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Author Topic: I think this film should be shown in 2.35:1 format  (Read 7594 times)
stamper
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« on: March 14, 2011, 05:52:29 AM »

We all know Leone shot it squared because of the way VHS and TV cropped his movies.

Now, it's time to restore Once Upon A Time In America in 2.35:1 format. Try it with VLC player at home, and suddenly, you can see how Leone shot it the same way as the old techniscope films.

A fan edit in widescreen would be great. Anyone in ? I want my whole Once Upon trilogy in the same format  Wink

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stanton
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2011, 06:39:58 AM »

But OuTA wasn't shot in 2,35:1, but in 1,37:1 for a 1,85:1 masking. Which means 1,85:1 is the original format. And if the then planned long TV version would have been prepared by Leone, I'm sure it would have been 1,37:1 and open matte.

Cropping it at top and/or bottom is as bad and wrong as a fullscreen version of his Techniscope films

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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 09:07:02 AM »

We all know Leone shot it squared because of the way VHS and TV cropped his movies.
Even if that would be true, I'm not convinced that 2,35:1 would suit OUATIA as well as it suits westerns. New York City is very much a different landscape than Monument Valley.

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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 09:09:45 AM »

Even if that would be true, I'm not convinced that 2,35:1 would suit OUATIA as well as it suits westerns. New York City is very much a different landscape than Monument Valley.

this.

Stuff like this has been done, most notoriously with Gone With the Wind. Generally speaking, altering the OAR is never a good idea. The only good solution would be to reshoot the movie, which isn't really feasible.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 10:48:23 AM »

Sorry, Stamper, sounds like a bad idea to me too.

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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 03:15:47 PM »

Even if that would be true, I'm not convinced that 2,35:1 would suit OUATIA as well as it suits westerns. New York City is very much a different landscape than Monument Valley.

Interesting point.

Anyone have any opinions on Vittorio Storaro wanting to crop some of his movies down to 2.0:1 ? It's been a huge issue with the Criterion release of Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" which has been cropped from 2.35:1 . Not surprisingly there are a lot of irate fans out there.

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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 04:29:14 PM »

from p. 450 of STDWD:

"Originally, (Once Upon a Time in America) was to have been filmed in Cinemascope, but after the first tests with Tonino Delli Colli, Leone changed his mind. One reason, he said, was that a lot of 1980s cinemas were no longer adequately equipped to film scenes in 'scope, and the results could be fuzzy at the edges and ill-defined. Another was that Leone had the misfortune to watch Once Upon a Time in the West on television, in an American hotel room, with Delli Colli. It was a pan and scan print, which made it look like a lot of big faces with no background: 'a total mess', Delli Colli recalls. Since the days of Once Upon a Time in the West, the video revolution had occurred as well -- not to mention the spread of television ownership, and the proliferation of channels across Italy. All in all, Leone felt it was best that America be shot in the standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio instead of his trademark letterbox."

So, as most of y'all are saying, I have no interest in seeing this in any format other than that intended by the Master  Smiley

Note:  I just watched the dvd of OUATIA again today, and it plays as full screen on my HDTV (I believe all HDTV's are 1.78:1) with no black bars at all. So if Frayling is correct that it was shot in 1.85:1, then I guess they trimmed the sides very slightly for the dvd release? I'd appreciate if anyone has an answer to that...

and if they indeed trimmed the sides for the dvd, then I hope that in the upcoming version with the 40 mins. restored footage that Leone's kids will release, they also restore the aspect ratio that the film was shot in.

STUDIO EXECS AND OTHER IDIOTS SHOULD LEARN ONCE AND FOR ALL TO STOP MESSING WITH THE WORK OF THE MASTER!!!

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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2011, 03:06:12 AM »

It wasn't shot in 1,85:1, it was shot in 1,37:1, but it was conceived to be shown in 1,85:1.

Umpteenth explanation:

In the 80s many films were shot in this aspect ration, which a decade earlier would have been shot in 2,35:1. In the 80s the growing home video market and the selling to TV stations made the theatrical box office only one source of revenue amongst others.  And back then most VHS versions were indeed fullscreen cause all the TVs had an 1,33:1 aspect ratio, and the mainstream film watcher hated the black bars. While 2,35:1 films look terrible in fullscreen the 1,85:1 were could simply be shown open matte, which means you see everything you have seen in the theatre, but also what was masked at top and bottom for the cinema release.
So with the home video market in the back of the head Leone wasn't the only director (or producer) who opted then against the 2,35:1.

Therefore I'm sure that all of the early VHS releases of OuTA were open matte full screen. And if we didin't had mostly 16:9 TVs nowadays, the DVDs of OuTA were surely still in open matte 1,33:1.

The decision which format to use was then as always often a financial one. But I'm sure that Leone also had in mind the artistic dimensions of such a decision.

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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2011, 08:01:01 AM »

Thanks, stanton. If I understand what you're saying, then, any widescreen presentation of OUATIA masks visual information, so the less severe the masking, the more of what was shot is available for us to see. It would be interesting if someone released a full-screen version of the film, if for no other reason than to be able to compare full-screen frames with widescreen frames. In any event, going to 2.35:1 is the least desirable option: it gives us less Leone to watch.

