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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars revelation
I saw this film first fully about a year ago, prior to that on and off when i was young boy, on and off because its a long film and when you are young you lose interest. Anyway i got the blu ray version yesterday evening and sat down and watched the lot. The version i saw last year was grainy drab and suffered the cinarama effects of vertical lines dividing the picture...
Published on 13 Feb. 2009 by Mr. Jp Highland

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The lines are gone but the film still needs to be seen on a giant screen
How the West Was Won seems to become more of an endurance task every year. While it throws in everything - injun attacks, shooting the rapids, stampedes, train wrecks, the Civil War, wagon trains - except a good old fashioned gunfight, the characterization and linking narrative wrapped around Richard Talmadge's impressive action scenes are a long way from the best of the...
Published on 12 Oct. 2008 by Trevor Willsmer


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars revelation, 13 Feb. 2009
By 
Mr. Jp Highland "2spoons" (norfolk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I saw this film first fully about a year ago, prior to that on and off when i was young boy, on and off because its a long film and when you are young you lose interest. Anyway i got the blu ray version yesterday evening and sat down and watched the lot. The version i saw last year was grainy drab and suffered the cinarama effects of vertical lines dividing the picture in 3 portions. The new version in widescreen ( very wide , 2.86:1 i think ) is fantastic!! The picture is truly beautiful, some of the landscapes are breathtaking, the picture is sharper, brighter. Because the film is shot in such a wide format the picture is sometimes strange to watch, especially when an actor gets close to the camera, which is why i guess there are no close ups. My only slight reservation is that if you have a smaller hd ready set, because of the wide aspect ratio of the film it may be too small an image to truly appreciate the spectacle that is ... HOW THE WEST WAS WON .....
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restored at Last Without the Annoying Lines, 3 Oct. 2008
By 
What a fantastic print we now have of this film since the original cinerama has now been restored and the three joins of the original can no longer be seen. Finally the film can be seen in glorious depth and colour with both images in the foreground and background in crystal clarity.

A fantastic commentary is also added by filmmaker David Strohmaier, Director of Cinerama, Inc. John Sitting, Film Historian Rudy Behlemer, Music Historian Jon Burlingame and Stuntman Loren James which throws so much new light on the making of the movie.

For those who have never seen the film; sit back and enjoy.

For those who have seen the film many times on TV or video, and longed for the day.....welcome for the first time to "HOW THE WEST WAS WON" as it should be seen.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A definite improvement on Blu-ray - but the film still needs to be seen on a giant screen, 24 Jun. 2011
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
How the West Was Won seems to become more of an endurance task every year. While it throws in everything - injun attacks, shooting the rapids, stampedes, train wrecks, the Civil War, wagon trains - except a good old fashioned gunfight, the characterization and linking narrative wrapped around Richard Talmadge's impressive action scenes are a long way from the best of the West. Whether it's Karl Malden, Carol Baker, Robert Preston or Gregory Peck hamming it up or Debbie Reynolds raising yet another ruckus in another painfully gratuitous musical number, the squirm factor is high. Although John Ford's Civil War section (aided by plentiful stock footage from Raintree County) is the best remembered, the film doesn't really pick up until Reynolds is sidelined out of the picture and George Marshall takes over the directorial reins for the impressive railroad section, where it really starts to confront a few of the darker aspects of the price of progress and allows George Peppard, Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda to shine. Unfortunately by then fatigue is beginning to set in, and for all the beauty of the color the transfer from three-panel Cinerama to letterboxed DVD on the original release left the film with some very jarring distortion problems that leaves much of the film looking like it's being played in a semi-circle. And the film's exultant ending that sees the magnificent scenery buried under miles of highways and skyscrapers now seems more tragedy than triumph. At the end of the day it's pure popcorn fodder, but it has its moments and Alfred Newman's score at least has the dynamism that the majority of the film lacks.

As others have mentioned, the quality of the original single-disc NTSC release left quite a bit to be desired but WHV's Blu-ray release is a distinct improvement on the DVD. Thanks to some very impressive digital restoration work the infamous lines between the three screens are almost completely invisible in all but a few shots, while the distortion that comes from presenting a film intended for a curved screen in a horizontal format is addressed by the `smileboxed' version not available to regular DVD buyers (the standard widesreen transfer is also included). It does take a few minutes to get used to but after a while you forget the strangeness of the masking.

While the film for the most part looks great, the extras are definitely lacking. Pride of place goes to 93-minute documentary Cinerama Adventure which covers the history of the format in depth and the making of How the West Was Won in passing - not stinting on the problems the format gave actors - but for some reason the other Cinerama 'story' film, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, is all but completely ignored. While the new audio commentary on the main feature is welcome, the featurette about the making of HTWWW from the previous issue featuring copious amounts of home movie footage from the set has been dropped and only the general release trailer has been included (the roadshow trailer heralding Cinerama as the greatest step forward in the evolution of film is still missing, despite clips being used in Cinerama Adventure).

