For years, I've been a fan of the cinema... Some of my best memories of my youth were spending hot humid summer afternoons at the local theater catching the latest blockbuster... I've also spent countless hours watching classic cinema from Cecile B. DeMille to Alfred Hitchock to more modern masterpieces from Robert Zemeckis and Ridley Scott, don't get me started on Blade Runner.
One thing anyone whom has seen films from various decades has noticed is the shape is different as time goes by, getting wider and wider but why? And Why do I have those black bars on my TV, even if mine is widescreen?
The answer is an interesting one dating all the way back to the days of Thomas Edison, culminating in an ongoing war to this day between the movie house and the home theater.
One of my favorite Vimeo/Youtube channels Filmmaker IQ.com
has what I consider to the be definitive discussion of this topic. John Hess gives an entertaining lesson on the changing shape of cinema.