I just ran across something surprising, and after sending Bill Hunt a heads up over at the Digital Bits, it occurred to me that the forum here might be the best place to make mention of it. As fans of early sound films may know, 1930’s The Big Trail (much like another 1930 production, The Bat Whispers) was filmed in both 70mm and 35mm versions, the former representing an early attempt both at large format filmmaking and widescreen photography (while the correct aspect ratio of its 35mm incarnation is and was 1.37:1, the 70mm version of The Big Trail measures in around 2:1 or 2.1:1 ... the IMDB, for reference, lists it at 2.1:1, and another thread here determined it to be 2.13:1 ... quite wide, in other words). I’ve run across showings of The Big Trail on cable, but always at 1.33:1, and was very much looking forward to its June 3rd release on DVD, where I hoped I’d at last see this early widescreen effort in its expansive glory. While I’ve never shopped there, I often refer to DVDEmpire for quality scans of both front and back cover art of upcoming DVDs, and a back cover scan of The Big Trail recently went up at their site. You can find it here: http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...7&tab=5&back=1 And while some of us with smaller monitors may need our magnifying glasses handy, it does, to my dismay, list only a 1.33:1 aspect ratio for the film. Now, the box goes on to say that this is "the aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition," but to my understanding that’s only half right: while the film has not been panned and scanned and was, indeed, released to theaters in its 35mm version at 1.37:1, its 70mm version is inextricable from (and invaluable to) its place in film history, and may well be a high priority for those interested in the picture. On another thread, found here ... http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...=the+big+trail ... a member of the forum mentioned seeing the film in its widescreen version on a cable channel not long ago, so I’m assuming (and it’s strictly an assumption, as I do not have access to any version of the film) the 70mm manifestation of The Big Trail remains extant, and useable elements remain in someone's (Fox’s?) possession. If this is the case, I’m dismayed (might be that I’m just a fan of the Duke) that the film is being presented solely in a video transfer derived from its 35mm version – if it were an either/or decision, I’d have preferred the 70mm version emerge the winner. There may be arguments in favor of a 35mm presentation, and I certainly welcome them ... but to see the film in anamorphic widescreen would have been an undeniable treat, and the widescreen photography certainly seduced the heart of the man who served as cinematographer on the 70mm version of the film, Arthur Edeson, an article by whom (on this subject) may be found here: http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/wide...ur-sep1930.htm. It’s worth noting that the IMDB lists the running time of the two versions as substantially divergent from one another: the 70mm version clocks in around 158 minutes, it seems, and the 35mm version at 125 minutes. Now, Image (on behalf of Milestone Films) issued a DVD of The Bat Whispers in which both the 35mm and 70mm versions were offered (the 70mm version in 2:1, though I believe non-anamorphic; I cannot confirm this as I do not own the disc); while the running times of The Big Trail would have made this more difficult, much like Universal’s recent release of the Bing Crosby Double Feature disc A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court / The Emperor Waltz, in which the Technicolor photography of the first film needed its own dual-layered side, a DVD-14 could have served the needs of The Big Trail nicely, given that the back of the box, linked above, also states that this 1.33:1 DVD version of the film occupies a single layer (I highly recommend all three of the Bing discs, by the way, in particular Rhythm on the Range / Rhythm on the River, but Connecticut Yankee is the best looking of the bunch, and the other discs are DVD-9s; I haven’t yet watched The Emperor Waltz on the flipside of Connecticut Yankee’s DVD-14). Does anyone have insight into why a decision was made to present The Big Trail in its 35mm version only? If its 70mm version lies in DVD’s future, then this is largely a non-issue and both discs will prove welcome additions to the world of DVD, but if no edition of The Big Trail from 70mm widescreen elements is planned, this release would seem incomplete. I have the utmost respect for what Fox has done with their Studio Classics line in 2003, and their many classic releases before the line (including The Robe, The Fly / Return of the Fly, their magnificent release of Cleopatra, and others), so remain puzzled by this unfortunate decision for The Big Trail, a landmark film in both the career of its star (still quite young here, of course, but occupying a true feature epic -- at least by virtue of length, and also format -- for the first time in his career) and the history of large format film photography. Any info would be most welcome, and, sincerely, I’d like to once again mention that this issue in no way diminishes the stellar work Fox is doing in its Studio Classics line, a series of DVDs which represent some of the most value-conscious, and some of the best, presentations of classic films on the market. Oh, and yes, I do, of course, hold out some hope that the box for The Big Trail is misprinted, but ... well, it’s a small hope.