|How the West Was Won (Blu-ray Book) [Blu-ray]
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With courage, sinew and conflict: that¡¯s how the West was won. With three directors, five interlocked stories, some of movie history¡¯s most legendary action scenes and a constellation of acting talent: that¡¯s how How the West Was Won was filmed. Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart and John Wayne are among the big names in this big saga following a family¡¯s move West through generations ¨C marked by the spectacles of a heart-pounding raging river ride, a thunderous buffalo stampede and a bracing runaway train shootout. Via technological advances, this panoramic winner of three Academy Awards can now be seen with a resplendent, restored clarity eliminating its original "three- panel join lines" and in roof-raising Dolby 5.1 audio. Westward ho!
The first feature film to be photographed and projected in the panoramic three-camera Cinerama process, this epic Western is almost as expansive as the West itself, chronicling a pioneering family's triumphs and tragedies in numerous episodes spanning three generations and a half century of westward movement. Divided into five segments directed by veteran Hollywood filmmakers Henry Hathaway, George Marshall, and the legendary John Ford (and including uncredited sequences directed by Richard Thorpe), the film was one of the most ambitious ever made by the venerable MGM studio. Its stellar cast reads like a virtual who's who of Hollywood's biggest stars. Debbie Reynolds plays a sturdy survivor of many pioneering dangers, and the eventual widow of a gambler (Gregory Peck), who is later reunited with her nephew (George Peppard), a Civil War veteran and cavalryman who heads for San Francisco as the transcontinental railroad is being built. Many more characters and stories are woven throughout this epic film, which is dramatically uneven but totally engrossing with its stunning vistas and countless outdoor locations in Illinois, Kentucky, South Dakota, Monument Valley in Arizona, California, Colorado, and elsewhere. --Jeff Shannon
- 3 disc Just Plain Poor.
What a waste of money this 3 disc version is; it has removed the joins (to a point, they are still visible a couple of times), but the image still occupies only about half of a widescreen TV, it has not been enhanced for widescreen TVs and comparing it to the original disc the image is still fuzzy and not clear and crisp. I am sure the Blu Ray version is fine, but we shouldnt have to buy Blu Ray to get a decent image, if epics of this era such as "Ben Hur", "Doc Zhivago" etc etc can be properly enhanced to fill most of the screen, why, with the so called modern technlology cant Warners do a decent job on this film. Also there is not the doco that was on the original DVD release, just plain ripped off all down the line. Shame. !!...more info
- Superb Remastering Job and Audio Commentary Highlight Edition...
If you've avoided purchasing 'Cinerama'-formatted widescreen DVDs in the past (because of the irritating lines indicating each camera, and often blurry images), you're in for a treat; "How the West Was Won (Ultimate Collector's Edition)" has all but removed the lines, and restored the depth of detail, richness of color, and superb stereophonic sound lacking in every previous edition. Add to this one of the most entertaining, informative Audio Commentary tracks I've ever listened to, and you have a DVD that is truly worth owning!
Taking a moment to reflect on the Commentary...I am disappointed that no 'Making of...' video has been made, as "How the West Was Won", with it's stellar cast, legendary directors, and massive production, certainly deserves one. But the Audio Commentary makes a sincere effort to make up for it, offering information on the locations, how the extraordinary shots were created, and backstories about casting and the production. A surprising bit of HTWWW trivia: Did you know that Bing Crosby was originally slated to narrate the film, with Spencer Tracy to portray Ulysses S. Grant? (The reason Tracy switched to narrating isn't explained in the Commentary, but I am familiar with what happened; Tracy collapsed at his home, prior to filming, and had to be rushed by ambulance to the UCLA Hospital; under doctor's orders to rest, he was unable to perform in a role, but still wanted to participate in some manner, so Crosby, graciously, gave up the narration to him). A health issue created another change, as well; Dimitri Tiomkin, the contracted composer of the musical score, broke his leg, and had to be replaced by Alfred Newman, who did a magnificent job. Another surprising fact: Hope Lange was originally cast to play George Peppard's wife, with a long subplot revealing she was Henry Fonda's daughter, first seen working as a showgirl at the railroad camp, where she was courted by both Peppard and Richard Widmark. Despite some scenes being filmed, it was decided the subplot took too much time from the main storyline, so her scenes were cut, and reshot to remove any reference to her, with Carolyn Jones cast in a far shorter version of her role, for the final sequence of the film.
