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Discrepancy in Aspect Ratio?
on July 14, 2012
The Blu-ray edition of this 1951 classic sci-fi film is welcome indeed.
The quality of the video is generally an improvement to the previous DVD release. Most shots show the expected improvement in clarity, others do not. All shots drawn from file footage will not display the sharpness possible with studio created takes but it is generally satisfactory, except for one discrepancy. The frame aspect ratio given in Amazon's specification for the product is given as 1.37:1. This is what is also stated in the IMDb specification for the film. All sound theatrical films produced after 1931 were shown in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 which is referred to as the "Academy Aperture." However, the product package for this film states the aspect ratio as 1.33:1 which was the standard ratio for non-anamorphic films released to DVD. This is the aspect ratio for the NTSC television standard and was used for all non-anamorphic displays on DVD. The aspect ratio for this film on Blu-ray should have been released in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio. I took a measurement on my screen display and confirmed that it is 1.33:1.
Warner Home Video released "The Wizard of Oz" in Blu-ray in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio although the packaging for that product incorrectly states it as being in the 1.33:1 ratio. I checked that also on my display and confirmed that it is, in fact in 1.37:1 as it should be.
Apparently some studios are reprocessing these older films on Blu-ray in the correct 1.37:1 aspect ratio and some are not. TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT APPARENTLY DID NOT CHOOSE TO RELEASE THE BLU-RAY DISC OF "THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL" IN ITS CORRECT ASPECT RATIO OF 1.37:1 .
The soundtrack appears to have been remixed to a considerable degree with sound effects and music somewhat louder relative to the dialog than any of the previous releases of this film and most likely what was originally heard in theaters. Some users may find this a source of irritation, others may not. The tonal balance of the Bernard Herrmann music score has been altered and has been given stereo aspects which the original film shown in theaters certainly did not have.