4:3 Black and White: It’s a Wonderful Life
Before 1953, virtually all movies had a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the vast majority were in black and white. It's a Wonderful Life (1947) is, with good reason, one of the most beloved films in this once-ubiquitous format.
The best feel-good Christmas tale not written by Charles Dickens, It's a Wonderful Life acts as A Christmas Carol in reverse. An altruistic man, driven to desperation on Christmas Eve, is shown not the error of his ways but the good he has done.
Paramount's Blu-ray transfer, pillarboxed to 4:3 with black bars on the sides, is clean, crisp, and stunning. You'd never know that a 62-year-old black-and-white movie could look so good.
Republished with permission from PC World (view original version)