If you're going to see it on the small screen (and it does occasionally play in three panel Cinerama at Bradford's Pictureville Cinema), Blu-ray is definitely the way to go.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Print Quality, 30 May 2009
By 
This is 5 stars just for the print of this blu-ray edition- you cannot believe you are watching a 50 year old movie here-the scenery is obviously stunning and you will think you are actually there looking thru a window. Who cares that you're not getting the book that they're getting with the US edition- this is less than ten quid- you cannot complain about what you get for it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is cinerama, 11 Feb. 2012
By 
Wayne Allen (wa uk) - See all my reviews
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warners have done it again,not only have they removed the annoying join lines of the original print of cineramas how the west was won,but they have included what is called "smile vision" a new name for what my generation called curved screen,this gave a depth of vision,a kind of 3d effect,it still works and is very effective,as for the names "smile vision" and the other one we are stuck with "letter box" i dislike the use of such names,to me it seems jokey,lets put some class back into cinema,widescreen,for cinemascope,curved screen,for depth of vision,a minor gripe i had to get off my chest,we collectors like to take our hobby very seriously.as i was saying,the curved screen realy does work,it draws you in just as it was intended to.i amongst a growing number of other fans,would like to see many more like this,such as "the wonderfull world of the brothers grimm" "cinerama holiday" "seven wonders of the world" "its a mad,mad,mad,world" to name but a few,these epic motion pictures would look magnificent in the curved screen format,and would show todays generation what movie going was realy all about.come on you guys,if we shout loud enough,someone may just be listening.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Won Over, 4 Feb. 2009
By 
JMD1 (Bute, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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If you have never seen this film or have only seen on TV or in standard format in the cinema, you are in for a treat.

I bought it initially to try out my new Blueray player but boy did I get a surprise. The restoration is outstanding. State of the art digital technology has been used to remove the annoying vertical lines cause by the Cinerama process. The colour has been tweaked to a standard as good probably as the original print. The sound also has been worked over with both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby HD 7.1. One disc also has a thing called, 'Smilebox' which simulates the Cinerama effect. It works!!!

The film features three interlinked narratives and directed by three of Hollywood's greatest directors including John Ford. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll be uplifted in this moving piece of cinema history. It deserves to be up there along with Gone With the Wind and Citizen Kane.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Bluray conversions I have seen, 11 July 2010
How the west was won will not suit everyone but it is a great story of the early days of America to present day, it is a mixture of action,drama,musical and romance all in one film, it is the only blockbuster film made in true CINERAMA, all the others made in this format are documentaries. The best copy I could get of the film was on DVD a few years ago and from America, it was out of focus very grainy and an ok soundtrack with lines in the film where the joints are as it was filmed with 3 cameras. Now the lines have been almost completely removed 99% the film itself is crisp and clear with a great soundtrack, the smile vision is just perfect removing all distortions from the film, They should have won an award for best conversion to bluray as this truly is the best I have seen, hope this helps with your decision in buying this wonderful film if you already own it on VHS or DVD you must purchase the BluRay Version as it will bring back all the wonder that was CINERAMA.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Film an Epic, 23 Mar. 2009
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
It is hugely ambitious to try and make a film that covers the epoch changing era of the opening of the West. That this film manages to do so to a large extent is quite an achievement, and most deserving of this excellent restoration from cinerama. Few films can boast such a glittering array of mega stars and wonderful support actors. Even the narration was by the venerable Spencer Tracy.

"How the West Was Won"(63) covers four generations of the Prescott family from 1839-1889. The family starts out from New York and head West to the Pacific Ocean. The film is composed of five segments. Three are directed by Henry Hathaway. "The Rivers", "The Plains" and "The Outlaws". John Ford directed "The Civil War" and George Marshall directed "The Railroad".

The film starts with the Prescott family heading West down the rivers led by Karl Malden. They face many dangers from bandits and the treacherous waters of the rivers. They also meet a tough mountain man Linus Rawlings played by Jimmy Stewart. After a terrible accident that kills some of the family, Linus marries Eve Prescott leaving her independently minded sister Lillith, played by Debbie Reynolds to head West on her own.

We head West to the plains where Lillith joins a wagon train and braves the dangers of Indian attacks and the rigours of the journey. She also has to fight off the attentions of Robert Preston the wagon train leader and a raffish gambler Cleve Van Valen played with panache by Gregory Peck. Being high spirited she opts for Peck.

