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Paths Of Glory - on DVD (1 Viewer)

Harry-N

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I'm going to try asking this here, but I'm not sure I'll get an answer. This is a quite puzzling situation.

I've been a Kubrick fan for years, but never got a chance to see PATHS OF GLORY or own it in any home video format. It's not included in the several Kubrick sets I've owned.

So it happened that one day in the past year, we were floating by one of those bins where video stock is at a reduced price and you have to root through it to find anything of value. Well, I saw a copy of PATHS OF GLORY on an MGM DVD for a grand total of about $4 +. Having never seen the movie, and not wanting to spend a large amount on it before knowing whether or not I'd like it, I thought this was a perfect solution. I could watch the movie - preview it, if you will - and then if it's really great IMHO, then I'd gladly upgrade to a Blu-ray, even a Criterion version.

Until now, I haven't had a chance to look at it, but with the recent passing of Kirk Douglas, and with a lot of time due to current circumstances, I thought I'd give it a look.

When I play this title on any of my four Blu-ray players, all Sony, the aspect ratio is really strange. The DVD package says on the rear,

SCREEN FORMAT
STANDARD
VERSION

Theatrical release format

OK, so I would expect a 4:3 image on my TV. And the MGM logo and menu came up in a 4:3 format. But when I hit play, the screen went wide starting with the UA logo. OK, I thought perhaps they mistakenly authored a 16:9 version of the movie on the DVD.

But then when the picture moved to the interior with the generals discussing strategy, it appeared to me as if the heads were being chopped off. Annoyed, I went looking for online evidence of the proper aspect ratio, which I've learned is 1.66:1, and that the DVD was supposed to be an open-matte 4:3. But with every setting I knew how to adjust on both the TV and the Blu-ray player, I could not get it to display a proper 4:3 image, and every mode had the headroom compromised.

This morning, I put the DVD into my computer's DVD Drive and THERE, I got what I sought - a 4:3 image with all of the headroom intact.

I've checked this in all of my Blu-ray players, and they all chop off the headroom and expand to 16:9.

But two older DVD players seem to allow a standard 4:3 image.

For reference this is an MGM DVD from 1999, UPC 0 27616-7674-2 4.
 

Harry-N

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Oh well, my question has had 125 views in the past day and not even a single comment, let alone answers. I suppose that a DVD from over 20 years ago is not exactly of interest to anyone.
 

Robert Crawford

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Oh well, my question has had 125 views in the past day and not even a single comment, let alone answers. I suppose that a DVD from over 20 years ago is not exactly of interest to anyone.
TBH, I think most of us have moved on from the DVD to the 2010 Criterion Blu-ray.
 

Harry-N

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I'm sure that's the case, Robert. I guess I was hoping for someone who still has that old DVD to respond with their results. I found them so odd that it seemed like something that could be discussed here. Surely someone's hoarded it somewhere.

Well, to be honest, in a couple of days it won't matter anyway. Based on what little I've seen, I went ahead and ordered the Criterion Blu-ray. Although Amazon stated a month for delivery, it's already shipped and should be here Friday.
 

dana martin

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i had that disc, a long long time ago, so the rue question is have you watched the disc, the film it's self is an outstanding tour de force go Kirk Douglass and his Bryna Productions, apparently upon meeting Kubrick, he stated that he didn't care if the film made a dime but needed to be made.
 

Harry-N

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And the Blu-ray arrived today. Much nicer with proper 1.66:1 framing. I still wonder about what caused the DVD to chop off heads while automatically going wide.
 

Josh Steinberg

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It’s either something in the disc’s metadata that is misflagged or a setting in your player that is misreading the disc and automatically applying a zoom.
 

Mark-P

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While I don’t have that particular dvd, I’ve had several that were flagged as “letterbox” and my Sony Blu-ray player would automatically zoom them. The only way to defeat it was to lie to my Blu-ray player and set TV type to 4:3!
 

Harry-N

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While I don’t have that particular dvd, I’ve had several that were flagged as “letterbox” and my Sony Blu-ray player would automatically zoom them. The only way to defeat it was to lie to my Blu-ray player and set TV type to 4:3!

You know I tried that - telling the DVD player that my TV was 4:3. It ended up putting the headless image inside a windowbox. Just strange!
 

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