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Rocco and His Brothers aspect ratio


bluefish123
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This is my first post, and sadly it's a gripe. I'm a huge fan of TCM, but last night's screening on TCM HD of Rocco and his Brothers (1960) was zoomed to 16:9 (1.78) for God only knows what reason. I'm assuming in SD. What is so perplexing is that it was originally shot in 1.66 (according to IMdB) and clearly transferred as 1.66 or 4:3 since the lower half of the subtitles were cropped off, making them difficult to read. There is a slight amount of pillarboxing still there, but not much, as if they thought this was a reasonable compromise.

 

This, on top of the recent showings of In Vanda's Room and The Murderer Lives at Number 21 stretched to 16:9 when they weren't, makes me concerned for the future of technical quality on TCM. These are surprisingly huge and easy-to-catch errors, NOT in the original source material. With the previously mentioned films one might simply change the aspect ration of your television, but with Rocco there was picture area and part of the subtitles cropped from the broadcast, plus resolution loss. All 3 of these films should have been pillarboxed. Very sad.

 

Apologies for not posting this in a support forum, but I couldn't find it.

 

Scott

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This also happened a year ago when I was watching ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS on the TCM HD channel - I wasn't getting all of the subtitles. So, I had to watch it on the SD channel where the image was smaller, but at least I got to see all of the subtitles.

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It's not necessarily TCM's fault. In the past, TCM has received some badly-dubbed films from the distributors.

 

One was a 1956 LiL Abner film which was either squeezed or unsqueezed (I don?t remember). I think everyone in the film was wide and fat, so that would have been a widened or spread out copy of a 4:3 version of the film. Several of us pointed it out to TCM, and the next time they showed it, it was wide screen but it showed some of the studio light up at the top of the screen. So, it was wide-screen but improperly cropped at the top and bottom.

 

Then one time TCM showed an improperly cropped (top and bottom) version of THE MAN BETWEEN (1953), which was shot in 4:3 but later cropped top and bottom for wide screen projection, but that cut the tops of everyone's heads off in close-ups. We pointed that out too, then later TCM showed a 4:3 version of the film, but that had been made by cropping (right and left) the previously cropped (top and bottom) version of the film. So we got a copy that was cropped all the way around, top, bottom, right, left, yet shown full screen 4:3 as a 4:3 film.

 

Again, this is not TCM?s fault. They get stuff like this from the distributors, and it?s the distributors fault.

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Here is our old thread about THE MAN BETWEEN.

 

Scroll down and see the two posts I made that show the photos of the 2 different versions of the film that distributors sent TCM, that show 2 different ways the film is now cropped.

 

Also, see the first way the film was made which was 4:3, which I saw on YouTube. I haven't seen the original un-cropped film on TCM yet.

 

http://forums.tcm.com/message.jspa?messageID=8254684#8254684

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Re: the variety of formats received from distributors, interesting but unfortunate. Though in the case of In Vanda's Room TCM could have fixed the stretch in broadcast. But it's not the case here? Possibly the blow-up/HD up-res requires a bit of lost image area? What's that called, underscan? Overscan?

 

As for watching it on the SD channel, because I have an HD TV, it's small within a black field. I used to be able to take the S-video out of the cable box and record to DVD or VCR, then watch that in full screen pillarbox. It was a reasonable solution but my new cable box doesn't have S-video out, just component and HDMI. There's a solution from monoprice.com that downscales the component, but it still includes the entire HD signal to start with, so you get all of the black area around the SD broadcast. With every step forward, 2 steps back. Sigh.

 

Come to think of it, if they're broadcasting the properly formatted 4:3 version on the TCM SD channel, then it probably is TCM's fault. They've been able to take other SD movies and blow them up properly with pillarboxing, so why not this?

 

Thanks, folks.

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>There's a solution from monoprice.com that downscales the component, but it still includes the entire HD signal to start with, so you get all of the black area around the SD broadcast. With every step forward, 2 steps back. Sigh.

 

We live in a more complicated world today. We all need to be TV and broadcast technicians in order to watch some movies on TV.

 

The FCC used to require standardization, and they would fine a TV station if they made a mistake in broadcasting. Now, everything is based on getting money. Standardization is gone. All anyone wants now is our money. If their product is defective, that's our problem. They will get our money anyway.

 

I'm sure TCM tries to get the best prints they can, because a lot of people complain when they get a bad one. But how do we complain to a distributor when we don't even know who the distributor is? In the meantime, the cable companies keep raising our cable bills.

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