In reply to Ken Mogg & others:
All the prints of PSYCHO I have shown have an Academy matte throughout,
apart from one or two of the shots of Janet Leigh in the shower, which have
a 1:1.66 mask - I guess, in order to avoid showing any cleavage. I have
measured the matte on these shots on several different prints by holding
them against an RP-40 test film and they're definitely 1:1.66. For that
reason, I have always shown the film in 1:1.66, even though the version
re-released by Artificial Eye in 1998 had 1:1.33 labelled on the cans.
However, that matte could have been the result of British or European
censorship, and thus might not be anything to do with Hitchcock's
intentions. But we're back to the old story - if film-makers won't tell us
what ratio they want their films shown in (by marking the cans, or, more
preferably, the leaders) then we have to make a (hopefully, intelligent)
guess. I'd be very interested to hear of any evidence to suggest that
anyone actually wanted PSYCHO to be shown in 1:1.85 (as opposed to a
shoot-and-protect decision). I haven't seen it for almost a year but from
memory I think it would look badly cropped.
The 'looking up' I did was ringing a projectionist friend at the National
Film Theatre. They keep detailed notes on all the prints shown there,
including the results of a rigourous examination procedure which is done
whenever a film comes in without any ratio labelled and where there are a
number of possibilities. THE BIRDS and MARNIE have also been shown in
1:1.66 for as long as anyone can remember. Whether this is because of a
printer matte or some other reason I could not say.
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