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Blu-ray Review 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Tony Bensley

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Cineman said:
I was 8 years old in 1961, prime Disney feature target audience demographic, and saw 101 Dalmatians at least 3 times with friends and family in and around the Kentucky/Ohio area, typically in smaller local neighborhood theaters. I wouldn't have known anything about the term "aspect ratio", but I clearly remember noticing and recognizing in those days the difference between the way older Disney animated features like Pinocchio, Bambi and Peter Pan looked vs more recent ones like Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty. I think it would have been jarring, maybe even disappointing for me to watch the latest Disney animated feature release in 1961 in the more squared framing of the older Disney features rather than at least as wide as other ordinary movie releases of the day. I'm sure I would have thought something didn't look right about it in the theater, even as an excited 8 year old.


I don't mean it needed to look as wide as Lady and the Tramp or Sleeping Beauty in order to look like the modern release it was. But if it had been presented in any of those theaters in 1.33:1, I am pretty sure I would have noticed it and remembered it. But I didn't notice it and don't remember thinking it. Maybe it was routinely presented in theaters in 1.33:1 elsewhere in 1961. However, based on my memory of seeing it in several different theaters outside of major metro centers, I am certain it was not presented that way in any of the theaters I attended.


Not only that, but after the very high profile promotion of those two previous animated features, Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty, as being soooo widescreen and grand, it just doesn't sound like Disney would have whipsawed dramatically back to a look they had just spent a lot of money suggesting was "then" while wider was "now" with their very next one. It just doesn't seem plausible that such a move wouldn't have been taken and written about extensively as a retreat back to an older format. Is there any mention of such a thing in a review of the day? I really don't know.
Hi Cineman!


Your recollections do sound very plausible to me, though unfortunately this just isn't enough without some sort of documented evidence to support this.


I really do feel that you may be on the right track regarding contemporary (1961) reviews, and a detailed one from the Film's original release could very provide some valuable information regarding its original Theatrical Presentation! I've unfortunately, been unable to unearth any, thus far!


Can anyone provide any documentation along these lines for 101 DALMATIANS?


CHEERS!


Tony
 

Cineman

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Tony Bensley said:
I really do feel that you may be on the right track regarding contemporary (1961) reviews, and a detailed one from the Film's original release could very provide some valuable information regarding its original Theatrical Presentation! I've unfortunately, been unable to unearth any, thus far!


Can anyone provide any documentation along these lines for 101 DALMATIANS?


CHEERS!


Tony

Hi Tony,


Yes, I couldn't find anything regarding it from 1961 either. You would think, after Disney made such a big deal about the widescreen format of their two previous animated feature releases, Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty, that a theatrical release virtually anywhere in the country of their very next animated feature in a format that not only reversed the previous 6 years' worth of widescreen animated feature promotion but was also contrary to the format of all but a handful of new American movie releases over the previous 8 years or so, that factor would be almost impossible to ignore and would instead be one of the first comments about it in every contemporary review.


Yet I haven't seen anything written about it from that time nor do I remember ever hearing a word uttered about it since 1961...except on forums like this.


Very puzzling.
 

Tony Bensley

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Mike Frezon said:
Hi Mike!


That is indeed, most frustrating! Plus, within the Review, there is also mention of another Disney Film that most definitely IS Widescreen, SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, that was playing next door to The Palace where ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS was being screened!


I suppose that perhaps, for whatever reason, by 1961, Aspect Ratio discussion just wasn't considered a priority for reviewers, at least in the Animated Film genre? Too bad!


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

Mike Frezon

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MatthewA said:
The original exhibitor pressbooks are your friend.

Thanks, Matthew. RAH had already stated as much HERE.


I asked Bob Furmanek about it HERE and he had nothing on the topic.


I'm convinced (and fine with) a 1.33:1 AR. I'm just trying to get more info for the unconvinced among us--those who say that because of the year it was released, no films from that era should be in academy ratio (or could even have been exhibited in academy ratio).
 

Tony Bensley

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MatthewA said:
The original exhibitor pressbooks are your friend.
Mike Frezon said:
Thanks, Matthew. RAH had already stated as much HERE.


I asked Bob Furmanek about it HERE and he had nothing on the topic.


I'm convinced (and fine with) a 1.33:1 AR. I'm just trying to get more info for the unconvinced among us--those who say that because of the year it was released, no films from that era should be in academy ratio (or could even have been exhibited in academy ratio).
Hi Mike!


Seeing that even the leading authority on such matters has nothing other than what appears in the Press-books of the day, it has to be accepted that ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS (Perhaps not unlike THE ARTIST 50 years later, which besides being nearly Silent and Black & White, IS also 1:37.1 Academy Ratio!) was perhaps, an anomaly in terms of Aspect Ratio Presentation, as odd and out of place as the lone "do not exceed ASPECT RATIO 1:33.1" (As opposed to say, 1:75.1) may seem! As such, it would appear that I may have overstepped in previously stating Widescreen as being its proper presentation!


