Having just recently purchased and thoroughly enjoyed Criterion's A HARD DAY'S NIGHT'S beautiful Blu-Ray restoration, which includes a now properly restored Soundtrack and 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio, I now find myself with questions regarding their Second Feature, HELP!
My Capitol issued DVD of HELP! from 2007 is presented in 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio, which I always figured to be off at least slightly, and comments that I've read seem to support that. Besides the 2013 HELP! Blu-Ray issue, I understand that Apple also previously issued a Second DVD Set which presents HELP! in it's correct 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio.
My question is this: Should I decide to order the aforementioned Apple DVD from Amazon, how can I know that I'm not just simply reordering the 2007 DVD Set that I already have? I do wish that Capitol had also included a HELP! DVD Set with the corrected Aspect Ratio in their Blu-Ray release from last year, as Criterion has done for A HARD DAY'S NIGHT! This would have made replacing the 2007 DVD release easier and less expensive, as I would like to have HELP!'s corrected Aspect Ratio in both Formats, but so it goes!
It seems that the Screen Aspect Ratio is the one Technical Spec that is the most inaccurately reported of all! Even extremely highly reputable Cinephiles often get this one wrong!
The point that I'm making is that upon taking Screenshots for both the new Criterion DVD for A HARD DAY'S NIGHT and the 2007 DVD issue of HELP!, the "Correctly" reported Aspect Ratio for the latter has come into question for me!
I've found that while A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (Reported to have a 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio*) has very thin sidebars, HELP!'s (Also with a reported 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio**) sidebars are considerably wider by comparison.
Therefore, it stands to reason that they cannot both have 1.75:1 Aspect Ratios!
Below Is A Screenshot That I Have Captured From Each Of The Aforementioned Titles For Comparison:
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (50TH Anniversary Criterion DVD, With A Reported 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio):
Note The Very Thin Sidebars On The Above A HARD DAY'S NIGHT Screenshot!
HELP (2007 Apple / EMI / Parlophone DVD, With A Reported 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio):
Note That The Sidebars On The Above HELP! Screenshot Appear To Be At Least Three Times The Width Of Those For A HARD DAY'S NIGHT!
Any thoughts or observations regarding these?
Tony "Why Can't Anybody Correctly Document The Actual Aspect Ratio?" Bensley
(With Apologies To Gary "Quotations" O, Should He Read This! )
P.S. * According to the A HARD DAY'S NIGHT Criterion Collection Back Cover Liner Notes, though its Amazon Page now lists the Aspect Ratio at 1.77:1.
** According to information posted on this Title's Amazon Page. The Back Cover inaccurately lists HELP!'s Aspect Ratio as 16X9, which is approximately equivalent to 1.78:1!
I've been reading some Amazon Reviews for this HELP! Blu-Ray. While these have generally been positive, I do have a concern. One Amazon Reviewer stated that while the Blu-ray looks extremely good, there are certain digital artifacts suggesting that this might be an older HD transfer.
Based on the information above, I'm inclined to sit on my HELP! 2 DVD Set (Which also has the very same Bonus Features as the Blu-Ray Disc!) until next year, with the hope that Criterion might get sub-licensing from Apple and do another amazing 50th Anniversary Restoration (As they did with A HARD DAY'S NIGHT!), along with including some additional extras! As Criterion has previously issued HELP! on Laserdisc, I don't consider this a "Pie in the Sky" wish.
In the meantime, does anyone have any thoughts as to how Apple's HELP! DVD and Blu-Ray Versions compare? If the visual difference is significant, I might reconsider my current "Stand Pat" on the DVD Set stance!