How the West Was Won [Blu-ray] [Import]
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Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 01/04/2011 Run time: 164 minutes Rating: G
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. The DVD presents the film in its Cinerama aspect ratio of 2.65:1 and also includes a "making of" documentary and the original theatrical trailer. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As amazing as it seems, "How the West Was Won" is not a very good experience. The movie runs for an eternity as it attempts to describe the different experiences in settling the American West. At the beginning of the film, the Prescott clan heads out to the West in search of farmland and a new beginning.Read more ›
Streeting simultaneously will also be a Blu-ray(tm) Hi-Def ($34.99 SRP) version. Again, all the 2-disc features will be included, along with special Digi-book packaging featuring 32-pages of rare press materials and behind-the-scenes photos. Also, exclusive to STD DVD & Blu-ray is the "SmileBox" version of the film which presents the image with a unique curvature that virtually recreates the true Cinerama® experience in a home theater. Aspect ratio?? 2.89:1 which is approx 5% wider than Ben Hur.
Due to HP technology they and Warner Bros restoration experts have removed the two bars that was in previous wide screen versions and have also removed and cleaned up the images that overlap the three screens divided by these two lines. It will also be Anamorphic widescreen for aspect ratio of 2.35 to maybe 2.55 for the main feature, as the smile box is the third disc.
The packaging, for once, actually adds to the value. The two discs are held inside the covers of a hardback book. The book itself is beautifully printed, and filled with fascinating background info about the film. It could be thicker, but it's really a strong asset to the entire experience.
The movie has been impeccably restored. Where the three camera images have been joined, the marks have been erased to the point that you only rarely notice them. The image is bright, clear and almost supernaturally sharp. And the ENTIRE image is here: the full 4x3 TIMES three of the original Cinerama version.
On top of all this there's the unique SmileBox presentation. This re-creates the Cinerama experience about as well as you'll ever see it on a flat screen. The left and right edges are taller than the middle, and the image has been subtly stretched as well, essentially presenting a perspective representation of the original curved screen. I was impressed, but if you don't care for it, fear not, the conventional 'flat' version is here too, on a separate disc, so neither is compromised by compression.
After seeing this movie, I understand just how abysmally bad other Blu-ray releases have been. (A notable offender is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has had its ultra-widescreen single-strip Cinerama image brutally cropped!!) [EDIT- comments re 2001 suggest that this is not true. I await further evidence either way. Still, a lackluster Blu-ray, to my mind...]
My only complaint about How the West Was Won is the pricing. I bought it on Amazon.ca at $17.99. I see it's now over ten dollars more. Close to $30 is WAY WAY WAY TOO MUCH to pay for ANY movie.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I saw this in Cinerama...does not quite capture that but nice memories.Published 7 days ago by Dr. Doug Powers
Wow! The restoration they have done on this movie is nothing less than astounding! The movie was filmed in Cinerama that required 3 cameras to film it and 3 cameras to project... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Glenn M. Frost
Not worth the money. Would never watch it again it was all over the place.Published 13 months ago by Jan P Gran
almost wish it was a little longer. needed to fill in a few spots with a little more detail but this was a long movie to begin withPublished on Jan. 7 2014 by lc
Great film, nearly perfect, just the odd frame that shows some lines, but this did not spoil the viewing experience.Published on Dec 31 2012 by Jim
This is a big movie in almost every respect. A big cast of big names, covering a big sweep of US history. The vistas are big across the extra-wide-screen Cinerama process. Read morePublished on March 9 2012 by PD Johnston
I saw this film in one of those Cinerama theaters in 1963 as a kid and was mightily impressed, but was disturbed by the lines which appeared on the huge screen created by the use... Read morePublished on June 6 2011 by Dr. Kai Wang