George Stevens and dp Loyal Griggs shot "Shane" at 1.37 -- that is a STONE COLD FACT. Between July and October of 1951. Before anyone had ever heard of or even conceptualized 1.66. It was never intended to be seen at 1.66 by its makers, period.
Has George Stevens, Jr, done an impeccable job of making the 1.66 Bluray version look as good as possible by balancing the visual elements and not chopping heads off and whatnot? Almost certainly, I'm told. But did his father and Loyal Griggs compose and shoot for 1.66? No, they did NOT.
The 1.66 release of "Shane" was a studio mandate. We've got to look bigger and broader than TV. Get on board or else. The industry was up in arms against TV. It was a huge Battle Cry. Starting in April 1953 is was "wider and bigger, wider and bigger," etc.
Do you suppose that the studio chiefs went to Stevens and said, "Whaddaya think, George? Is it okay with you & your dp if we whack the tops and bottoms off the film that you guys shot? We won't do it if you say no."
Seriously -- what was Stevens going to say or do? Be Patrick Henry and fall on his sword while insisting on 1.37 or death? He was a political animal like all studio directors, trying to swim and stay afloat.
How in the world can anyone be against urging WHV to present the film as it was framed and shot to Bluray viewers? How could it possibly be a problem to urge a concurrent release via Warner Archives of the real Shane (i.e., the 1.37 version)? Stevens told me that he prepared a highdef/Bluray version of same. It's there to be issued. How could this possibly be a problem for anyone who cares about this film?
As the Bluray has no doubt been pressed and duplicated and locked down, I'm going to send a letter today to every person of any importance in the Bluray/home video/archive & restoration community, asking that they sign a letter urging Warner Home Video to issue a concurrent 1.37 Shane Bluray via Warner Archives.
Scorsese, Woody Allen, the heads of the American Cinematheque, AFI, BFI, Robert Harris, Bob Furmanek, Scott Foundas, Todd McCarthy, Robert Osborne and the people behind the TCM Classic Film Festival, Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer, all the restoration guys in the community, Home Theatre Forum, Digital Bits, Highdef Digest, the Film Foundation...everyone of note who could or would care about seeing a Bluray of George Stevens' film as it was actually framed and shot in 1951.
And not some bizarre studio-slice version that DID NOT and NEVER WILL represent what Stevens and Griggs framed and captured on the set. You can cut the pie ten or fifty different ways and it still comes down to that ROCK-SOLID FACT.