Did Hitchcock work with 1:85 in mind while filming "The birds"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by AlbertAgullo, Oct 21, 2001.

  1. AlbertAgullo

    AlbertAgullo Agent

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    We are having a debate here in Spain about the upcoming release of The birds in full screen format. We don't know yet if it will be pan & scan or open mate (I bet it'll be pan & scan).
    An interesting point appeared talking about which should
    be the correct version of the film (according to Hitchcock's mind): the 1:85 version or a 1:37 open version.
     
  2. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The Birds was photographed in FA, known today as
    Super 35 format.
    RAH
     
  3. AlbertAgullo

    AlbertAgullo Agent

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    Thanks Mr. Harris. Let me tell you I love the wonderful job you've done restoring films.
    In fact, the dude we have is if directors like Premminger or Hitchock had the intended ratio in mind while filming with standard 35 mmm 1:37 frame. Were they composing to 1:37?
     
  4. AlbertAgullo

    AlbertAgullo Agent

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    And again: What do you think should be better: a 1:85 viewing or an open matte viewing of "The birds"?
    Thanks a lot.
     
  5. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    I would assume that since there was no such thing as the home video market in 1963, that Hitchcock composed the framing with only the theatrical release in mind and knew that it would be exhibited 1.85:1 and composed the framing as such. Why would he have shot it with 1.37:1 in mind since it would not have been exhibited that way?
    That being said, Hitchcock was never a fan of wide screen and is one of the few (only?) major directors who never shot a film in the Cinemascope/Panavision 2.35:1 ratio, although theoretically some of the VistaVision films he made could have been exhibited as such depending on the projection.
     
  6. Danny_N

    Danny_N Second Unit

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    The R2 (& R4) versions of The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain and Topaz are P&S abominations. Unbelievable but true. Then again, it's Universal Europe who is releasing these and they have a very bad track record. EG they managed to release El Cid in 4:3 ...
     
  7. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Most Hitchcock films that were photographed soft matte with the intention of being shown widescreen (1.66 or wider) in theaters will not "work" as straight open matte transfers. It may look fine for a large chunks of the films, but almost assuredly, there will be shots where the edges of a rear-projected image, a matte painting, or some other boundary will be exposed unless it is properly letterboxed. An open matte transfer will either expose these studio artifices or will have to be panned & scanned to conceal them.
    Like we needed another reason to demand OAR, anyway, but there you have it.
    Regards,
    ------------------
    Ken McAlinden
    Livonia, MI USA
     

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