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Future Re-releases of Kubrick's Films


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#1 Joe Taylor

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 08:02 PM

With the exception of "Spartacus" and "2001," Kubrick's films have never been treated kindly for video releases. I know how Kubrick demanded that they be shown full screen, but do you think they might ever be re-released with pristine transfers and don anamorphically? Stanely Kubrick had ( and still has) such a firm grasp on anything pertaining to his work, it almost seems impossible that his films will never see much of a full-blown, all stops pulled, chock full of special features collector's edition.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 09:48 PM

We'll never know if he would have changed his stance on widescreen transfers if 16x9 televisions become more commonplace.

As it is, it was only the last three movies -- "The Shining", "Full Metal Jacket" and "Eyes Wide Shut" -- that he insisted that the transfers be 4x3 full-frame, even though they were composed for theatrical cropping. The transfers of "Barry Lyndon" and "Clockwork Orange" have mild letterboxing and "Dr. Strangelove" has intermittent letterboxing. Those films were shot entirely (or partially as with "Dr. Strangelove") with some camera matting, so you're basically seeing the whole negative with the mild letterbox. I don't recall how "Lolita" and some of the earlier Kubrick films were transferred, probably 4x3 full-frame.

I heard that Kubrick liked the look of the 4x3 full-frame transfers because they reminded him of the old Academy ratio he preferred, but obviously he shot those last three movies with cropping to widescreen in mind for the theatrical release. When projected, I heard that he preferred the 1.66 mask to a 1.85 mask. I think he was able to insist that theaters project "Barry Lyndon" with a 1.66 mask (there are stories of Warner Bros. post people having to visit all the theaters to check if they had proper masking), but gave up on that by the time of "The Shining".

It seems that a 16x9 full-frame transfer (1.78 : 1) would be ideal for those post "2001" movies...
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#3 Joe Taylor

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 10:42 PM

I have both "Barry Lyndon" and "Clockwork Orange" on DVD, but neither are anamorphic. I am hoping that Warners someday will at least re-release these two with HD sets in mind.
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 11:15 PM

I imagine he liked the 4x3 aspect ratio becase of his early work with still cameras. It's how he first learned compostion and probably felt the most comfortable with it. I'll bet he only went to widescreen due to studio pressure. I agree though that the one film that cries out for 16x9 is 2001.

Edited by Capt.Video, 11 March 2006 - 11:18 PM.

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#5 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 11:19 PM

The framing for his last three looks better 4x3 than the cropped theatrical releases, to me. I saw Eyes 4

times in different theatres and every time the film looked a little muddy. Why they can't show 'em with the

complete neg. in mind is astonishing!!! Are the public that crazy and condescending? I guess they'll never re-

release The Wizard of Oz again... I saw that in a huge theatre in New York (?) I think and it looked fabulous

in all it's square glory!!! I wish people weren't so widescreen-sentric! What would people say if they went to

see "M"? It's 1.19:1 !!! They'd freak out...
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 11:34 PM

I agree, it also limits the filmmaker. Some concepts could benifit in their emotion content from a 4x3 aspect ratio to help emphasize the emotional quality one is trying to convey. I actually wanted to switch aspect ratios for my film which take place onboard a starship while it's inside a nebula, using cinemascope for the exterior scenes to help convey the quailty of being in "God's realm" and 4x3 for the interior scenes to subconciously convey the limited view of man and later on in the film, the feeling of being trapped in an oppressive situation. I'm just not quite sure how I can do that without jarring the audiance and taking them out of the reatity of the film. I thought about using a CGI pullthough the hull of the ship to expand into the widescreen aspect ratio. but haven't done tests on it yet to see how it will look. It's interesting that Kubrick did something like this on Dr. Strangelove. It gives me more confidence it will work.
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 12:32 AM

There's a significant difference between something composed for 4x3, and something protected for 4x3 (but composed for 1.85). Works tend to look best at the ratio they were composed for.
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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 12:38 AM

I realize that, if your talking specifically to me. The exteriors will be all annimation and the interiors will be live action so they will be composed for each aspect ration respectively. But that is definately something to keep in mind, Thanks
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 01:00 AM

The trouble with mixing aspect ratios is that the effect is different in the theaters than on video. On a 2.35 scope print, the wider aspect ratios are wider and the squarer ones share the same height but are not as wide, so the film "opens up" when you go to 2.35.

