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Aspect Ratio Documentation


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#4421 of 5281 Douglas R

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Posted June 24 2014 - 07:32 AM

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There were questions raised in this thread (too many pages for me to find it) asking when UK production switched from 1.75 to 1.85. I had suggested that it was sometime in the late ‘60s to early ‘70s but that it didn’t seem to happen suddenly.

 

1960s copies of Kine Weekly show that in 1964 almost all British films were 1.75. By 1967 there had been a change with about half of Pinewood Studio’s films being 1.85 and all Twickenham and Lee Studios being 1.85 although at the end of the ‘60s there were still a number of films at 1.75. There is hardly any mention of 1.66 throughout the ‘60s yet people continue to maintain that 1.66 was the UK standard until the change to 1.85.

 

A couple of examples; REPULSION (1965) is 1.85 (the Criterion is 1.66) and DARLING is 1.85 (MGM DVD is 1.66).

 

I’ll provide a more detailed report when I’ve had time to peruse Kine Weekly more closely – possibly next week (my research has to be carried out on Mondays!).   


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#4422 of 5281 Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 24 2014 - 07:35 AM

Fantastic information Doug and SO important. Thank you very much for sharing it!

 

If you'd like to prepare something which I could include with the other documentation on my website, I will be happy to do that. The more people that see the research, the better.

 

For another voice of reason, check out these comments from Manderley at Film Score Monthly: http://filmscoremont...04065&archive=0


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#4423 of 5281 Vahan_Nisanain

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Posted June 24 2014 - 07:35 AM

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#4424 of 5281 EddieLarkin

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Posted June 24 2014 - 08:13 AM

For another voice of reason, check out these comments from Manderley at Film Score Monthly: http://filmscoremont...04065&archive=0

 

Bless that man! It's very nice to hear what one has been trying to articulate for many months during infuriating debates come so clearly expressed from the mouth of a professional.


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#4425 of 5281 Paul Penna

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Posted June 24 2014 - 09:00 AM

For another voice of reason, check out these comments from Manderley at Film Score Monthly: http://filmscoremont...04065&archive=0

 

It amazes me that some people, like another contributor to that thread, still trot out this head-scratcher about 1.37 being correct:

 

This makes sense since its director was from television, and the movie was taken from a teleplay. 

 

Because, of course, taking into account the way the film would actually be exhibited wouldn't make any sense at at all.


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#4426 of 5281 Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 24 2014 - 09:10 AM

Somebody on the Criterion board indicated there were quotes from Mann indicating his desire to replicate the TV broadcast on the big screen, therefore it MUST be 1.37:1.

 

For some odd reason, he was not able to supply an actual source for that quote.

 

Hmm...


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#4427 of 5281 Vahan_Nisanain

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Posted June 24 2014 - 09:13 AM

Bob, what was the aspect ratio in British theaters for Georgy Girl and Blow-Up? Are there any Kine Weekly issues from 1966 floating around somewhere?



#4428 of 5281 Bob Furmanek

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Posted June 24 2014 - 09:22 AM

I'm sorry but I'm based in the U.S. and don't have access to issues of Kine Weekly.

 

Hopefully, one our valued contributors from the UK can help with this information.


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#4429 of 5281 Vahan_Nisanain

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Posted June 24 2014 - 09:24 AM

As I mentioned a page earlier, Georgy Girl was shown last Saturday night on TCM open matte. Blow-Up looked like as it did in theaters originally, though.



#4430 of 5281 haineshisway

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Posted June 24 2014 - 10:08 AM

I posted this message about the aspect ratio of HELP in the thread about that BD release. Copied here for info:

 

 

I've been researching Kine Weekly and this is from the December 16, 1965 issue which gives the aspect ratio of HELP as 1.85:1 on 1.65 head room. I assume they mean the picture was composed for screens of any aspect ratio between 1.66:1 to 1.85:1. However, Kine Weekly also shows that in 1965 very few films British were being shot for 1.66. They were either 1.75 or 1.85.  

 

attachicon.gif20140623_144114r.jpg

I would certainly interpret that as composed for 1.85 and protected for 1.65 or hard-matted to that.  



#4431 of 5281 Douglas R

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Posted June 24 2014 - 10:17 AM

Bob, what was the aspect ratio in British theaters for Georgy Girl and Blow-Up? Are there any Kine Weekly issues from 1966 floating around somewhere?


I'll try and get that information. I saw BLOW-UP at the Empire, London. Blowed if I can remember the aspect ratio though!
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#4432 of 5281 Charles Smith

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Posted June 24 2014 - 10:19 AM

I saw it at the Sunrise Cinemas I & II in Fort Lauderdale, and blowed if I can, either!      :)



#4433 of 5281 Vahan_Nisanain

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Posted June 24 2014 - 11:45 AM

I'll try and get that information. I saw BLOW-UP at the Empire, London. Blowed if I can remember the aspect ratio though!

 

Thank you. 



#4434 of 5281 Patrick McCart

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Posted June 24 2014 - 01:15 PM

Somebody on the Criterion board indicated there were quotes from Mann indicating his desire to replicate the TV broadcast on the big screen, therefore it MUST be 1.37:1.

 

For some odd reason, he was not able to supply an actual source for that quote.

 

Hmm...

 

File that one along with how filmmakers used to Academy wouldn't be used to working with widescreen...



