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Old 12-02-2009, 21:50   #801
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Of the R2 60s movies that are incorrectly presented, only Topaz doesn't suffer too badly since it's an open-matte transfer at least.
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Old 12-02-2009, 23:59   #802
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No, quite the opposite. Have a look at these caps at Davey P's site here. Click on the links to compare them with the other editions and you'll quite clearly see how much info is lopped off the sides in the R2 transfer.
I see what you mean now.

Some films that are presented in 1:85.1 that are shown in 4:3, sometimes they do lose picture info as is the case with Maniac Cop,MC was badly cropped (1:85.1 ) and a lot of picture info was missing yet the 4:3 showed the missing info.
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Old 13-02-2009, 00:08   #803
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That's usually a case of seeing an open-matte transfer, which is the whole frame without the masking for widescreen projection. Such transfers are obviously preferable to pan & scan as most TVs allow you to zoom in to the correct ratio (supposing the open-matte hasn't been zoomed itself). However, that extra information you're seeing was never meant to be on view; it usually results in masses of redundant headroom or empty space at the bottom of the screen. In its worst form booms can be viewed bobbing in and out of the top of the frame.
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Old 13-02-2009, 00:30   #804
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Offtopic but I much preferred Maniac Cop in 4:3 then in 1:85.1,the info was meant to be seen (by Director William Lustig ) yet when they cropped it to 1:85.1 the info was not.

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Old 13-02-2009, 08:19   #805
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livius View Post
No, quite the opposite. Have a look at these caps at Davey P's site here. Click on the links to compare them with the other editions and you'll quite clearly see how much info is lopped off the sides in the R2 transfer.
That is a very useful link. I have the original R1 DVD and so the aspect ratio is correct but the transfer is poor, particularly for the first 15 to 20 minutes.

Does anyone know of a similar DVD comparison link for Dial M For Murder?
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Old 13-02-2009, 08:46   #806
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Does anyone know of a similar DVD comparison link for Dial M For Murder?
Just navigate your way around Davey's site and you'll find comparisons for every Hitch movie. Look for the "filmography" link on the left sidebar and that'll take you to any title you want. Dial M is here btw.

Davey's site is a real labor of love and I'm very grateful to him for putting in all that effort.
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Old 13-02-2009, 10:37   #807
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From memory, the Hitchcock VistaVision films mostly have a negative ratio of 1.66:1. That means that a non-matted 4:3 or 1.85:1 transfer will lose info from the side or top.

The studio would usually issue instructions for cinema projectionists as to the preferred ratio of the film. So, if the instructions were to show the film as 1.85:1, the projectionist would use a "soft matte" to remove the top & bottom parts of the frame.

I don't think there's total agreement as to what the ideal ratio of the Hitchcock VistaVision films should be (Psycho, in particular, seems to lose some important stuff when matted to 1.85:1), but I certainly prefer the R1 1.85:1 transfer of "The Birds" over the R2/4 4:3 version.

I'm also guessing that the huge amount of optical printing that was done for the special effects had an impact on the quality of the film. The final shot of the film was a composite of 32 different exposures.

It's also worth noting that Al Whitlock produced a large number of matte paintings for the film (ominous clouds in the sky, non-existant buildings, etc). Most of these are so good that you don't even notice them.
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Old 13-02-2009, 10:57   #808
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It's also worth noting that Al Whitlock produced a large number of matte paintings for the film (ominous clouds in the sky, non-existant buildings, etc). Most of these are so good that you don't even notice them.
Albert J. Whitlock once did an on-stage interview an the National Film Theatre in which he described his work and showed a montage of images. This montage was absolutely gobsmacking. It consisted of a series of images in groups of three. The first image was what the camera had recorded onto film. The second image was the first minus what was going to be changed. The third was the image after Whitlock had worked his magic. No-one who saw that montage will dispute that magic is the appropriate word.

If I recall correctly, the interview was conducted by Adrian Turner. When he welcomed Albert J. Whitlock he said that on a recent visit to Hollywood he had been shown round the Universal studios and the studio boss when introducing him to Whitlock had said this is probably the most important person in the studio from a financial point of view because he saved Universal so much money.

I only wish that the Whitlock session at the NFT had been televised and preserved.

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Old 13-02-2009, 10:58   #809
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Originally Posted by Livius View Post
Just navigate your way around Davey's site and you'll find comparisons for every Hitch movie. Look for the "filmography" link on the left sidebar and that'll take you to any title you want. Dial M is here btw.

Davey's site is a real labor of love and I'm very grateful to him for putting in all that effort.
Thanks for that but this information has confused me even more considering the earlier arguements about the OAR of Dial M For Murder. Davey's site clearly makes the statement that the R2 versions are cropped from the OAR of 1:37:1, which I take it to imply that the R1 DVD's 1:37:1 ratio is the correct one. This ties in with what DVD Beaver and Rewind are saying, as well as several other links.

While looking at the pictures posted by Davey, I concentrated only on the R1 and R2 versions. Once again, there seems to be more information in the R1 picture, also agreeing with DVD Beaver. I have both R1 and R2 DVDs and while confessing that my knowledge of the matting process and DVD transfer is very limited, to my untrained eyes it seem like the R1 picture is the more complete. As far as I could see, there was no "unwanted information" at the top or bottom in any frame.

