I’m not saying that DVD Beaver‘s Gary W. Tooze has never criticized a Bluray in one of his reviews, but I can’t remember the last time this happened. The man loves to cheer and show affection whenever possible (especially if a Bluray image is covered in digital mosquitos). So it’s significant that Tooze has actually complained about the cropping on Warner Home Video’s The Best Years Of Our Lives Bluray. Tooze provides screen captures that show a modest but significant portion of the right-side area having been sliced off, and asks “why?” Tooze’s screen captures are generally reliable so I see no need to doubt his evidence. The trimmed section appeared on earlier DVD versions; it makes no sense to me that WHV technicans would decide to do this. (Tooze says the slicing is evident only “through the beginning.”) WHV’s Ned Price has been snippy ever since last spring’s Shane brouhaha but maybe the good-natured George Feltenstein can answer this. What’s the rationale for cleavering Gregg Toland‘s framings during the early portions of this 1946 classic?

Frame capture from 2000 MGM Home Video DVD — notice the breathing room on Harold Russell’s mid-back area on the right side.

Same scene on Warner Home Video’s new Bluray — Russell’s back has been sliced off. At the same time there’s more to see of Dana Andrew’s cap on the left side. Why crop the image at all? Why not show a generous portion of Andrews’ cap as well as Russell’s lower back area?