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: How the West Was Won (1962)  ( 36879 )
drinkanddestroy
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« #45 : October 23, 2012, 04:55:21 AM »

I remember seeing the lines at the theatrical release too

you mean the original Cinerema release? You saw it in Cinerema and there were lines on it?

-----------------------

Here is Beaver's review of the 2-disc blu ray set that offers both the Letterbox and Smilebox formats http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews40/how_the_west_was_won_blu-ray.htm
many dvd's and blu rays of HTWWW have been released over the past few years, but if you are looking to get the version that offers the movie in both the Letterbox and Smilebox formats, (I believe) it's only available on this 2-disc blu ray set http://www.amazon.com/How-West-Blu-ray-Book-Packaging/dp/B0018O50VQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1351002238&sr=8-3&keywords=how+the+west+was+won

When I saw the movie on TCM, on a few occasions, the lines/sections might be vaguely visible specifically against a bright sky. And there are a few instances where shapes or movement may be weird, eg. buffalo may be running around and around, some things may look weird (especially if you are looking out for it). I haven't seen the blu ray yet, but based on Beaver's comments on the blu ray, it seems to be pretty similar to what I saw on TCM. As Beaver says, pretty much 95% of the problems are gone  :)


if any of y'all have watched this blu ray disc, and seen both the Smilebox and Letterbox formats, I'd like to hear what you have to say about it 'em  :)


------------

Bottom line IMO: Thankfully, only 30 movies were made in Cinerama http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinerama#cite_ref-10 so hopefully these 30 titles can be restored as best as possible to dvd; (for the Cineramaniancs, they have a few theaters that show revivals every once in a while), but  we'll never have to worry about this for anything other than those 30 titles.

Here is a site for you Cineramaniacs http://cineramaadventure.com/





« : October 23, 2012, 07:31:39 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #46 : October 23, 2012, 07:16:23 AM »


This movie has been released on many different dvd and blu-ray-disc sets. But this particular 2-disc blu ray set is the only version of the movie that provides both the Smilebox and Letterbox formats: http://www.amazon.com/How-West-Blu-ray-Book-Packaging/dp/B0018O50VQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1350995144&sr=1-3&keywords=how+the+west+was+won
I have this. I've also seen the film projected in Cinerama (which, naturally, is the best way to see it). The Smilebox version is worth having, but for homeviewing generally I prefer the standard "flat" version.



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« #47 : October 23, 2012, 08:17:34 AM »

you mean the original Cinerema release? You saw it in Cinerema and there were lines on it?


against a blue sky yes


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« #48 : October 23, 2012, 09:04:44 AM »

against a blue sky yes

right, there are a few moments where you vaguely see some lines against the blue sky.

But that's all. And that is damn good. Cuz I saw the old version of it, and virtually the entire thing was 3 sections (like the photos on the wikipdia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_West_Was_Won_(film) ) so if now, you just vaguely see the lines a couple of times against a bright blue sky, that means they've gotten rid of more than 95% of the problem. So it's a damn good job Warner Home Video has done with it.


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« #49 : December 12, 2012, 02:33:23 AM »

watching the movie on TCM now, this time they are showing it in the Flat version, not in the Smilebox.

When they showed it in Smilebox last time, I didn't love that, thought it was kinda weird. But now that I see the Flat version, I think I actually prefer the Smilebox: the movie has a very, very wide aspect ratio (technical specs on imdb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056085/technical ), so huge sections of the top and bottom of the screen have black bars ( far more than for movies that have a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, which IMO is the widest aspect ratio a movie should ever have), so only a small portion of the screen is used, so it's not all that easy to watch.

The Smilebox version shows the same amount of information on top and bottom of the image as the Flat version, but the Smilebox uses more of the screen, and I just feel like it's easier to watch. (This is the first time I can recall it bothering me, since the aspect ratio is sooooo wide and cuts off so much more of the screen than I am used to).

According to Beaver, http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews40/how_the_west_was_won_blu-ray.htm the aspect ratio of the Flat version is 2.90:1 ... btw, as you see from Beaver's screencaps, the 2 versions show the same amount of information on the top and bottom of the image, but the Flat version has a little more information on the sides

« : December 12, 2012, 02:40:21 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #50 : December 12, 2012, 04:00:30 AM »

notice wicker covered bottle Henry Fonda drinks out of in the cabin scene with George Peppard  ;)


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« #51 : December 12, 2012, 04:44:25 AM »

notice wicker covered bottle Henry Fonda drinks out of in the cabin scene with George Peppard  ;)

nice find  O0

but was he eating round loaves of bread?  ;)


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« #52 : April 21, 2013, 08:26:03 AM »

I have the special edition DVD - got it years ago for my birthday or for Christmas from my sister, because it has Eli Wallach. ;D

I pretty much agree with what has been said here. The ending with all the modern sights is quite ridiculous... and rather ironic nowadays. But other than that, I quite enjoyed it. I liked that it has the Western "larger-than-life" qualities, and reads like a romance, yet does not slip into too formulaic storylines; there were surprises along the way.