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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2011, 08:16:03 AM »

It wasn't shot in 1,85:1, it was shot in 1,37:1, but it was conceived to be shown in 1,85:1.

Umpteenth explanation:

In the 80s many films were shot in this aspect ration, which a decade earlier would have been shot in 2,35:1. In the 80s the growing home video market and the selling to TV stations made the theatrical box office only one source of revenue amongst others.  And back then most VHS versions were indeed fullscreen cause all the TVs had an 1,33:1 aspect ratio, and the mainstream film watcher hated the black bars. While 2,35:1 films look terrible in fullscreen the 1,85:1 were could simply be shown open matte, which means you see everything you have seen in the theatre, but also what was masked at top and bottom for the cinema release.
So with the home video market in the back of the head Leone wasn't the only director (or producer) who opted then against the 2,35:1.

Therefore I'm sure that all of the early VHS releases of OuTA were open matte full screen. And if we didin't had mostly 16:9 TVs nowadays, the DVDs of OuTA were surely still in open matte 1,33:1.

The decision which format to use was then as always often a financial one. But I'm sure that Leone also had in mind the artistic dimensions of such a decision.

so if I understand you correctly: when we watch it now in 1.85:1, are you saying that it only appears to be full screen because the top and bottom of the picture has been cut off? ie. the only way to actually view the full picture that was shot is if it was released in 1.33:1?

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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 08:38:08 AM »

I think it's the same thing with some Kubrick films - at least with The Shining and Full Metal Jacket, possibly with all of his post-2001 films. Anyway, it would be interesting to know which is the aspect ration preferred by Leone and Tonino Delli Colli - and how they planned their compositions since the difference between 1,33:1 and 1,85:1 isn't exactly a small one.

I think this is pretty common still these days. At least many 2,35:1 films are actually shot in 1,85:1 (or 1,78:1) and then masked. I don't know what's the standard way of making video/television releases of these films, though; removing the matte or cropping the sides of the frame. Actually that concerns mostly television now that practically all DVDs and BluRays preserve the original aspect ration (i.e. the aspect ration that was used in the theatrical release).

so if I understand you correctly: when we watch it now in 1.85:1, are you saying that it only appears to be full screen because the top and bottom of the picture has been cut off? ie. the only way to actually view the full picture that was shot is if it was released in 1.33:1?
To the last question: yes, but it's questionable whether that's desirable or not. And I didn't understand your first question. How does it appear to be full screen if it's 16:9? Huh

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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 09:04:32 AM »

Thanks, stanton. If I understand what you're saying, then, any widescreen presentation of OUATIA masks visual information, so the less severe the masking, the more of what was shot is available for us to see. It would be interesting if someone released a full-screen version of the film, if for no other reason than to be able to compare full-screen frames with widescreen frames.

Yes, there is more to see at top and bottom if you watch an open matte fullscreen version. But I'm sure the picture composition by Leone was made for the 1,85:1 aspect ratio, like it was shown in the theatres (that's if they are correctly masked) and like it is now presented on the DVDs.
I have maintained my old VHS recording (but mainly for the original German dub).

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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2011, 09:12:18 AM »


I think this is pretty common still these days. At least many 2,35:1 films are actually shot in 1,85:1 (or 1,78:1) and then masked. I don't know what's the standard way of making video/television releases of these films, though; removing the matte or cropping the sides of the frame.



Normally most (if not all) 2,35:1 films are done with anamorphic lenses which compress the 2,35:1 picture to the size of the 35 mm negative, and this negative has again the 1,37:1 aspect ratio.

But note that the Techniscope format, used in so many SWs, was in fact not anamorphic.

But here's a link which gives you an overview about the most common aspect ratios and widescren systems from the silent days to the present:

http://www.dvdlog.de/filmformate/filmformate-en.htm

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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2011, 09:14:56 AM »

Normally most (if not all) 2,35:1 films are done with anamorphic lenses which compress the 2,35:1 picture to the size of the 35 mm negative, and this negative has again the 1,37:1 aspect ratio.

But note that the Techniscope format, used in so many SWs, was in fact not anamorphic.

But here's a link which gives you an overview about the most common aspect ratios and widescren systems from the silent days to the present:

http://www.dvdlog.de/filmformate/filmformate-en.htm

OuTa was made in what is described there as flat widescreen.

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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2011, 11:02:05 AM »

Normally most (if not all) 2,35:1 films are done with anamorphic lenses which compress the 2,35:1 picture to the size of the 35 mm negative, and this negative has again the 1,37:1 aspect ratio.

But note that the Techniscope format, used in so many SWs, was in fact not anamorphic.

But here's a link which gives you an overview about the most common aspect ratios and widescren systems from the silent days to the present:

http://www.dvdlog.de/filmformate/filmformate-en.htm
Thanks for that link. It has all the information in a clear format.  Afro

I made my previous statement under the impression that Super35 was a common format but the article you provided doesn't really support that. So I take it that Panavision is the dominant format, no? 


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