"Escort West" (1959) — "pan-and-scan" or "fullscreen" format
This is what the movie looks like in the 4:3 aspect ratio, the way it was hacked up originally for TV and later circulated in various video formats. This shot shows the rarely seen Saddlehorn Village on the Iverson Movie Ranch, and when I first saw this, I thought I was getting a good look at the place.
"Escort West" (1959) — original CinemaScope format
Here, though, we can see what I was missing, which is just about half of the picture and much of the set. Of course, the picture as seen here is significantly narrower from top to bottom, and the individual images appear smaller than in the "fullscreen" version. In the living room it takes a bigger screen to alleviate that problem, but here on the blog all it takes is clicking on the photo to see a larger version.
Comparison of "fullscreen" format with widescreen CinemaScope
Here's another way of sizing up the two formats. I've placed the fullscreen version on top of the widescreen version to show how much widescreen adds to the picture. Once again, you may want to enlarge the photo by clicking on it to get a better look.
"Escort West" — promotional still
In another example from "Escort West," a fake stone structure is seen not only in the movie but also in this widely circulated promotional still for the film. The promo shot duplicates a scene toward the end of the movie in which the characters walk under what is generally thought of as a stone bridge, although it's apparent that the horizontal "stone" beam across the top of the frame is fake.
"Escort West" — Devil's Doorway Cluster ("fullscreen" version)
Here's another example from "Escort West." This scene showing the aftermath of an Indian attack was shot in front of the Devil's Doorway rock feature on the plateau just above the Iverson Gorge, with a portion of Cactus Hill visible in the background.
Same scene in the original CinemaScope
The same scene as it was shot in the original CinemaScope reveals much more of the Devil's Doorway formation — including the "doorway" itself — along with a wider section of Cactus Hill.
Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel
The debate over fullscreen vs. widescreen was a bigger deal a few years back, before the proliferation of huge TV screens in people's living rooms. Back then it was a favorite topic of movie critics such as Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel — who found common ground on the issue — not to mention prominent movie directors such as Martin Scorsese, who frequently appeared on TV to "school" viewers on the merits of keeping a movie's original format. I'm not trying to resurrect the debate, which I'd say has been settled. But I did find it interesting how the format issue dovetails with location research.
Regarding the two links below, according to information on Amazon.com, both DVD sets apparently contain the widescreen version of "Escort West." The first link — to the cheaper of the two sets, listed at $7.53 at the time of this post — offers three movies, combining "Escort West" with "The Way West" and "Chato's Land," with all three movies reportedly in widescreen. The far more expensive second set ($20.95 as I post this) apparently contains both widescreen and fullscreen versions of only "Escort West."