#4435 of 5281 EddieLarkin

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Posted June 24 2014 - 04:32 PM

The widescreen but previously only released in 4x3 films Revenge of the CreatureAbbott and Costello Meet the Mummy and The Creature Walks Among Us are being re-released in this 30 disc Universal Monster Box Set:

 

http://digitaljournal.com/pr/2011215

 

I'm not hopeful. Presumably they'll just be the same masters/discs that have been previously available. Surprise us Universal!



#4436 of 5281 Yorkshire

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Posted June 25 2014 - 01:45 AM

There were questions raised in this thread (too many pages for me to find it) asking when UK production switched from 1.75 to 1.85. I had suggested that it was sometime in the late ‘60s to early ‘70s but that it didn’t seem to happen suddenly.

 

1960s copies of Kine Weekly show that in 1964 almost all British films were 1.75. By 1967 there had been a change with about half of Pinewood Studio’s films being 1.85 and all Twickenham and Lee Studios being 1.85 although at the end of the ‘60s there were still a number of films at 1.75. There is hardly any mention of 1.66 throughout the ‘60s yet people continue to maintain that 1.66 was the UK standard until the change to 1.85.

 

A couple of examples; REPULSION (1965) is 1.85 (the Criterion is 1.66) and DARLING is 1.85 (MGM DVD is 1.66).

 

I’ll provide a more detailed report when I’ve had time to peruse Kine Weekly more closely – possibly next week (my research has to be carried out on Mondays!).   

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I personally suspect the reason is that the main UK cinema chain matted to 1.66:1.

 

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#4437 of 5281 Yorkshire

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Posted June 25 2014 - 01:51 AM

I would certainly interpret that as composed for 1.85 and protected for 1.65 or hard-matted to that.  

 

Quite possibly.  But then again, that's moving into the realms of (as you note) interpreting the documentation rather than the raw documentation itself.

 

And it raises a very big and fairly obvious question.

 

We all know that many films in the era were shot open matte, being composed for 1.85:1 (etc) but with plenty of extra information top and bottom for TV (4:3) versions.

 

So if they were composing for 1.85:1, but protecting safe for 4:3, why the need to mention 1.65:1 at all?  There is absolutely no need whatsoever.

 

By definition if a film is composed for 1.85:1 but safe to full open matte, then 1.65:1 will be safe anyway, with absolutely no need to mention 1.65:1.

 

The only logical conclusion is that '1.65:1 headroom' meant something else.

 

Steve W


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#4438 of 5281 EddieLarkin

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Posted June 25 2014 - 02:56 AM

It may have indicated hard matting at 1.65:1 (as in, this is how much head room you can play around with if you feel the need, Mr. Projectionist) or it may have just been there as reassurance to those cinemas that were set up as 1.65:1, and would have moaned about having to change things about every other film.
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#4439 of 5281 Yorkshire

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Posted June 25 2014 - 03:42 AM

It may have indicated hard matting at 1.65:1 (as in, this is how much head room you can play around with if you feel the need, Mr. Projectionist) or it may have just been there as reassurance to those cinemas that were set up as 1.65:1, and would have moaned about having to change things about every other film.

 

Someone else will confirm, but HELP! is listed like this, and I'm pretty sure we've had home video versions in 4:3 before which were almost as wide as the widescreen releases, so i'm pretty sure that wasn't hard matted to 1.65/1.66:1..

 

That leaves the second possibility, which pretty much ties in with my guess.

 

But that then ties in with another argument we've heard time and time again from all quarters in this thread on any number of films - the film-makers surely knew what ratio the film would be projected at, and in the UK that was mainly 1.66:1, according to research at this thread..

 

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#4440 of 5281 EddieLarkin

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Posted June 25 2014 - 04:57 AM

What's the evidence again that the majority of UK cinemas projected at 1.66:1 regardless of recommendation, and that they did this right through into the late 70s? I must have missed it.

 

Even if it is the case though, I don't think it precludes 1.75:1 being the composed for ratio. It is after all, mentioned as well. The difference is so small* that I doubt the film makers would have been beside themselves to see their compositions receive a tad bit more space. Don't forget that many of these films were being shipped over to the US as well, where 1.85:1 was completely set in stone. Better to compose at 1.75:1 and lose a sliver of image in American cinemas, than to compose at 1.66:1 and lose a fair sized chunk, even if it means UK cinemas showing too much.

 

*Though not always small enough. On the Blu-ray for The Mummy's Shroud, which is of course 1.66:1, there is a shot which establishes the location of the Mummy in the museum he is being kept in (in this one, he's standing rather than in laying in a case), and then there is a quick cut to a close up of his upper body. Despite the previous shot showing that no one else is in the museum, the close up shot reveals the top of a fez at the very bottom of the frame, showing that there is an actor stood in front of the Mummy, even though no character is (it's later revealed that this shot has been duplicated from a different scene where actors wearing fezes are indeed stood beneath the Mummy). In 1.75:1/1.85:1, that "movie mistake" is not visible.

 

In addition to that, you also get every mid shot and close up having ample headroom to make 1.75:1/1.85:1 work too.

 

Interestingly, the 1959 The Mummy admittedly looks spot on at 1.66:1, with heads always at the very top of the frame in mid shots and close ups. It could be missing side information, it could just be a case of cropped heads at 1.75:1 being intentional, as Bruce has suggested. But I'd really like to see what it was recommended at in Kine Weekly, if anyone can place hands on a copy. 






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