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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
274

MGM butchers Ingmar Bergman films
Topic by: DBrown
Posted: February 1, 2004 - 8:56 AM PST
Last Reply: February 11, 2004 - 3:21 PM PST

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: MGM butchers Ingmar Bergman films
DBrown
post #1  on February 1, 2004 - 8:56 AM PST  
The films Hour of the Wolf and Shame were were shot and meant to be seen in Academy ratio 1.33:1, yet MGM has seen fit to matte them to non-anamorpic 1.66:1, resulting in some rather sub-aesthetic compositions.

Screenshots here. More details and discussion here.

Those of you who preordered these titles or the box set still have time to cancel. If you can understand Swedish of French, there are Region 2 discs of these films available in their proper aspect ratio from France (screenshots in above link). Tartan Video from the UK will also likely issue these with English subs.
dpowers
post #2  on February 1, 2004 - 12:45 PM PST  
grrr
dwhudson
post #3  on February 2, 2004 - 5:45 AM PST  
There really is no excuse for such incompetence.
dpowers
post #4  on February 2, 2004 - 7:26 AM PST  
ooh! let's make some!

* "i hate old-looking movies. i just can't stand them."
* "the original top and bottom sections can be viewed by choosing extras - 1966 top and extras - 1966 bottom"
* "we had no other way to fit the entire movie on the disc"
* "we've found that people with widescreen equipment do not buy 4:3 movies on DVD"
* "buy it and watch it a few times, we're sure you'll agree it's better looking"
* "there may be a special edition disc in the future that addresses your concern, and includes a small fragment of ingmar bergman's skull"
* "we had to do something. have you seen these movies? boring"
IWhitney
post #5  on February 2, 2004 - 12:54 PM PST  
I wonder MGM thought that 'high-brow' film watchers = people who only want letterboxing and, thusly, released 'high-brow' films in non 4:3 ratios. Those crazy film geeks, the love the black bars! Let's rerelease Intolerance in Cinerama! 2.68 to 1! They'll eat it up!
dpowers
post #6  on February 2, 2004 - 1:32 PM PST  
tilt-and-scan!
dpowers
post #7  on February 2, 2004 - 1:36 PM PST  
"tired of seeing only the belly button of classic movie actors? tilt-and-scan versions of movies look better on widescreen televisions, but they destroy the original vision of the filmmaker. when buying movies, look for the 'normal process - enhanced for 4:3 televisions' label. this will provide the closest possible match to the film as it was shown in theaters."
DBrown
post #8  on February 2, 2004 - 3:12 PM PST  
>Tartan Video from the UK will also likely issue these with English subs.
> ---------------------------------

I was being optimistic when I wrote this; it seems that the R2 rights holder for these films is...drum roll please...MGM.


If in fact MGM's intent was to cater to the supposed preference of high-brow filmlovers with widescreen TVs, why in the world didn't they make the transfers anamorphic? And why is Persona delivered in its proper aspect ratio and not matted like the others? MGM can't even be consistent in their incompetence.

larbeck
post #9  on February 3, 2004 - 3:00 PM PST  
Yet another pack of mofo to go up against the wall, come the revolution. Damn, the list just gets longer and longer!
DBrown
post #10  on February 7, 2004 - 7:21 AM PST  
Randy Salas, reviewer at The Minneapolis Star Tribune, received the following response from MGM:

"MGM Home Entertainment will NOT be releasing the INGMAR BERGMAN DVD COLLECTION on Tuesday, February 10 due to transfer problems on two of the discs.

If possible, please hold your reviews until we announce the new street date which we expect to be sometime in May. We will contact you once we have further information."


