As Woody Allen was the biggest and most influential supporter of Hollywood Elsewhere’s successful campaign to persuade Warner Home Video to release George Stevens‘ Shane in the original aspect ratio of 1.37 and not the dreaded 1.66 that had been plannned, I felt honor-bound to attend last night’s Manhattan screening of this 1953 classic because a videotaped message from Allen was part of the program. Ironically, the Academy projectionist projected Shane at an aspect ratio closer to 1.66 than 1.37 — approximately 1.5 or thereabouts. (I know exactly what the 1.37 version looks like and can say without the slightest doubt that the projectionist messed up.) Here’s what Allen had to say. I also spoke to guest presenter Adam Holender, the celebrated, still-active director of photography of Midnight Cowboy and Panic in Needle Park. Holender told me he rented a fifth-floor, hardwood-floor studio apartment at the corner of Columbus and 71st — at the time a “bad neighborhood” — for roughly two years in the mid ’60s. His monthly rent was $65.
(l. to r.) Celebrated cinematographer Adam Holender, Patrick Harrison and George Stevens, Jr. at Manhattan’s AMPAS theatre for a screening of Shane on 9.16.