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Thread: Brief Encounter

  1. #81
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    Hi Penfold,

    It was also assumed in France that he must have truly adored Celia Johnson, as no Frenchman would have been seen dead talking to a woman with that awful hat otherwise....

    Good for you. We needed a good laugh. regards, mel

  2. #82
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    Hi Bats,

    This has been an interesting thread and I have learned some things about the film I didn't know before

    Amen! I read posts that were 3 yrs old that I hadn't seen before. It, certainly, was interesting. I think we all agree, it was a great movie.

    regards, mel

  3. #83
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    For what It's worth...I have read, in one or two seperate sources, that Cowards initial inspiration for the film was a fleeting homosexual liason that took place on Preston railway station, between himself and an un-named traveller. I would be grateful to anyone who could verify or expand on this piece of information.

  4. #84
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    I'm very tempted to go and see Brief Encounter on the big screen, but after a horrific experience with a badly cropped revival version of Casablanca a few years ago I thought I'd check to see if anyone knows whether it's being screened in the correct 1.33:1 aspect ratio?



    I know most current cinemas can't show aspect ratios wider than 1.66:1 (some can't even go narrower than 1.85:1) from 35mm prints, but does this apply to digital copies as well? Has anyone seen it yet?

  5. #85
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    I'm afraid that I'm not technically qualified to comment on aspect ratios etc but I can tell you that I saw this film on the big screen a couple of years ago and it was very well worth it.

  6. #86
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    Along with the criminals that bury art, then we have the equally criminal Pan & Puke "doctors" who think any fraction of the original is great. And with the right marketing, TV viewers have accepted it for decades.



    It's alive! Alive!!

  7. #87
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Films like Brief Encounter and Casablanca were filmed in Academey ratio which is 1.37:1 and thats as near as dammit to the 1.33: 1 that you mention which is the same as 4x3 which is the format of your normal non widescreen old fashioned colour TV, so watching old movies on a normal tv (4x3) that were made before cinemascope came along in the fifties should yield practically the full image area filling your TV screen without panning or scanning or cropping at the sides. Im curious about the version of Casblanca you saw, was it cropped down at the top and bottom of the image to produce a widescreen image? Casablanca in its original form is not a widescreen film, its more or less 4x3 so can't think why a cinema would project it any other way and the same goes for "Brief Encounter" I have watched lots of films at the NFT made prior to cinemascope (2.35:1) in their normal 1.33 or 1.37:1 to be more acurate, Academey ratio, it seems totaly bizarre to me that cinemas would project a non widescreen film in any other format than its original, I can't think of a reason. If Brief Encounter is not projected at its normal 1.33 aspect ratio what will it be projected at? Do cinemas really do that,surely its by mistake if they do. I have never heard of that to be honest and find it hard to believe, but if you have experienced it then I guess it must happen.....very odd

  8. #88
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    I'm curious about the version of Casblanca you saw, was it cropped down at the top and bottom of the image to produce a widescreen image? Casablanca in its original form is not a widescreen film, its more or less 4x3 so can't think why a cinema would project it any other way
    Because most current mainstream cinemas aren't technically capable of projecting Academy ratio any more, so they're forced to crop it down to whatever is the narrowest widescreen ratio they can handle.



    What I particularly remember about the Casablanca screening was that the projectionist was clearly aware of the problem, and was constantly reframing the image to make sure we didn't miss anything too important - a kind of live vertical panning and scanning. For various (legal) reasons, I didn't pay to get in, but if I had I'd certainly have demanded a refund - especially as this was an expensive West End cinema.



    I have watched lots of films at the NFT made prior to cinemascope (2.35:1) in their normal 1.33 or 1.37:1 to be more acurate, Academey ratio,
    The NFT, for obvious reasons, is one of the few current cinemas that can screen Academy properly - as can places like the Curzon Soho, Riverside, ICA, and anywhere that screens Academy ratio films in any quantity. But they're a tiny minority.



    it seems totaly bizarre to me that cinemas would project a non widescreen film in any other format than its original, I can't think of a reason.
    I can - most programmers aren't projectionists, and if programming is done by head office it's even more likely that there's isn't going to be any dialogue with the actual cinema before the booking is made. And the projectionist won't discover that the film is incompatible until the print actually turns up, by which time it's far too late.



