Customer Review

90 of 113 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT the widescreen original, December 10, 2007
This review is from: Anatomy of a Murder (DVD)
The original aspect ratio of this film is 1:85:1 (see IMDB).

The US DVD box from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment contradicts this, saying:
"This film is presented in a FULL SCREEN VERSION which preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio, approximately 1:33:1."

In civil society, this may be called false advertising. The box does not contain what the box says it contains.

The DVD itself warns as it begins playing that the film "has been modified to fit your TV". In other words, it was re-edited in the 80s or 90s by another (anonymous) director/editor using the notorious 'pan and scan' technique, which cuts off the right and left edges of widescreen films, and adds new camera movements and re-scales some images to make certain that the action remains on screen in the new, square-ish ratio.

Amazon's Internet Movie Database correctly identifies the aspect ratio. Columbia distributes THAT version in Europe (which is why when you search for this film on Amazon, the European release comes up too). If you buy that version in the US, you'll pay a little more, and you'll have to use a region-free dvd player to view it. Here's the link for that version:

Anatomy of a Murder European DVD

Your second option is to buy this movie from Amazon Unbox, which presents it in its correct aspect ratio:

Anatomy Of A Murder from Amazon Unbox

Your third option is to wait on buying this until they release the original.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 25, 2008 10:38:10 PM PDT
Bob says:
Thanks for the research on the aspect ratio as regards this film. If DVD liner notes are going to claim they "preserve the aspect ratio of the original theatrical release" then I wish the DVD would truly reflect just that.

Posted on Jul 21, 2008 11:16:15 PM PDT
J. Bielawski says:
I suspect the film was shot in 1.33:1 and projected in theatres matted to 1.85:1 (exactly as, say, Kubrick's "Shining"). The US DVD release appears to have transferred the entire film frame to video (again, as with "The Shining"). I agree this is bad practice.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 9:01:12 PM PDT
R. C. Walker says:
According to the IMDB, 1.85:1 is the original aspect ratio.

Posted on Sep 17, 2008 9:02:08 PM PDT
R. C. Walker says:
Even in a civil society, calling 1.33:1 the "original" aspect ratio is a lie. Not only is it a lie, it is a damned lie.

Posted on Dec 17, 2008 7:50:08 PM PST
D. Steigman says:
It is a full screen movie, check and to see the differences

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 7:05:26 PM PDT
Lincoln212 says:
"Anatomy of a Murder" was shot in CinemaScope, with a then projected screen image of 2:55 to 1, later modified to 2:35 to 1. Columbia's DVD release, Region 1, is absolutely false when it says it "preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio." What Columbia did was apparently to use the aspect ratio of the VHS release, pan & scan, rather than construct a new aspect transfer ratio for DVD. Even a 1:85 to 1 projection is wrong for this film. Shame on Columbia for not releasing the film as it was shown when first released to theatres.

Now, what's really interesting is "Picnic" was released by Columbia on DVD the same year as "Anatomy . . ." "Picnic" was also shot in CinemaScope and yet the DVD release is 2:35 to 1. As it should be. It appears to be a sloppy rush job on "Anatomy" without regard to the director's intention, nor any real concern for customers. There you have it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2009 11:06:40 AM PST
I am pretty certain anatomy was not shot at the full widescreen 2:whatever it is to 1 ratio...i am willing to admit to being wrong, but I have seen theatrical prints of this, and if memory serves the aspect ratio approximated 1.85 to 1; consultations with print sources (IMDB, various Preminger filmographies) confirmed this -- not that they're necessarily correct. What's your source?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2010 11:12:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 31, 2010 11:14:08 AM PST
Just watched this last night -- judging from what's going on at the periphery of the meticulous compositions, I would guess this was indeed shot in 1.33.1. Preminger often frames "widescreen" even when shooting in a narrow aspect ratio, with crucial action going on in the far corners of each side of the frame; well, on the DVD I never sensed such action at the periphery was lost, i.e.., the nocturnal scene between Stewart and Remick in the doorway to her trailer, or the meticulous compositions from over Remick's shoulder when she's being cross-examined by George C Scott and Stewart and the prosecutor are framed on either side of Scott in the deep background on each far corner of the frame. If this had been a 1.85.1 film, something would have been missing from the aforementioned shots -- nothing was on this fullscreen DVD.
And it goes without saying anyone claiming this is a 'scope film doesn't know what they're talking about. Anatomy is of course the only NON-WIDESCREEN film Preminger made between St Joan in '57 and Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon in '70.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2010 9:47:28 AM PST
D. Lovett says:
I mean no disrespect, however Turner Classic Movies ( has shown "Anatomy of a Murder" in 1.85:1 letterbox, and their movie database agrees with IMDB on this ratio point. I happily recorded TCM's presentation, but of course sharpness & detail suffer compared to a well-presented DVD. Still, it is very engrossing to see the fuller picture.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2010 9:49:11 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Mar 6, 2010 9:50:24 AM PST]
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