Knights of the Round Table question....

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bob Engleman, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. Bob Engleman

    Bob Engleman Stunt Coordinator

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    The IMDb is showing this film shot at a ratio of 2:55 to 1, but the Warner DVD's at 1:85 to 1; please comment.

    Bob Engleman
     
  2. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    I have the DVD and its somewhere between 2:35 to 1 and
    2:55 to 1 but definately not 1:85 to 1.
    and its a very nice transfer to boot.
     
  3. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Are you sure that the DVD cover isn't just an error? Have you watched the disc to verify the ratio? The film was shot in CinemaScope, so I'd hope the disc isn't cropped to 1:85 to 1.
     
  4. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    The DVD is definitely 'scope ratio (I didn't get out the ruler to check, but it's at least 2.35, but maybe even wider than that).
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, to what Peter said.





    Crawdaddy
     
  6. Derek M Germano

    Derek M Germano Second Unit

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  7. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    I believe MGM also shot a "flat" version of the film. Can anyone confirm?
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    MGM shot flat and CinemaScope versions of the film.

    The flat version seemed to be marketed in Europe more from what I read at www.widescreenmuseum.com
     
  9. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    The Europeans were late in converting theatres to Cinemascope so MGM shot a lot of early CinemaScope films along with a flat version. Which is kind of interesting since the process was invented by a Frenchman!
     
  10. William D Cavender

    William D Cavender Stunt Coordinator

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    My gosh a lot of blind people making commentary about the aspect ratio of a film they arn't watching.... In the film is Major Boudrough!!!
     
  11. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    When this film was shot, ALL 'Scope films were 2.55:1.
     
  12. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    This was MGM's first CinemaScope production (as Derek points out in his excellent review). Personally, I find the transfer on the DVD lively and very pleasing, despite a bit of frame damage and what I believe is a faded yellow layer in just one sequence. The ratio is unquestionably Scope, and while I didn't measure it precisely, I marked off my display for the height of Scope Panavision, using several Scope Panavision DVDs as a reference (the exact ratio, according to measurements provided by Robert Harris, is 2.394:1, which is usually cited as either 2.35:1 or 2.40:1), and both the top and bottom of Knights of the Round Table fall inside of these markers. I'm therefore inclined to say it's 2.55:1, but it's unquestionably in the 2.35-2.55:1 range.

    If you like the film itself (which can be rather stagey, particularly in the fight sequences -- a few too many "stab to the side of the man and trust false perspective to make it look as if you've run him through" cheats crop up, but it all improves quite a bit in the second half of the picture), I highly recommend the DVD.

    P.S. This is an anamorphic presentation. If the transfer looks vertically stretched on your display and seems closer to 1.78:1, you probably have a non-anamorphic display. If this is the case, your player needs to be set to its "4:3 widescreen" or "non-anamorphic" playback mode; otherwise, it'll send out an anamorphic signal, the set is unable to convert that signal, and what you see is a great many very thin actors on abnormally tall horses in an incorrect frame ratio. [​IMG] In the event this is the case, be aware that anamorphic encoding increases resolution on compatible displays by stretching the image vertically, whereby the transfer is able to make use of scan lines (or pixels of resolution, if you prefer) which would otherwise be "wasted" in creating the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, but for standard 4:3 non-anamorphic displays, this "vertical stretch" or "horizontal squeeze" of the image has to be corrected ("downconverted") in the player for standard (4:3) resolution playback. Otherwise it remains stretched (compatible displays automatically "unsqueeze" the image without removing any of the detail gained in the process). This is an easy thing to overlook in first setting up a DVD player, but vital for proper playback.
     
  13. Bob Engleman

    Bob Engleman Stunt Coordinator

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    The reasons I inquired were that the package's a tad ambiguous, and the IMDb listing of the smaller ratio. In the event it had been altered, there wouldn't have been any reason to make the purchase. Thank to all.

    Bob Engleman
     
  14. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    The audio is unfortunately 2.0 instead of 3.0 or 4.0. It would have been nice to have had the MGM short 'Overture to Merry Wives of Windsor' in 3/4.0 aswell.
     
  15. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Steve is the Merry Wives of Windsor Overture Anamorphic?

    I already have it on "The Bells are Ringing" Laserdisc, so if it is not Anamorphic, I may consider giving the Round Table a miss.

    Another one of these enjoyable MGM Overtures, "The Poet and the Peasant",which is on the recent "Silk Stockings" DVD, is sadly 4:3 Letterbox only and with a rather undistinguished stereo soundtrack.
     