    If Brief Encounter is not projected at its normal 1.33 aspect ratio what will it be projected at?
    Well, that's my question - a 35mm print would probably be cropped to 1.66:1 or 1.85:1 in most instances, which is totally unacceptable to me, but there's a possibility that a digital print might be different. For starters, it would be much easier to add black bars at the sides to force the correct Academy ratio to be displayed - but I'd like to know if this has actually been done before risking buying a ticket!

  9. #89
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Because most current mainstream cinemas aren't technically capable of projecting Academy ratio any more, so they're forced to crop it down to whatever is the narrowest widescreen ratio they can handle.
    Sounds like that's something to watch out for if any mainstream cinemas do ever programme in a screening of an older film in Academy ratio.



    It makes sense but I didn't realise they'd limited themselves so much already



    Steve

  10. #90
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    All sounds a bit mysterious to me, quite often ads and trailers are shown in a non widescreen format in west end cinemas and then when the main feature comes on , lo and behold its widescreen! So seemingly a duel format projection without any problem. Widescreen films are projected from an anamorphic (squeezed vertically) print and the image area is about the same as an academey ratio image except of course academey is not squeezed so I would have thought it very straightforward to project 1.33;1 through a non anamorphic lens, unless of course cinemas do not have that kind of projector lense anymore but I always thought the anamorphic optic was a removable attatchment on the front of a normal spherical lens? mmmmm.... I think we need someone who works as a projectionist to clarify all that and set the record straight. Its worrying to me if cinemas are not capable of projecting the industry original standard ratio, that means evrery film from before about 1953 or whenever scope came along and a whole bunch of films after that because not all films were widescreen even in the sixties. For example the first Bond film to be filmed in wide screen was Thunderball, the previous were not. How is the new release of Goldfinger being shown? Surley that has to be in its original form? Next time Im at my local Curzon if I get a chance I will try and pick the brains of the projectionist!

  11. #91
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    All sounds a bit mysterious to me, quite often ads and trailers are shown in a non widescreen format in west end cinemas and then when the main feature comes on , lo and behold its widescreen! So seemingly a duel format projection without any problem.
    The ads are in widescreen - it's just 1.85:1 widescreen as opposed to 2.35:1 widescreen. I'd be absolutely gobsmacked if they were shown in Academy (and so would the advertisers, as that would be the wrong framing!)



    Widescreen films are projected from an anamorphic (squeezed vertically) print and the image area is about the same as an academey ratio image except of course academey is not squeezed
    OK, I see where you're getting confused - that description only applies to anamorphic widescreen films, which are generally very wide indeed (2.2-2.55:1). Standard widescreen films are quite different - traditionally, the negative area is generally Academy-shaped, but either the image is masked off on the print itself with black bars at the top and bottom, or the projectionist is trusted to crop it properly when projected.



    so I would have thought it very straightforward to project 1.33;1 through a non anamorphic lens
    You would, but the problem is that most projectors haven't got the right screen or projection mask installed any more. This largely dates from the late 1960s, when single-screen cinemas were converted into multi-screeners. Because Academy ratio was essentially defunct, the cinemas were designed with widescreen projection in mind from the start, so while they were completely comfortable with 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 aspect ratios, and many could handle 1.66:1 as well, the vast majority couldn't deal with 1.33:1.



    Its worrying to me if cinemas are not capable of projecting the industry original standard ratio, that means evrery film from before about 1953 or whenever scope came along
    Yup. That's exactly what it means. But it doesn't matter for most cinemas, as they're never going to show anything made before Star Wars. The one significant exception is pre-1953 Disney animation, but Disney generally got round this by releasing special prints that contained an Academy-shaped picture within a standard widescreen frame. But that's (a) expensive and (b) reduces the quality of the original image, as the resolution is inevitably going to be lower.



    and a whole bunch of films after that because not all films were widescreen even in the sixties. For example the first Bond film to be filmed in wide screen was Thunderball, the previous were not.
    Actually, they were - just not anamorphic widescreen. Bond films were never shot in Academy.



