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grouchomarxist

Li'l Abner aspect ratio?

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Does anyone know what the problem is with Li'l Abner as they are currently showing it on TCM? It's in widescreen, but the image is clearly squished top-to-bottom. Something is awry with the aspect ratio. I compared it to the DVD I have, and the ratio looks okay there. But to make it even weirder, the crop is slightly different between the broadcast and the DVD. The current broadcast has slightly more frame showing in the crop than the DVD. Does anyone have a clue which is correct? And why the version on TCM is so distorted?

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Yes, and that's what the IMDB says. But the problem is, what they are currently showing is squished from top-to-bottom. The DVD is not. It makes Julie Newmar look odd, which is a crime. I just want to know what they are doing incorrectly on TCM?

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> {quote:title=grouchomarxist wrote:}{quote}

> Yes, and that's what the IMDB says. But the problem is, what they are currently showing is squished from top-to-bottom. The DVD is not. It makes Julie Newmar look odd, which is a crime. I just want to know what they are doing incorrectly on TCM?

 

Well I guess it doesn't look quite right, but I wouldn't be so quick to assume the problem is on TCM's end. It might be the copy of the movie that they got from Paramount. Hopefully tcmprogrammr will check in on Monday.

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I was seeing the same thing and wondered about that. I'll make a guess. I've heard that some films are shot with a 4:3 ratio and then vertically cropped for theatrical showing. Apparently, the transfer we are now seeing was mistakenly squeezed to letterbox instead of being cropped to letterbox. That would explain why everyone is squished. And sometimes the wide shots reveal lights and the top edges of the sets. That stuff was probably not intended to be in the shot, but the DP knew it would be excluded when cropped. Again, this is just my guess.

 

And I should add, it's a shame because the art direction is pretty nifty! Some of these dance numbers are really fun too.

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>Yes, and that's what the IMDB says. But the problem is, what they are currently showing is squished from top-to-bottom. The DVD is not. It makes Julie Newmar look odd, which is a crime. I just want to know what they are doing incorrectly on TCM?

 

This is a lousy print. It is squished top to bottom. It makes everyone look short, wide, and fat. It makes Dasie Mae look like she's about 5 feet tall with big thick fat legs.

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>And sometimes the wide shots reveal lights and the top edges of the sets.

 

Yes, I noticed that. I could see banks of high sound-stage lights at the top of the screen.

 

I agree that this film has been squeezed when it should have been cropped top and bottom.

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Hey, I was just glad to see this one again. I hadn't seen the movie at all in over 20 years, and yet I still remembered every single musical number like it was just yesterday! A very fun movie. Didn't even know it was out on DVD? That's news to me. I will certainly try to find a copy! And is it just me, or didn't this film influence THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES heavily?

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Gorgeous print. What a shame they blew it. Either Paramount sent a full-frame master and it was elongated for broadcast; or Paramount thought a flat print was anamorphic and unsqueezed it. Just goes to show what happens when you have a bunch of technicians who look at numbers and can't see what's right or wrong on the screen.

 

As for the picture, my main complaint is with the music scoring. Joe Lilley's adaptation was sorely lacking in flavorful orchestration. They really needed jugs, fuzz guitars and banjos. And most of the dialogue scenes were crying for underscoring to evelvate the staging.

 

But I sure wouldn't have minded seeing Daisy Mae in VistaVision on the big screen!!!

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> {quote:title=ChelseaRialtoStudios wrote:}{quote}

> ...They really needed jugs, fuzz guitars and banjos.

 

Agreed!

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> {quote:title=ChelseaRialtoStudios wrote:}{quote}

> They really needed jugs

 

I believe there were plenty of those in the film.

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We didn't create an elongated version from a full-frame master. I was watching also and it was very annoying.

 

I understand it's frustrating when this happens. We will keep doing our best to avoid it and will also do what's necessary to correct it.

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Watched on a flatscreen set & enjoyed...Is VistaVision sort of a problematic ratio? I have heard discussions about this in the past... sort of a discount "scope" ? Did notice the set lights & I think a boom mike but thought, hey, full frame, no cropping. cool.

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*Is VistaVision sort of a problematic ratio?*

 

From what I've read, VistaVision was unique in that it had a variable aspect ratio, which could go from 1.66:1 to 1.85:1 or even 2:1. So I guess that means some of the VistaVision movies were supposed to be projected masked, or the release print didn't include all of the image that was in the negative.

 

Here is a picture I found

dokilw.jpg

 

They described it as an "optical reduction from a large negative image to the standard release print image."

 

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/vistavision.htm

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Yes, I saw this the other night. I couldn't help but think it was New Yorkers making fun of people from West Virginia or Kentucky or Tennessee. As I watched it, I could see why people from these states take offense at this sort of thing. The New York actors might as well have been wearing black face......but on the other hand I thought it was just a cartoon, but then so was Amos and Andy.......the girls in this movie do look good though....So I remembered how Al Capp use to be a critic of Johnny Carson and how he got in John Lennons face once, and I thought that Al Capp wasn't exactly politicaly correct himself....This lead me to think about how Andy Griffith refused to let his show make fun of North Carolina in this way. ....Still coming back to the idea that it was just a cartoon and the girls look pretty good. ....It's not exactly a documentary on the Appalacians, but then again I can see where people from these areas do take offense to this sort of thing. The actresses looked pretty good no matter what kind of TV you watched it on.

 

Message was edited by: WhyaDuck

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I don.t know what all the hullabaloo is about, I watched it and loved it!

the music was great, and the ladies costumes were a hoot, I even

recognized Valerie Harper, as one of the dancers with stick-out braids..

and Julie Newmar as Stupefying Jones stole the film (without saying a word)

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>>I don.t know what all the hullabaloo is about

 

Neither do I. The film took a scatter-shot approach, nothing was sacred.

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> This is a lousy print. It is squished top to bottom. It makes everyone look short, wide, and fat. It makes Dasie Mae look like she's about 5 feet tall with big thick fat legs.

 

Fred, do you mean to say that Mammy and Pappy Yokum were squished to look 4 feet tall?

I'd like to see this again - it took me a while to get used to the cartoon look of the thing.

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>Fred, do you mean to say that Mammy and Pappy Yokum were squished to look 4 feet tall?

 

No, they were played by short people. But the entire film was squished down because of some copy error.

 

Since we could see the studio lights overhead, and the boom microphone overhead, this version of a VistaVision movie was apparently shot on regular film to be matted down to wide-screen. But when it was printed, it wasn't matted down, it was squished down with an anamorphic printer lens, or by means of electronics during the dub to video process,

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Here is the proper format for showing on TV. Wide screen, made by cropping the top and bottom of a regular-sized 35 mm frame:

 

 

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