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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:41 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Funny Face and Sabrina finally coming out stateside in April

The latter probably in 1.37:1, like the Paramount French disc. Shooting began 6 months after Paramount announced their all widescreen policy, exhibitors were advised that 1.75:1 was the preferred projection ratio.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:55 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Jesus Christ, have you seen Sabrina? It's clearly an Academy film


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:10 pm 
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I see.

You'll be disappointed to hear then that Robert Harris apparently has some inside information and has said the disc will definitely be 1.78:1, despite what the press release says (though I am a little doubtful since the transfer is obviously from Paramount, and it was released 1.37:1 in other territories).

If I'd known this before making my previous post, obviously I wouldn't have bothered saying anything.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:31 pm 
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So Furmanek had earlier declared that Sabrina should be 1.66:1 but is now saying 1.75:1. (Unlike some, I consider that an appreciable difference.) Apparently studio policies at that time were not as clear-cut and easy to determine as some may presume, or they were not followed to a T. The production was such an unbelievable zoo that I'd be amazed if anything went according to policy.
I should add that I haven't seen the film in almost a decade and have long considered it a minor Wilder loved mainly by Audreyphiles. The only part I like a lot is the plastics monologue.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:39 pm 
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Things change as new information is discovered. If Bob has evidence that the film was composed 1.75:1, against Paramount policy at the time, then it must be more compelling then what was previously thought, not less! If you look here then it appears this 1.75:1 evidence has something to do with what Wilder wanted, rather than anything to do with the studio (hence why it goes against the then current policy).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:43 pm 
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Well Academicians should stick with the region free Non US Paramount editions. Current prices from Oz are pretty cheap. I still have a lingering atom or two of disappointment with the transfer of Funny Face as well. If only Ron Smith had been able to do the original encode at Paramount, rather than Andrea Kalas.

And I agree despite the studio rhetoric I have only ever seen Sabrina in Academy, including 35mm prints. I doubt 1.85 or 1.75 or even 1.66 would really suit it, despite some classical period headroom bias in Wilder's and the great Charles Lang's lighting and compositions.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Eddie, I haven't been able to view any of this documentation. When I click the links in this post, I get directory listing pages, not the relevant images.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:59 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
Eddie, I haven't been able to view any of this documentation. When I click the links in this post, I get directory listing pages, not the relevant images.

I believe those links were Box Office listings for the films original run, recommending 1.75:1. In Bob's latest post (from today), he says that Wilder originally planned Sabrina for 2:1, but then settled with 1.75:1. Apparently Paramount's 1.66:1 house ratio meant little to him. I've asked if he can provide the source of this information, and am waiting to hear back.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:59 pm 
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Worth noting that the Aussie and UK Blu-ray is region free, for those on Team Hare/Harvey who'd like to see this in Academy


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:16 pm 
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I heard back.
I personally don't see Wilder announcing to the press that the film will be in widescreen, and then composing 1.37:1 anyway. Hopefully the US release is 1.78:1, and anyone not happy with that can import the very cheap and very region free UK disc, as Dom and David have already pointed out. Everyone is happy.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:25 pm 
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EddieLarkin wrote:
I heard back.
I personally don't see Wilder announcing to the press that the film will be in widescreen, and then composing 1.37:1 anyway.
He announced that he was "planning" to shoot in 2:1, and then clearly the plans changed, so that Variety fragment doesn't help us determine what the intended aspect ratio ultimately was. I notice Bob repeats that the ratio was settled on 1.75:1 before preproduction but doesn't cite a source for this, even after you asked for documentation.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:28 pm 
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It'll be the aforementioned Box Office listing.

And although Wilder's statement that Sabrina will be in 2:1 doesn't lead us to 1.75:1 on its own, it does, in my mind, conclusively show he had no intention to compose the film 1.37:1.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:36 pm 
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I'm assuming these will come with the Paramount DVD extras that were missing from the international blurays.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:18 am 
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Some new information.

