Re: DR. STRANGELOVE - LD ASPECT RATIO?


From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: alt.video.laserdisc
Date: Friday, November 14, 1997 11:31 AM

BKL <lang*lotz@teleport.com> wrote in article
<346c84bb.66420064@news.teleport.com>...
> On 13 Nov 1997 21:21:50 GMT, chrjus@aol.com (CHRJUS) wrote:
>
> >Have I been taken for a ride on this? Did Columbia/Tri-star lie about the
> > transfer? I haven't seen the Criterion version, but I would like to know the
> > dimensions of that transfer.
> >
> >Anybody? Anybody?
>
> This is not authoritative, but I understand that the criterion version
> was taken from a wide screen version of the original, which cut off
> the top and bottom of scenes intended by the director to have been
> visible. The war room, for instance has a dramatic light ring above
> the big table that is visible in the Columbia version, but partially
> cut off in the Criterion.
>
> Perhaps there was something about different scenes being matted in
> different ratios, but I'm not sure.

The above is not true. The Criterion Catalog of Autumn 1992 offers a detailed answer:

"'Dr. Strangelove... needed to be approved by Kubrick. And Stanley felt very strongly that the Criterion edition of 'Dr. Strangelove' be perfect.  He was very disappointed not only with previous home video versions, but also with the way the film had originally been presented in movie theaters....

"We started working from... Kubrick's personal print, which had been copied directly from the camera original....

"Aspect ratio is the relationship between the length and the width of the film as it appears on the theater screen or video monitor.... Stanley... noted that he had shot the film in full frame 1.33:1 and camera-matted 1.66:1 aspect ratios. However, due to projection conventions at the time of the film's original theatrical release, 'Dr. Strangelove' appeared in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio; in rare cases, it appeared in the 1.66:1 ratio. Mattes were used to cover up the very top and bottom of the film as it was projected. Kubrick asked us to use the 1.66:1 and 1.33:1 aspect ratios in our transfer. This had been his original vision.

"...As you watch the Criterion edition of the film, look for changes in the aspect ratio from 1.66:1 to 1.33:1. Stanley was right; the full aperture of 1.33:1 really adds to some of the scenes.BKL <lang*lotz@teleport.com> wrote in article For example, in the war room scene, the full aperature reveals the light grid that hangs down. In the movie theater, the matte in the projector obscured that part of the expensive set...."

--David Hayes

I ran the same quote from the Criterion catalog in the following post:

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: alt.movies.hitchcock
Date: Friday, November 14, 1997 11:38 AM

1.85:1 as director's vision

The following post from alt.video.hitchcock sheds more light on director's visions of aspect ratio. It concerns Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove":

BKL <lang*lotz@teleport.com> wrote in article

<346c84bb.66420064@news.teleport.com>...
> On 13 Nov 1997 21:21:50 GMT, chrjus@aol.com (CHRJUS) wrote:
>
> >Have I been taken for a ride on this? Did Columbia/Tri-star lie about the
> > transfer? I haven't seen the Criterion version, but I would like to know the
> > dimensions of that transfer.
> >
> >Anybody? Anybody?
>
> This is not authoritative, but I understand that the criterion version
> was taken from a wide screen version of the original, which cut off
> the top and bottom of scenes intended by the director to have been
> visible. The war room, for instance has a dramatic light ring above
> the big table that is visible in the Columbia version, but partially
> cut off in the Criterion.
>
> Perhaps there was something about different scenes being matted in
> different ratios, but I'm not sure.

At this point, I introduced the excerpt from the Criterion catalog, and then quoted it.

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