In the bonus on Cinerama, Eli Wallach explains how difficult it was to act in front of the Cinerama cameras... you were supposed to be looking at an actor, but because of the distortion of the image, you actually could not look at them in real life. Considering that, I think the actors did a marvelous job.



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« #53 : April 21, 2013, 09:13:20 AM »


I pretty much agree with what has been said here. The ending with all the modern sights is quite ridiculous... and rather ironic nowadays. But other than that, I quite enjoyed it. I liked that it has the Western "larger-than-life" qualities, and reads like a romance, yet does not slip into too formulaic storylines; there were surprises along the way.



I don't have a problem with the ending with the freeways in California. That's the whole point of the movie -- a celebration of Manifest Destiny, a means justifying an end, of creating a land from sea to shining sea. And how we, today -- though we have all this modern technology and travel over freeways with cars rather than blazing trails with horses -- are benefiting from the efforts of those who "won" the West. That's the point of the movie, as we see in the title and the narration emphasizes. So, the fact that they showed the "from then to now" shot, or contrast, or whatever, doesn't bother me.

What I didn't like is how the movie clearly shows how a treaty is broken with the Indians, and how part of the "winning" of the west was a very brutal business. Yet ultimately it celebrates it. Like, let's show how this and that and the other was done unethically and murderously, but hey, wtf, we won the west! You can't try to be honest and show the brutality toward Indians that was part of winning the West, and then say, hey, let's celebrate it all.

« : April 21, 2013, 09:14:35 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #54 : April 21, 2013, 11:20:49 AM »

What I didn't like is how the movie clearly shows how a treaty is broken with the Indians, and how part of the "winning" of the west was a very brutal business. Yet ultimately it celebrates it. Like, let's show how this and that and the other was done unethically and murderously, but hey, wtf, we won the west! You can't try to be honest and show the brutality toward Indians that was part of winning the West, and then say, hey, let's celebrate it all.

That's pretty much what I meant. Ironic. I think (though I'm no expert) this must have been one of the first American Westerns to acknowledge that historical fact; it undermines its own message.



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« #55 : April 21, 2013, 02:58:42 PM »

That's pretty much what I meant. Ironic. I think (though I'm no expert) this must have been one of the first American Westerns to acknowledge that historical fact; it undermines its own message.

I don't think that's true.

People frequently say that all AW's portrayed the Indians badly until the revisionist Westerns of the 60's and beyond, but that is patently false. Like with John Ford, whenever discussing Cheyenne Autumn, people say something like, "This was Ford's apology for having always portrayed the Indians negatively," but that is flat-out wrong. Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon are both positive toward Indians (the John Wayne character seeks to have peace with them), and even in The Searchers, which portray the Comanche as being brutal, portrays the viciously Indian-hating Wayne as a pretty negative dude.

I'm no historian, you'd have to ask Groggy for that stuff, but I think it would be accurate to say that there were probably atrocities on both sides; that any blanket "the whites were right" or "the Indians were right" are silly; the conflicts between the white settlers, and later the Americans, and the Indians lasted a long time and dealt with many tribes -- and let's not forget, many of the Indians were barbaric -- and the circumstances were not the same in every case. Therefore, I don't mind it when a movie portrays the Indians as barbaric, and I don't mind it when a movie portrays the Indians as being right and the Americans as being wrong in a particular conflict, or if it portrays neither side as absolutely right or wrong, because the facts are much more complicated than "Side X was right" or "Side Y was right."

So, I don't worry much about whom a movie portrays as "good" or "bad." I just enjoy the movie and that's that.

With that being said, I still wouldn't show the Indians being lied to and murdered and then celebrate that as just another part of "winning" something.

« : April 21, 2013, 07:49:27 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #56 : April 21, 2013, 05:59:16 PM »

I agree up to a point: Indians certainly weren't pacifists and were capable of extreme brutality in warfare. The Dances With Wolves view of Indians as proto-hippies is ridiculous and condescending. Nor, of course, can we view the Indians as anything like a monolithic body, as many sided with the Americans/Europeans at various points. But you still come back to the fact that Indians generally were being dispossessed or killed by white invaders, when the converse was rarely true.

« : April 21, 2013, 06:00:31 PM Groggy »


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« #57 : April 21, 2013, 08:16:46 PM »

I agree up to a point: Indians certainly weren't pacifists and were capable of extreme brutality in warfare. The Dances With Wolves view of Indians as proto-hippies is ridiculous and condescending. Nor, of course, can we view the Indians as anything like a monolithic body, as many sided with the Americans/Europeans at various points. But you still come back to the fact that Indians generally were being dispossessed or killed by white invaders, when the converse was rarely true.