On a 4x3 or 16x9 monitor, 2.35 is generally shorter in height, not wider. So either you letterbox the image to 2.35 and then have the less wide frames appear as a windowbox inside of the 2.35 area, or the less widescreen formats get bigger vertically than 2.35 but share the same width.

Look at "The Horse Whisperer", which matted the scope frame to 1.85 for early scenes until they got to Montana, which then opened up to 2.35. On the home video version, they just took out the matte (since the whole movie was shot in anamorphic) and made it all 2.35.

Other mixed aspect ratio movies include "Brainstorm". "Lola Montes" has some odd use of black borders and shapes to reframe the CinemaScope image.

There are a number of movies that start out less wide for the opening and then expand out to widescreen, like the beginning of "The Road Warrior" or "This is Cinerama!"

It's an idea that plays better on the big theatrical screen than it does on TV.
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 02:46 AM

Well I'm hoping to get a theatrical release when it's finished so that's actually encouraging to hear. You know what's amazing? I thought I was being totally unique with this concept. I had no idea so many films have played with aspect ratios before. Just goes to show you here really is nothing"New". I've seen all these films but on TV well except for "Lola Montes" and "This is Cinerama!" so I guess I should say half these films. I guess that may be why I didn't notice the change or maybe I did but didn't realize the aspect ratio was changing and that's were I subconsiously got the idea.

What I had planned to do was have the 4x3 roll out at the edges to scope, but I didn't know if that would work, however from what you just said it sounds like it would work perfectly and give me the exact effect I was shooting for but this would be more difficult or damn near impossible to accomplish for the DVD realease. I guess I'll have t decide based on what kind of deal I can make with a distributor when I get to that point. I suppose I could do it the way I want too then pan and scan if I can only swing a straight to video release.
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#11 Steve Zimmerman

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 06:09 AM

Back to the Kubrick Issue: At Mobius Home Video Forum http://www.mhvf.net/ and The Digital Bits there is discussion of future DVD releases from Warner Bros. on and Kubrick's films were part of it. There will be new special editions of Kubrick's films on dvd. It said Malcom McDowell has recorded a comentary track for Clockwork Orange. Eyes Wide Shut would be released uncensored officially region 1. All films from The Shining on would be anamorphic 16:9 (1.77) full screen.

Excerpts from The Digital Bits: http://www.thedigita...106htfchat.html

[VincentP] You guys are the best major studio for DVD releases. There's just one real improvement I'd like to see, especially with the upcoming SE of A Clockwork Orange. I'd like to know when is Warner going to start doing 16x9 enhancement for 1.66:1 films?

[Warner] Thank you, Vincent. Your wish has been granted. We haven't had to release a 1.66 film since GIANT, and since then, company policy is now to release 1.66:1 films with side bars within the 16x9 frame. So yes, CLOCKWORK is being remastered in HD as we speak, and the new transfer will have the proper aspect ratio . No more 4x3 slight letterboxed DVDs of 1.66 from WHV. They have gone the way of the Snapper!

SeanW] Are the upcoming Kubrick re-releases going to be in the aspect ratio which they appeared in theatres in? Or will they be in the same ratios as their previous releases?

[Warner] The Kubricks will be released as seen in theaters. Later in the atricle it is clarified: The Shining and Eyes Wide shut will be released in 1.77 aspect ratio".

Not full 1.85 but still a decent compromise.

Edited by Steve Zimmerman, 12 March 2006 - 06:14 AM.

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#12 Joe Taylor

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:47 AM

Very Cool Steve! Music to my eyes. Thanks for the link.
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#13 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 01:01 PM

The new HD transfers of Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut have already been shown on HD cable. It's like watching a brand new movie for the first time.
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#14 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 02:35 PM

.
I heard that Kubrick liked the look of the 4x3 full-frame transfers because they reminded him of the old Academy ratio he preferred, but obviously he shot those last three movies with cropping to widescreen in mind for the theatrical release. When projected, I heard that he preferred the 1.66 mask to a 1.85 mask. I think he was able to insist that theaters project "Barry Lyndon" with a 1.66 mask (there are stories of Warner Bros. post people having to visit all the theaters to check if they had proper masking), but gave up on that by the time of "The Shining".


---I saw 'The Shining' at Mann's Chinese, where it was definitely projected 1.66.

Other movies I saw there were 1.85 with trailers 1.66.

---LV
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