Friday, February 15, 2013

Wrong aspect ratio in many PEPLUM films

Most PEPLUM films from the mid-50s to the mid-60s were shot in a widescreen format, whether it was in CinemaScope or Totalscope or EuroScope. The super rectangular format rarely fit on TV screens, even with the current LCD or plasma flatscreens. When they transfer films on a DVD or broadcast it on TV they often have to squeeze the image in order to fit it to a wanted screen size. Here's an example from GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES from the Wild West DVD. They squeezed the anamorphic image a bit too much on the horizontal making the image, in this example with Gianna Maria Canale, a bit too elongated on the vertical. I added a second image with less of the squeeze effect to show the difference. It's an annoying thing all too prevalent in the PEPLUM genre.

I have a French version of THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE with a stunning clarity but they fit the super-widescreen image seen at the movies in a standard 16x9 format for today's flatscreen TVs. I don't know how anyone can watch a film like this. It makes everyone look like stretched-out aliens.

Above: with forced vertical compression and below screenshot from a standard 4:3 copy of THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE without any changes to the image. Stephen looks normal there.

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