But as all of you know, there are many knowledgeable people on these forums who insist that the anamorphic R2 transfer of 1.85:1 is the correct one and that the R1 is the one that is cropped. IMDB seems to have done an about turn twice; first they put down the OAR as 1.17:1 but changed it to 1.85:1 a few months ago, presumably after someone here discussed it with them. Now it is back at 1.37:1, seemingly to stay!

It would be nice to clarify this controversy once and for all. If there are more Davey type pictures to compare, it would be helpful. Since I have both DVDs, I'll come out smiling either way
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Old 13-02-2009, 11:45   #810
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^
Jack Theakston has commented on this before, both here and elsewhere; suffice to say Dial M for Murder is correctly presented on the R2 DVD.
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Old 13-02-2009, 14:01   #811
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I'll try and double-check the "Dial M" transfers over the weekend. The issue is compounded by the statement on the back of the 4:3 R1 transfer that it is "presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition" :S

From memory, the R2 releases of "The Birds", "Marnie" and "Torn Curtain" loose more of the sides of the 1.66:1 frame than they gain at the top/bottom of the frame. R2 "Topaz" is closer to an "open-matte" transfer (so, if you were to zoom the picture in to fill a 16:9 TV, it would pretty much match the R1 transfer).

According to this site, Paramount "always" went with a projection ratio of 1.85:1 for VistaVision films. There's also some useful into on this site.
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Old 13-02-2009, 14:41   #812
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Jack Theakston has commented on this before, both here and elsewhere; suffice to say Dial M for Murder is correctly presented on the R2 DVD.
Yes, he has but as you can see for yourself, there are other "experts" who are equally vehement with the other side of the arguement. But I have to honestly say that from a very "common" person's viewpoint, I have both R1 and R2 DVDs and certainly prefer the former. There is very little (if any) additional horizintal information on the R2 and the image transfer softer and not as good as the R1.
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Old 13-02-2009, 15:21   #813
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the beavers screenshots are much better - and the R1 looks a bit sharper... still can't do R1 anymore..

might order: £2.99 for the R2 @ HMV

Anyone not got North by Northwest? £2.99 also @ HMV
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Old 13-02-2009, 15:28   #814
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R1 looks a bit sharper... still can't do R1 anymore..
Sorry, I missed your point. Are you saying that your DVD player does not play R1 discs or you are somehow opposed to Region 1 DVDs as a matter of principle?
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Old 13-02-2009, 15:43   #815
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Sorry, I missed your point. Are you saying that your DVD player does not play R1 discs or you are somehow opposed to Region 1 DVDs as a matter of principle?
doesn't play them.
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Old 13-02-2009, 16:03   #816
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Just now I watched a few select scenes form Dial M For Murder on my R1 and R2 DVDs, comparing like for like. I am no expert like some others, but it seemed to me that the picture in the R2 disc is zoomed closer and then cropped to fit the 1.85:1 ratio. This gives a rather overmagnified effect in some scenes; the best sequence to compare is just when Grace Kelly receives her husband's phone call and Anthony Dawson comes out from behind the curtain. As he is standing behind Kelly just before the attempted murder, the whole frame looks ludicrously close and somehow 'not right' at all in its perspective. The same sequence looks perfectly normal in the R1 DVD.
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Old 13-02-2009, 16:10   #817
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I've probably already said this before, but Hitchcock primarily used the 3D effect to emphasise foregound objects. Many of those objects are in the lower part of the frame, so the 1.85:1 transfer partially crops some of them out. For that reason, I find it hard(er) to believe that 1.85:1 was the preferred projection ratio for the 3D version of the film.
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Old 14-02-2009, 08:44   #818
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Saw Dial M For Murder again last night (on my R1 DVD ). Arguements about transfers and aspects ratios apart, it is a very good Hitchcock film. But one paradoxical aspect of the ending struck me.

Code:
By his own admission, the police inspector used "highly irregular methods" to obtain evidence in order to prove Grace Kelly innocent. He succeeded and under those circumstances, the Home Secretary would have no option but to release her unconditionally. But convicting Ray Milland based on that same dodgy evidence would be an entirely different matter. A British court would not accept police evidence gathered in such a way (stealing keys, exchanging overcoats etc) and even if they considered it, a good lawyer (and we know that Milland had one by those phone calls earlier in the film) would tear the case against Milland apart based on planted evidence.
What do you think?

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Old 14-02-2009, 09:45   #819
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Saw Dial M For Murder again last night (on my R1 DVD ). Arguements about transfers and aspects ratios apart, it is a very good Hitchcock film. But one paradoxical aspect of the ending struck me.

Code:
By his own admission, the police inspector used "highly irregular methods" to obtain evidence in order to prove Grace Kelly innocent. He succeeded and under those circumstances, the Home Secretary would have no option but to release her unconditionally. But convicting Ray Milland based on that same dodgy evidence would be an entirely different matter. A British court would not accept police evidence gathered in such a way (stealing keys, exchanging overcoats etc) and even if they considered it, a good lawyer (and we know that Milland had one by those phone calls earlier in the film) would tear the case against Milland apart based on planted evidence.
What do you think?
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Old 14-02-2009, 23:58   #820
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ordered the R2 of Dial M for Murder... I think I have only seen it once! I have seen most Hitchcock films and would say North by North West is my fav.
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