We move to the Civil War at the time of the bloody battle of Shiloh where a shocked young Zebulon Rawlings played by George Peppard has just begun to understand the true horrors of war. During this sequence he kills a deserter about to try and murder the Union Generals Ulysses Simpson Grant and William Tecumsah Sherman. Sherman was played by John Wayne who gave a much better performance than he did as the Centurion in the crucifixion scene of that other epic " The Greatest Story in the World".

We then head to the the railroads at the time when the dream of a railroad across this great continent became a reality. Zeb is now a Lieutenant in the US Cavalry trying to keep peace between the railroad and the Indians, helped by a grizzled old Mountain man Jethro Stuart played by Henry Fonda. When an unscrupulous railroad boss played by Richard Widmark violates a treaty with the Indians, Zeb disgusted heads West to Arizona.

In "The Outlaws" we see Zeb as a sheriff now joined by his Aunt Lillith arrived from San Francisco after the death of Cleve. Zeb has a run in with his old enemy, the outlaw Charlie Grant played by Eli Wallach. We head to a showdown where we hope the Prescott family will find peace in a tamed frontier.

It is a long film covering a wide canvas, and is hard to give a brief synopsis on. Hopefully I have not overcooked it. I think this film demonstrates just how good an epic can be. As the old adage goes. When they are good they are very good and when they are bad they are horrid. This is of the good variety. It is an enjoyable journey through the different phases of the opening up of the great untamed West. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The lines are gone but the film still needs to be seen on a giant screen, 12 Oct. 2008
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
How the West Was Won seems to become more of an endurance task every year. While it throws in everything - injun attacks, shooting the rapids, stampedes, train wrecks, the Civil War, wagon trains - except a good old fashioned gunfight, the characterization and linking narrative wrapped around Richard Talmadge's impressive action scenes are a long way from the best of the West. Whether it's Karl Malden, Carol Baker, Robert Preston or Gregory Peck hamming it up or Debbie Reynolds raising yet another ruckus in another painfully gratuitous musical number, the squirm factor is high. Although John Ford's Civil War section (aided by plentiful stock footage from Raintree County) is the best remembered, the film doesn't really pick up until Reynolds is sidelined out of the picture and George Marshall takes over the directorial reins for the impressive railroad section, where it really starts to confront a few of the darker aspects of the price of progress and allows George Peppard, Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda to shine. Unfortunately by then fatigue is beginning to set in, and for all the beauty of the color the transfer from three-panel Cinerama to letterboxed DVD on the original release left the film with some very jarring distortion problems that leaves much of the film looking like it's being played in a semi-circle. And the film's exultant ending that sees the magnificent scenery buried under miles of highways and skyscrapers now seems more tragedy than triumph. At the end of the day it's pure popcorn fodder, but it has its moments and Alfred Newman's score at least has the dynamism that the majority of the film lacks.

As others have mentioned, the quality of the original single-disc NTSC release left quite a bit to be desired but WHV's 2008 three-disc NTSC DVD is something of a mixed blessing. Thanks to some very impressive digital restoration work the infamous lines between the three screens are almost completely invisible in all but a few shots, though there's still some distortion that comes from presenting a film intended for a curved screen in a horizontal format (not a problem for the Blu-Ray edition, which includes a `smileboxed' version not available to regular DVD buyers). While the film for the most part looks great, the extras are definitely lacking. Pride of place goes to 93-minute documentary Cinerama Adventure (not included on the 2-disc version) which covers the history of the format in depth and the making of How the West Was Won in passing - not stinting on the problems the format gave actors - but for some reason the other Cinerama `story' film, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, is all but completely ignored. While the new audio commentary on the main feature is welcome, the featurette about the making of HTWWW from the previous issue featuring copious amounts of home movie footage from the set has been dropped and only the general release trailer has been included (the roadshow trailer heralding Cinerama as the greatest step forward in the evolution of film is still missing, despite clips being used in Cinerama Adventure). If you go for the `Ultimate Collectors Edition you'll also get a sized-down reproduction of the souvenir brochure, US pressbook and 20 reproduction stills.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the West was Won , A tribute to all the westerns, 14 Nov. 2003
By 
Rankin Cattan "rankin_cattan" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How The West Was Won [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Way back when they could afford it(1962), under the name of Cinerama "How the West was Won" came to be.It employed several directors,and many of the great actors of its time ,and was shot in the tri/camera system know as Cinerama,and sterophonic sound.It was and still is an impressive piece of film making although some of its impact is lost on the medium of video.If like me you are a fan of the western none of "How the West was Won " will be lost on you ,from its magnificent musical score to the story ,whose telling ,of the fortunes of the Rawlins/Prescott family through several generations,and many adventures,Its just great !watch and enjoy
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