A Few Good Men Or Women

Apparently the 1.66:1 version of George StevensShane, or the basis of the forthcoming Warner Home Video Bluray streeting on June 4th, will be screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival sometime between 4.25 and 4.28. If by that time WHV declines to offer a solution to the Great Shane Bluray Debacle, which ignited when they decided to release the 1.66:1 version rather than a Bluray mastered at the correct 1.37:1 aspect ratio (or at least a double-disc package containing both versions), I will show up with a picket sign outside the Chinese. All alone. Like Alan Ladd riding down to Grafton’s.

I’m thinking it will attract more media attention if there are, say, ten people carrying signs rather than one. So I’m looking for volunteers if anyone wants to join the cause. I guess I’ll need some kind of permit. I’ve never done this before. But I’ll create and provide the signs.

I haven’t decided what slogans to use but I’m thinking about the following: (a) “SHANE” IN 1.37, NOT 1.66, (b) GEORGE STEVENS ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE, (c) SAY NO TO 1.66 “SHANE”, (d) BOXY IS BEAUTIFUL and so on. I can’t think of any Shane dialogue that fits but let me think it over. I certainly can’t think of any succinct way to analogize Warner Home Video’s decision and “lowdown Yankee liar.”

The only solution I can think of is for WHV to make the 1.37 version of Shane available for rental or purchase via Warner Archives.

  • Criterion10

    Jeff, I will say that I don’t always agree with you on your aspect ratio debates (Barry Lyndon and On the Waterfront were two exceptions that I found myself agreeing with you), but in this instance, it’s pretty straight forward that Shane was meant to be seen in 1.33:1. I do hope that your persistence does help change WHV’s mind in regards to this release, as otherwise, I’ll be picking up Paramount’s old DVD.

  • Mr. F.

    Simple solution: if no one shows, just pay some of the costumed characters off the sidewalk $20 to carry signs for the night. You’ll totally get media attention that way. (It might not be the kind you’re looking for, but… you know what they say about publicity)

  • Between 4.25 and 4.28? That seems like the completely wrong ratio.

  • Mark McSherry

    Thanks Jeff! The Movie Godz are certainly looking down with hearty approval.

    I’m hoping that we may still get a 1.37 SHANE, but a few months down the road after the June 4 release date. Once the initial burst of 1.66 blu-ray sales begin to peter out…

    Amazon lists the SHANE blu-ray for $13.99. I’ll certainly buy it at that price. But I’ve also used the WBShop contact page to request the 1.37 blu-ray version to supplement my 1.66.


    If anyone else considers doing the same, may I suggest that they choose ‘Warner Archive’ when using the “Select a topic” drop-box. The WA people have said that they are interested in consumer requests. And the three year contract between Warner BrothersParamount allows WB to distribute titles by manufacture-on-demand.

    • Trimmer

      Thanks for the info, Mark. I wrote to WBShop and voiced my 1.37 support as well.

    • What exactly is consolation about “Liberty Valance” being released in the wrong AR?

      • Mark McSherry

        It would be interesting to get a HE take on the 1.78 vs 1.85 VALANCE.

        This review has comparison shots of the two aspect ratios from previous DVD releases-


        • Theres no debate: Valance was shot in Vista Vision which is 1.85 and not 1.78

          • Pete Apruzzese

            Liberty Valance was not shot in VistaVision.

          • Mark McSherry

            There seems to be no debate about Valance’s AR as shot- 1.85. It’s whether 1.78 (16:9) displayed on HDTV is a ‘good enough’ equivalent to the filmed 1.85.

            I don’t know anything but what I’ve read. That there is enough uncertainty in the framingtransfer process from film to blu-ray coupled with the calibrating variation of HDTV displays to marginalize that .07-.08 difference in aspect ratios.

            With my advancing years and fading eyesight I can live with that compromise. But it is up to Mr Wells to let us know if the Movie Godz abide.

  • jedgeco


    While I’m with you in spirit on this one, it’s become pretty clear that Stevens was at the very least complicit in Paramount showing Shane at 1.66 when it premiered.

    • Yeah, George Stevens went along with it. He swallowed the compromise. He didn’t want to be seen as a purist and a troublemaker. Then again he could have decided to do a Patrick Henry and strode in to the Paramount board room and declare “1.37 or death!”

      • jedgeco

        Maybe. Or maybe he said, “Slice a sliver off the bottom of the image? Ok, whatever.” Or maybe he said, “Paramount Executive, you want to make my movie the centerpiece of your new widescreen push and make me a shitload of money and prestige in the process? Where do I sign?”

        While viewer awareness of aspect ratios in the post-laserdisc era is certainly a positive, it has led us to fetishize them in a unhealthy way as well and to assume that filmmakers of yore fetishized them as well.

  • Trimmer

    Lex would show up but he avoids all things Chinese.

  • Fight the good fight, “Boxy is Beautiful” is a great slogan.