Well, I wrote about “Risky Business” and “The Last Laugh” this week, but the sentiment of the group seems to be that we all want to vent about the “Touch of Evil” 50th anniversary edition, with its highly controversial 1.85 aspect ratio. There’s clearly no cut and dried answer here, in the absence of any documentary evidence, but my eye tells me that it’s too tight. The shot above shows some obvious trimming at the upper frame line, but for the most part the 1.85 version that Universal has released seems to give preference to head room while cutting out the less conspicuous compositional elements at the bottom of the frame. It all feels a bit tenuous and unstable to me, like a chord that hasn’t quite been allowed to resolve itself.
Nicolas Saada has asked me to post the remarks below, with video links that wouldn’t work in the comments thread:
“Dave, here is a link to a clip from the original Touch of Evil (the
1976 version). Some Italian guy taped it from tv and put it there.
Watch the Universal logo.
Now watch the so called “Welles version”:
What’s interesting is to see the actual “full frame” of the restoration. Those grey bars are used to mask the original 1:33 ratio and stretch it to 1:78
Dave if you open two windows of your safari browser, you can watch the clips simultaneously. It’s a shock.
Now, here’s another shocking one. This Italian guy has fun comparing the dubbed version of the 1958 release and the 1998 re-release.
An Italian clip from the 1976 version
and of the “restored” nonsense
To fit the square screen, this guy had to compress the image artificially from the “stretched” version of the DVD
This drives me nuts Dave. TOE is a film that I know by heart, every line, since I first saw it in 1982, aged 17. It’s such a landmark for me and this new version is a disaster.”