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Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fullscreen (NOT ANY MORE), February 9, 2009
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This review is from: Ironweed (DVD)
This is a great film. Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson were given a great story (by William Kennedy), and they responded with greatness. I've been waiting for it to come out in DVD, largely because my VHS copy is a pan-and-scan, fullscreen (1.33:1) version, and this film deserves to be seen in its glorious widescreen (1.85:1) theatrical version. Unfortunately, the "product details" indicate that this DVD is "fullscreen", and it has been confirmed (2-24-09) by two people (Neil and Brad) that it is the fullscreen version. [Brad even commented that it looked like a copy of the old VHS pan-and-scan tape].

August '09 EDIT: Butch Johnson, a projectionist, gave the film a 3 star rating (on Feb. 27, 2009); he commented that this film was originally filmed in a fullscreen (1.33 : 1) aspect ratio, and "cropped" on the top and bottom for commercial "widescreen" theatrical distribution. Comparing this fullscreen version with the widescreen version (which can be seen on youtube in installments, numbered: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) Mr. Johnson's claim appears quite valid. Consequently, although there's certainly something to be said for a film that fills our widescreen television screens, this DVD does not appear to be a pan-and-scan; it actually lets us see more of the "original" film, in--paradoxically--a smaller "blackboxed" 4X3 area.

UPDATE APRIL 2013: Hosanna! The Bluray widescreen (1:77:1) version of this film is vastly superior to the previously released fullscreen version. As mentioned in my two previous paragraphs, the top and the bottom of this newer version have been trimmed, but the film is now available the way the director intended, and it packs a much stronger wallop. The video quality of the bluray version is greatly improved, and it makes for a considerably richer movie experience. Enjoy!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 23, 2009 5:35:32 PM PST
Brad says:
Unfortunately, this is a pan and scan film. But, it gets worse.....the dvd looks like the old vhs version. I expect that Lionsgate did not have the rights to work with the transfer, but that is only a suspicion. But, unfortunately, the film looks absolutely horrible. I expect others will be posting their thoughts...I wouldnt want anyone to take just my word. But if you are waiting to see if the film is really 4:3 before buying, know that it is. Sorry

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2009 7:53:17 PM PST
Thanks Brad,
I sort of anticipated that this was the case, after I contacted a "seller" who was selling a PAL (Region 2) version, and he told me that it was full screen. Like you said: "Too Bad". This is a truly great film and I hope that someday someone (maybe Criterion) will pick it up and give us the widescreen version.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2009 2:53:58 PM PST
Brad says:
That has always been a dream - that Criterion will pick this up and dust if off. Could happen - I waited almost 20 years from the time that Criterion confirmed that they were working on Pandora's Box, until it came out. Now, if I can just stop this aging process, I am sure I will live to see a decent version of Ironweed!
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Location: Des Moines, IA

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