I noticed last night that the projected aspect ratio of Cabaret at the big Chinese theatre was 1.66 to 1 — no question about it. And I was thinking to myself, “Great — I can use this to bash the 1.85 fascists.” But after the screening I saw Warner Home Video’s Ned Price, who will be marketing the Cabaret Bluray when it comes out, and he said the aspect ratio we’d just seen was 1.85. Flummoxed, I contacted the Chinese projectionist and he also said it had been shown at 1.85 via a DCP.
I’m intellectually accepting what Price and the projectionist told me — they know whereof they speak. But at the same time my eye knows what it’s seeing so what to do? I don’t think I know the difference between 1.66 and 1.85 — I know I know it. And I didn’t see a 1.85 aspect ratio up there. I saw something distinctly taller and boxier and much closer to 1.66. Aspect ratios are part of my DNA. Show me a FoxScope image from the mid ’50s (i.e., 2.55 to 1) and I’ll know in an instant that it’s not regular Scope (2.35 or 2.39) or Ultra Panavision 2.76 to 1 or Vittorio Storaro‘s 2 to 1. I know 1.37 and 1.66 and pre-sound silent film aspect ratios. I know this realm dead cold.
I’m going back to the Chinese tonight and will somehow take snaps of the screen (even though that’s a huge general no-no) during the DCP showing of Vertigo, and then I’ll post the proof. That or I’ll get busted trying and thrown out of the theatre by the TCM goons (whom I wrote about last night).
Or should I just drop it?