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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:45 am 
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Location: Manchester, UK
Can any experts on aspect ratios help me confirm some basic facts regarding Woody Allen's 'Annie Hall'?

According to IMDB, the original film of 'Annie Hall' was shot in a ‘square’ format, actually 1:37, which roughly equates to the old TV ration of 4:3. But although it was shot in ‘square’ format, it was intended as a ‘widescreen’ film, so it was matted to 1:85 widescreen for the cinema, which (very) roughly equates to 16:9 widescreen.

I have 2 DVDs of Annie Hall, a Region 1 copy and a Region 2 copy. The Region 1 copy is double sided, with a 4:3 version on one side, and a ‘widescreen’ version on the other.

But I think the VHS was 4:3, unless it was 'letterboxed', and the same goes for TV broadcasts of the film. Is this correct? I have misplaced my VHS tape so I can't check that.

Is there any way to confirm how the film was broadcast on TV? Was it broadcast in 4:3, or was it letterboxed?


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:23 am 
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My old VHS - which was this one - was definitely 4:3 (the old MGM VHS of Manhattan was widescreen but with purple-ish instead black bars at the top and bottom). I never saw the film on TV so can't comment as to how it would have been presented.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:14 am 
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antnield wrote:
My old VHS - which was this one - was definitely 4:3 (the old MGM VHS of Manhattan was widescreen but with purple-ish instead black bars at the top and bottom). I never saw the film on TV so can't comment as to how it would have been presented.

Yes, that certainly 'squares with' my memory of the VHS.

And of course you're right about Manhattan: it was very unusual at the time that the VHS retained the letterboxing. I recall reading that Woody had insisted on that - a rare instance of him appearing to care about video versions of his films. In retrospect, the sort of bluey-grey horizontal bars used might seem odd - and the DVD has the traditional black bars - but if you are used to them, from many repeated viewings of the VHS, then in actual fact it's the black bars of the DVD which seem odd.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:30 am 
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Allen's concern over maintaining the correct aspect ratio for television/video editions of MANHATTAN probably stems from the fact that it is Allen's only film presented in the "wider" widescreen ratio of 2.35:1 (all the others are 1.85:1 or matted to that ratio for theatrical screenings). Showing an open-matte version of a 1.85:1 film on a 4:3 screen is much less of a compromise than attempting to pan-and-scan a 2.35:1 or greater film on a standard television screen ("standard" being a now-archaic term, I realize).


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:49 pm 
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Anything Else was also shot in 2.35:1 (and beautifully, by the brilliant Darius Khondji).

Image

When I saw a clip of the full screen Annie Hall on television it looked open matte to me. I was lucky to see this one projected from a new print and it looked gorgeous, above and beyond the MGM DVD.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:42 pm 
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Ah-ha, I knew I shouldn't have made such a general statement regarding Allen's widescreen films! There's a few other variations as well (CELEBRITY is 1.66:1), but, for the most part, Allen doesn't normally go very wide.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:32 am
Location: New York, NY
During the Thanksgiving holiday I (gently) co-erced my folks to watch a movie a day on their 52" Samsung LCD. Since they'd never seen a Woody Allen movie before I kick-started the week-long affair with the "Annie Hall" R1 DVD (borrowed from their local library) while eating a home cooked meal on a table set directly in front of the huge TV (my idea, hoping once the movie got rolling they'd be hooked long after they finished eating). I knew my dad and his wife were huge Diane Keaton fans but her earliest movie they had seen was "The First Wives Club" (and yes, that means they haven't seen "The Godfather" movies!). Anywho, they didn't catch-on that it was Keaton until the scene where she shows up in her thrown-together jacket-and-tie and they asked me if it was her; they immediately fell in love with her character (as does pretty much everyone that watches that scene). They laughed at a few of Woody's zingers and the ending left all three of us sitting quietly reading the closing credits in complete silence (first time in their lives they've sat quietly through credits). Afterwards my stepmom said that, if Diane wasn't in the movie, they probably wouldn't have liked it as much. After seeing "Annie Hall" in high-def on the MGM-HD channel the decade-old DVD looks like ass on a 52" flat screen to my high-def loving eyes. My folks didn't say a word about it looking bad though.

