I’m afraid the level of purism necessary to insist on mono sound on DVDs is beyond me. I understand that it’s not the way that the original was viewed, but then the original wasn’t seen on televisions at all, either. And was probably shown with short features, and meant to be enjoyed by large audiences, not small families.
I love film, from the silent classics to the most novel use of modern technologies, and I agree that preserving the intent of the filmmaker is paramount. So to speak. But I’d be interested in seeing any evidence that the intent of the filmmaker is somehow violated in the process of stereo separation.
There are films made in the color era that have been deliberately produced in black and white, and to excellent effect. There have been silent movies made since the advent of sound. Both indicate a recognition on the part of the filmmaker that the limitations of that era of the medium could be used to enhance their message.
And Hodge, the example you gave is not a conversion to stereo, it’s a complete recreation of part of the soundtrack, which, I agree, should be avoided if at all possible.
Now, as several people have pointed out, there is the option of simply viewing it in mono on your own home system. I have to ask Zebra and Hodge: what’s wrong with that option?
I’ve never heard of a director insisting that all his dialog, sound effects and music come from a single speaker behind the screen, given the option of stereo or surround sound. That would seem to indicate to me that the limitations imposed by monaural sound do not compliment the film in any definable way.