Night of the Hunter widescreen?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Pelham, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    I rented this the other night having never seen it before and was looking forward to experiencing this "classic." However I was immediately shocked at the dreaded "This film has been modified from it's original version, it has been formatted to fit this screen" warning preceding the movie.

    I've been trying to find a widescreen version, but it seems that all DVD and laserdisc versions are 1.33:1, and it appears that's how it was filmed and originally presented. Is the "modified warning" just an error on MGM's part?
     
  2. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I won't swear to this, but I'm pretty sure this film's OAR is 1.33:1. It was made in 1955, well after widescreen had taken hold which makes it an oddity.

    I saw this on the big screen about a year ago and if I remember right it was definitely 1.33:1

    P.S. At the screening, they said an eventual SE of this movie would make it's way to DVD. Charle's Laughton's widow (Elsa Lanchester) had left 12+ hours of home video footage shot during the making of "Night Of The Hunter". Much of this was being worked into a full length documentary and some of this was promised to appear on a future DVD.
     
  3. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    While it was made 2 years after CinemaScope came out, movies kept being made at 1.33:1 up to 1960. Alfred Hitchcock made The Wrong Man in 1957 in 1.33:1, despite having worked with VistaVision before that, and even matted widescreen for Rear Window.

    Since Laughton was new to movies (it's a pity he didn't direct more!), it's likely he had it made in 1.33:1 just because he was used to the format.
     
  5. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Agent

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    Yes, the DVD is in the OAR. I hope that doesn't disappoint you. I can't imagine it in any other aspect ratio. The film has brilliant composition. Laughton used the frame masterfully. I would say it's a must see for any film student. And, yes, a movie can have great photography without being 2.35:1.
     
  6. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    I've been told by film professors that he purposely shot the film in 1.33:1 for stylistic reasons.
     
  7. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    Well, as being a member of this forum I am pro-OAR all the way. I guess MGM just goofed by putting the formatted for your TV screen on the DVD.
     
  8. Russ Lucas

    Russ Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    My guess-- and it's just a guess-- is that the original was 1.37:1 and it was cropped ever-so-slightly to fit 1.33:1, but that any alteration requires the "This film has been reformatted" notice.

    There's a similar notice on WB's Strangers on a Train DVD, and that was apparently shaved from 1.37 to 1.33.
     

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