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WARNING: Pan-and-scan version of widescreen film,
This review is from: The Birds [DVD] (DVD)For reasons best known to themselves, Universal UK have issued most of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960s/1970s films (The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy) in pan-and-scan 1.33:1 ratio, although these films were originally shown in widescreen (1.85:1).
This is available via Region 1 imported discs - if your DVD player is multi-region - but surely the UK deserves a better service than this!
Come on, Universal UK - give us the same remastered widescreen versions that are available for the US market!!!
PLEASE NOTE: This review was written referring to the R2 release The Birds [DVD] , but Amazon have also 'attached' it to the superior widescreen R1 release The Birds [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Nov 2011 16:21:56 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2011 16:23:44 GMT
Fiction Fan says:
Wait a second. The situation is more complicated than that. This is NOT a pan-and-scan situation. Hitchcock actually shot THE BIRDS in 1.37:1 (pretty close to academic ratio 1.33:1). But the intended ratio for cinema projection was widescreen 1.85:1, so the final film must have been matted, that is, the footage cropped at top and bottom edge to make the image narrower. Then, for the home-theatre market, the matting was simply removed. So I believe that the full-screen presentation shows the perfect complete footage, while the widescreen presentations are missing footage at top and bottom edges.
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Dec 2011 23:45:26 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Dec 2011 23:58:49 GMT
David K. Upham says:
So this is actually a restoration? Too good to be true, Fiction Fan. It's true, IMDB lists this movie as 1.37:1 (Academic ratio) - and that must have been matted for widescreen theatrical release.. but this DVD issue has simply cropped that theatrical matte - which is really getting down to the nub for the consumer. Have a look at the disc's special feature documentary: all clips from the feature are widescreen (as issued in Region 1). Take a couple of screenshots and compare them with the main R2 feature - you'll find you're looking at even LESS of that original 1.37 aspect (than the matted theatrical version). Then order the R1 disc. To date, it's the better issue (NTSC notwithstanding). It gets much worse out here in R4 - these pan-and-scan versions are all too common. Bad business, Universal - you license these films out and don't bother with quality control. I've seen this one re-packaged a couple of times in R4 and it's always the same 4 by 3 version. Check the fine print!
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2011 10:38:16 GMT
Fiction Fan says:
You're right, Mr Upham.
Since my initial post I've learnt that the picture in this release has been cropped twice instead of simply having the matting removed. An absolute disgrace. And yes, the American R1 disc is the best option for collectors today. I wonder how the upcoming Blu-ray release of THE BIRDS will look like.
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