-go-round" music from the original "Brass Ring" soundtrack has been replaced with new music too, which is also inferior when compared to the original '65 score. What a shame.

    But at least the picture quality shines anyway. All of these shows, in fact, look great on these DVDs. It's just too bad that in several places throughout the episodes the music had to be changed.

    I think "Brass Ring" bothered me the most when it comes to these occasional music alterations. The slight background musical changes in the other episodes within this 4-Disc set don't seem to annoy me nearly as much as "Brass Ring" did/does.

    A little more talk about "Brass Ring's" music HERE.

    47. "The End Is But The Beginning" (January 12, 1965) .... Alias: "Steve Younger".

    48. "Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want To Meet" (January 19, 1965) .... Alias: "Richard Clark". .... Click here.

    49. "Fun And Games And Party Favors" (January 26, 1965) .... Alias: "Douglas Beckett".

    50. "Scapegoat" (February 2, 1965) .... Aliases: "Eddie Frey" and "Bill Hayes". .... Sorry to say, this one is a complete misfire. More info.

    51. "Corner Of Hell" (February 9, 1965) .... Alias: "Paul Hunter". .... This outstanding episode, originally entitled "This Place Belongs To Another People", prominently features Barry Morse as Lt. Philip Gerard. And it's another great performance turned in by Morse here.

    In an ironic twist, it is Gerard, while searching for Dr. Kimble, who finds himself "on trial" in the backwoods of Louisiana.

    Here's some interesting "Corner Of Hell" trivia, which comes from Ed Robertson's 1993 book "The Fugitive Recaptured":
    "[The episode "Corner Of Hell"] initially focused on the sadistic nature of Tully's police-hating community. In the first draft of the script, for example, Gerard is completely humiliated: not only do Tully's people relieve the lieutenant of his gun, they strip him of his shoes and socks, so that when he is returned from the woods after his escape attempt, his feet are badly cut and bruised.

    "The story originally took place at night, which made Gerard's ordeal more harrowing--in the darkness, he is attacked by thousands of cargo spiders, and later runs into a swarm of bees. And before Gerard is "sentenced," he endures a shower of beer, cigar burns on his leg, and numerous kickings and beatings.

    "Apparently, the authors realized that the torment was excessive, because [co-writer of the teleplay Francis Irby] Gwaltney made a handwritten note at the end of the first draft to "emphasize the trial more," particularly in the fourth act."
    -- Page 98 of "THE FUGITIVE RECAPTURED: THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY COMPANION TO A TELEVISION CLASSIC" (c.1993) 52. "Moon Child" (February 16, 1965) .... Alias: "Bill Martin".

    53. "The Survivors" (March 2, 1965) .... No alias used. .... In this unique episode, Dr. Kimble returns to the Indiana town of Fairgreen, where he first met his wife-to-be, Helen Waverley, ten years earlier. He re-enters the lives of the Waverley family, and as a result re-opens the still-fresh wounds left behind by Helen's tragic murder. An excellent episode.

    54. "Everybody Gets Hit In The Mouth Sometime" (March 9, 1965) .... Alias: "Bill Douglas".

    55. "May God Have Mercy" (March 16, 1965) .... Alias: "Harry Reynolds".

    56. "Masquerade" (March 23, 1965) .... Alias: "Leonard Hull".

    57. "Runner In The Dark" (March 30, 1965) .... Aliases: "Tom Burns" and "Phil Mead". .... For the second time in Season 2, Ed Begley Sr. makes an impressive guest-starring "Fugitive" appearance.

    58. "A.P.B." (April 6, 1965) .... Alias: "Ed Morris".

    59. "The Old Man Picked A Lemon" (April 13, 1965) .... Alias: "Jim Wallace". .... Celeste Holm heads the list of guest stars for this "Fugitive" entry. Celeste would later also co-star in a Season-Four episode as well.

    60. "Last Second Of A Big Dream" (April 20, 1965) .... Alias: "Nick Peters".

