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TCM's Letterbox Policy

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Letterbox format is a pet peeve for many of my relatives & friends...I agree with them in their opinions that artsy eggheads push this down movie goers throats. Letterbox may be great on the big movie screen but it leaves a lot of _______black holes______ for regular TV viewing. Many of the movies being "converted" to letterbox

format have done so under the pretext that it opens up the scenes to greater depth or some such nonsense. If we wanted big black sidebars on our picture screens why are more of us getting larger & larger televisions?

Maybe this is just a passing fad. I know many people who refuse to purchase letterbox format videos or DVDs & a few

people even turn letterboxed format movies off ....that

black bar annoys more people so I really don't get why we

are seeing more & more of it.

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This has been explained many times. The basic problem is that the movie screen is much more horizontal than vertical. The TV screen is much closer to being square. When the original shape of a film, especially a Cinemascope film is presented there is nothing in the top or bottom to see. This results in any particular item in a film looks smaller, although there is more of the entire actual film to be seen. Some people find this annoying and distracting. Just as some younger movie watchers can't enjoy a black and white film, no matter how good, some folks can't enjoy a film in letter-box. Any format that is unfamiliar, is initially distracting, and it took a while for me also to get used to letter-boxed films. Once I did I was able to enjoy them . I think that they should have a choice and that a film should be available in "pan & scan format as well as letter-box. While I believe that on TCM, Cinemascope films should be shown in letter-box, this should not be done to regular movies, since the loss of the edges of the film is not as crucial.

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when i first saw a letter boxed format (several years ago) I was distracted and annoyed with it. But later when i viewed those same films in P/S I was amazed at how much they chop off. This was true on films that were not in cinamascope also. Now days I get distracted annoyed when a film I've seen in the theatre is not in letterbox on tv or dvd knowing that it's all chopped up and I am missing things that were there at the theatre. I do not even notice the black bars anymore. I do notice a scene that has to or more characters in a single shot has now become a a back and forth close up shots in P/S.

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I was going to say just what you said, bggalaxy.


If I had the option to watch a movie on a screen twice the size with half of it obscured, I'd have to decline. And if the size of your screen is more important to you than the completeness of the image, I suppose you could sit really close. It's inconvenient, but it would look bigger that way.

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