    How is the new release of Goldfinger being shown? Surley that has to be in its original form?
    The original ratio of Goldfinger is 1.66:1. If the new digital print respects that, it'll have thin black bars down the sides. But even if it doesn't, the damage would be far less than would have been the case with an Academy ratio film like Brief Encounter.



    (Caveat: I know nothing about digital projection in cinemas and so am assuming that it's similar to digital projection elsewhere - i.e. the basic image is essentially 16:9, or 1.78:1, and anything that doesn't conform is presented with black bars either at the top and bottom or the sides. Hopefully that's what's happened with Brief Encounter, but given that the images were cropped in the BBC2 documentary I have to remain sceptical!)

  12. #92
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    I guess I am very old fashioned in what I see as being "Wide screen" cinema, I think the word "widescreen" is used quite arbitrarily now especially in relation to wide screen Tvs and so on. My understanding of widescreen cinema is as an anamorphic process developed in the 50's using a 2.35:1 projection ratio and that ratio is still pretty much the norm for widescreen films today. Goldfinger was in fact shot on an Academy negative ratio of 1:37:1, but you are correct in saying that its intended projection ratio was 1:66:1 for Europe, in the USA it was 1:85:1 but to me a film that is shot in that way is not really using a wide screen process as such other than to mask the print for projection.

    The 2:35:1 ratio has been standard for years and is the format of Anamorphic Panavision and practically every mainstream film made from the late sixties through to the early eighties. However film makers do not use anamorphic film camera lenses anymore to achieve that 2;35:1 format, they capture that frame proportion directly onto the neg using spherical lenses but interestingly it is still considered an anamorphic process because in order to make a print, the neg is enlarged slightly and given an anamorphic squeeze at the printing stage to produce an anamorphically squeezed projection print using the whole area of the frame for maxiimum quality and I think you will find that is the system still used in most cinemas when showing films at the standard 2.35.1 today. Thats what I would consider to be a wide screen "process". There are wider formats than 2.35.1 as you say but the anamorphic process is not exclusive to those wider formats, anamorphic optics are very much in use today, perhaps not attatched to the film camera as they used to be but certainly still used in projection.

  13. #93
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    What has not been mentioned is the fact that in the late 60s and into the 70s many classics were revived at local cinemas in widescreen versions.2 examples being GWTW and The Jollson Story.Mind you since Jolie(Larry Parks)sings many of his songs from a kneeling position the question of cropping was largely irrelevant!

  14. #94
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    I guess I am very old fashioned in what I see as being "Wide screen" cinema, I think the word "widescreen" is used quite arbitrarily now especially in relation to wide screen Tvs and so on. My understanding of widescreen cinema is as an anamorphic process developed in the 50's using a 2.35:1 projection ratio and that ratio is still pretty much the norm for widescreen films today.
    It's the standard ratio for anamorphic widescreen, but such films make up a minority of widescreen films as a whole. I did a survey once in the mid-1990s and established that it applied to about 20% of commercial releases, most of them towards the big-budget end of the market.



    Goldfinger was in fact shot on an Academy negative ratio of 1:37:1, but you are correct in saying that its intended projection ratio was 1:66:1 for Europe, in the USA it was 1:85:1 but to me a film that is shot in that way is not really using a wide screen process as such other than to mask the print for projection.
    The general rule - certainly as far as projectionists are concerned - is that anything wider than Academy can legitimately be referred to as "widescreen", whether 1.66:1, 1.85:1, anamorphic 2.35:1 or the widescreen TV ratio of 16:9 (1.78:1). And because Goldfinger was intended from the time of shooting to be projected at 1.66:1 (presumably with allowances made for cropping to 1.85:1), it's therefore considered to be a widescreen film.



    The 2:35:1 ratio has been standard for years and is the format of Anamorphic Panavision and practically every mainstream film made from the late sixties through to the early eighties.
    Before I respond to this and the rest of your post, can I check I'm reading this correctly? Are you seriously claiming that "practically every mainstream film made from the late sixties through to the early eighties" is in 2.35:1?

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    Isnt the process referred to by Christopher 404coriginally called Superscope and introduced by RKO Radio in the 1950s?

