For essays on Sirk and his use of space and movement contained within space Bordwell is essential reading, as Ive just been reminded by Peter Henne at a_f_b.
I wonder what Bordwell you mean. I have Classical Hollywood Cinema
, Narration in Fiction Film
, Film History
, Film Art
, Making Meaning
, On the History of Film Style
, Figures Traced in Light
, and the (obviously irrelevant to the discussion) Planet Hong Kong
, and Dreyer
books, but none of them treats Sirk in any more-than-passing way.
I'd dissent from your reaction to the 2.00:1 frames. Each looks quite good to me. The compositions in the three stills for which you gave us comparison 1.33:1 frames (on the previous page) look more than fine in 2.00:1. The two shot with the background shelving is obviously much "tighter" in 2.00:1, but in a profitable way, in my opinion. The "three shot" is now, like the camera lens, more clearly focused on Wyman. And the dark optometrist shot is, for me, way more chilling in widescreen. It really is about that light in her eye! In the more open 1.33:1 composition, the tonal contrast between the back wall and her shadowed face is very distracting.
The bigger thing, as far as I'm concerned, is that the 2.00:1's perfectly reasonably composed (even "well" composed) images are highly highly unlikely to have been a "happy accident". Try clipping - as I just did to scenes from Singin' in the Rain
- fully 1/3 of any other 1.33:1 movie down to 2.00:1 and see if such nice compositions result.