Click here (if you dare!) to see what other movies I co-erced my folks to watch with me over Thanksgiving.


Last edited by dad1153 on Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:19 pm 
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Of the many perplexing aspects of this story, perhaps the most bizarre is that there are people out there -- presumably who were alive during the 1970s and 1980s -- who are "huge" Dianne Keaton fans that understand her early body of work to include The First Wives Club.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:32 pm 
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^^^ What can I say? "Something's Gotta Give" is their favorite Keaton movie and they were genuinely shocked when a young Diane (whom they didn't recognize) showed up in "Annie Hall" because (a) they'd never seen her as a young woman and (b) I didn't tell them she was in it. They're not cinephiles (click the link above for details) so that explains a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:36 pm 
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I can't wait for Allen's past work to be issued on Blu. Manhattan, Annie Hall, and Crimes & Misdemeanors are all Day 1 purchases for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:44 pm 
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^^^ And all in feature-less, uncompressed Mono editions. Lovely... OK yes, but not exactly home theater worthy. A handful of Allen's movies ("AH," "Manhattan," "Zelig," "Purple Rose," "Midsomer Night's Dream," "EYEWTKASBWATA," "Broadway Danny Rose," etc.) are on semi-permanent rotation on the MGM-HD channel and they all look lovely but hardly show-off demo stuff for the format.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:39 pm 
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I am certainly not looking for 'demo quality'. I have reasonable expectations to 1970s/80s Woody Allen films, and they seem to match your descriptions of his work displayed on the MGM-HD channel. Keep in mind too that when they are broadcast, they are broadcast at 720p/1080i, and not 1080p. So we all have that to look forward to as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:40 am 
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Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Not sure if anyone has noticed this yet, but the Eric Lax "Conversations..." book was recently updated to just before the release of "Whatever Works" (presumably because Vicky Cristina Barcelona was doing $90m of business and the publisher wanted some VCB content in the book). From what I've managed to see, not too much has been added, but a lengthy bit on the passing of Ingmar Bergman is included, which has some neat little insights from Woody into their friendship. Whatever Works apparently started out as a play (which would explain why so much of it takes place in the apt or in static locations?) and that Evan Rachel Wood didn't reveal her Southern accent until they started shooting (which might be why her performance is so bad and that cinematographer Savides noted in only a slightly veiled comment in an interview that the film was compromised by having to cut around a bad performance in that film). It also makes you wonder if, after the complete box office bomb of Cassandra's Dream, which even Woody takes note of in the new interviews, perhaps Whatever Works was being written as a play thinking that there was a realistic chance he wasn't going to get funding for films any longer unless VCB has some noteworthy success? As Woody has always said, if he can't get the money to do films any longer he would do strictly theatre until that ran out... then writing and so forth down the ladder. VCB of course was a huge hit and Whatever Works was retooled into a film and MediaPro signed him up for 3 films - at an increased budget no less. Hmmm.

Probably the most striking and unusual bit coming from Woody is noting that her thinks "Interiors" is a superior film to Bergman's "Autumn Sonata", saying that Bergman should've approached AS more poetically and less literally. He notes that the best scene in the film is the piano scene (which, oddly enough, also happens to be the only scene I enjoyed in that film as well). Pretty unusual boast from a guy who tries to convince everyone within earshot that his films are worthless.

Also amusing to hear him brush off Larry David's claims that he "can't act" and has no talent - funny how he makes similar claims about himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:38 am 
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AWA wrote:
Also amusing to hear him brush off Larry David's claims that he "can't act" and has no talent - funny how he makes similar claims about himself.

Larry David thinks that Woody can't act and has no talent?


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:58 pm
Woody's always had a definite soft spot for 'Interiors'. I forget where (might've been that book) but I remember a quote where he said something to the effect of "I didn't get exactly what I wanted with 'Interiors', but if I did, it would have been significant, and my best film"


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:58 pm 
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Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
AWA wrote:
Also amusing to hear him brush off Larry David's claims that he "can't act" and has no talent - funny how he makes similar claims about himself.

Larry David thinks that Woody can't act and has no talent?

I know that Larry David has spoken very negatively about his own acting ability. I assume that's what AWA meant (as opposed to saying that Woody can't act).


