Pan n Scan: DVD vs. AMC, TCM and IFC

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Alan, May 10, 2002.

  1. Brian Alan

    Brian Alan Agent

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    The other night I was flipping around the channels on cable, and noticed that AMC, TCM, and IFC were each showing movies in widescreen. The movie on TCM was in CinemaScope, even. I smiled at my good fortune, as I will often watch at least half an hour of anything on one of those channels if it's being presented in OAR--some of those movies have never been released to video in the US in any form.

    Then it occurred to me that my mother-in-law, who's over 60, watches AMC almost exclusively. My mother as well (she's over 60 as well). Indeed, I bet that the proportion of older viewers watching AMC and TCM is high relative to other channels, given the content of those channels. Yet, I have never once heard either of them complain about widescreen--and I know for a fact I've never discussed widescreen with them. Thus, a segment of viewers often written off as "uneducatable" as to widescreen actually either don't mind it, or prefer it as to pan & scam.

    I wonder if there isn't some way to link public support for (or at least the lack of protest against) widescreen movies on cable and widescreen on VCR. For example, people who see a great movie on widescreen on AMC are going to notice something is wrong when they are inspired to go buy the DVD and find out that a big chunk of the picture is missing.

    Maybe there's some other way to do this. I just wanted to throw this out to the membership in the hope that savvier minds than my own could think this over and come up with something useful.
     
  2. Jon_W

    Jon_W Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't watch AMC at all because they rarely show movies in OAR . On the other hand 99% of the time TCM shows movies in OAR. AMC is crap with MAR presentations and now commercials. I think I get your general premise and I agree with it. I think a better example might be the letterbox presentations of ER, The West Wing, and Enterprise, to name a few. All these shows get big primetime network audiences. Since the networks are continuing to show these programs in letterbox it seems to inticate a certain acceptance by the general public. However, maybe the same consumers that complain at Walmart don't watch those shows or they just don't mind 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
     
  3. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    What really chaps my hide is when you get an OAR presentation on these channels (i.e. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on TCM; Storefront Hitchcock on Sundance) and the DVD is P&S only.

    Is AMC still showing commercials? I haven't watched it since they began that odious practice.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Combine classic movies on DVD, plus TCM and you basically can have the ultimate movie experience.

    TCM has told me that they try to show OAR presentations whenever they can...there's a few instances where they have no control over it (Usually because of films from other studios) or a weird occurance.

    They did switch back to the P&S print of Around the World in Eighty Days...but the reason isn't letterboxing, but the fact that the P&S print is uncut while the LBX one is missing nearly 40 minutes (both lack the intermission, overture, and exit music which can be found on the soundtrack CD).

    AMC used to be a great channel, but they've slumped badly. They have the gall to show My Fair Lady, Vertigo, and Rear Window in P&S after all the restoration work was done to them...and they now show 1980's and 1990's crap like Predator and Mask.

    Adding to the superiority of TCM over AMC, Robert Osborne's intros and closings are top-notch. The AMC intros are fluff (only AMC would have a block called Film Preservation Classics and show a P&S print...).
     
  5. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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  6. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    AMC was never great to begin with, but they were the only game in town before TCM began. AMC seems to have gone steadily downhill in the last five years, and there's no sign of any recovery. First they started with commercials between films, then during their "original programming" (usually factory-generated crackerjack crap-documentaries from Fox TV), and now during the films themselves. They show the same handful of movies to death (including MADE FOR TV movies). Worst of all they hardly ever respect OAR, and when they occasionally do, it's only at odd hours.

    Anyone paying attention to them lately must have noticed the downward spiral in their programming, under the guise of trying to reach "younger viewers".

    Now I have heard they are changing their name to AMERICAN MOVIE CHANNEL, to de-emphasize CLASSICS. It's ironic that even though they're attempting to reach a more youthful demographic, I constantly see commercials for elderly medical companies, and Epil-Stop! I occasionally tune in to watch THE THREE STOOGES or THE LITTLE RASCALS, only to be so frustrated by the multitude of commercials they've sandwiched in between these short films that I usually change the channel.

    TCM just seems to be getting better and better, and the same can be said for IFC and the Sundance Channel. As for AMC, they should pack it in and change their call letters to RIP.
     
  7. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    TCM is the one I'm with. They've got THE best selection of movies hands-down. From all decades, TCM is the top. OAR, Uncut, and they can get away with a lot on TCM...I think the only verboten word on TCM is the F-bomb, and I think they're even loosening up on that one (it was seen on-screen in an OAR presentation of "Foul Play"). Yes, they play 70s, 80s and 90s movies on TCM as well, but it's good stuff like "Network", "Grease", "The Jerk", "Pennies From Heaven", "Arthur", "Victor/Victoria", "My Favorite Year", "Poltergeist", "Back To The Future", "Pretty In Pink", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Moonstruck", "Baby Boom", "The Remains Of The Day" and "Philadelphia"...all in OAR! TCM rocks the joint! Pound-for-pound, the best network around, the only game in town...TCM! No cuts...No Commercials...NO COMPETITION!

    Sincerely,

    John "Ya think I'm enthusiastic about this network?" Kilduff
     
  8. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    For those of us who record from the air, TCM is really the only choice anymore for classic films. Not only do they run most movies in OAR, but their logo "bug" appears only briefly at approx. 15-minute intervals. AMC, on the other hand, sold out and became another channel like Disney, with permanent bugs, commercials, and lack of OAR. AMC only rarely does OAR anymore - they have truly become a crappy channel in their quest for a wider (read: lowest common denominator) audience. Shame on you, AMC.
     
