The Sword in the Stone OAR?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by GeoffBr, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. GeoffBr

    GeoffBr Agent

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    Apologies if this has been discussed earlier, but I'm new to the forum and can't find it in a search.

    I saw the Disney Gold collection of The Sword in the Stone on sale at my local Circuit City for about 10 bucks... since I have fond memories of the title, I picked it up with some other ones and brought it home.

    It's a fullscreen release, which I understood to be its OAR. After checking online though, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what the OAR actually is for this film -- some people rip Disney for only providing a 1.33:1 copy and others say that was how it was originally made. Adding to the confusion, there is no widescreen available (anywhere), but the back of the box has the dreaded "This release has been modified" warning. Can anyone clear this up once and for all? Thanks!
     
  2. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    This has been discussed many times before. I'm afriad that no one knows "For Sure" if this is OAR or not. Although it is curious that no one has commented that they saw it it the theaters, because they could definately tell us if it was widescreen or 1.33:1. Also, there is a story about Sword in the Stone on the page below.

    http://www.ultimatedisney.com/oar.htm
     
  3. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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  4. Sean Campbell

    Sean Campbell Second Unit

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    Wasn't it shot in 1:33:1 and then matted for theatrical release? Robin Hood, The Aristocats & The Fox and the Hound were also released in full screen format on dvd. As the majority of Disney titles are released in OAR ( in R2 anyway, not sure about in the US ), I suspect that the full screen format for SITS is correct.
    That said, if it was matted for cinema release I'd prefer the dvd to be matted too for composition purposes.
     
  5. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    If its original theatrical exhibition supported 1.66:1 or wider, matting it on DVD would also allow for 16x9 formatting, which would up the resolution of the remaining image area. Not a good thing if the mattes are false to the original theatrical exhibition, but very good if they are.

    When was it released ... 1963? That's right at a decade into the widescreen changeover (dating it from the first CinemaScope showings around 1953, though "wide" large format features can be found in the early 30's, and gauges of film stock other than 1.33:1 have been around as long as motion pictures themselves), so I'd have every expectation the same theatres that were matting Paramount features to 1.66:1 would do the same for Disney. I can't really imagine a theatrical release in America in 1963 would carry with it Academy Ratio instructions, but someone more knowledgeable in the history of national theatres might address that assumption more definitively.

    At any rate, I think it's very safe to assume the film will remain true to both its design and its theatrical history if matted to 1.66:1, and doing so allows for the benefits of 16x9 formatting. However, given that the old CAV laserdisc was 1.33:1, and the current DVD is 1.33:1, and this isn't a top tier Disney classic ... I'll be surprised if it's revisited any time soon. Maybe in a few years, and almost certainly for HD-DVD, where a 1.78:1 presentation is most likely ... but I haven't bough the DVD for this very reason, and if a new DVD, perhaps with a few additional supplements (a scholars' commentary would be welcome) and the original audio mix (the current DVD only advertises a 5.1 track, correct? I believe my old CAV edition offers mono and also a stereo remix, but I'd have to recheck it to be certain), were to be released in 1.66:1 or, if historically authentic, 1.78:1 widescreen, and in either case 16x9 formatted, I'd gladly pick up a copy. [​IMG] Until then, I'll consider the current DVD for possible picture improvements (it promises a "remastered" image), but it isn't a certain purchase, as would be a 16x9 formatted/original audio version.

    YMMV. [​IMG] It's a delightful family film, and so long as this is an open matte presentation, I'd readily recommend it to parents as is.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    1.37
     
  7. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Is that 1.37:1 open-matte, or the actual theatrical ratio?

    Weren't most Disney films around the 1960's to early 1980's matted for theaters at 1.66:1 in Europe and about 1.75:1 for the U.S. (now, 1.85:1)?

    I would buy these animated films in a New York minute if they were (if shown that way theatrically) released on DVD at 1.66:1 or 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced from fully restored negatives and a direct digital transfer.

    Who in the Disney video department is on crack?? They are very inconsistant when it comes to their Walt Disney films. Some are MAR'd, some are OAR with 16x9 enhancement, some are OAR w/o 16x9 enhancement, some are great direct digital transfers from the archival CAPS files, some are from grainy print stock, etc. etc. etc.

    Look at stunning titles like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. On the DVD it's treated like a bastard step child. Sure it has DTS (although the LD's full bitrate DTS track was better and yes, more aggressive and it sounds better that way-- I have both), but the transfer, rather than be pristinely digitally downconverted from the CAPS files, is from a very grainy print, with horrible digital artifacting. Little to no special features either. The same with Mulan and The Little Mermaid, and they don't even have 16x9 enhanced digital transfers or DTS!!

    Then look at a huge box office failure like Atlantis that gets a 2 disc collectors set with a wonderful bold, bright direct-from-CAPS 2.35:1 (16x9 enhanced) digital transfer with DTS-ES 5.1 sound and bass that would knock plaster off the ceiling...

    Then on the flip side again there's the classic Lady and the Tramp... it's not at its correct 2.55:1 early CinemaScope ratio, not from a digital restoration file, and it's non-enhanced too!

    Now we get a fairly good digital restoration of Sleeping Beauty, but then it's taken from a 2.35:1, over-cropped 35mm reduction print rather than the 65mm digital archival files at the correct 2.20:1 (w/o mag track) ratio...

    Some people at Disney need to start looking for other lines of work as far as I'm concerned... or at least go into rehab!

