Last last week I wrote to Woody Allen about the Shane aspect-ratio brouhaha. I wrote him in care of his publicist Leslee Dart of 42West. About a half hour ago I received a letter from Woody via Leslee as follows:
“I wanted to add my strenuous objection to putting out an edition of Shane in any format other than the precise original.
“Black bars are much preferable and years before they were acceptable to audiences I always insisted on them for my movie Manhattan rather than giving in to what may be a more commercial but is definitely an artistic degradation of how the movie should look.
“The compromise of putting out two versions, an original and one commercially modified, would certainly not be acceptable to me on a film of mine. While I don’t like the idea of [this compromise happening to] one of America’s Greatest Westerns and one of its finest all-around films, I suppose it’s better than riding roughshod over the original masterpiece and losing it to attempt with version.”
Woody apparently wrote this in some haste and I’m not quite sure how to properly edit the last six words of the last sentence, but I presume he means it’s better to have a dual-aspect-ratio Bluray (containing a 1.66 plus a 1.37 version) than to not have a 1.37 version available at all.
Woody’s last line is directed not at myself but at Warner Home Video and/or Paramount Home Video executives, to wit:
“I hope you will consider this before an irrevocable mistake is made.”