  9. Nicholas Vargo

    Nicholas Vargo Second Unit

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    Ok. Here's the deal in my opinion:

    AMC--This channel is beginning to make me yack. Not only are they showing films like the box-office bomb "The Good Son" (God, I hate that movie), but they completely Pan&Scan every movie they show. It's like AMC and Bravo! signed some sort of deal because some movies alternate between the two channels. The biggest problem I have is commercials. They take too much time to complete on that channel and they are not needed whatsoever. They are almost as bad as The Disney Channel's Zoog Disney idea, which is a waste of time by the way. The only good thing left on that channel is "Backstory", but it is ruined by commercials and the fact that the movie it profiles doesn't come right after it. That's horrible

    IFC--Pretty good channel. No commercials, no cuts and about half of the time, films are shown OAR only. Hey, you have to like any channel that shows "Peter's Friends" in widescreen, especially if it isn't availible in widescreen on any video format whatsoever. That's remarkable.

    TCM--The best of the bunch, in my opinion. No commercials, no cuts, and almost always OAR. The visions of films like "Manhattan", "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World", and "Ben-Hur" are shown in all their glory. I will admit that maybe it's pushing it a little far, but these three films mentioned above were filmed in gigantic scope and for good reason. This is the way films should be shown on network television, no commercials, no cuts or dubs, and no MAR presentations. if this was the case with me, I would start a network just like that. I pretend I do with how many movies I have and I do have some MAR movies on VHS (gasp) just because I like them, but I focis on my DVD collection on a regular basis.

    So there you go. Hope you agree with me.
     
  10. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    BTW, Fox Movie Channel is starting to become a solid option as well. Maybe Peter is exchanging memos with people in that division or who knows what, but somebody there is starting to get it right.

    That's a good thing since AMC was leaving us with only TCM as a serious option. With all the great films that have been made you would think that 2 or 3 of these channels could all be running OAR classics 24/7 without getting too repetitive, yet AMC....ugh, go figure.
     
  11. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    BTW, a cool thing that IFC sometimes does is show the commentary track version of films. I watched Trainspotting like this (it was the Criterion LD as a source it would seem) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To me showing the film then later that night showing it with the commentary on represents a true love of film from a broadcaster's standpoint.
    It certainly makes me take notice when a channel does this sort of stuff.
     
  12. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I basically agree with everything you guys have said.

    I'll still watch AMC, but only for older movies with an OAR of 1.33. And even then, there's a better selection of those these days on TMC. And I'll second the good word for FMC. I just pray that TMC doesn't change anytime soon. After all, AMC used to be good.
     
  13. Jon_W

    Jon_W Stunt Coordinator

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  14. KevinJ

    KevinJ Supporting Actor

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    the only problem is tcm and ifc are only avilable on digital cable or satellite so those of us with regular cable are stuck with amc.
     
  15. Randy B A

    Randy B A Supporting Actor

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    TCM and Sundance are the two best channels for watching movies in oar. Those are the two i always check when surfing.

    Another good one for our oar challenged visitors is the sopranos. WS and 5.1 sound. great job HBO.
     
  16. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    I usually stay away from Sundance because most of the time I have wanted to watch a movie on there, it was MAR.

    Regarding AMC, I think they would have started to show more and more WS films, but I think they are showing P&S on purpose as a way to compete with TMC, which has expanded its households in the last few years.
     
  17. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    I agree guys. I am not surprised to hear of AMC's demise. They obviously have decided to cater to a younger demographic, hence their decision to drop "classic" from their name. I was at my grandmother's a few weekends ago, and flipped to AMC. They were showing "Predator" and then they showed "The Good Son." I shrugged, "what happened to this network?" In my opinion, TCM has always been much better, even when AMC was showing classics. TCM had the classic MGM catalog with all of those golden age stars I love - Harlow, Gable, Powell, Garbo, Loy, The Barrymore's, etc; They also show awesome foreign classics from Fellini, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Renoir, and a great deal of film noir. They also show silents from Griffith, Murnau, Lang, Von Stoheim, Chaplin, etc; To me, AMC was NEVER in TCM's league. I had the opportunity to meet Robert Osborne here in Los Angeles at a screening of "Singin' in the Rain" (He was MC for the evening) and he was very pleasant and knowledgeable. TCM's commitment to OAR is awesome - they are a station for people who simply love film.
     
  18. Ivan_F

    Ivan_F Extra

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    I agree with you guys on most everything on this post. I will give AMC some props for showing Raiders of the Lost Ark in widescreen a month or 2 ago, but it is few and far between. Sundance also shows some OAR, I think Waking the Dead was shown in widescreen, but then they show Requiem for a Dream in P&S. Go figure![​IMG]
     
  19. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    IFC over TCM for me since IFC doesn't edit language or sexual content (as far as I know). The only time I'd even seen the widescreen version of Wild at Heart since its theatrical release. IFC also aired the full OAR uncut Fire Walk With Me. When TCM does that, they will truly move up a notch.
     
  20. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Patrick.

    Good point...however, in all fairness, TCM is a classic film channel, and a good 95% of the films they carry are much older and contain no explicit language or sexual content to edit. Though I like IFC a great deal for MODERN (meaning the last 25 years) film viewing, my vote is still with TCM overall.

    Reg
     

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