Much more is included in the Commentary, which really encourages a viewer to watch the film at least twice!
The third DVD in the collection (the first two discs are of the film, itself), is devoted to a long history of the Cinerama process, from it's roots during the silent era, it's value during WWII as a training tool, the spectacular, and once, tragic, Cinerama travelogues, through the decision to scrap the 'three-camera' process in favor of a less difficult 70mm 'single-camera' process (HTWWW would be the last film using the original format), and it's ultimate demise, in favor of less costly formats. As someone whose first Cinerama experience was the 'single-camera' "2001: A Space Odyssey", the documentary makes me wish I'd experienced the superior 'three-camera' films, with full stereophonic sound, on a giant curved screen!
Lots of reproductions of original release promotional materials are included in the package, as well, which are fun to browse through, while you're watching the film.
Entertaining, educational, fun..."How the West Was Won (Ultimate Collector's Edition)" is all this, and MUCH more!
- The birth of widescreen
A superb restoration (on Blu-Ray) of what is a mediocre film. Not even all of the featured Hollywood stars could rescue this Disneyesque look at America's westward expansion. The most interesting thing was the documentary extra on the Cinerama process and how it influenced all subsequent films. This is how widescreen was born. But the use of Cinerama for this film makes many scenes look awkward, as the characters eyes don't quite meet in a number of scenes, since the camera used three lenses and the actors had to "guesstimate" where, exactly, the other actor would appear on the curved Cinerama screen. Closeups were also impossible. Cinerama was made for big, expansive scenes, of which HTWWW has many. The directors actually had to compose their shots based upon the camera's unique characteristics. While some scenes were gorgeous, even displaying it in HD on my 106" projection screen looked awkward, because it was made for Cinerama's curved screen. All in all, an interesting, if underwhelming, movie....more info
- Excellently restored, but..
The restorers have done a superb job of turning this movie into a home cinema experience but the nature of the beast that is Cinerama isn't easy to tame. This comes as a 2 Blu-ray set with one done (very) widescreen and the other done in the odd smilebox format. Neither is perfect nor could they be but it's certainly a grand experience either way.
It's not my favourite film but the reason for buying was the grandeur of it, some miscolouring still appears from time to time where the film stocks were joined but it doesn't hurt the overall feel of it.
It's understandable after seeing this as well as home video allows why only two Cinerama films were made, for all its grandeur it doesn't present any better than the extra wide but normal films that followed, with the distorted fish-eye like view sometimes detracting.
However it does present as a very collectible film and the quality is quite superb overall....more info
- Why no Smilevision version on DVD
Being a big fan of Cinerama (even the travelogues) I'm delighted to finally get a fully restored version on DVD. HOWEVER why do only customers who have Blue Ray systems get the opportunity to see the Smile effect version. The superb documentary featured on Disc 3 of the standard DVD release shows just how much viewing of the main feature would be improved by seeing the movie this way.
Picture size is much bigger than the stretched out 2:89 version and the curved effect gives a wonderful impression of the actual Cinerama experience. Seeing all the excerpts from original Cinerama movies included in the Documentary makes one hopeful that these may also get a release at some point in the future. In the meantime can we poor customers who have not yet upgraded to Blue Ray PLEASE have a Smile vision copy issued on standard DVD. ...more info
- How Cinerama DVD Was Won
Wow !!! What a wonderful transfer either for image and sound ! watched on Plasma screen (with HDMI connexion) and through Dolby Digital 7.1 ("Adventure" YAMAHA DSP type), it's impressive!Of course I knew this movie in Cinerama Theater (EMPIRE HALL in PARIS). Congratulations for "3 screen" separate lines treatment which make possible a domestic watch in good conditions. the original version was interesting in Cinerama theater but a torture on a domestic screen! The "Cinerama adventure" bonus includes very persuasive highlights of the "smile-box" version available only in Blue-Ray edition. I don't have Blue-Ray player yet but after seeing that, I think about !!!...more info
- "WON" by Blu-Ray
Look at this on a big screen TV! The improvement in image quality, sharpness, and color on this blu-ray edition is enormous. Watching this film in the SmilE format on the second disc is a treat and makes us remember what a spectacular stunt Cinerama was when we originally saw this on a huge curved panoramic screen for it's original release. It's certainly the kind of startling innovative technology that sold tickets and put us in theater seats; but if you find it distracting, return to the conventional widescreen version on disc one. Both are stunning--and somehow seem superior to the actual original projected theatrical film in their sharpness and color!
