I’m seriously thinking about submitting a proposal for a book titled “Aspect Ratio Wars: The Epic Home-Video Battle Between Hollywood Elsewhere and 1.85 Fascism, and How The Good Guys Lost Despite The Support of the Movie Godz.” The hero (fighting for the concept of boxiness, oxygen and visual breathing room vs. dogmatic 1.85 claustrophobia) would be yours truly, fighting alone and standing alone against the Bob Furmanek-led mob. It’s a crazy, nonsensical story but it happened, and God knows how many classic films were cleavered and partly ruined as as result.
I could write this book in a month because it’s already been written in Hollywood Elsewhere portions. I would just have to refine and rephrase. The problem is that it would only sell about 1500 copies, as the number of people in the world who give a shit about aspect ratios probably doesn’t amount to more than four or five thousand, if that. I’m not even sure it would sell that much. But someone has to stand up and tell the truth about how Furmanek and his acolytes managed to convince home-video distributors to lop off God knows how many thousands of acres of visual material from God knows how many ’50s and ’60s films on Bluray.
Comment from “Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy“, originally posted on 7.17.12:
Jeffrey Wells grabs Roman Polanski by the shoulders and draws him close.
WELLS: I’m gonna ask you one more time, kitty cat — what’s the aspect ratio of Rosemary’s Baby?
POLANSKI (flatly): 1.85.
Wells strikes Polanski across the face, hard. He’s got his attention now.
WELLS: Stop lying to me, ya little fucker! What’s the aspect ratio?
Crack! Polanski stumbles backward, eyes wide with apprehension.
Another blow to the face. The words start to tumble out of Polanski’s mouth in an effort to placate the deranged blogger.
POLANSKI: 1.66! (smack) 1.85!! (smack) One…(smack, smack, smack)
WELLS: I said I want the truth!
Wells shakes Polanski furiously, shoves the 80something director across the room. Sprawled on the couch, Polanski weeps and finally blurts out the truth.
POLANSKI: It was composed for 1.85 and protected for 1.66!!
** Having been shot in an open matte in-camera 1.37 aspect ratio, Rosemary’s Baby was presented in a 4 x 3 a.r. for TV airings in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, of course, as well as on VHS tape.