  16. #96
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    What has not been mentioned is the fact that in the late 60s and into the 70s many classics were revived at local cinemas in widescreen versions.2 examples being GWTW and The Jollson Story.Mind you since Jolie(Larry Parks)sings many of his songs from a kneeling position the question of cropping was largely irrelevant!
    The mid-1960s "70mm" Gone With The Wind was notorious - and doubly so when that was the version initially sold to television, forcing broadcasters to cut even more out of the original picture, even though they would have been quite capable of framing the original correctly.



    The general rule used to be that cinemas would show things properly and television would generally mangle them - but increasingly it's the other way round. The happiest outcome of the DVD revolution is that it's led to an increased understanding of and respect for correct aspect ratios, but outside specialist venues there's no guarantee that this will hold true in the cinema. Especially as multi-screen cinemas are often served by just one or two projectionists, with all that that implies!

  17. #97
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    In fact i seem to remember that GWTW was blown up to 70mm for road show prints.

  18. #98
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    I just don't regard a film shot on a full frame Academy negative and masked down slightly to 1.66 as a true widescreen film, I would just re enforce my point that the term "widescreen" is just used willy nilly to describe a not particularly wide rectangle! So might have to agree to disagree with you on that! The difference between 1.33: and 1;66 is not huge, if you watch Goldfinger on a normal 4x3 TV in its 1.66 cinema format the black bars at the top and bottom are small and not that distracting compared to watching say a Sergio Leone film in 2.35:1. I would stand by my statement that the majority of mainstream films since the late 60's have been shot with 2.35.1 in mind ,certainly in the USA, possibly not to the same extent in the UK, but Im thinking of the films of David Lean, Steven Spielberg, Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarrantino, Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott,all the Bond films since Thunderball and their spin offs, Star Wars etc to name a few, if you look at the end credits of just about any film made in the USA after 1970 it invariably states "Filmed in Panavision" and that equates to 2.35.1 and that is a format that is hugeley popular today and Im pretty sure a Cinema projectionist will treat a current wide screen 2.35.1 projection print with a different regard to a matted 1.66 or 1.85 print because the true widescreen print will be in an anamorphic form and the 1.66 or 1.85 will not. That is why the notion that a modern cinema may not be able to project an Academy print when they can project matted 1.66 or 1.85 or anamorphic widescreen is a complete mystery to me because the image area of an anamorphic print is the same as Academy except of course as I said earlier the Anamorphic image is squeezed vertically. Im wondering if the projectionist at your screening of Casablanca was at his first night on the job or was unfamiliar or maybe he just needed an Academy proprtioned film mask to slot in the projector gate to solve the problem and simply didn't have any other masks other than for 1.66 and 1.85 or maybe he misplaced the Academy mask and thought ,better use the next best thing,1.66 and do a bit of jiggling around at the appropriate moments! who knows but it would be good to clarify the question by somehow hearing from a cinema projectionist . I will print this discussion off and drop it at my local "Curzon Mayfair" cinema which is a two minute walk from my house and perhaps we can get some feedback from someone on the job! Cheers. Oh and BTW a very interesting site if you haven't already been there is American WideScreen Museum - provided as a public service by Martin Hart And its a shame my old Grandad is no longer with us, he was chief Projectionist at "The Regal" cinema in Sitirling Scotland, a very grand and now demolished Art Deco cinema boasting one of the biggest seating capacity and screen sizes in Scotland at the time, that was in the mid fifties! he could have certainly helped us out on some of the factual statements in this discussion

  19. #99
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    I just don't regard a film shot on a full frame Academy negative and masked down slightly to 1.66 as a true widescreen film, I would just re enforce my point that the term "widescreen" is just used willy nilly to describe a not particularly wide rectangle! So might have to agree to disagree with you on that!
    You're welcome to disagree, but my terminology is squarely in line with industry usage. I do agree with you that from a strictly aesthetic point of view 1.66:1 doesn't look especially wide, but it is nonetheless known as "widescreen". (Or "European widescreen", to distinguish it from 1.85:1)



