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Customer Review

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Widescreen is Matted from Full Frame, July 17, 2010
This review is from: Death Race 2000 (Roger Corman's Cult Classics) (DVD)
I was glad to get a copy of this today and was hoping for an improvement over my DMI Full Frame Copy. However, it appears this is another case where marketing has misslead the public once again. The Film was clearly shot in Full Screen and this 1:85 transfer is matted down, cropping out much of the top & bottom of the image. When Frankenstein Talks to Myra, you nolonger get to see her boobs as they are now out of frame. This scene was a memorable shot in the full screen version and those who chose the framing of the matting did us no favors here. I am a bit disappointed by this issue....

However,
The Image is a vast improvement, I just wish we had been given all of it. The sound is a slight upgrade but still 2.0 mono. I would still recomend a purchase if you are interested in this title but just be aware you are not getting a true widescreen film and are missing out on some great bits that are now cut out in this print. If you have the old Full Screen release of this DVD, you may want to keep it as this new DVD does not make it obsolete.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 30, 2010, 9:48:16 PM PDT
Some Guy says:
Thank you for your review, I will keep my original Fullscreen edition. :)

Posted on Sep 24, 2010, 5:01:08 PM PDT
Agentalbert says:
Helpful comments, they are appreciated. It's too bad that companies feel the need to crop something and then sell it as "widescreen" as if it is something more or better than the full frame version when that is the way it was shot.

ORIGINAL ASPECT RATIO!!!

Posted on Oct 19, 2010, 3:27:14 PM PDT
...you guys really have no idea what "open matte" means, do you?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2011, 10:28:29 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2011, 10:28:43 AM PST
Agentalbert says:
The reviewer didn't call it pan & scan. He described a scene with information, visible in the 4:3 prior home video releases that is now not there.

I know what "open matte" is. Do you know what "missing boobs" are?

Posted on Feb 14, 2011, 1:54:29 PM PST
Ryan says:
Which DVD version do you recommend? Im thinking Ill get the correctly formatted DVD and the BD, and just put the DVD in double disk BD case.

Posted on Apr 8, 2011, 10:36:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2011, 10:40:43 PM PDT
In all likelihood, what's on the new DVD and Blu-ray releases - the matted widescreen version - is what was shown in the theaters back in the 1970s. That's usually how open matte works. The director will film to a different aspect ratio that provides extra image information on the top and bottoms, so he could re-frame shots, if necessary, during editing. When films were put out on VHS 20+ years ago, the mattes would be removed, thus revealing the full filmed image (the "full frame"), so as to better fit the 4:3 aspect ratio of TVs back then.

In some cases, there is information in those matted out areas on the top and bottom that the director DIDN'T want you to see. A common example would be boom mikes at the top. Somewhat less common would be the reveal of underwear on actors who are supposed to be naked. Several notable examples appear on the VHS of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, where we see that the "never ending" bike chain is being fed through the bottom of the compartment, and that the road signs are being wheeled on rails on the floor of the stage.

There are some films where the open matted 4:3 copy is preferable. Most of the time it's for films that contain nudity. Off the top of my head I'm thinking Death Race 2000 (I've not seen it in widescreen, so I'll take the reviewers word for it), Poison Ivy 3 (noted at http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=4420191), and The Lost Boys: The Tribe [Unrated] (both Wide and Full are on the same disc).

There's one film that I know of where the intent of a scene is lost in the matted widescreen version: National Lampoon's Senior Trip. There's a scene where the class slut (played by voice actress Tara Charendoff, now Tara Strong) seduces the class nerd by pulling down the zipper on her tight outfit, leaning over, and showing him her cleavage (no nudity, but nice cleavage nonetheless). Said cleavage is cropped out of the matted widescreen version on the DVD, and can only be seen in the full frame VHS. The whole point of the scene is to show her cleavage, and yet's it's missing in the widescreen version. This is one of those times where I wish New Line/Warner Bros. would have put both widescreen and fullscreen copies on that DVD, like they used to do in the past. Heck, they could have given us the TV version, with all of its alternate dialog and new ending in fullscreen, and the theatrical version in widescreen, and then we would have gotten the complete package: both versions of the film and both formats of the film.

I always feel that as long as there is no revealing information in the unmatted portions of the frame, then give me both the matted widescreen AND the unmatted 4:3 full frame versions. That way I get the best of both formats.

Just to give everyone more information on matted widescreen and widescreen in general, check out these links:

The Letterbox & Widescreen Advocacy Page - Anamorphic Widescreen
http://www.widescreen.org/widescreen.shtml

The Letterbox & Widescreen Advocacy Page - Matted Widescreen
http://www.widescreen.org/widescreen_matte.shtml

Posted on Apr 7, 2012, 1:49:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 7, 2012, 1:53:49 PM PDT
Just watched this on Netflix (widescreen) and it has been years since I've seen the pan & scan version but is one scene of missing boobs really a big deal? I'm not even sure which scene is being mentioned here?!? The first time that Frankenstein talks to Myra there wouldn't have been any breast shots since Myra has a towel on the entire time. The next time they talk, when Myra is actually naked you see her breasts several times in different shots except for one close-up which only lasts for a few seconds!? Is that really a big deal? Does it really hurt the film in any way? As many other people have pointed out the original theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85 : 1 meaning her breasts wouldn't have been seen anyway and may have only appeared due to a pan & scan edit (something which the original director usually has no control over) of the film for home video release!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2013, 3:42:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 26, 2013, 8:48:26 PM PDT
Willjamz says:
SpookCentral.tk,
excellent comment with a lot of great info, Many Thanks!

Another example where a great scene is ruined by masking to letterbox is the movie "Overboard" with Goldie Hawn showing a lot more butt in the Full Frame version and that is only available on VHS.

Billy Jack full frame release is a good example of boom-mics in frame, clearly it was intended to be matted to 1:85.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2013, 3:49:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 26, 2013, 8:46:55 PM PDT
Willjamz says:
my point about the missing boobs is this, Most viewers saw this originally on TV or VHS and not in the Theatre. While it was successfull in it's run, I believe it was experienced by far more people afterwards and for those viewers, the Full-Frame Version is what they remember from their past viewings.

There are many other scenes that are hurt by the masking, I simply picked one example that most male viewers could relate to and I didn't want to ramble on in my original review with endless examples of such changes due to the masking to 1:85

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2015, 4:15:08 PM PDT
Jojo says:
the movie was intended for open matte widescreen. that's how the director meant for it to be viewed. having watched both versions, i saw plenty of evidence for this. some shots are awkwardly framed and/or leave an inordinate amount of space above/below the actors in fullscreen, suggesting they were meant to be cropped. most damning of all, i actually spotted a BOOM MIC where there clearly shouldn't have been one in the space that was meant to be cropped out in one scene. if that's not proof enough i don't know what is. all you're missing with the widescreen version is a LITTLE BIT more T&A in one or two scenes in a film that already has plenty of it. if that's more important to you than seeing the film how the director intended, then more power to you.
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