I don't understand why this movie is not available in widescreen. The movie won an Oscar for Best Cinematography, and at this stage of the DVD game, there's no excuse for a major studio not to release a major movie in its correct theatrical aspect ratio. Not only is this DVD scarce of extras, it's pathetic that the film's visuals are marred by the square/TV format, which is a violation of what DVDs are all about--the good ones: to preserve the integrity of the original film as best possible. This looks like a cleaned up version of the VHS release.
Of course, certain movies prior to 1953 (and a few thereafter) were shot in the 1:33 or "full screen" format, but Ship of Fools was released in 1965 at the height of the widescreen spectacles. I don't know if producer/director Stanley Kramer shot the film in the old aspect ratio, but it seems highly unlikely. The DVD reduces this movie to a TV soap opera and not a cinematic experience. I've been waiting for this movie, but Columbia Tri Star has disappointed this collector, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Most of the positive reviews on this page are based on the VHS. Come on, we're in the 21st century. If we're going to pay top dollar for these movies on D-V-D, give us what we expect from D-V-Ds, i.e., a film in its correct aspect ratio. If this were not the only version of the film available on DVD, I'd return it.
Is the studio planning to release a "special edition" in widescreen in the future? Who knows? Ship of Fools was an Oscar candidate for Best Picture. I think it's absolutely disrespectful on the part of any studio to release an important film "modified to fit your screen." It's cheap and embarrasing and not in the best interest of the modern viewers. Why not present the film in both full frame AND widescreen? At least that shows some respect for the audience's intelligence. After all, we are not a society of cinema illiterates.
If the film was NOT shot in widescreen, then I sincerely apologize for my opinions, because the movie itself is excellent! I hope someone who knows more about it than I do will clarify this.