  16. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    It's 4:3 letterboxed (non-anamorphic widescreen), Doug*. I'm happy to have the disc for the quality anamorphic transfer of the feature, but it's always a little sad, whatever the financial obstacles (short subject "extras" may be a difficult sell for restorations and new transfers, I suppose), to see anything in 'Scope that looks like mediocre laser this late in the DVD game. I felt the same about the P&P extra on Silk Stockings, of course, and also the Donald Duck short on Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It's great to have them at all, but it'd be far grander if there were a way for the studios to properly restore and anamorphically encode these without cutting too deeply into their disc profits. I haven't seen their books [​IMG], but I'm guessing this is why they've recycled old analogue transfers for these extras. I'll only complain in a very slight whisper so long as the features continue to warrant restorations and high quality anamorphic presentations, which of course is the overwhelming priority ... but speaking of that, it's looking like Knights of the Round Table needs that one yellow-faded battle scene restored for its future in the physical film world. If that deterioration begins to spread to further original elements, WB will, I trust, be on top of it. Silk Stockings looks fantastic throughout, and 2KLUtS (I couldn't resist that abbreviation!) looks about as good as I'd expect, given its production history -- pretty good, in other words.

    But back to Knights: the other two extras (premiere footage that appears severely cut, but is nevertheless nice to have, and offers Universal a passing plug in the mention of Bing Crosby's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by one of the stars) and a very brief, but also very welcome, introduction from Mel Ferrar (his intro to Scaramouche is more detailed) are draws in their own right. I understand Criterion has a commentary by George Sidney and others for Scaramouche, though, and after his excellent commentary on the Harvey Girls DVD, presumably recorded for WB, I'm sorry a deal couldn't be brokered with Criterion for its inclusion (I know Criterion is historically quite closed doored about licensing their in-house extras). Still, in the absence of such an extra, brief intros by Mr. Ferrar are a small (by virtue of their running time) but valuable treasure.

    Note that I'd love to see WB continue what they've done for their excellent The Courtship of Eddie's Father DVD: assemble cast members for a running commentary. I cherish that commentary, and have encouraged Fox elsewhere on the forum to move heaven and earth to record commentaries by Shirley Jones for Oklahoma! and Carousel, either as solo commentaries or running interviews. Intros are great, but a full commentary with production remembrances and history are pure gold, particularly from anyone so charismatic and deeply gifted as Ms. Jones (or Mr. Ferrar, in the case of Knights of the Round Table and Scaramouche). Stella Stevens and Dina Merrill join Ms. Jones on Courtship (I believe Ms. Jones was recorded by herself, Ms. Stevens and Ms. Merrill together, if my ear was picking up the right signals, but they all appear to be newly recorded -- one of the ladies even mentions DVD), and that's like shipping three diamonds with every disc, so far as I'm concerned. What a treat.

    On the packaging front, just as an FYI for Bob and all who may be interested, the blurb provided by WB on the back of Knights is their standard line for 'Scope product, and if you see this phrasing on other discs from the studio, you can (in every one I've seen, at any rate) rest assured that the ratio is correct, and of course anamorphically enhanced, as per the concluding statement:

    "WIDESCREEN VERSION PRESENTED IN A "LETTERBOX" WIDESCREEN FORMAT PRESERVING THE "SCOPE" ASPECT RATIO OF ITS ORIGINAL THEATRICAL EXHIBITION. ENHANCED FOR WIDESCREEN TVS."

    The words "letterbox" and, of course, "Scope" are exclusive to 2.35:1 product and wider in the studio's packaging history, so far as I've seen. They use "matted," instead of "letterbox," for pictures that are so presented. Here's an example from the back of an early disc, Bullitt:

    "WIDESCREEN VERSION Presented in a "matted" widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs."

    I reckon they've gone to caps because it's all so dang small to begin with. [​IMG] But otherwise they've been consistent with this system. It isn't as straightforward as Universal's grid system, but then again WB still uses snappers, too .... Oh, and if you're ordering on-line, the easiest way to check all of this is to stop over at DVDEmpire, whether or not you'll be shopping with them. They offer both front and back cover scans of most products that are in release (and often titles that are soon to be released, as well, depending on just how early they get them in), and with a large monitor or a magnifying glass, you can usually make out these format fields at the bottom of the back cover scan. I never trust the site programmer to get it right in the disc info panel on the purchasing page. Cover scans at least give you the same info you'd be able to find if looking at it in a B&M -- I think Amazon once offered back cover scans as well (I may be wrong), but no longer, and I've currently found DVDEmpire to be the only on-line resource for this very valuable tool.

    *What's that? Is my name Steve? Well, no ....
     
  17. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Johnny Green, the conductor, had the longest baton I've ever seen! [​IMG]
     

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