Perkins Cobb wrote:
And ... Poland has its own Vittorio Storaro! Unbelievable.
I've been doing a fair bit of digging online to see if I can turn up a detailed account of the restoration process - thus far, I've confirmed that Sobocinski was very closely involved and that he's happier with the new digital version than he was with the original 35mm version, thanks to the far greater amount of control he had over the colours (something that frustrated both him and Has at the time), but so far I haven't turned up anything concrete about the reasons for the aspect ratio change or even an acknowledgement that that's what's happened.
I'm curious about the fact that it's definitely 1.85:1 (i.e. with thin black bars) as opposed to straightforward 16:9, because this suggests that it's not just a case of framing it for widescreen monitors - and in any case, this clearly isn't general policy because the restored Saragossa
is the full Scope ratio.
Out of curiosity, I dug out my old Mr Bongo edition and ran it side by side with the new one, and noticed that the restoration has a fair bit more information on all four sides of the frame...
...but I don't have a 2.35:1 grab for comparison purposes.
But, out of curiosity, I tried reframing the grab from the restoration in Scope, and ended up with:
...which, compositionally, also looks fine!
So my question is this: given that the film really does look absolutely fine in 1.85:1 (the camera barely stops moving, so any detail that might not be visible in one frame will swiftly appear in the next), might it not be the case that instead of being cropped at the sides, the restoration was actually opened up at the top and bottom? It can't be a Super 35 situation, as the format didn't exist back then - but might Has and Sobocinski have shot the film in matted 1.85:1, and then, for reasons unknown, reformatted it to Scope for cinema screenings? (Possibly because cinemas at the time were more likely to be equipped for Scope than 1.85:1, not a widely used ratio in eastern Europe at the time).