Widescreen images are a variety of aspect ratios used in film, television and computer screens. In film, a widescreen film is any film image with a width-to-height aspect ratio greater than the standard 1.37:1 Academy aspect ratio provided by 35mm film.
For television, the original screen ratio for broadcasts was 4:3 (1.33:1). In the 2000s, 16:9 (1.78:1) TV displays have come into wide use. They are typically used in conjunction with Digital, High-Definition Television (HDTV) receivers, or Standard-Definition (SD) DVD players and other digital television sources.
With computer displays, aspect ratios wider than 4:3 are also called widescreen. Widescreen computer displays are typically of 16:10 aspect ratio. Widescreen 16:9 computer monitors are also available.
Widescreen was first widely used in the late 1920s in some short films and newsreels, including Abel Gance's film Napoleon (1927) which had a final widescreen sequence in what Gance called Polyvision. Paramount Pictures released Old Ironsides (1927) in a widescreen process called Magnascope, and MGM released Trail of '98 (1928) in a widescreen process called Fanthom Screen.
On May 26, 1929, Fox Film Corporation released Fox Grandeur News and Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 in New York City in the Fox Grandeur process. Other films shot in widescreen were the musical Happy Days (1929) which premiered at the Roxy Theater, New York City, on February 13, 1930, starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell and a 12 year old Betty Grable as a chorus girl; Song o’ My Heart, a musical feature starring Irish tenor John McCormack and directed by Frank Borzage (Seventh Heaven, A Farewell to Arms), which was shipped from the labs on March 17, 1930, but never released and may no longer survive, according to film historian Miles Kreuger (the 35mm version, however, debuted in New York on March 11, 1930); and the western The Big Trail (1930) starring John Wayne and Tyrone Power, Sr. which premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on October 2, 1930, all of which were also made in the 70mm Fox Grandeur process.
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