Saturday, April 12, 2014

1962 - HOW THE WEST WAS WON, on Blu Ray

The Blu Ray producers spruced up a lot of this film, erasing most of the lines in the three camera filming process and generally cleaning things up quite a bit.  The film looks fairly spectacular at times if not completely perfect.  Of course you can't duplicate the Cinerama experience on a home screen.

The film itself was always kind of lumpy mess of a story.  It follows one family, the Prescott's as they move west with that "manifest destiny" attitude that gave white European Americans a reason
to go anywhere and take anything they wanted.  But I can be a little more charitable now since the whole story is just an excuse to film a bunch of spectacular scenes in the 3 camera process that at times still look very impressive. 

MGM loaded up the film with an "all star" cast signing just about everyone they could think of but the film seems to focus mostly on two actors George Peppard and Debbie Reynolds.  Three directors were hired, George Marshall, John Ford and Henry Hathaway.  Hathaway ended up directing most of the film and apparently reshot Marshall's footage.  Ford had a lot of trouble filming in the large screen process and the results were deemed marginal at best but nobody had the nerve to rework his footage since most people were afraid of him.

162 minutes

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