Letterboxing, on TV, from a movie?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ChristopherDAC, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I'm not sure if this belongs here, or in TV Programming, or what; but if it's in the wrong place I'll thank the Moderators to move it. In any case, I was viewing a truly dreadful movie, Yum Yum Girls, 1978, and at the end there is a scene of the heroine's parents watching television. What they are watching is the "ABS Friday Night Movie", and the feature is supposedly Terror from the Swamp starring Barbara Eden and George Hunter. Firstly, is this a real movie? Secondly, as you can see in the image below, the picture is being shown letterboxed [actually, the appearance of "junk" in the lower black bar suggests the film is 1.85:1 hard matte and the opeator is not "zooming" it]. Was this a common practice when showing movies at that time, and if so why are there so many people today who are disturbed by the black bars?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    That's a question for the ages, my friend. It's because most people were weaned on fool-screen and are afraid to venture outside of it for fear of "not having my screen filled."

    It's what i've dubbed the 'slave to the shape' mentality, they allow there monitors dimensions to dictate how to watch a film, they don't see the monitor for what it truly is, a device that only exsists to display the films as intended by the creators.

    I rule IT, it does not rule ME.

    As for your first question, i'll leave that to someone else.
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    You can see Forbidden Planet playing letterboxed on a TV in Halloween too.

    I think that they COULD be in widescreen because they are using a copy of the film in the pre-VHS days. In other words, it was a copy of the movie from the studio 'vaults' or a private collection before it was pan and scanned for VHS. And they wouldn't have been able to use a broadcast since they would have to be able to play and re-play the parts they want on the TV in their scene. So it's not that movies weren't pan and scanned for TV, it's that the copies used were from private sources and weren't pan and scanned. Then again, I could be totally wrong...
     
  4. Roger_R

    Roger_R Second Unit

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    They also need to play back the movie in 24fps so the screen doesn't flicker when they film it. I doubt there were that many pan and scanned 24fps copies around in 1978... [​IMG]
     
  5. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    That's one of my favourite parts of the film: the kids watching 50s sci-fi and horror on TV. It evokes a very cozy feeling. Great touch by Carpenter.

    Forbidden Planet isn't fully letterboxed however - it looks about 2:1 amd the OAR is 2.55:1. We're still waiting on a remaster from Warner. The current DVD transfer is poor - the Criterion Laserdisc looks much better, with more accurate colours and less print damage.

    PS: There is no such movie as "Terror from the Swamp" starring Barbara Eden. Barbara Eden was Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie. I think it's an in-joke.
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    There is also no American TV network called "ABS", which is also a clue that something aint right. [​IMG]

    I'm not sure how using a Barbara Eden clip constitutes an "in joke". Eden wasn't in Yum Yum Girls and I'm not aware that anyone involved in the film connected with her. Usually there has to be some kind of connection for an "in joke" to make sense - at least to the people making it. Putting a little R2-D2 on the Close Encounters mothership is an in-joke given the relationship between Speilberg and Lucas and the FX guys involved. Sneaking a prop from Airport '79 probably wouldn't qualify. [​IMG]

    Far morely likely is that the producers either already owned the rights to whatever film they lifted the shot from or could get them cheaply, and paid less by not using the real title. (Eden never did a film with George Hunter, at least none that is recorded on the IMDB, but she did a large number of films both before and after I Dream of Jeannie and several of them could have provided a clip of Barbara Eden running through the woods.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    Hence the name...In Joke. However, your alternate explanation is plausible also.
     

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