Tuesday, November 01, 2005


My curiosity about the original scope format of this movie motivated me to check a few references, starting with Poppi & Piccorari's Dizionaro del Cinema Italiano vol 3 (1960-69). Interesting: the listing for IL CASTELLI DEI MORTI VIVI doesn't make any note of Aldo Tonti filming it in scope. I decide to skip over the usual next steps and go straight to my fotobusta collection. I have an example or two from this movie and, to my surprise, they make no mention whatever of a scope format! Finally, to confirm my growing suspicions, I checked Tom Johnson & Mark A. Miller's The Christopher Lee Filmography (McFarland and Company) and, once again, no mention of a scope format.

Folks, I am beginning to think this isn't a scope movie. The evidence against certainly beats the evidence for -- which appears to be none.

Thinking back, I believe all the assumptions that this was a scope movie (certainly including my own) were rooted in the terrible cropping of the original AIP-TV 16mm prints, which looked like your usual straight-down-the-middle, scope-cropping, with all the names in the opening credits being shorn in half. Well, now I'm thinking that the movie may well have been 1.85:1, which is technically widescreen though not anamorphic, and subject to pan&scan when adapted to television.

Which means I've got to pull out my ancient standard ratio copy and look at this thing again.

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