While I have little doubt that ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS appeared in a Widescreen format in at least some first run Theaters, as any such documentation of this (If any did ever exist. Perhaps Theater owners might have been reluctant to document AR Presentations that went against Studio recommendation?), unfortunately appears to be ever elusive, the Press-books are all that there is to go on!


Also, as I've mentioned in a previous post, we have the technology to approximate a near 1:75.1 AR that should provide a similar result to what some Theater Patrons MIGHT have seen when ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS first played in Theaters 54 years ago.


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

Cineman

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Pressbook citations and filmmakers' stated intentions aside, my guess is it would be harder to find first hand, eyewitness reports from theater-goers claiming to have sat through a 1961 original theatrical release screening of 101 Dalmatians in 1.33:1 than theater-goers claiming to have sat through a 1954 original theatrical release screening of Dial "M" for Murder in 3D.


:rolleyes:
 

Randy Korstick

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True on finding someone who remembers the original 1961 presentation but some of us including myself saw the theatrical reissue in the late 70's and it definitely did not have black bars on the sides.
 

Tony Bensley

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Just to add a wrinkle to the AR debate, I stumbled onto the following info in another thread:


Patrick McCart


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Posted November 25 2008 - 05:48 AM
The Killing - 1.75:1
Paths of Glory - 1.85:1 (hard matted 1.66:1)
101 Dalmatians - 1.75:1 (hard matted 1.66:1 on original prints)



Any thoughts?


CHEERS! :)
 

Mark-P

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Tony Bensley said:
Sorry I couldn't do a direct quote for my above post as the Thread it's in is archived! Therefore, I had to copy and paste, instead!


For the record, this is where I saw the above post: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/275054-films-that-need-dvd-releases-with-their-original-aspect-ratio-anamorphic-if-need-be/page-2


CHEERS! :)


Patrick doesn't give a source from where he gets that information, and I believe it is in error as none of the animated features from 1961 through 1973 were hard-matted. The press book from 1961 states 1.33:1 though many of the re-releases have differed from that.
 

benbess

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I'm now watching my new blu-ray of this for the first time. I don't think I've seen it since I gave up our VHS tape of it about a dozen years ago, and so I wasn't aware until now that this isn't widescreen. But I'm fine with the 1.33 aspect ratio, since I don't want to lose any of the animation or resolution. But maybe this was another way that Disney was saving money after the loses on Sleeping Beauty?
 

Lord Dalek

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Watching my new blu-ray of this for the first time. I don't think I've seen it since I gave up our VHS tape of it about a dozen years ago, and so I wasn't aware until now that this isn't widescreen. But I'm fine with the 1.33 aspect ratio, since I don't want to lose any of the animation or resolution. But maybe this was another way that Disney was saving money after the loses on Sleeping Beauty?
It would have been easier to get a far wider release in 1961 with an open matte release. So yeah probably.

FTR the only time I ever saw 101 Dalmations theatrically was in its 30th anniversary reissue in summer 1991. I assume it was matted to 1.85:1 on that go around.
 

Mark-P

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It would have been easier to get a far wider release in 1961 with an open matte release. So yeah probably.

FTR the only time I ever saw 101 Dalmations theatrically was in its 30th anniversary reissue in summer 1991. I assume it was matted to 1.85:1 on that go around.
I saw the 1991 theatrical release. It was not 1.85:1. It was optically reduced to show 1.33:1 inside a 1.85:1 frame (pillarboxed).
 

Lord Dalek

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^Well I was like 5 and not paying any attention whatsoever to screen dimensions back then so there you go.
 

David Norman

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It was the start of that group of titles in the 60/70's that were often fully animated for 1.33 though I understand it was composed either for 1.66 or 1.85 theatrical release. I think using the full frame was to make it easier for Wonderful World of Color/Disney TV broadcast much like open matte Live Action films.. I'm, pretty sure Jungle Book, Sword/Stone. Aristocats through Fox and the Hound maybe (among others) were done the same way and it has been a long argument about what is the most proper presentation.

A lot of the DVD were done 1.33/1.37, some of the BD (Jungle Book and Fox and the Hound) were done widescreen. Unlike open matte Live Action there aren't going to be any boom or cast members showing up and for the most part if you're going to go to the trouble of animating the whole frame, it's pretty likely to be done with composition in mind. I think Great Mouse Detective is partially finished and folks were unhappy with the widescreen despite being shown multiple scenes that has unfinished drawing, areas of the frame that weren't fully painted.

Many people really strongly feel Jungle Book looks far better than 'Full Screen" felling the widescreen really cuts off too many heads and feels almost claustrophobic at times.

Fox and the Hound I've compared the old 1.33 and widescreen versions and the there is a bit of animated frame missing on both versions.

https://www.dvdizzy.com/oar.htm is one of the better summaries I've found
 

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