The very-widescreen image finally looks complete. The two "un-seam-ly" overlap lines that marred ALL previous showings, releases, and formats are almost totally and miraculously unnoticeable on both blu-ray discs! Now, without experiencing those persistent distractions and odd distortions, we rediscovered a spectacular film with a surprising amount of good acting and witty and often moving dialogue.
Of course, it includes some of the most stunning classic action sequences this side of Ben Hur and CB DeMille! And what a great cast and superb score. The blu-ray is a marvel and a must-have. And some might buy it for the fascinating "Cinerama Adventure" documentary alone, included here on disc one!...more info
- Cinerama and Digitizing-- Great Combo!
I now have HTWWW on three different media-- Laser, DVD, and BluRay. The coming together of BluRay, Digitizing, and BluRay is simply dazzling. I hoped, but never really believed, the movie could be "fixed" for home viewing-- but it is.
There are some scenes where the vertical join lines can be seen. But, you know, that kind of reminds you that this is an almost fifty year old movie shot in an analog world-- the lines recall the way the film was made.
Some will complain that the movie should not have been digitized to remove the lines. Nonsense. If the original film makers had had the option to have lines or not have lines, which do you think they would have chosen? Same with black and white. I firmly believe in the concept of "colorizing" films that should have been in color, but either for financial reasons or because color had not been invented then (Things to Come comes to mind) were filmed in B&W. (Of course, no one has yet come up with a decent method of colorizing.)
I won't comment on the story of How the West Was Won-- you either like it or you don't. It is a magnificent film, in its way similar to Mike Todd's Around the World in 80 Days, and, yes, Titanic. Blockbusters all.
- Classic Western receives deluxe release--be aware there is a Special Collector's Edition, regular 3 disc DVD and Blu-Ray release
A massive, sprawling epic shot in the three camera Cinerama Process popular during the early 60's, "How the West Was Won" spans from 1830 to 1880 covering the history of the westward expansion. Directed by three directors (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall with a forth Richard Thorpe providing uncredited linking pieces)"How the West Was Won" was produced during the twilight of the western as the most popular type genre.
Warner has done a painstaking job of restoring this classic film and although it isn't perfect, it's an exceptional job that deserves kudos. The film has never looked this good with colors that pop and accurate fleshtones. More important the seams that one could see for the separate cameras aren't quite as glaring as before. The image quality is exceptionally crisp with terrific detail. Audio sounds extremely good with a nice 5.1 mix.
The film is spread over two discs with the original Overture and Alfred Newman's marvelous score included as part of the package. We get a terrific feature length commentary track from "West" stuntman Loren James who provides plenty of background details about the physical shooting of the film, filmmaker David Strohmaier, film scholar Rudy Behlmer, Cierama's John Sittig and music historian Jon Burlingame. My only complaint is that Burlingame will make a comment about listening to Newman's marvelous score and then whomever edited his comments continues to play them right over the music cue we should be listening to without interruption.
The only other complaint that I have is that while the dirt and grit has been removed making the film look marvelous, there's one sequence that has always bugged me--there is a bit of dirt right in the middle of the frame of the opening fly over sequence that I wish they could have figured out how to remove. Other than that, it's pretty smooth looking throughout the presentation despite an occasiona bit of image unsteadiness as characters move across the screen and span of the three cameras lenses.
We also get a terrific hour and a half documentary on the Cinerama process on the third disc.
