I want to warn others not to make the mistake I did. This is not that beautiful director's cut which was issued on Laser and VHS. If that is what you are looking for, WAIT. I am completely in awe why the studio would release the trimmed down version of this film on DVD! Please please release the 202 minute version.
Having the VHS version of this wonderful movie with surround sound and the director's cut I looked forward to the DVD being released. Unfortunately, the distributors have short changed all of us here by releasing the short version of the film with 2 Channel Stereo and no Overture, Intermission or Exit Music. Come on guys, look at what the VHS offers in content. Surely the DVD should be just as good or better!!!!!
One could easily say that seeing this film for the first time was a turning point in my life (it probably had a great impact on a lot of other 6-year old boys, too). To this day, John Wayne's "The Alamo" still has a firm grip on me emotionally.
True, the film is not accurate to history, but I dare anyone to name a movie that is! As I stated in my review of "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc", Hollywood makes "movies", not documentaries (and most documentaries don't agree on the details of the Alamo, anyway). Movie producers, like John Wayne, try to make an "entertainment", to sell tickets and make money. People who think film makers are honor-bound to tell only the truth on the screen are kidding themselves.
So the question is: Does this movie entertain? Speaking subjectively, I say a resounding "Yes!". I guess there's still a lot of 6-year old in me.
One suggestion I have for Ted Turner (or whoever makes the DVD decisions over at MGM) is to release the roadshow Director's Cut version on a 2-Disc Special Edition. Include the 40-minute documentary found on the current disc, and any other archival footage pertaining to the film (Oscars, premiere, interviews). I would also like to see the television special, "Spirit of the Alamo", that John Wayne hosted in 1960. A part of it was used in the aforementioned documentary, but it would be nice to see the program complete for a change. Perhaps the discs could also include a printed history of the Alamo and other events during the Texas Revolution, so viewers won't come away from the film thinking they just witnessed the truth.
As a personal added bonus to yours truly, it would be nice to see the original poster art on the DVD cover for a change, showing a fine painting of the battle in full fury.
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Since I already have the laser disc (full directors cut),I could hardly wait for the DVD. I was shocked to find that the DVD was the standard theater release, with the entrance,intermission, and exit music missing, not to mention the aspect ratio was not 2:35 to 1, but around 2:25 to 1, and even the Making Of The Alamo featurette had been edited. What a disappointment! During the final battle the sound dropped noticably. It is ashamed with such an excellent print available to MGM, that they decided to release this version. As a John Wayne fan, I have always enjoyed the movie, even though historically it is highly inacurate. Music is tops by Dimitri Tiomkin, and supporting cast are excellent. John Waynes Alamo still stands to this day in Bracketville Texas, and can be visited. All left standing as a monument to his effort.
With the exception of the recent Billy Bob Thornton retelling of the tale, few epics have had quite as bad a press as John Wayne's The Alamo. If it is not the masterpiece Wayne set out to make, it is also certainly not the disaster it is often painted. Even financially the film eventually turned a very healthy profit, although the staggered nature of its roadshow release meant that it didn't do so quickly enough to save Wayne from having to sell his share in the picture he had invested so much in.
Very much a personal crusade, he raised the $12m budget partially from a trio of Texas millionaires and from his own pocket. The set and surrounding village were actually built three years before shooting, ostensibly so that vegetation could grow naturally around it, though problems raising the budget seem more likely. Nonetheless, the film's much-trumpeted great pains to look authentic extends to the casting, enhanced by some of the great faces in the supporting cast, not least of them the irreplaceable Hank Worden, replacing Old Mose Harper's desire for a rockin' chair for 'the time to live and a place to die' in one of his best performances as the Parson. Laurence Harvey, a man reputedly in life as innately impossible to like as his character in The Manchurian Candidate, carries the dramatic element as Travis more than efficiently, while Wayne and Widmark give perfect demonstrations of fleshing out a part through star quality as Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie.
Along with 55 Days at Peking, this was the biggest of the siege epics of the sixties (Zulu, Khartoum, The War Lord), recounting a somewhat romanticised version of the iconic battle that saw some 185 men hold off 7000 Mexican soldiers for thirteen days.Read more ›
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