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How the West Was Won
How the West Was Won
Actors: James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Carroll Baker
Directors: George Marshall, Henry Hathaway, John Ford, Richard Thorpe
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Indie & Art House, Drama
G     2007     2hr 42min

From 1839 to 1889, this epic story follows four generations of a courageous New England farm family as they travel to the fertile Ohio Valley during America's westward expansion. This wondrous historical saga is set agains...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Carroll Baker
Directors: George Marshall, Henry Hathaway, John Ford, Richard Thorpe
Creators: Charles Lang, Bernard Smith, James R. Webb, John Gay
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/22/2007
Original Release Date: 02/20/1963
Theatrical Release Date: 02/20/1963
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 42min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Review on DVD set for August 2008
Richard A Schauer | Kent,, WA USA | 06/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I keep running into negative reviews for a DVD film or set that hasn't been released yet. I am not sure why Amazon feels in necessay to move reviews over to a DVD that has yet to be released but it's a bit like shooting yourself in the foot. Everyone waiting for a decent release of this film - without the lines on film - should be aware they need to wait for reviews of the set AFTER it has been released and ignore the negative reviews of previous versions.

Everyone knows this film, it is the reviews of the DVD and not the film that is important to most of us. Wake up, Jeff. This is very frustrating. Quit posting reviews of DVDs that have yet to be released.

Classic Western receives deluxe release--be aware there is a
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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.

Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 07/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you've never seen the original Cinerama big screen release, or only know the previous video versions of HTWWW, you are in for a big treat. The fully restored classic American film, the top box office hit of 1962, is stunning.

And the Blu-ray hi-def transfer is truly breathtaking. I literally gasped when I saw it. And so have special preview audiences of the hi-def DVD.

Warner -- which owns the pre 1986 MGM library -- has spent a ton of dough getting this right. Six years, hundreds of people, thousands of hours and millions of dollars have been invested in creating and applying new technology that has virtually erased the "join lines" that marred the earlier -- rather hideous -- video transfers. Not only that, but every frame has been restored. That's the equivalent of restoring three 35 MM films -- the original was exposed using three alligned cameras. The final aspect ratio is 2.89:1 (that's nearly three times as wide as it is high). And it is a wondrous sight to behold.

Seeing this new version is like experiencing the film for the first time. The familiar story -- based on a series in Life magazine -- follows three generations of a typical pioneer Ohio Valley family from 1839 to 1889. A myriad of stars shine in this great American adventure -- John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb and Carrol Baker are among the many recognizable faces.

Three accomplished directors (including John Ford) helmed this rousing epic that does not degrade the Native American experience even as it allows for the conflicts the westward movement created.

The absolutely stunning Blu-ray version inlcudes a "smilebox" transfer that mimics the original Cinerama experience of a giant curved screen. On a large video display -- especially if projected on a big pull down screen -- this version is jaw-dropping.

The extras include Rudy Strohmaier's much acclaimed documentary "Cinerama Adventure." And there's a wonderful commentary by filmmaker Strohmaier, John Sittig (director of Cinerama, Inc.), film historian Rudy Behlmer, music historian Jon Burlingame and stuntman Loren James. But why no Debbie Reynolds?

The only other narrative three camera Cinerama film is "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" and the stored negative has suffered water damage so there are no plans for a full restoration at this time.

As a kid I saw this film at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. The impact of the big sound and images swept me away and I remember the experience vividly. The rousing music, the involving heartland American story still works. And thanks to cutting edge technology, it's better than ever.

This is one for the digital library."
Great remastering job on a great film...........
William W. Miller | Sparks, NV United States | 09/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Forget all the discussion about poor picture quality. That may legitimately apply to earlier versions of this film. But this remastered edition, just screened on the encore western Channel, is superb. Glorious color, great sound and the joining of the three camera angles all but totally erased. Job well done on a movie that warranted the effort. Buy with confidence but be advised there is a severe letterbox effect because of how wide the CINERAMA picture extends."