There are three different versions of the film in re-release: the first is a three disc DVD edition with just the film; the second is the three disc set postcards, a reproduction of the original press book, souvenir book and photos as part of the package;there is no equivalent for this SCE in the Blu-ray edition although it does have a booklet as part of that package.
The image and sound quality in this restored edition improves on the original single disc edition of the film with a terrific commentary track and documentary to round out the set. With a stunning casts (James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Carolyn Jones, Debbie Reynolds, Carol Baker, Lee J. Cobb, George Peppard, John Wayne, Lee Van Cleef, Karl Malden, Agnes Moorehead and others)this was truly one of the last epic, lyrical westerns to be produced in Hollywood. Highly recommended.
- Highly abridged
very disappointed... This movie was so highly abridged that the life and adventures of the characters portrayed by Gregory Peck and Debbie Reynolds are totally absent. Gregory Peck does not even appear in this version, except as a photo in the old lady's locket, and the rest of the story fails to get fleshed out. It is like buying a side of beef and ending up with nothing but the hooves and horns. (where's the Beef?!) Anyone who rates this movie above 0-1 never saw the original epic movie. Total waste of my money!...more info
- How the West Was Won (Blu-ray Book) [Blu-ray]
This was a Christmas gift for my friend. He really loves it and has enjoyed watching it. ...more info
- Great Restoration! But where is that missing scene?
They did a great job of restoration on this western epic. Vast picture and sound improvement over previous releases. One question though; where is the famous action scene of the water tower collapse during the buffalo stampede? I believe this scene is also missing from previous dvd versions also. One of the great classic westerns? No, but one of the most fun to watch? You bet!...more info
I saw this movie as a kid. It was shown on 3 screens in the Cinermama Dome in Hollywood and was very dramatic even by today's standard (ie... vs I Max). Also, I love the sound track!
I bought this movie to give my youngest boy and my grandchildren a taste of both old movies and "How the West was Won". Though the movie is not politically correct it creates a forum for discussion about America's migration west. As we venture into outer space, we may encounter the similar situations.
As of this moment we have not finished the movie. The beginning is slow but very engaging. I cannot recommend this movie enough!
By it, enjoy it, and discuss it with all!...more info
- terrific restoration of a fine 1960's western
Great actors and music, this is one of the best 25 westerns of all time. The sound is quite good, this 3-DVD set only offers audio in 5.1 apparently, there appears to be no mono mix offered.
Though twice as expensive as the single disc release which has the join lines visible, I believe this new restoration is worth the extra money, plus this 3 hour film is now spread out over two discs which improves the video quality.
The music is a mix of folk songs, spirituals and hymns and was heavily researched for the film. The classic Greensleeves is set to new lyrics and retitled "A Home in the Meadow" and is sung by Debbie Reynolds. In fact much of the film is a vehicle for Ms. Reynolds as she dances and sings her way through various scenes, two years before she became the Unsinkable Molly Brown in the film which includes a scene on the Titanic.
Also check out Al Pacino in Panic in Needle Park and Scarface.
- The West in Hi-Def.
One of old Hollywood's last big epics, 'How the West Was Won' is a classic tale of heroics and heartbreak, filmed in the now-defunct Cinerama process.
Although light on cohesive story, the film is chock-full of Hollywood melodrama and amazing (for the time) camera work. Although it is definitely a sanitized look at the "winning" of the Old West, it holds up today for its successful portrayal of pioneers as real people who braved an unknown frontier to realize their dreams of a new life.
The Blu-ray "Smilebox" transfer, which tries to mimic the Cinerama experience, is interesting for about five minutes. Then either your headache or your sense of proportion will probably force you to switch to the standard letterbox version on disc 1. Perhaps if viewed on a HUGE screen (I have a 52" LCD and still it looked weird), you might get the feeling of sitting in the very back row of a Cinerama theatre. I suppose Warner deserves some kudos for trying to preserve this historic film in its original format, but in practical terms the results are a curiosity at best.
The image quality on disc 1 is terrific, though, and for the most part the "lines" in the 3-camera image are not visible, except during some shots of blue sky.
Overall then, this is a very fine presentation of a classic film, indeed one of the proverbial "old fashioned Westerns".