    I would stand by my statement that the majority of mainstream films since the late 60's have been shot with 2.35.1 in mind ,certainly in the USA, possibly not to the same extent in the UK, but Im thinking of the films of David Lean, Steven Spielberg, Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarrantino, Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott,all the Bond films since Thunderball and their spin offs, Star Wars etc to name a few
    Sorry, but this is simply not supported by the evidence. The overwhelming majority of mainstream commercial features since the late 1960s, regardless of origin, were intended for projection in standard widescreen (in most cases 1.85:1) - including the first two Roger Moore Bond films. And your citation of Stanley Kubrick is quite bizarre - unless forced to by circumstance (Anthony Mann having already picked the aspect ratio of Spartacus, MGM funding 2001 as a Cinerama showcase), he exclusively shot in full-frame Academy for cropping to 1.66:1 or 1.85:1.



    if you look at the end credits of just about any film made in the USA after 1970 it invariably states "Filmed in Panavision" and that equates to 2.35.1
    I hate to keep disagreeing with you like this, but that's simply not true. Martin Scorsese didn't use that ratio until the early 1990s. Woody Allen used it just once (Manhattan). I'm not sure William Friedkin ever did (he certainly didn't in the 1970s), and he made two of the 1970s' biggest blockbusters. Tim Burton mostly favours 1.85:1. Even with Steven Spielberg (another of your examples!), it's only about fifty-fifty.



    and that is a format that is hugeley popular today and Im pretty sure a Cinema projectionist will treat a current wide screen 2.35.1 projection print with a different regard to a matted 1.66 or 1.85 print because the true widescreen print will be in an anamorphic form and the 1.66 or 1.85 will not.
    Of course he will, because a 2.35:1 print requires an anamorphic lens, so different treatment is a given. But that doesn't mean that a projectionist won't regard a 1.66:1 or 1.85:1 print as being "widescreen", because that's standard industry terminology.



    That is why the notion that a modern cinema may not be able to project an Academy print when they can project matted 1.66 or 1.85 or anamorphic widescreen is a complete mystery to me because the image area of an anamorphic print is the same as Academy except of course as I said earlier the Anamorphic image is squeezed vertically.
    Perhaps this discussion might help, as several projectionists and other bona fide experts contribute to it. Essentially, it's a question of lenses and aperture masks, and most modern cinemas just don't have the right ones. It wouldn't be too difficult to kit them out, but it does rather depend on them being arsed to do so - and most aren't.



    Im wondering if the projectionist at your screening of Casablanca was at his first night on the job or was unfamiliar or maybe he just needed an Academy proprtioned film mask to slot in the projector gate to solve the problem and simply didn't have any other masks other than for 1.66 and 1.85 or maybe he misplaced the Academy mask and thought ,better use the next best thing,1.66 and do a bitof jiggling around at the appropriate moments!
    A far more likely explanation (largely because it's the correct one: I rang the cinema afterwards to investigate) is that that particular cinema couldn't handle Academy ratio projection, and the projectionist was indeed trying to make the best of a bad job.



    Casablanca is by no means the only example of inept projection of Academy titles that I've encountered - I just recall it particularly vividly because it was in an expensive West End cinema as part of a high-profile reissue. Which is why I generally stick to the same half-dozen trusted venues when seeing Academy films!

  20. #100
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    I just called into my local Curzon this afternoon on my way for my afternoon coffee, they are a very friendly bunch in there, Owen the projectionist was very happy to have a quick chat and I gave him a print out of our debate to look at which he said he would read in full with his co projectionist and give some comments and insight. In our brief chat he confirmed that not many modern cinemas have the masking and lens configuration to show an Academy ratio film in its full aspect ratio. Owen used to work in the West End before joining the Curzon group, he points out that there is just no real demand for an Academy aspect ratio in modern cinemas, something I think we all knew so it would be a case of making sure the cinema you intend to view an Academy film is properly equiped to show this format In terms of terminology used within the industry Owen pointed out that the term "Widescreen" or the old fashioned word "Scope" is used to define a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen print and the term "flat" is used to describe a 1.66 or 1.85 and of course at the Curzon they are able to show Academy in its correct format. Owen stated to me that he thinks the term "widescreen" is often used "incorrectly" and "even used in video to describe 16.9 " take from that what you will. I will post an update of his comments on our conflab,

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