Here is the opening of “Singing’ in the Rain” as it was broadcast on TCM in 2012.
For Pi Day, I pulled my copy of “Singin’ in the Rain” for a screen grab of Debbie Reynolds hitting Jean Hagen with a pie (Reynolds corrected us via Twitter that she actually used a cake). In running the opening credits, I noticed that the frame had obviously been cropped.
Here’s what it used to look like:
“Singin’ in the Rain” as I recorded it in 1979 on VHS.
And here it is via Daily Motion.
I haven’t watched “Singin’ in the Rain” on TCM in recent years because I have it on DVD. But is TCM really showing “Singin’ in the Rain” in the wrong aspect ratio? Tsk tsk.
True, some movie intros, outros and credits are in a different aspect ratio than the movie, or they’re cropped, or compressed horizontally. It depends on the print being shown. Cable TV channels, including TCM, generally don’t adjust them to match the movie, so I try to do it manually. This is unfortunate because they often display original story board art work, animation or deleted scenes. See, e.g., 55 Days at Peking.
Then again, sometimes the opening credits are the only thing in the correct aspect ratio. That would be “King of the Khyber Rifles.”
Before the introduction of anamorphic systems to compete with television, the 4:3 aspect ratio was considered perfect for both mediums. Then, all hell broke loose.
Fortunately things have improved since 1979.