- BE WARNED :THERE IS NO "MAKING OF" FILM INCLUDED
BE WARNED there is NO "MAKING OF DOCUMENTARY" - Said to run 40 mins included in this ultimate box set despite being mentioned in the product description above.Explain please Amazon....more info
- WE HAVE WATCHED THE REMASTERED DVD
this is a great dvd color excellent very sharp no obvious joins much improvement on the last dvd sound is good dont y the rest say bad things we think ti is ace...more info
The Blu Ray release of How the West Was Won is by far the best version released to date. The frames are nearly perfectly aligned and synchronized. The "smile box" format is a real treat. It simulates the Cinerama theatre experience very well. The soundtrack sounds great. Blu Ray has definitely improved home theatre audio which has suffered from low resolution and high data compression with DVD. If you are a fan of this film, an audiophile, a videophile, or a Cinerama enthusiast, you must own this. If you don't already own a Blu Ray player, get off your butt and go buy one! It is worth it for this version of How the West Was Won....more info
- How the West Was Won
Some may not think the movie itself is a masterpiece, but the filming and sound process was far ahead of it's time. I saw this movie when it was first released in 1962 at the Ambassador theater in St. Louis, Missouri. Interestingly enough the same place the documentary mentions at it's beginning. It was an experience I will never forget. This movie has been restored so well you will rarely know this was filmed with three cameras. But the vistas of the West will truly amaze you for a 46 year old movie. The movie has a very well known cast for that period and the story is compelling. A family heads West down a river in Ohio and ends up in California and then Arizona. How they live and die over the course of a lifetime is inspiring. Fans of movie history will especially get a kick out of this movie and the documentary on Cinerama. The process rivals IMAX even today. I highly recommend this piece of cinematic history. The Blu-ray version is magnificent quality and has plenty of replayability. If you enjoyed this catch "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" when it is released.
CA Luster...more info
- David Strohmaier's Cinerama Documentary worth the price alone
If the legendary creators of Cinerama could speak from the heavens, they would surely want to praise the efforts of David Strohmaier. He has not only led the crusade to save and preserve the artform of three strip exhibition but through his determination has defined a new and better way to see what Cinerama was like for those not available to see it in all its theatrical glory.
Smilebox is the creation and it is used to wonderful effect in the new DVD presentation of How The West Was Won. Through new and complicated technology, the curved look of Cinerama can be seen on the television screen. A Strohmaier creation, this duplicates the appromimate look and feel as if you were in a Cinerama theater, sans the curved screen.
The presentation of this classic western also removes the join lines of the three strips of film, well, almost removes them. Purists will debate their removal but if they could have been taken out from the beginning, they would have. I believe Lowell Thomas and Cooper would approve.
As wonderful as the film is, it's the documentary, Cinerama Adventure that is the real prize here. Not since the days of Kevin Brownlow and David Gill has there been such a rich and loving look at a film genre. Told with footage from other Cinerama films, rare behind the scenes footage, photos and with interviews from those who were there, this is the fastest ninety minute ride a film fan can have. The early experiments of multi strip projection are fascinating. The sequence of going through a live volcano while the plane stalls in mid air is riviting. With music by the prolific John Morgan, the man who has reconstructed classic film scores, this is a film to be viewed again and again.
Make no mistake, this is the DVD event of the year. The transfer (all new) of How The West Was Won is fabulous. The documentary is included as a bonus piece but, believe me, once you see it, you will want to know everything else there is to know about CInerama. Thank you Dave Strohmaier for your creations of both Smilebox and your moving and delightful love letter to Cinerama.
Now why wasn't Ken Kramer's documentary on How The West Was Won not included? ...more info
- excellent DVD release
The three disc set has the movie on two discs with the trailer on the second one. The third disc contains a fascinating documentary called Cinerama Adventure. The documentary is worth the price of the set!
The trailer is not restored, so it is a handy three-panel source to compare with the new, seamless realese.
How the West Was Won looks fabulous; the lines are indeed gone. The picture is w-i-d-e. So wide, the documentary states, that actors did not look directly at each other during shooting, but off to the side a bit so that they would appear to be facing each other on the Cinerama screen.