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:43 pm 
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jorencain wrote:
Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
AWA wrote:
Also amusing to hear him brush off Larry David's claims that he "can't act" and has no talent - funny how he makes similar claims about himself.

Larry David thinks that Woody can't act and has no talent?

I know that Larry David has spoken very negatively about his own acting ability. I assume that's what AWA meant (as opposed to saying that Woody can't act).

It is what I meant, yes.

JMULL222 wrote:
Woody's always had a definite soft spot for 'Interiors'. I forget where (might've been that book) but I remember a quote where he said something to the effect of "I didn't get exactly what I wanted with 'Interiors', but if I did, it would have been significant, and my best film"

Based on what he had to say in the Conversations book previously, he preferred his other dramas to Interiors, saying he had a good idea but the execution of it was far too stiff, agreeing with the critics that some humor - any humor - would've helped. He did muse that if he were to re-make the film today - which is not going to happen, or at least not literally - he could do a far better job knowing what he knows now.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:28 pm 
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Not sure which thread to put this in, but considering this could be a major corner to turn for his career, I decided to go with it here:

Woody is considering going digital after using a Digital Intermediate on "Midnight In Paris".

Not sure if this more an endorsement for digital these days or a case of Woody making his budgets go further by going this direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:08 am 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
Bullets over Broadway, one of Allen's better 90s films, will be released in France by Fox Pathe on Blu in early May but it's certain to be region-locked.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:56 am 
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Nice, it was a non-anamorphic Miramax release here. Hopefully it won't have fixed subs


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:47 pm 
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Woody says he has a role for himself in the cast of this year's project to be filmed in Rome.

He also actually likes Midnight In Paris - a good sign.

He also says he wants to / will work with Diane Keaton again.

The bad news is, he seems adamant that making a romantic drama / comedy centering solely on seniors his own age, like a Keaton / Woody pairing again, is not interesting because "nobody wants to see two septuagenarians get it on.".... which is really disappointing to think he won't try to say something in depth and focused on aging like he was showing signs of doing with films like Another Woman and Deconstructing Harry over the years. Very disappointing, but we'll have to hold out hope that perhaps wanting to feature Diane again somehow might force him to change his mind, at least a little bit.

The link above is pretty decent for a Woody interview, especially in that the reporter at least realizes how carefully Woody answers the questions and, despite aiming for some harder more insightful material with the questions, realizes Woody has managed to allude actually giving up anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Two more Allen titles scheduled on Blu in France for a tentative 4 May street date: Everyone Says I Love You and Mighty Aphrodite


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:56 pm 
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I saw every Allen movie when it was released up to Radio Days & liked/loved them all. Somehow, I missed September & Another Woman, but caught New York Stories, after which I lost all interest in catching his latest film. I've only seen Closer, which I didn't find very engaging. I keep hearing about how his recent films are more appreciated in France than in the US, but from Closer (which for some reason has a respectable IMDB rating) I'd say he's lost his touch. I've seen many films from France from the 90s & 00s which tackle the same themes as in Closer, but do so with more creativity & believability. So if he still has it, which of his post 1990 ouevre demonstrates it? Personally, I'm much more interested in seeing all of the titles up to Radio Days on Blu Ray than seeing any new one he has done.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:14 pm 
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SamLowry wrote:
I saw every Allen movie when it was released up to Radio Days & liked/loved them all. Somehow, I missed September & Another Woman, but caught New York Stories, after which I lost all interest in catching his latest film. I've only seen Closer, which I didn't find very engaging. I keep hearing about how his recent films are more appreciated in France than in the US, but from Closer (which for some reason has a respectable IMDB rating) I'd say he's lost his touch. I've seen many films from France from the 90s & 00s which tackle the same themes as in Closer, but do so with more creativity & believability. So if he still has it, which of his post 1990 ouevre demonstrates it? Personally, I'm much more interested in seeing all of the titles up to Radio Days on Blu Ray than seeing any new one he has done.

Closer is such a bad Woody Allen film, he didn't even direct it.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:24 pm 
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Oops. I meant Match Point, not Mike Nichols' Closer. For some reason I confuse those 2.


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