Further on the recall of the Ingmar
Bergman Collection DVD boxset, we can confirm that MGM (USA) are currently
shipping the revised version. Hour of the Wolf and Shame now appear in their
correct 1.37:1 aspect ratio. As you will recall, these were mistakenly
cropped to 1.66:1 in the first MGM release, resulting in odd compositions
like this and interesting discussions as seen halfway down on this page.
"Statement from MGM Home Entertainment
regarding the recall of the INGMAR BERGMAN COLLECTION...
INGMAR BERGMAN COLLECTION
MGM Home Entertainment will not be releasing the Ingmar Bergman DVD Collection on Tuesday, February 10 due to transfer problems on two of the discs.
If possible, please hold your reviews until we announce the new street date which we expect to be sometime in May. We will contact you once we have further information.
This is the Boxset in question:
First, DVDBeaver found, with the help of Richard Stracke, that MGM have severely cropped away (or zoomed in) on the Persona release from their forthcoming Ingmar Bergman Boxset. A detailed comparison with the Tartan Region 2 can be found HERE.
(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)
The exact amount of information that MGM removed is approx. 11.5% - so you get to see 88.5 % of Bergman's intended film.
It gets much worse...
Then, through the Criterion Forums, we see that the rest of the Boxset - Shame / Hour of the Wolf / The Passion of Anna / The Serpent's Egg - are all 1.66:1 ratio on the MGM DVDs, whereas "Hour of the Wolf" and "Shame" have an original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 . (see the French disc grabs for comparison).
Proof can be found from the Swedish Film Institute:
French version - Bergman's "Hour of the Wolf"
MGM Boxset version - Bergman's "Hour of the Wolf" (head chop)
Quote: The matting of Hour of the Wolf is MGM's doing, not Bergman's. This film has been shown in Academy ratio every time I've seen it, including theatrically, and the cropping looks horribly, horribly wrong. - Donald Brown
French version - Bergman's "Shame"
MGM Boxset version- Bergman's "Shame" (head chop)
How much effort would it have taken MGM to check the original Aspect ratio of these films? (The correct Aspect ratio information is even listed on imdb.com as well as the Swedish Film Institute links above). Why have they shamefully cropped these films?
DVDBeaver recommends that you steer clear of this boxset. If you can, cancel your pre-orders immediately! If you don't, what type of message are you giving the big studios? - that its okay to mistreat foreign classics? What will they do next? Pan and scan La Dolce Vita? Make Ozu's classic films widescreen? Colorize Citizen Kane?
More screen caps.. from MGM's 'Shame' :
Look below how his head has been cut off. Look how the top of many heads have been chopped.
Hour of the Wolf MGM screen captures (and head chopping continues)
Johan Borg (Max von Sydow) appears to be holding his head in unimaginable grief over MGM's lack of artistic integrity...