The field of view on How the West Was Won is much greater than, for instance, that of Ben Hur. But the letterboxing on the How the West Was Won DVD is not as severe as it is on the Ben Hur DVD.
The sound is great, as well. In the documentary we learn that Cinerama music track recordings were done in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, of all places, using a who's who of New York City area orchestra members.
During each theatrical Cinerama screening a sound engineer mixed the seven tracks on the spot, taking into account the number of people in the house, whether or not they had coats, things like that.
How the West Was Won--the last true Cinerama film--has been given a restoration worthy of the whole remarkable Cinerama enterprise.
- Wonderful, old movie experience.
This movie was so fun to watch again. I first saw it in Minneapolis, MN in about 1967 or so. It was shown on a split screen (three sections) that curved around the front of the very large theater. It was a true cinema experience. That was all brought back when I watched it again. Wonderful!...more info
- How The West Was Won - Blu-ray Info
Version: U.S.A / Region Free
VC-1 BD-50 / Advanced Profile 3
Running time: 2:44:40
Subtitles: English SDH / Chinese (Traditional & Simplified) / Danish / Dutch / Finnish / French / German / Italian / Japanese / Norwegian / Spanish / Swedish
Number of chapters: 41
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1467 kbps 5.1 / 48kHz / 16-bit / 1467kbps (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48kHz / 640kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48kHz / 640kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48kHz / 640kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48kHz / 640kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48kHz / 640kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48kHz / 640kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48kHz / 192kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48kHz / 192kbps
Movie size: 38,20 GB
Disc size: 45,13 GB
Average video bit rate: 22.09 Mbps
Movie size: 37,30 GB
Disc size: 37,65 GB
Average video bit rate: 21.73 Mbps...more info
- Magnificent western saga!
I am very pleased that this wonderful mini-series is finally available on DVD. I live in Colorado, and I was fascinated with Michner's story. The actors are mostly well chosen, and you can't beat the real scenery of the area around Boulder, CO. You might quibble with some 1970's production values, but there's no CG here! Some of the extra's on the DVD version include interviews with surviving actors about the filming experience. This is a very long mini-series, and I recommend viewing it one disk per night. There is just so much to experience. The earlier episodes are the best, and the message of land conservation and wilderness preservation are as topical today as they were 25 years ago. My only criticism is that the packaging is rather flimsy. Two of the disks had fallen off the plastic holders, and were somewhat scratched in the process. This did not interfere with playing. I must say that this series looks absolutely wonderful played on my blu-ray(upgrading to 1080p)onto my hi-def flat screen TV, than it did when it was first broadcast! Great story for families with older students interested in western history!...more info
- Wow! For the Blu-Ray edition
This is a stunning presentation of a classic film, on high definition blu-ray. It looks fantastic. Clean, crisp image and wonderful soundtrack that stirs the soul. A great use of the cinerama process to tell the story of the west, with it's wide vistas, mountains and colors. A true epic film....more info
- Excellent Blu-ray Version
I usually do not write a review, but I had to on this movie. This release of HTWWW is so clear that if you look at the beginning of the movie when they are showing aerial flight of the snow cover mountain. look on the right side of the screen you can see that a fly had splatter on the airplane windsheild. Love the smilebox version. Also one reason I got the movie was to see David Strohmaier CINERAMA ADVENTURE" I saw a piece of it when he was showing it at the Cinerama in Seattle June 2000. Excellent documentry, For those who like Cinerama will really like this Blu-ray version. ...more info
- Excellent transfer - video and audio
Very good video restoration and, once I updated the firmware in my Blu-Ray player, I was able to get the True HD sound -- which is a real plus. This movie was made at a time when perhaps there was more innocence and optimism in the USA, but it holds together pretty well for the challenges of using 3 different directors and such a large cast of stars. As a recent newspaper review said, this motion picture is a good reason to spring for a Blu-Ray player. The DVD was pretty good, but the way they recreate the Cinerama image on Blu-Ray is remarkable. You can even notice what appears to be moisture on the camera lens during the aerial mountain view at the beginning of the movie....more info