Thanks for your thorough reply, you’ve jogged my memory about a few releases over the years. 😃
I think the fact that Manhattan was a less mass-consumption movie might have contributed (and I don’t believe it was fully letterboxed to 2.35:1 anyways?).
It almost certainly appears to have received the full OAR, judging by the opening to the 1984 Betamax release:
Spielberg was able to get a few of his/Amblin’s movies released in widescreen, even on VHS, though they were only 1.85:1 movies - first, Warner Bros. released The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun (on LD only, IIRC) and Joe Dante’s Innerspace exclusively in letterbox, then Universal used letterbox for E.T. (on LD only) and Always.
I’d completely forgotten about InnerSpace! It begins with a comparison of the night club sequence in P&S vs WS so that viewers understand that they’re gaining, not losing with the black bars. I really ought to have a go at preserving that at some point, unless other members have already done it. 😃
I believe the first 2.35:1 Spielberg movie released in widescreen on video was indeed Last Crusade, and even then he wasn’t able to convince Paramount to release a letterbox VHS (though it was LBX on S-VHS).
I don’t follow here, Paramount agreed to an S-VHS LBX but not a VHS LBX release? According to this interview, Spielberg states that Paramount were convinced to release Last Crusade in LBX on VHS alongside the P&S version.
I have no idea of the history of letterbox releases in Japan, but using LDDB’s dates, the next North American letterbox home video release of a scope film after Manhattan was the Criterion LD of The Hidden Fortress in 1987 (it has the earliest volume number of the three scope LBX CC releases that year, the other two in '87 were The Graduate and Blade Runner). In 1988, three non-Criterion scope LBX LDs came out - Ben-Hur and Doctor Zhivago from MGM, and Otto Preminger’s The Cardinal from Image. LBX in general, and scope LBX in particular, became a bigger thing in 1989 (Fox, Columbia, and more from MGM), and I believe all the studios were on board by 1990. (I have no idea what the next scope LBX VHS was after Manhattan - I do know there was a widescreen VHS of the 1989 restoration of Lawrence of Arabia, maybe it was that?)
Again, thanks for the information. The OT received an LBX Japanese LD release in 1986 that still remains highly regarded, all these decades on.
The CAV should have slightly better picture quality, but I doubt there is a need to digitize both.
Here’s the opening to the 84’ CLV, they adjusted the credits for the constraints of P&S…
VHD or nothing
😃 The Raiders VHD can be briefly viewed in action here, Fast FWD to 26:19.