Bob has provided a clipping of the Variety production listing for the film, published after the shoot had begun.

This fellow has seemingly had confirmation from WB that the film will be presented 16x9 on the new Blu-ray.

Jeffrey Wells is responding as expected, which I guess can be counted as additional confirmation.

Are no "Academicians" here at least interested to see how the film plays as the director intended? Doesn't that trump even decades of personal history with the film? If you don't like it, you can still believe that Wilder somehow fluked a better version in 1.37:1, and swap it for the Region B version instead.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:46 pm 
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"Wide-Screen" in the Variety clipping is very general. 1.66:1 is a type of widescreen. The Box Office recommended ratio doesn't necessary tells us exactly how Wilder and Lang composed the film, and we know that Paramount had a 1.66:1 policy.

Jeffrey Wells's responses are no confirmation or counterconfirmation of anything. He's right sometimes, for example that there was no reason for Warner not to release Barry Lyndon in 1.66:1, though he was obnoxiously over-the-top about it. He should just be ignored, I think.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:03 pm 
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I think the key point here is that all the evidence points to widescreen whilst none of it points to standard.

But if there is concern over the difference between 1.75:1 and 1.66:1, consider this: in August '53, Wilder was preparing to shoot in 2:1. By the time of release, exhibitors were instructed 1.75:1. These are the only two ratios that appear in documentation that relates directly to the film, regardless of what Paramount's policy was or wasn't at the time. So if the choice is between those two, obviously everyone here should be happy that WB are going with the narrower one! 1.66:1 may have been an even safer option, but I'm confident the film will look fine regardless.

Re Jeff Wells, I was only saying that his outrage is evidence of the new disc being 16x9, him being a Hollywood "insider". I wasn't implying his dismissal of an aspect ratio makes said aspect ratio more likely the correct one! Anyway, it's 100% confirmed now, as per WB.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:20 pm 
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Warner press release "correction":

Quote:
Please note that previously announced Sabrina announce was incorrect. The title has been re-formatted in HDSR (4:4:4) 1080p 1.78 Full Frame Video Protection.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:28 pm 
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EddieLarkin wrote:
Some new information.

Bob has provided a clipping of the Variety production listing for the film, published after the shoot had begun.

This fellow has seemingly had confirmation from WB that the film will be presented 16x9 on the new Blu-ray.

Jeffrey Wells is responding as expected, which I guess can be counted as additional confirmation.

Are no "Academicians" here at least interested to see how the film plays as the director intended? Doesn't that trump even decades of personal history with the film? If you don't like it, you can still believe that Wilder somehow fluked a better version in 1.37:1, and swap it for the Region B version instead.


I'm not averse to seeing this in a wide format, although I would like to think Warner may have also done more cleanup on the transfer than the earlier Pararmount BDs - as you know some reels look better than others, and there is some distinct variability in PQ, probably source based which is not attributable to DVNR or denoising/degraining issues.

But watching early WS Charles Lang for me is as clumsy as watching early widescreen Russell Metty (never mind the directors.) In the case of Sabrina the first 15 minutes is so largely shot in shadow something like, for instance, the very high headroom in the scenes in the indoor tennis court at the party alwyas feels necessary to the feeling and meaning of the shots at these points in the film. Anyway this gives us a choice. Down to a choice I would almost certainly take Academy here.

