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How the West Was Won (Ultimate Collector's Edition)

4.3 out of 5 stars 669 customer reviews

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(Sep 09, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

How the West Was Won Ultimate Collector's Edition

With courage, sinew and conflict: that's how the West was won. With three directors, five interlocked stories, some of movie history's most legendary action scenes and a constellation of acting talent: that's how How the West Was Won was filmed. Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart and John Wayne are among the big names in this big saga following a family's move West through generations – marked by the spectacles of a heart-pounding raging river ride, a thunderous buffalo stampede and a bracing runaway train shootout. Via technological advances, this panoramic winner of three Academy Awards can now be seen with a resplendent, restored clarity eliminating its original "three- panel join lines" and in roof-raising Dolby 5.1 audio. Westward ho! Explore a new home entertainment frontier with a classic movie adventure in a stunning new version never before possible! Includes 2-Disc Special Edition DVD: The Winner of 3 Academy Awards Digitally Remastered from Restored Picture Elements in New Dolby 5.1 Audio With 3-Panel Cinerama "Join Lines" of Previous Theatrical/Video Versions Removed Via Pioneering Technology Plus 4+ Hours of Special Features, Including New Star/Historian Commentary, The Making of How the West Was Won Featurette and the Acclaimed Bonus Movie Cinerama Adventure, Nostalgically Chronicling the History of How the West Was Won's Unique Filmmaking Process Bonus Collectibles Inside: • 36-Page Cinerama Souvenir Book Reproduction • 10 Color Production Photo Cards • 10 Black-and-White Rare, Behind-the-Scenes Photo Cards • 24-Page Reproduction of the Original General Release Pressbook • Mail-in Offer for a FREE** Poster (**Limited time offer. Not included with Club skus)

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Additional Features

Here at last is a properly formatted version of How the West Was Won, a movie shot in the super-widescreen Cinerama process that required three cameras joined together to create an all-encompassing visual experience. Unless you have a big curved screen in your home, this won't quite be the same on home video, but the image is truly fascinating to look at, ultra-sharp in its definition, and at times downright weird--as though the entire film had been shot with a wide-angle lens. Digital technology has allowed for a removal (or at least an artful de-emphasizing) of the vertical "joins" where the three different frames meet. The Ultimate Collector's Edition is a three-disc package with plenty of goodies; two discs are the movie and an informative commentary with a group of interested parties, the third disc has a genuinely terrific feature-length documentary, Cinerama Adventure, that gives a thorough history of the cumbersome but thrilling process. A batch of production stills and color postcards, an exhibitor's book, and a special tie-in book (all miniaturized, but still fun) are also included. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Restored and newly remastered from the original Cinerama three-panel release, preserving the 2.89:1 aspect ratio
  • New historian commentary
  • Acclaimed bonus movie: Cinerama Adventure
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 36-page Cinerama souvenir book reproduction
  • 10 collectible color photo cards
  • 10 black-and-white photo cards of behind-the-scenes shots
  • 20-page reproduction of the original general release pressbook

Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Carroll Baker, Debbie Reynolds, Eli Wallach, Gregory Peck
  • Directors: George Marshall, Henry Hathaway, John Ford
  • Writers: James R. Webb
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Thai
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008
  • Run Time: 162 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (669 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018O50W0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,601 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How the West Was Won (Ultimate Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2008
Format: DVD
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 fourth 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.
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Format: Blu-ray
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.
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16 Comments 166 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the first (and only) CINERAMA film I ever saw, without doubt the most thrilling aspect of the movie is the grand scale of the Cinerama process and the multi- channel soundtrack. The transfer to DVD is an insult. In this era of digital technology it is easily possible to correct the color balance errors evident in the "seams" of this otherwise remarkable motion picture. I agree with other reviewers, lose the Turner promo. The color balance, saturation, and picture
resolution are very average, and fall well below of what the DVD process is capable. One redeeming feature is the soundtrack. Finally, after viewing the VHS tape, and Laserdisc of this movie, the DVD release incorporates the correct rear channel information of the original release. Finally, and most regrettably, this DVD release has been cropped. Don't we buy widescreen movies to see how they were originally shot? HELLO HOLLYWOOD!
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By A Customer on January 24, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
How The West Was Won is a true classic from the glory days of MGM. Everything about this film is done on a grand scale. The cast includes some of the biggest names ever to appear in a motion picture. Including: Gregory Peck, James Stewart, John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds, Spencer Tracy and Richard Widmark. The widescreen cinerama process appears dated and inconsistant by today's standards and it should be noted that the new DVD edition is not in anamorphic widescreen. The DVD edition appears to be a new transfer from the same previous 35mm print but contains notable improvements which include brighter more accurate colors and a clarity and definition that the picture has never had before on home video. The aspect ratio is also closer to the cinerama widescreen ratio, but there is still a noticeable cropping of the sides. The film also has the characteristic visable cinerama seams. The new DVD edition is the best the film has looked outside a cinerama theatre and is probably the best edition we will ever get. The restoration effort on "My Fair Lady" cost 1.2 Million dollars over a two year period. It probably would not be economically sound to treat HTWWW to the same restoration effort as it does not have as much consumer support. If you want HTWWW I suggest that you buy this edition, otherwise you may be in for a long wait.
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