Wednesday, April 17, 2019

By the Gods!

Pierre Brice and Linda Cristal in THE PHARAOHS' WOMAN (1960).

Above is the official photo taken from a lobby card while below is how the scene actually looked like in widescreen. Some say Cinemascope killed the vertical. Meaning widescreen has less information at the top and bottom of the shot and more on the sides. Which one do you prefer? Framing with widescreen can often be tricky while not so in standard 'academy' aspect ratio. This is also one of those movies of the PEPLUM genre which is often misspelled. Some spell it THE PHARAOH'S WOMAN when in fact pharaohs is plural, which mean Linda Cristal is the woman of many pharaohs, not just one. Still looking for a decent widescreen print of this.


Scott Ochiltree said...

When the first widescreen process (Cinemascope) arrived in 1953 one leading Hollywood personality said that it was better for filming snakes than for photographing people.

Cinemascope later declined due to the optical advantages of VistaVision.

I think that 1.85:1 is generally the best aspect ratio. In significantly greater ratios the far left and right portions of the frame tend not to have much visual interest. Perhaps this is so as not to distract from the main action in the center of the picture.

Anonymous said...

VistaVision never achieved the popularity of CinemaScope. Paramount developed VistaVision but other studios rarely used it. All of the studios used CinemaScope. Panavision supplanted CinemaScope as the preferred widescreen process in the mid-Sixties. I've always preferred CinemaScope to any other widescreen process.

Brrrodie the Westie said...

Me too ... of all my needs, getting a decent copy of this movie is my No. 1 goal. You have posted at least one WS excerpt, so my hopes are up that one exists.

Also, we need an actual WS of WARRIOR EMPRESS, a.k.a. SAPPHO VENUS OF LESBOS. Worth it just to see Tina Louise in her glorious presence.

Lastly, could use a decent copy of QUEEN OF BABYLON ... not a WS as it's a standard presentation but the English dubs seem to have been taken from terrible VHS extended play copies. The only decent image is a German dub with Romanian subtitles!


Scott Ochiltree said...

Anonymous is correct that Panavision (not VistaVision) was the main replacement for Cinemascope.

Cinemascope lenses had a problem (known as the Mumps") with facial close-ups being stretched horizontally. Panavision's superior technology solved that issue.

PEPLUM TV said...

Brodie, the issue with QUEEN OF BABYLON, as I stated many times here, is that there are two versions: one European cut and one English/US cut. The audio from the English cut doesn't match the European image. I have 5 different copies of this title, including one quasi-HD copy but doing a Fan Dub of it is impossible. The VHS version, which I've had and uploaded many times to Youtube since 2007, is the only known version in English and will remain so until TCM or another channel shows it.

Hopefully, beautiful widescreen versions of SAPPHO and PHARAOHS' WOMAN will surface one day.

CinemaScope was the best aspect ratio from Hollywood until Panavision. But it wasn't without issues. If you look at THE EGYPTIAN there are a lot of distortions going on.

CinemaScope distortion

Anonymous said...

When I was a wee lad CinemaScope was always shown on a curved screen. Later, after the novelty wore off, a lot of theaters flattened out their screens and that's when the distortion began to be noticeable. Panavision didn't need the anamorphic curve so that is why it didn't look distorted on the edges.

The Pharaohs' Woman is the movie I would like most to have in a decent copy. It's never been available on commercial home entertainment in any form to my knowledge. It was the first movie shot in yet another widescreen format....Techniscope. It's odd that the movie is so rare as it was given a fairly big release in the U.S. by Universal-International.

Brrrodie the Westie said...

Even as I was ranting about the need for a WS version of THE ADVENTURES OF HAJJI BABA (above), a limited edition Blu ray was being released by Twilight Time video ... mine's on order: