A situation has developed over at Columbia Tristar which should be of concern to everyone with an interest in DVD and home theater in general. THE EIGHTEENTH ANGEL and ME WITHOUT YOU were released on DVD by Columbia during the last few weeks, both letterboxed at 1.85:1, and both featuring the following disclaimer on the packaging: "This disc is presented in a WIDESCREEN VERSION which preserves the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of approx. 1.85:1." While the disclaimer is correct in stating that the discs contain widescreen versions of the respective films, they DO NOT preserve the 'original aspect ratio'. In fact, both films were NOT composed for 1.85:1, but were photographed in anamorphic Panavision and screened theatrically at 2.35:1, which means that the DVD's are SIGNIFICANTLY CROPPED from their original aspect ratios. 'Widescreen Review's Mike Coate has confirmed that the DVD version of ME WITHOUT YOU actually OPENS at 2.35:1, then expands to 1.85:1 following the main titles! Mike also confirms the scope format of THE EIGHTEENTH ANGEL, which I had viewed on television prior to the film's release on disc, where I quickly noticed the photographic 'blemishes' which are common in anamorphic photography. I've been studying this subject for most of my adult life, so it's very easy for me to distinguish between the 'standard' 1.85:1 format, anamorphic scope, Techniscope and Super 35. Columbia Tristar has a deserved reputation for the pristine quality of its DVD's. They have consistently set the standard for absolute clarity and precision, and I applaud their efforts. However, their reputation was spoiled recently by the decision to release a handful of titles in full-screen format only. That was bad enough. But to do the same thing with scope movies (whether photographed anamorphically or in Super 35), and then to provide misleading information on the packaging of said movies, is unforgivable. And they've done it before: MUTE WITNESS was photographed in Super 35 and released theatrically at 2.35:1, though Columbia's laserdisc edition was reframed at 1.85:1 (apparently, against the director's wishes), and their packaging labelled the 'original aspect ratio' as 1.85:1. Their upcoming DVD version, however, appears to have reinstated the director's intended scope framing, which is good news. But these other DVD's are more troubling. I was prepared to overlook THE EIGHTEENTH ANGEL as an accident, perhaps the result of a defective master, supplied to Columbia via an outside agency. But to find the same thing happening again within the space of a few weeks seems to indicate a deliberate policy of reframing certain scope movies on DVD. Perhaps I'm wrong, and perhaps these were genuine mistakes? Perhaps Columbia isn't even aware of the error, though it's difficult to comprehend how a movie can OPEN at 2.35 and then expand to 1.85 without someone noticing it, somewhere along the line! Perhaps Columbia have adopted a policy of 'testing the waters', by reformatting low-profile scope movies to 1.85 with a view to widening the policy to A-titles in the not so distant future? Who knows? Whatever the case, however, the information provided with the discs themselves is clearly misleading. These movies have been altered from their original compositions, and there is no indication of that on the packaging.