    Dan
     
  8. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Probably the most complete OAR information on Disney films I can find indicates 1.37 should be the correct ratio based as drawn if not necessarily actual theatrical presentation which could have varied widely.

    Disney OAR
     
  9. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    However, taking into account that more and more widescreen HDTV's are being sold, it would behoove Disney to release these films at their theatrical aspect ratios with 16x9 enhancement (until HD discs make the rounds where we don't need 16x9 enhancement anymore) rather than the open-matte versions.

    Warner Brothers, MGM, and Sony should highly consider doing this for their non-scope, non-70mm Stanley Kubrick films released to theaters in a widescreen ratio. They already have released full frame versions (which may or may not have been Kubrick's wish due to today's HD revolution). Now they need to release theatrical aspect ratio versions (and an uncut Eyes Wide Shut-- he didn't want censoring to happen!) so that both sides can be happy.

    We're losing precious resolution the way they're doing it now!

    Dan
     
  10. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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  11. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Justin,

    I never said that Disney would be MAR'ing these animated films, just showing them at their theatrical ratios. Would you advocate showing When Harry Met Sally on DVD in full frame only because all of the exposed to light negative was being viewed? It's the same thing here, however these animated films were intended to be shown both ways. There is no "wrong" way to view them. Obviously, not at 2.35:1!! You could have a dual release with these titles with no problems.

    On the flip side, Casablanca: 1.37:1. 1.78:1 DVD? WRONG!!! ~1.33:1 DVD (or 1.37:1 on an HD transfer with pillar boxing)? TECHNICALLY RIGHT!

    IMAX films: should they be shown at 1.33:1 or 1.78:1 on DVD? Either way is wrong, so why not both?

    As for Kubrick there is still a debate on what he would have accepted for HD transfers of his flat films. His main beef with widescreen videos was with VHS and LaserDisc because they didn't have (in his estimation) sufficient resolution to his liking. HD is different.

    Again, in this instance you could have a dual release of full frame and theatrical widescreen, and both crowds would be pleased and no one is hurt. That is not the same as Sony releasing Annie or Matilda in pan and scan only, when at least Annie was clearly a Panavision scope movie (was Matilda Super35 or scope?-- either way it's now butchered), or MGM releasing a modified Remo Williams only instead of 1.85:1.

    For these types of films, we clearly know the intended theatrical ratios. So anything besides that and we should take issue.

    I am not advocating "filling up my HDTV" just for the sake of using all of its real estate. Far from it!

    Dan
     
  12. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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  13. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  14. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Ted -- thanks for that info. I should ammend myself: the Paramount practices to which I was referring were actually of a few years earlier, flat films composed to allow projection from Academy to perhaps 1.77:1 -- many were shown, to my understanding, at 1.66:1. But the titles I had in mind were largely of the 50's, rather than 60's, and all were flat four perforation 35mm films, not LF. Eight perf VistaVision, despite some confusion on the matter even at the time, seems unquestionably correct in the 1.66:1 - 2:1 range, with most of the productions in this format seeming to favor the narrower ratios in that range (Vertigo, High Society, The Ten Commandments, and many others ... most, I think, would be a bit tight at 2:1, but that's strictly off-the-cuff opinion).

    I don't know that flat films, such as TSITS, would have seen filmmaker-approved mattes as wide as 2:1, but I may very well be wrong. 1.66:1, or even as tight as 1.78:1, would undoubtedly look fine (I'd be most comfortable around 1.66:1 without direct filmmaker input, but if you're sure of 1.75:1, Ted, that sounds perfectly viable as well -- the difference is of course minor), would be in keeping with theatrical history, and would allow the wide image to be 16x9 formatted, increasing resolution to the remaining frame.

    The idea of filmmakers composing for ratios other than their full animated frames is very old, and very common. Another member posted Sleeping Beauty animated cells on another thread, and they seem to demonstrate a great deal of missing material between the animated frame and even the large format ratio presentation, as I recall. David Boulet, I believe, has mentioned something as recent as Beauty and the Beast as another fine example -- a film reportedly (I believe a post by Dave was where I read this, but my memory may be failing me) animated to 1.66:1 but commonly shown in 1.85:1; the filmmakers (again, per that post; I should emphasize that I haven't researched this personally) approved a ~1.78:1 ratio for the DVD presentation, preferring the tighter framing. The Lion King, on the other hand, opened the framing a bit more from its theatrical form. Each film is governed by the preferences of each filmmaker.

    Robert Harris posted "1.37:1," which I believe is the shortest post I've seen here. There isn't a single word in it! [​IMG] In 1963, I can easily believe a 1.37:1 frame was animated, and thus my discussion of open matte, but I'd be very surprised to hear many theatres exhibited it in 1.37:1, or that instructions to do so would have accompanied any release prints; the filmmakers would have expected this, and would have composed their frames accordingly. The slivers of, typically, tops of heads, sky, ground, bottoms of legs/feet, etc. lost to a modest 1.66:1 matte is not a significant factor in a 1.37:1 frame, and animating the larger frame area might allow for necessary cropping by frame lines, cuts and splices for varying markets, etc. ... just a thought.

    Anyway, such causal speculation aside -- I agree, Ted, a modestly wide frame (which is to say a bit less modest, a bit wider, than the modest width of 1.37:1) is very likely true to both the film's history and the filmmaker's intent, and I'd look forward to such a presentation in the future (as I would to other theatrical animation of the 60's). If we're wrong and 1.37:1 projections were supported/commonplace, discussion along those lines would be welcome. But I've heard nothing to suggest this for the time period in question.
     

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