    ===================

    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    Sixty episodes of "The Fugitive" on DVD, with sixty to go.

    It's nice to at least now be at the halfway point toward the completion of this stellar TV series being released in its hoped-for very deserved entirety on DVD.

    And Paramount's relatively quick and timely release schedule for these half-season sets hasn't been very agonizing at all for fans of this impeccable series who, like myself, no doubt have a desire to collect all 120 episodes on DVD as quickly as they can.

    So my advice is this (despite a few complaints about the replacement music) -- Race with Dr. Richard Kimble to the 50-yard line of "The Fugitive" on DVD by grabbing a copy of "Season Two, Volume Two" right now.

    David Von Pein
    March/April 2009

    ==========================================

    SOME RELATED LINKS:

    "THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 1, VOLUME 1" -- A PERSONAL REVIEW

    "THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 1, VOLUME 2" -- A PERSONAL REVIEW

    "THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 2, VOLUME 1" -- A PERSONAL REVIEW

    MY "FUGITIVE" PHOTO ALBUM

    www.DavidJanssen.net

    Amazon.com: David Von Pein's review of The Fugitive: Season Two, Vol. 2

    ==========================================

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  2. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    David,

    Thanks for your usual stellar Fugitive review for us at HTF. Outstanding effort and result...no surprise considering the author of the review [​IMG]

    I'll bet that most of us "zoomed into" your music-replacement info in the review. I admit that I had my hopes up that the Heyes content would not be any more than the replacement S2V1 set. I admit that I'm somewhat surprised that there appears to be more Heyes content in the V2 set. I guess that's due to the S2V2 episodes being maetered for DVD release at the same time as S2V1.

    I was fortunate to have 1st-time viewed some of the episodes in this 1st volume from my alternate set (all original musinc intact) before the S2V2 release, including "Brass Ring" & "Fun....Party Favors", which you mentioned were impacted more by the Heyes music than some of the other episodes in the set.

    I wonder what the chances would be that CBS/P offer another replacement program for anyone that buys the existing S2V2 set?

    Fortunately for me, I'm getting this set as a gift. Just for myself, it would be a tough decision (to buy this) otherwise, only due to the music sub issue.
     
  3. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Screenwriter

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    Still waiting to get my set, it is still on order.

    Has the Heyes music had the volume more in tune with the rest of the soundtrack or does it leap from the speakers as the original Season 2 Volume 1 set?

    Doug
     
  4. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I'm gonna add my "Amen" to Jeff's post. Great review as always, David. After watching BRASS RING last night I have to concur that the music replacements in this episode are very irritating, probably the most irritating of any I've heard yet. While both the new sets (volumes 1 & 2 of Season Two) have toned down the blaring nature of Heyes, there are still times when his synthesized horns are way too much for my ears.

    Gary "glad we have these sets, but still holding out hope Season 3 will return to the first season template" O.
     
  5. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    I decided to skip "Brass Ring" as a first episode to view. Instead, I went with "The End Is But The Beginning", one of my favorites, and as documented, one of the ones with little music-tampering. In fact, I wasn't "taken out" of the episode at all, so whatever minor new cues are there, aren't intrusive at all, as far as I'm concerned.

    "The End Is But The Beginning" is one of my favorite episodes. It's got a classic Gerard menace, excellent performances from Barbara Barrie and the always-dependable Andrew Duggan. Janssen of course gives his usual excellent turn, this time portraying Kimble overcoming injuries as well as plotting and avoiding Gerard.

    David's excellent review also reminded me that there's at least one episode in this set that I never managed to get in my VHS taping days, "A.P.B.", so that episode will be a treat as a near-new story for me to enjoy. Truth is, there are a couple of others in this set that I'm not overly familiar with. I know I've seen them, but probably not in at least a decade or so.

    Oh, and about this menu screen:

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    Why in the world did they use a "Stretch-o-vision" picture?

    Harry
     
  6. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Thanks, guys.