RE: your mention of Dances with Wolves: the reason Dances with Wolves (while a beautiful piece of art) was ridiculous as far as portrayals go is cuz every white is viciously cruel, and every Indian is a wonderful nice guy; so much so, that the one good white guy has to "become" an Indian, cuz only Indians could be good and all whites have to be bad. (and of course, Roger Ebert, the most self-hating white guy I've ever seen, seemed to think DWW was just a perfect portrayal, makes me even more convinced. But I digress  ;))

On the other hand, I am sure that there are many earlier Westerns where the reverse is true: all whites are good and all Indians are evil. Do we think those portrayals are just as silly as the opposite portrayal in Dances with Wolves? I don't know.( I'm sure that it could be due to an instinctive feeling differently toward things cuz you are a member of one "race" rather than the other. I mean, none of my ancestors were nowhere near America while the Indian wars were being fought, but still, it probably happens that subconsciously, we white folk would reject a movie with a cartoonishly bad portrayal of whites as being silly, faster than we'd reject a movie with similarly cartoonishly bad portrayals of Indians.

RE: the issue of brutality and who was being dispossessed etc.: again, I don't know jack about history (I read one book related to this -- Kit Carson in 7th grade; Mr. Carson had quite a few proverbial Injun scalps to his credit), but I think it would be fair to say, or at least ask, again, that probably the many different interactions between white settlers/Americans and the various Indian tribes probably varied greatly. In other words, yes, the Indians "were there first," but does that mean the whites "dispossessed" them? In a land as vast as what is now known as the USA, and which at that time probably had a population that was 1/100 what it is today, wasn't there room for everyone? was nobody from Europe allowed to seek a new life on this vast piece of land?
On the other side, of course, they could seek a new life and a piece of land, but can't kick out or kill anyone else while doing it. So I guess it would be a question of who did what to whom first: did the whites say, "we're kicking you out or killing you cuz we want your land," while the Indians would have been happy to peacefully live side-by-side; or did the Indians say, "leave or we will kill you" while the whites would have been happy to live peacefully side by side?
Or did it vary, ie. in some circumstances one side was happy to live peacefully while the other side wanted to kill them, while in other instances the reverse was true.

(Obviously, there were other issues, eg. can you be living "peacefully" with the Indians if you don't kill them, but you destroy the buffalo herds that they have lived on?)

Again, my guess is that each particular conflict had different circumstances. As to the general notion of Indians being barbaric (did they have human sacrifices?) and whites being civilized, well I think whites have had a long history of being civilized to their own kind but very cruel to other races.

Anyway, as it pertains to AW's, we're not all that interested in the history of what happened in the preceding centuries and decades. The point is being reasonably accurate to the facts as they were at the moment a particular movie is taking place. For example, let's take Stagecoach: we have the famous shot of the Indians attacking the coach in the valley: we are focusing on a particular conflict or battle or attack, and I don't think it's necessary for the movie to encapsulate the whole history of the Indians-whites relationship. The point is: is it historically accurate to say that there were times during the late 1800's where that indian trob attacked stagecoaches of white travelers? if the answer is yes, then the movie is accurate, period. (even if it is true that that same tribe was driven off their land and  beaten and tortured by whites 20 years earlier). Ditto for Red River: as long as at some point or another, Indians were attacking white wagon trains, then that depiction is accurate; the movie need not be a history lesson or even a microcosm of the Indian-white relationship.
(And on those grounds, Dances With Wolves may not be all that terrible a depiction either -- as long as it's reasonable to say that in a particular instance, all the whites were barbaric in dealing with an Indian tribe. Let's be fair; we shouldn't be more demanding of AW's that portray the whites as villains than we are of AW's that portray the Indians as villains).

That's why I pretty much have no problem with any movie's depiction of one side or another; as long as such an incident can reasonably be said to have occurred, then it can be portrayed in a movie, and that's that.

My only problem with How the West Was Won is that the movie indeed portrays the atrocities of broken treaties and slaughter of Indians, and then says, oh well, it may not have been pretty, but wtf, it's all part of the wonderful achievement of winning the West.

« : April 21, 2013, 08:22:34 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #58 : April 21, 2013, 11:34:44 PM »

Well, as I said, I'm no expert. Thanks for clarifying that.
And I'm European on top of that. We've long had a soft spot for the Indian side of things over here. And European portrayals of them are usually also very wrong, as we tend to project our own troubles into them. So, whatever.



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« #59 : April 22, 2013, 12:51:56 AM »


And I'm European on top of that. We've long had a soft spot for the Indian side of things over here.

what you mean to say is y'all are anti-America however possible  :P

There's never an excuse for any atrocities, but I'd never say I had a "soft spot" for the Indians back then; there's a reason they were called "savages." Not that I have much of a soft spot for a lot of the white folks either; many of America's Founding Fathers, whose ideologies of freedom affect Western civilization to this day, were slaveowners themselves. (I'd love to say that thankfully we're a more civilized society today, but is that really true? The 20th century was the most murderous/genocidal in recorded history -- and much of it was by so-called advanced, enlightened nations).

« : April 22, 2013, 12:56:28 AM drinkanddestroy »

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