• In our release of On the Waterfront, out today on Blu-ray and DVD, we offer Elia Kazan’s film in a trio of aspect ratios. Our official presentation of the movie is in 1.66:1, but you can also watch it in its entirety in both 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 frames. Find out why we made this unorthodox choice for On the Waterfront in this informative video essay, also included in the release, which goes on to demonstrate the fascinating, subtle differences among the versions.

12 comments

  • By Keith
    February 19, 2013
    03:26 PM

    It's gonna drive my girlfriend nuts, but I can't wait to watch all three
    Reply
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  • By Mike
    February 19, 2013
    03:48 PM

    I am interested to learn if you do this by making three separate transfers or instead employ some sort of programmed zoom on one transfer.
    Reply
  • By Christina
    February 19, 2013
    04:02 PM

    This is fantastic, really fascinating stuff. So excited to get a copy.
    Reply
  • By Sidney
    February 19, 2013
    06:57 PM

    It is going to make my head figuring out which is the best ratio, but it is going to be great to find out.
    Reply
  • By Quinn
    February 19, 2013
    11:45 PM

    This post may have convinced me to pick up a copy. Thanks!
    Reply
  • By Batzomon
    February 20, 2013
    07:02 PM

    This makes me think if I really saw "Dead Ringers", since I watched it on a movie channel in an improper aspect ratio. But of course, who hasn't watched a movie scaled down in some way, so does that really affect the initial experience?
    Reply
  • By Flowers
    February 20, 2013
    07:25 PM

    I'm an aspect ratio fanatic/expert but It should be noted that allowing projectionists and viewers to pick the aspect ratio defeats the purpose of what the filmmakers originally intended. Sure some execs wanted to cover all their bases but it's clear to me that the film was not really intended for 1.85:1 - My argument is simple. When you pick an aspect ratio the focal lengths of the lenses you use become very important. When you dance around with aspect ratios you change the diagonal of the frame ultimately changing the crop factor (or Field Of View) of a given set up. A 50mm lens will have a different crop factor at 1.33:1 (the natural FOV of a 50mm cine lens with a 4 perf frame of 22x16mm) but when you go 1.66:1 or 1.85:1 you need to multiply the crop factor by the FOV to get the actual FOV your shooting for that aspect ratio. Since it's clear that the filmmakers were using the 1.66:1 aspect ratio as the main 'title safe' frame I would argue that the filmmakers decided that the 1.66:1 frame is the actual composition of the film and the 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 aspect ratio's are 'safety's' for theatrical distribution. To bad there doesn't seem to be a mention by Elia or the DP of what they preferred the aspect ratio to be because most people are wholly ignorant of what it means to watch a film in Academy, Wide Screen or Anamorphic (scope). --
    Reply
  • By Terry Pagitt
    February 21, 2013
    09:04 AM

    How does it defeat it if Kaufmann shot for protection in all 3 ratios? We can't be so didactic that change or a new way of looking is a transgression. After all, cinema is about a new way of looking. It seems to me the artists have given the audience a choice which projectionists and home video distributors took away. Criterion has given that back. I understand ratios very well. I am a cinematographer but Cinema is about storytelling, not technical brouhaha.
    Reply
  • By Charles Rees
    February 21, 2013
    05:48 PM

    Giving the viewer a choice of aspect ratios, especially in certain fifties films, is overdue. For example, will Criterion please now offer us the correct aspect ratios on their Blu-rays of Kubrick's "The Killing" and Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder"? Or perhaps give us a choice of the correct one, as with "On the Waterfront". Criterion's wonderful versions of these two films are marred by the aspect ratios being too wide-screen (even if the framing is to many people's taste). Chopping just a bit too much off the top and bottom of the frame ruins the films' compositions. Kubrick and Preminger were attentive to the frame and you have prevented us from appreciating their visual artistry.
    Reply
  • By Sean
    February 21, 2013
    06:04 PM

    Once I view this on TCM and if I like it and want to buy it I'll give all three Aspect ratios a look. So far 1:66.1 looks like the best to me in this video.
    Reply
  • By Patrick
    February 22, 2013
    02:50 PM

    I've seen this film several times in 1.33:1 but never in 1.66:1. Really excited to watch this one again! Very cool to include 3 options.
    Reply
  • By rv branham
    February 22, 2013
    03:47 PM

    when is criterion going to do kazan's most underrated movie, the last tycoon?
    Reply

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