After confirming earlier that a restored Shane would be screened at the TCM Classic Festival in the reviled 1.66 format, N.Y. Post critic/columnist Lou Lumenick tweeted this morning that “TCMfilmfest will now show Shane in 1:37 instead of 1:66 ‘because Paramount is making both available.'” That’s code, trust me, for “the powers-that-be have thrown in the towel.” If Shane Bluray distributor Warner Home Video was in a balls-out, damn-the-defiant mode for the 1.66 version, they would have insisted that it be screened in that format at the TCM festival.
The 1.66 Shane Bluray will still come out in early June, of course, but I’m told that a 1.37 alternative version will be made available later this year, probably via Warner Archives.
Needless to add plans to picket the 4.27 Shane screening at the TCM Classic Film Festival have been called off. And I went all the way downtown yesterday to get my public demonstration permit, or at least to start the process. At least I didn’t buy the poster-picket materials — posterboard, wooden pickets, magic markers, heavy staples.
All hail Team 1.37! Sincere thanks to Woody Allen, Joseph McBride, Bob Furmanek and all the commenters who stood up and said the right thing. And shame on those Home Theatre Forum commenters who kept insisting that 1.66 was a proper way to go because Paramount marketing execs insisted on cropping the original film in order to deliver a faux-panoramic screen experience in first-run theatres back in the spring of 1953.
A black-tie Shane 1.37 “boxy is beautiful” victory dinner for late April (just before or just after the 4.27 Shane screening at TCMfest) is being planned as we speak. I was going to to book a suite at the Beverly Hills hotel for the occasion, but now I’m thinking a rear table at Mel’s on the Strip is a better idea.