A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Big Trail -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 8, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Stephen,

    The film IS astounding...

    to those who respect and indulge in what is essentially antique cinema. I happen to love it,
    but suggesting that others will find it equally as interesting, is a fine line that I tread carefully.

    I don't want to mislead those who find black & white films of the '60s an odd indulgence.

    RAH
     
  2. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    I guess my theory is to encourage people to broaden their horizons to great films they wouldn't normally consider. I very nearly passed this film up, thinking it was a Republic potboiler. It wasn't until I saw the frame grabs at the beaver that I realized how amazing this film is. It has everything going for it. It is brilliantly directed, John Wayne is a drop dead natural and the pacing keeps it moving along well. It isn't a curate's egg at all. I've talked to several friends about this film. They all panned it. But I found out that they were basing their opinion on the 35 version, which isn't the same film at all. People need to know about great films like this. Movie fans read your posts too, not just teenage kids!
     
  3. Steven_M Grimes

    Steven_M Grimes Stunt Coordinator

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    I had toyed around with getting this title back when it was a Walmart exclusive, but talked myself out of it for various reasons. The comments in this thread have convinced be to get it.
    I was astounded when I first saw this movie in widescreen on AMC years ago, for many of the reasons expressed above, and am looking forward to seeing it again.
     
  4. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Picked this up for $9.99 @ Fry's yesterday. I already had the earlier 2-disc DVD, but had never watched it. I'd once recorded the Grandeur version off a movie channel and had never watched it then either. I tried, but it just seemed to be too talky in the early talkies we-love-to-hear-ourselves-talk manner. The Blu-ray looks great. I intend to actually watch it after reading the comments on this thread.
     
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    The Big Trail should be required viewing in junior high and high schools.
    How the West Was Won, too.
    Would kids would sit still for these films today?
     
  6. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    Kids are just as smart as ever. There are just more distractions nowadays. Too much multitasking. If you can get a kid in a situation where they can focus, they'd do fine.
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Fox never sent a review copy of The Big Trail, but I finally bought a copy and got around to playing it this evening. I found much of the image quality astoundingly beautiful, hypnotic even and am so glad I waited to get the film on Blu-ray rather than springing years ago for the DVD of the Grandeur edition. There are so many EPIC scenes that the widescreen just looks made for. I couldn't help thinking how the Oscar-winning Cimarron might have been aided by widescreen photography.
     
  8. Guest

    The film looks more realistic than any other wagon train-type movie. It's amazing that they shot in those locations in 1930 - must have been a tough shoot.
     
  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Right. It really is an epic undertaking, and the film captures just about every possible natural disaster that a wagon train would have to cope with during a several thousand mile journey (and a couple of man-made disasters, too). It's truly too bad the Depression prevented Grandeur from taking off because with the new sound recording paired with the grand scope of 70mm filmmaking, my goodness what treasures we might have had in widescreen!
     
  10. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Why not post a review anyhow? A hi-def scan would still bring out the best in CIMARRON's academy ratio as there is exceptional detail in that film. THE BIG TRAIL is the best of several early western epics (plus it has John Wayne), but you should make a point of watching THE COVERED WAGON (Paramount, 1923) and THE PONY EXPRESS (Paramount, 1925). Both are epics on a grand scale, both are expertly made and beautifully photographed, both are filmed in wilderness locations, both utilize period hardware for props and such, both are based on authentic pioneer accounts, both are directed by James Cruze, both survive in good condition and neither are on digital media. THE COVERED WAGON can still be found on a Paramount VHS. THE PONY EXPRESS has been rescued by Grapevine Video on a DVD-R.
     
  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Pure sour grapes. If Fox wants me to go to the trouble of writing a complete review of one of their releases, they can do me the courtesy of sending a review copy. To my way of thinking, it's only fair. Those reviews take a great deal of thought and time.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    But it would cost the publisher $2 plus shipping. Do you honestly feel your time equates to their costs in any way?
    I actually purchase a decent percentage of my review copies, which is generally why I use as few words as possible.
    RAH
     
  13. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    One of the reasons why I love a site like DVD DRIVE-IN and trust their reviews more than some sites is because they often buy the discs and aren't dependent on studios to furnish them with freebies. I happen to know one alleged critic at a site, who is very well regarded, but has NEVER purchased a DVD for review and boasts of his entire collection not costing him a dime. And, of course, he often focuses on reviewing expensive or limited edition titles and has rarely ever given a largely negative review to anything. Sorry, that's not the definition of a critic in my book, whether amateur or professional.
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Agreed.
    While we all have opinions, one of the things that led me to this site originally, was the zero agenda basis for reviews.
    In situations where publicists legitimately run out of software, and yes, this does occur, the point is often made that whether copies are promotional or purchased, what is written will never be affected.
    And while I tend to summarize my thoughts, this site's reviewers -- and I'm aware of the huge number of hours that must go into things such as boxed sets (I've discussed this with KevinEK) -- are putting in sometimes 30-40 hours in order to give an extensive, no holds barred review.
    RAH
     
  15. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    May I say that the reviews by MattH, Cameron Yee and a couple of others on HTF are consistently discerning, objective, fair and helpful. I don't always agree with points here and there but that's only to be expected.
     
  16. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    I think it depends on who you're doing the review for... the studio or the readership. If it's for the readership, it doesn't matter if the disk was comped or not.
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    You've hit it spot on. Although studio / site relationships can get tenuous at times, and the only means of making a point is to go silent. That said, I believe everyone here writes for the readership.
    RAH
     
  18. Richard Gallagher

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    Speaking only for myself (although I believe that this is true of the rest of the HTF reviewers), I have never heard a word of complaint from a studio after I have posted a negative review. Recently I thoroughly trashed Adam Sandler's That's My Boy and there was not a peep about it from Sony.
    Some HTF members may not realize that the reviewers here are volunteers, and most of us have full-time jobs which are unrelated to films. We are beholden only to the management and membership of HTF.
     

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