I think WBHV was right to make the 1.75 mask decision in something like Torch Song which was always previously released in open matte. As well as being an entry well into 1954 it's painfully obvious in comparing WS and 1.33 the high headroom was left for protection, especially in the show numbers including the notorious "Two Faced Woman". So Bob Furmanek's persistence in that was dead right. I also agree with him on the 1.78 for Dial M which I think enlivens the image very greatly in tandem with the 3D.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:38 pm 
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Warner have seemingly created a new 16x9 master for this release, rathe than just cropping the old one, so additional clean up/better encoding could be possible. There will also apparently be more side information than what is visible in the region B discs, so headroom may not be reduced as much as you'd expect.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:02 pm 
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Quote:
I think WBHV was right to make the 1.75 mask decision in something like Torch Song which was always previously released in open matte. As well as being an entry well into 1954 it's painfully obvious in comparing WS and 1.33 the high headroom was left for protection, especially in the show numbers including the notorious "Two Faced Woman". So Bob Furmanek's persistence in that was dead right. I also agree with him on the 1.78 for Dial M which I think enlivens the image very greatly in tandem with the 3D.


Thanks, David. TORCH SONG was MGM's third widescreen production, following ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO which rolled April 8, 1953 and HALF A HERO which began April 13.

Shooting commenced on TORCH SONG on April 28, 1953 and it was composed for 1.75:1.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:10 pm 
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Bob, I had not realized Torch Song shoot was so early in 53, not 54. (I first saw this, in 16mm I recall at Theater 80 St Marks in the 70s where it was a frequent camp favorite, with audiences shouting line perfect dialogue back at the screen to Joan. Those screenings were for the ages. LIke most of their 16mm prints it wasn't hard matted so it screend 1.37.)

I may be wrong or faulty memory but even the clip of Two Faced Woman in That's Entertainment 1 (or 2?) was shown in 1.37 in that multi ratio compilation film. The 90s laser and VHS (natch) were issued in 1.33 also, but it wasn't until the WB DVD a few years back that convinced me the headroom was clearly protection for TV. During the Two Faced Woman number you can even see breaks in the stage set at the top of the frame clearly not intended to be shown. And Walters keeps the Close and MCU shots with "medium" distance and framing.

I still don't feel similarly relaxed with WS for the Wilder however.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:18 pm 
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When researching intended AR, it's crucial to determine the dates of production. That's of far more importance than the release date.

I have not seen SABRINA in 1.75:1 but I'm certainly looking forward to it. As I recall, when Jack Theakston first discovered the documentation in November 2008, he said the zoom on the open matte transfer worked quite well.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:56 pm 
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If the open matte transfer was zoomed in a little, that might well account for the perception that the headroom in Academy is correct.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:36 pm 
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I would suggest that only a few shots early in Sabrina appear to be zoomed. Most notably during the opening sequence in which you can see strikingly coarse grain and the shots which look dupey. I'd previously put this down to less than ideal elements but having just watched Giant (a real ordeal) which is littered with zoomed opticals, I am inclined to think the great bulk of Sabrina in Academy is definitely open matte with no cropping on any sides. I don't recall any more such obviously dupey zoomed shots later in the film.

The Stevens is an interesting case in which it seems obvious both Stevens and his DP William Mellor were still struglling with widescreen compositional issues even for the relatively tame 1.66 ratio of the production. More than half the picture is composed of obviously zoomed shots and it's really a tribute to the Warner encoding team that they were able to navigate the constant variation between coarse and fine grain texture as well as they did. Of course people who know nothing about grain let alone AR issues have criticized the Giant transfer for being "too grainy" when it's all about the production circumstances. This is as bad as it actually looked for most of the time on first release.

The "Family Portrait" shots in Sabrina are fairly indicative of the intended compositional boundaries I believe. There are also several completely ravishing CUs in the indoor tennis court which I simply can't imagine being wrong for head room. Charles Lang was one of the great DPs after all. But for all this I think Bob Furmanek is right about it being intended for WS, although I do think when we see the Warner there will still be those of us who prefer the open matte, even if only for so many of those sublimely lit high headroom CUs and mediums.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:36 pm 
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Quote:
The Stevens is an interesting case in which it seems obvious both Stevens and his DP William Mellor were still struglling with widescreen compositional issues even for the relatively tame 1.66 ratio of the production.


Thanks David and just to be clear, the intended AR is 1.75:1.


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