Aspect ratio: 4:3 material being exported with black bars (on the sides!)

Hi all
I'm fairly new to using FinalCut Express: previously I've used other non-linear video editors on Windows.
I'm having a bit of a weird problem: I've got a sequence which was shot entirely in 4:3 (PAL). However, when I try to export that to a QuickTime movie it appears squashed from either side — black bars appear at the sides of the frame and everyone looks very tall and thin. The frame itself is still 4:3 but everything is being squashed to fit in the bars.
I've fiddled with as many settings as are immediately obvious to me to see if I can rectify this, but so far no banana: the sequence is about 90 minutes long and takes about 30 minutes to render each time when exporting.
Has anyone got any ideas what to do about this? I've been trying to do some research into how FCP/FCE handle different aspect ratios, and it seems to be a very complicated topic. In fact, in the same project I've got a sequence which contains almost entirely 16:9 anamorphic material. Ideally I'd like this to be output in a 16:9 frame with the few 4:3 clips appearing with bars on the side. However, it's only being output as 4:3 where the 4:3 clips appear full-frame and the 16:9 clips have bars at top and bottom...
Hope someone can help!
Mac Pro: 3GHz, 6GB RAM, X1900XT, BT, AirPort   Mac OS X (10.4.8)  

Tom, thanks for the reply.
Everything looks absolutely fine when played back in FCE; it's only when exporting to QuickTime that my problems start. The point is that this 4:3 sequence isn't being output into a 16:9 frame as a pillarbox: what's actually happening is that it's being put into a 4:3 frame with bars, with the result that the content is in fact being squeezed (it looks wrong).
How can you modify the aspect-ratio settings for a given sequence? I've looked through all the obvious sequence properties settings but have never found anything.
I'll just reiterate — it plays back fine within the viewer; only when output does it all go awry.

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