BRITISH WIDESCREEN 1950s
As I said in an earlier post in respect of aspect ratios for 1950s British films, the trade journal Kinematograph Weekly did not begin listing aspect ratios for individual film titles until their issue of December 12, 1957 which provided aspect ratios for films which commenced production from October 1, 1956.
Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to tabulate all the UK films in production - for the earliest two years of the 1950s for which we have details, i.e. October 1, 1956 to September 30, 1958 - and to also list which of the films have also been released on DVD/BD and in which aspect ratio (E & OE).
The results for each year are shown in two Word documents which are available to download from these links.
As can be seen, the vast majority of films released on DVD or BD for these years have not been released in their original theatrical aspect ratio; which probably comes as no great surprise to anyone! It’s ironic that in several cases the UK label has released a film in the wrong ratio, whilst the US label has released the same film in the correct ratio. It’s also galling to be able to see, for example, the theatrical trailer of ALIVE AND KICKING available on Network’s website in the widescreen ratio but find that they have released the DVD in 1.33:1. All DVDs are R2 unless stated otherwise.
In some cases Kine Weekly has not had specific aspect ratio details but has either listed such films again as “Widescreen” or left details blank. As the years went by it became increasing common for Kine Weekly to list some films as “widescreen” instead of providing specific ratios. There seem to be a couple of errors, or maybe changes were made during production; for example, CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is listed as Hammerscope and HIGH TIDE AT NOON is listed as being in VistaVision.
There are three films listed as 1.33:1. Two of these were productions for the Children’s Film Foundation (CFF). These films were shown only to children at “Saturday Morning Pictures” film shows and so were exceptions outside of traditional cinema presentations. Nevertheless, depending on the cinema, they were probably cropped for presentation. Detail on the other 1.33:1 film BLACK ICE is lacking but it was unlikely to have been presented in 1.33:1 in 1957/58 (Kine Weekly never referred to 1.37:1).
I’m not sure what to make of I ACCUSE!, THE ANGRY HILLS and especially TOM THUMB as being listed in “Widescope”. I ACCUSE and THE ANGRY HILLS both appear to have been theatrically shown in 2.35:1 and the US trailer for the latter states “CinemaScope” although it seems that not every country included a CinemaScope logo on posters for both films. TOM THUMB never seems to have been shown 2.35:1.