It almost sounds like you understand...
Originally Posted by PepticBurrito
Yes, "movie size" has changed historically and depends on the director/editor and the general view of the art by the creators.
...but unfortunately you don't...
It's always going to be a comprise, balancing concerns of everyone involved. In the end, it's still silly to letterbox widescreen. That's the kind of thing that should be fixed for future at the very least, but probably shouldn't have been much of a concern in the first place.
There's nothing to "fix." I'm not sure how many different ways we can say this, there is no standard "widescreen" aspect ratio. "Widescreen" is merely a catch-all term used to describe a wide array of many different screen aspect ratios.
You understand that in order to drop letterboxing for many aspect ratios, you'd have to lose the sides or top/bottom of the original image, right? If that's what you want, then why are you even interested in a widescreen set? You may as well be watching this stuff on a hi-def CRT in 4:3.
When I eventually start the migration towards HD for my movies, I'll probably be that guy who goes for the "full screen" version, assuming of course the "full screen" version wasn't quite literally cropped from the "widescreen" final product and then interpolated to fit the screen.
would you propose creating a full screen version?
Something's gotta give. Other than cropping the edges, your only other option is to stretch the top and bottom of the image, distorting the original image in the process.
The problem you have is with the film industry. Television has (mostly) standardized its aspect ratios. Film has not and probably never will. That means there's a problem when you try to watch a film on a television set. The two technologies don't fit perfectly.
Besides, there's already 130 years' worth of film with unstandardized ratios that no one can do anything about. I suppose we could just burn all the original prints and just start from scratch.