    I kind of hesitated to state my thorough disappointment with the overall music in "Brass Ring", for fear that perhaps I was being too harsh (because there's still several original Rugolo/CBS cues in there too).

    But I did a comparison with my 1995 A&E VHS tape on that episode, and couldn't help but take note of the many musical changes for that one episode alone. I just can't quite understand why THAT much of the original score had to be removed for "Ring", while at the same time, the very next episode on the disc ("The End Is But The Beginning") has, as pointed out by others here at HTF, almost no Heyes music inserted.

    That makes me scratch my head even harder when thinking about this vast difference in such music substitutions from one episode to the next. ~shrug~

    Here's an oddity in "Brass Ring" though (for me anyway)....

    There's actually one music substitution that I liked better than what I found on the original 1965 soundtrack via my A&E tape -- and that was a Heyes replacement cue found in the scene when Kimble leaves the loft apartment of Angie Dickinson (just after she says to him, "You're not mad at me or anything, are you?").

    There's a new replacement cue at that point which I could have sworn was "original/1965", but it's not. The original cue has lots of violin music in it, whereas the new one does not. But the new cue (which extends all the way through the scene which has Lars entering Angie's/Norma's apartment) has a pretty good Rugolo-like feel to it, IMO.

    So, I think the "new" music can (on occasion) be okay....to a degree.
     
  7. Jean Paul Villeneuve

    Jean Paul Villeneuve Second Unit

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    Hi David,

    I'm not positive, but isn't this a Rugolo cue at the 10:15-10:49 mark in the following clip?
     
  8. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    In the end, I suppose it comes down to whether the replacement music underscores subtle, dialog-laden scenes, as opposed to those that accompany action/suspense scenes with figures in flight or whatever. As for the latter, film and tv composers have tended to go way overboard in the last 20 or so years, and from what I've been reading, it's no exception with the Heyes stuff. Quiet, talky scenes tend not reveal that "orchestral" sound so a synthesizer can seem fairly innocuous if used properly. Too bad that not all of the music replacements made were of this variety--that would help alot I should think.

    As I have vol. 2 on order and am still waiting on the vol. 1 replacement discs, I'm considering watching S2 in production order. Does anyone have a feel for how the episodes flow in this manner, relative to aired order?
     
  9. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    something told me the coliape music did not ring true and I agree its pretty annoying. But at least its not totally thruout the episode. There was an ep of Mission Impossible that had Coliape mesic thruout the whole episode.
     
  10. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    Darn near two episodes as it was a two-parter. I'm still hearing that music in my head it seems.
     
  11. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    I've never had much of a feeling in terms of "ordering" the episodes, one way or the other. Even if one tried to find some kind of continuity, you'd be hard-pressed to come up with anything really important.

    About the only continuity in the series is Kimble's first sighting of the one-armed man, his learning that his name is Fred Johnson, and the ultimate ending. Everything else is quite episodic and self contained.

    It's not like you'll find an episode where Kimble injures himself in one episode and is still limping in the next. It just doesn't happen - it DIDN'T happen - in '60's television. Each show was meant to be a self-contained excursion, one story, and then wrapped up.

    So production order doesn't really matter very much with THE FUGITIVE. I say watch them in whatever order pleases you!

    Harry
     
  12. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    You bet it is. And all of that original music is gone on the DVD.

    That's just one more example of a supreme "head-scratcher". They seemingly like to replace stuff in some episodes in a willy-nilly fashion -- and replacing some music that shouldn't need to be replaced at all (such as the cue you just mentioned from "Brass Ring").

    Weird indeed.

    Maybe it's the "CBS/P Torture Test" or something. CBS is slowly trying to drive Fuge fans into the madhouse! [​IMG]

    DVP in another two years:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    But at least CBS/P hasn't made the Fugitive DVD menus anamorphic.

    I hate it when a 1.33:1-ratio show (or movie) has anamorphic DVD menus. It's just...dumb (IMO).

