‘Singin in the Rain’: The Mystery of the Aspect Ratio


Singin in the Rain 2012

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, 1979
“Singin’ in the Rain” as I recorded it in 1979 on VHS.

Daily Motion
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.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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4 Responses to ‘Singin in the Rain’: The Mystery of the Aspect Ratio

  1. Benito says:

    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.


  2. aryedirect says:

    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.


  3. Johnny Clay says:

    Fortunately things have improved since 1979.



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