I expected MGM to rationalize the cropping in some absurd way, and am extremely pleased that they're now doing the right thing. The internet is a beautiful, powerful thing.
IWhitney
post #11  on February 9, 2004 - 8:56 AM PST  
> On February 7, 2004 - 7:21 AM PST DBrown wrote:
> ---------------------------------

>
> I expected MGM to rationalize the cropping in some absurd way, and am extremely pleased that they're now doing the right thing. The internet is a beautiful, powerful thing.
> ---------------------------------

However, the NYT still ran their full review of the set this past sunday. They don't mention the aspect ratio once. Way to pay attention!
underdog
post #12  on February 9, 2004 - 12:22 PM PST  
Courtesy of our Jonathan Marlow, this was the notice he received regarding the postponement of this set:

It has come to our attention that the transfers utilized for the release of Ingmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf Special Edition DVD and Shame Special Edition DVD are not representative of the intended theatrical presentation.
In order to provide customers with the best quality product available, we are recalling the product at retail and will be releasing both films in a 1:37:1 aspect ratio on April 20, 2004. The Ingmar Bergman DVD Collection will also be available on that date. MGM Home Entertainment always strives to provide the highest standard of product and customer care.

For additional information or comments, please contact our customer service at 877/646-4968.

-------

We're happy, too, they saw the light of day -- although frustrated, of course, that they dropped the ball from the get go on this. At any rate, we have adjusted our release dates for these titles accordingly, so you can keep 'em in your queue.

Thanks all!

Craig @ greencine
dpowers
post #13  on February 9, 2004 - 2:01 PM PST  
i have an online petition here to demand that MGM include the discarded 1.66:1 version in the extras. please sign it!
Sisyphus
post #14  on February 10, 2004 - 4:17 PM PST  
We are waiting for the aspect ratio corrected versions of Shame and Hour of the Wolf, but we have made the other four titles in the set available for rent (with apparently correct aspect ratios). Those titles are Persona, The Serpent's Egg (David Carradine in a Bergman flick!), The Passion of Anna and The Ingmar Bergman Collection (Bonus Disc) which includes lots of cool short features on Bergman and his collaborators.

Patrick
GC Inventory Mgr.
Sisyphus
post #15  on February 10, 2004 - 4:19 PM PST  
I would sign it but I can't get the link to work.

Patrick

> On February 9, 2004 - 2:01 PM PST dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> i have an online petition here to demand that MGM include the discarded 1.66:1 version in the extras. please sign it!
> ---------------------------------

Sisyphus
post #16  on February 10, 2004 - 4:29 PM PST  
By the way, (and before one of our ultra observant watchdogs calls it to our attention), if MGM sees the light and upgrades the transfer of Persona as well (it appears to be slightly "zoomed in") then we will replace our copies of that film as well.

Patrick
icaruswantedtoburn
post #17  on February 10, 2004 - 7:13 PM PST  
I also think it might be important to discover whether or not the version of Persona will be the unedited version or not. The Tartan PAL DVD features as a special feature the uncensored opening montage sequence. And there is a question of the subtitle tracks and if there is any censoring there as there was in previous releases.

I'd include a link to the Tartan DVD of Persona but I am comp-challenged.
dpowers
post #18  on February 10, 2004 - 11:15 PM PST  
(now i'm feeling bad for making that dumb link joke)
DBrown
post #19  on February 11, 2004 - 1:52 AM PST  
> On February 10, 2004 - 7:13 PM PST icaruswantedtoburn wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>The Tartan PAL DVD features as a special feature the uncensored opening montage sequence. And there is a question of the subtitle tracks and if there is any censoring there as there was in previous releases.
> ---------------------------------

The Tartan DVD shows the film in its original, uncut form. The censored opening montage is what's included as an extra, not the other way around.

While the MGM disc is a bit cropped, it also has superior tonality. The Tartan DVD is too bright; highlights are blown out.

Sisyphus
post #20  on February 11, 2004 - 2:18 PM PST  
Last night I compared the new DVD release of Persona to the Laserdisc version and it certainly appears to be uncensored. On the new MGM dvd, an erect penis appears just after the 56 sec. count (2 clicks past 56 sec. with the pause button on my remote). On the LD, black frames appear in the same place instead of the penis (between 1 min. 32 sec. and 1 min. 33 sec.) This was the only difference that I noted, but I really put the LD on to compare aspect ratios. The framing at the top and bottom of the screen seems almost identical, but the framing is slightly more generous on the sides of the LD image. It's possible that the dvd image is slightly zoomed in, but the difference is so slight that it's hard to tell (maybe the LD was zoomed as well). Basically, the difference between aspect ratios on the two formats is about what you might experience watching the film in two different cinemas. The image is unquestionably sharper on the dvd presentation.

Patrick
GC Inventory Mgr.
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