Correct aspect ratio?

The new-ish DVD from Sony presents the film at 1.85:1 which reviews on sites like DVD Beaver say is the original aspect ratio. However, I've also got a copy from VHS which is 4:3 but it has more information at the top and bottom of the picture than the DVD (and obviously a lot less at the sides). For example, there's clearly more of the house visible on the title card.

Compared to what was filmed there's definitely some of the picture being cropped off on the DVD but I guess that just because something was filmed one way then it doesn't mean that it was generally shown in cinemas that way. Would it have been matted when shown or is is that the correct aspect ratio should be something more like 1.66:1? If this was the case then I wouldn't put it past Sony to just switch it to 1.85:1 so that there aren't any bars either side, irrespective of the fact that this means cropping some of the picture top and bottom.

Does anyone know what the original aspect ratio actually was?

Also, just a minor thing, but the VHS version starts with green eyes (the owl's), the same colour as some of the titles but the DVD has very different blue eyes but then keeps the same titles in green as on the VHS. Has this been altered for the DVD release?


I don't know, but with older films I always get the feeling that it should be 1.66:1 or about (with 'older films' I mean from 1953 on, before that it should be 1.33:1).

Ofcourse it also depended on cinema entrepreneurs and projectionists how they liked the films to be matted, I've read that it varied between 1.66:1 and 1.85:1.

"I don't discriminate between entertainment
and arthouse. A film is a goddam film."