    BTW, Harry, what do you mean by "stretch-o-vision" picture? I'm afraid I didn't understand that.
     
  14. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    That has to be a first . . . . replacement calliope music!!!
     
  15. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    Yes! Lest CBS/P executives find themselves one day facing the wrath of a clown or some such person armed with a scope attached Mk. 9 seltzer bottle.
     
  16. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    Sorry. "Stretch-o-vision" is a term used on many other Forums for taking a 4:3 picture and stretching it horizontally to fill the widescreen picture of a 16:9 television.

    The picture of Janssen in that menu is stretched horizontally, even though the menu itself is 4:3. People who strech THAT picture are REALLY in for it!

    Harry
     
  17. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Oh, okay, Harry. Gotcha. Thanks.

    I don't have a 16x9 TV, so I wouldn't know about how the menus format on 16x9 TV sets.

    I have the best of both TV worlds (IMO), as I have a Toshiba 50H72 50-inch 4x3 TV, which is capable of performing the proverbial "16x9 squeeze" (compression).

    So I am able to get full benefit out of anamorphic widescreen DVDs on my 4x3 set, while at the same time being able to have all 4x3 material completely fill the screen (sans any "bars").

    Which brings up something I've been curious about for years (but having never had a 16x9 TV, I could never answer myself):

    How can any "zoom" feature on 16x9 TVs not distort the picture when watching 4x3 TV shows (like "The Fugitive", for example)?

    I've never understood how some people have said they can achieve totally-"undistorted" 4x3 material while watching it on 16x9 screens, with the whole screen filled and no bars on the sides. Sounds to me like something must surely be missing or distorted when watching 4x3 stuff in such a manner on 16x9 screens.

    Plus:

    Harry, are you saying that Richard Kimble's face (in the DVD menus) looks stretched and distorted on your 16x9 screen (which I assume you possess)?

    Kimble looks just fine (i.e., non-distorted) on my 4x3 screen.
     
  18. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    In S1, it's better to watch the production order of pilot, and then "Decision In The Ring" since the closing narration references his pilot alias "James Lincoln" and then "Girl From Little Egypt" with its flashbacks to the trial should be seen third like in the production order IMO.
     
  19. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    David, it sounds like you squeeze anamorphic information (from a movie, for example) into your 4:3 screen. That would tend to make people tall and skinny looking, but you would see the side information.

    Just the opposite occurs on a 16:9 TV. Its wider aspect ratio would normally display a 4:3 show, such as THE FUGITIVE as a box in the middle of a rectangle. All of the picture is there, with bars on the sides.

    Some people simply cannot stand black bars, for some reason, and insist on stretching the picture to fill up the screen. That action makes a 4:3 show like THE FUGITIVE stretched horizontally, making people look short and fat.

    Now, there are several stretch or zoom modes on most 16:9 TVs. One of them maintains the proper proportions of the images, so people don't look short and fat, but the trade-off is that it lops of the top and bottom of the picture. With some sets you can then choose to move the image up and down, so you might chop off more bottom than top.

    If I zoom in on THE FUGITIVE, the words "A QM Production" will be on the extreme bottom of the screen, sometimes a little chopped off, depending on the episode. And in that same zoom mode, I'd lose a lot of hair and hairlines, particularly on close-ups. Thus, I prefer to leave the picture as intended by the director and leave the bars on the side and see all of the picture.

    Whenever I watch a 16:9 show or movie on an old 4:3 television, my preference is for the top and bottom bars to be there, so I can see all of the picture, again the way the director intended.'

    In other words, I never worry about the black bars. They're there for a good reason.

    Harry
     
  20. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    Oh, and about the menu picture:

    Compare this:

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    with this:

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    where I took the picture from the menu and reduced the horizontal dimension by 10%. To me, the upper picture of Janssen looks stretched horizontally, while the lower (adjusted) picture looks normal. That street scene picture in the menu also looks stretched.

    Harry
     

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