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Customer Review

37 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be VERY CAREFUL with this disc: the aspect ratio is wrong., 27 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Long Good Friday [Blu-ray] [1979] (Blu-ray)
"Presented in its original aspect ratio" can be read in the package. But I sincerely think it is a false statement, because a "match frame" comparison with the DVD (which offered a 1,77:1 image), reveals that in order to get the 1,66:1 image offered here, all four sides of the frames have been cropped. It is not a minor thing: they are HEAVILY cropped, there's a big amount of image that's been lost and it's quite obvious in some of the shots' compositions.

I suggest you not to buy this item until Anchor Bay clears this matter.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Jan 2010 16:15:31 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jan 2010 16:15:49 GMT
P. Manzano says:
I wrote an e-mail to Anchor Bay about this subject and they answered this:

"It is true that the aspect ratio for the DVD and the Blu Ray release are different, this is due to the source materials we were able to purchase from the Production Company who own the film, Handmade Films.

The DVD release in standard definition was 1.77 however when it came to gaining a High Definition version of the film the only masters available to us were in 1.66

We did consider arc'ing the feature into 1.77 but this would have removed even more of the picture so we left it in 1.66 to give the viewer the maximum amount of picture as possible.

I understand this is disappointing but a High Definition version of this feature in 1.77 simply does not exist. The only way to create one would be to go back to an original film print and telecine a new master which is extremely costly and would be down to Handmade Films who own the picture to decide to do.

As this is the only High Definition master, the only way to release this title on Blu Ray was to release as 1.66 or to not release it at all. The packaging was clearly marked to show that the aspect ratio was indeed different so as consumers can make the choice whether they want to purchase the disc or not."

It's a very kind message and I'm grateful for that, but it only confirms that the aspect ratio is wrong and that the claim of it being the original one is a false one. My recommendation is to consider very carefully this matter before buying the Blu-Ray.

Great film, BTW, but that's not the reason of me reviewing this product.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2010 21:49:31 GMT
Za09 says:
From a cinephile in America I thank you for making this aspect ratio mismatch known. I too appreciate the honesty from Anchor Bay.

Posted on 12 May 2010 15:29:43 BDT
Motte 1 says:
Forgive my ignorance. I did not technically understand your knowledgable review. So, many thanks for the answer from Anchor Bay.

It's great that people like you make these comments, very helpful .... I will understand eventually!

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2010 12:09:46 BDT
D says:
A lot of UK films were shown in 1.66 within the UK and opened up wider for US release, so it is "possible" this is the original aspect ratio.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2010 22:14:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jun 2010 22:15:07 BDT
P. Manzano says:
It is not possible, not if you obtain the 1,66:1 by cropping an image already cropped 1,85:1 image, as it has been done here.

If 1,66:1 were a proper alternative format for this film, you should gain, in relation to the 1,85:1 framing, some amount of image in the upper and lower part of the frame, and, for the same token, loose a little bit on the sides. Here, however, you loose everywhere (it is painfully obvious in certain visual compositions that this is wrong).

Let us hope that the US Blu-Ray has the image correctly transferred.

Posted on 12 Aug 2011 22:46:41 BDT
"HEAVILY cropped"

Rubbish! Not true! I've compared my Blu-ray of TLGF with both my Region 2 DVDs and though there is a cropping issue, it's minimal. For example: during Hoskins' River Thames speech, the top of his head is only slightly closer to the top of my 32" screen in the Blu-ray, but there is still space there - you're not losing anything of what's essential on-screen. In the abbatoir scene, you may lose parts of hooks on the ceiling or the coat-tails of an upside down mobster, but it's hardly anything to have a hissy fit over, now is it?

Aspect ratio purists really do wind me up sometimes. "Ooh, there was a leaf on a tree you could see in the OAR version, but on the cropped version, it's been lost. Waaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaah!"

Get a grip.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2012 13:44:57 GMT
Dale says:
I just ordered the Studio Canal blu-ray released last year, apparently it doesn't have any special features but I took the risk hoping the picture quality is better and from what the above said not cropped.

Posted on 1 Oct 2014 10:20:08 BDT
As the producer of Arrow's forthcoming Blu-ray (no release date yet, but it's now at the "coming soon" stage), I'm very happy to confirm that all these issues have been addressed.

We're working directly from the original camera negative, and cinematographer Phil Meheux has just spent two days working closely with the restoration team to tweak the optimum framing (1.85:1) and grading. Given that director John Mackenzie is sadly no longer with us, this will be as close to a definitive version as it's possible to get.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2015 08:51:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Apr 2015 08:52:00 BDT
Speedicut says:
That's really great news, Michael. I have resisted buying a Blu-Ray copy due to the criticisms outlined above, but was beginning to weaken and was considering going for the Studio Canal release until I read your post.
Arrow are a superb company, and have a fine record when it comes to restoration and transfer work. Do you feel that the source you're working from ( original camera negative ) will make for a significantly difference to the clarity of image; I only ask as the various SD copies that are available at the minute are of such poor quality?
Just checked the Arrow site and the SteelBook release is scheduled for 4th May 2015. Happy Days!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2015 10:13:46 BDT
Sorry, I've only just seen this.

Anyway, with the caveat that I'm obviously not entirely unbiased here, the new restoration is night-and-day different from the previous one.

So much so that when I put together a short piece with cinematographer Phil Meheux talking about the two versions, I found that I didn't need to add an electronically-generated white line in the split-screen comparison as it was so obvious where the divide was (and we're not just talking about differences in the colour and grain: the older transfer visibly wobbles in a way that the new one doesn't).

Basically, Arrow did what previous distributors didn't do: they went back to the original 35mm source, and invited the man who actually shot the film to supervise the framing and grading. Apparently he'd never been consulted on a video version before - and, frankly, it showed.
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