Originally Posted by Bob Furmanek
By May of 1953, all the Hollywood studios had switched to widescreen cinematography. In the summer of that year, most major theaters had installed new widescreens.
HONDO was released in late November so most of the major theaters were equipped to run it in the recommended ratio of 1.85.
However, it was also protected for 1.37 so that theaters not yet converted could show it in the standard academy ratio. That's how it's been shown ever since.
That's interesting. Seeing as the framing has always looked correct on video and DVD, I wonder if Hondo was shot like Rio Bravo. That is, standard 4:3 aspect lens with an open frame, and then matted to 1.75:1 when shown in theaters.