How The West Was Won...

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MarcoBiscotti, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Has this current disc been discussed before?

    The transfer on both the Warner and MGM discs are horrible with tons of artifact and grain and I believe are both letterboxed and contain a shorter cut of the film along with butchered soundtracks...

    What are the chances that we will see justice done to this title from Warner Bros. in the next year or so with a Special Edition and new transfer?
     
  2. Derek Estes

    Derek Estes Stunt Coordinator

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    I may be wrong, but I think I have heard this was under consideration for a restoration. Warners is restoring some of John Ford's films to be released along with the SE of The Searchers in 2006 for its 50th anniversary. I have heard many people complain about the condition of this film, so there may be hope in the next couple years.
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The negative is apparently in wonderful shape (as reflected in the beautiful 3-panel print that has been shown at the Seattle Cinerama theater) and I think I read that the magnetic soundtrack has already been transferred to DAT.

    It would be really neat if Warner made a 2-disc SE with the film remastered in "Smilebox" (to preserve the "curved" image) and maybe included Cinerama Adventure on the 2nd disc.
     
  4. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    I'm not aware of the current DVD edition being a shorter cut of the film. Granted there was some footage cut prior to release (Hope Lange as Henry Fonda's daughter and early love interest for George Peppard) but I don't believe that was ever part of the actual roadshow screenings.
     
  5. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    The current DVD is mastered form an old 35mm printdown that was used for general theatrical release and tv shows.
    The showing of HTWWW at the Seattle Cinerama and Hollywood Dome used a separate magnetic soundtrack synced with the 3 projectors just as the original presentation was done. I'm sure there is a digital transfer of the 6 channels but it wouldn't be on a DAT. It's in a computer file or even on magnetic tape. The film was restored in the film domain and is about 90% of what the original Technicolor image looked like. Not quite as rich, but pretty darn close. More work could be done if transfered to video. However, putting the 3 panels side by side on a flat TV screen would give the center panel that convex look it can get since in the theatre it is farther back then the side panels. Using the "Smilebox" system to "bend" the image would give the proper non-distorted look needed. The current video versions are missing lots of picture info at the top and sides.

    Concerning missing footage. At the showing of HTWW at the Dome last year there was some comment about a scene in which a water tower falls down. It was not in the film! Upon later discussion it was agreed that the scene was in the trailer for the film but not in the final version!

    One last thing. The non-Cinerama images in the film (70mm sequences borrowed from other films and new 70mm images such as the river boat section) pale in comparison to the real 3 camera sequences. The images are grainy (most of the new ones were used as process shots) and don't have the sharpness or color of the real deal.
     
  6. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I sure would like a DVD that didn't have those "lines" dividing the three parts of the picture.
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I thought I read that those lines are there forever.





    Crawdaddy
     
  8. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Not only are those lines forever, they're intrinsically part of the film - each director doing his damndest to compose shots that would hide them (fence posts, door jambs etc., etc.)

    I suppose - with moden technology - it's perfectly possible to remove them (at enormous expense). But do we really want to?
     
  9. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Marco,

    I recommend you head to Seattle or L.A. the next time HTWWW is shown. Don't even bother with this, or any future home video release. Unless your name is John Harvey and you have an authentic Cinerama setup in your living room ( [​IMG] ) you will be disappointed.

    Then again, there are home video releases of IMAX films, so what do I know?
     
  10. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    That's right, I wouldn't want the lines removed. They are so much of what Cinerama is all about, why would we want them to disappear?
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    There will always be a slight "bump" in the seams, but given the high quality of HTWWW's film elements and the quality of digital transfers these days... they'll at least look better than in the 35mm scope reduction.

    It's part of the film anyways. Would you want the CinemaScope "mumps" digitally fixed from the earlier films made in that process?
     
  12. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    You know, when I saw HTWWW a few years ago (God bless John Harvey) I barely noticed the lines. It was truly remarkable. Mr. Harvey ran the entire screening himself; a job which originally took four engineers to perform.
     
  13. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    The water tower falling over was missing? I believe that's been in every video incantation I've ever seen, including the VHS. It is toppled by stampeding buffalo, isn't it?
     
  14. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Only a brief portion of the water tower sequence was in the restored 3 projector version of HTWWW that was shown in Seattle and Hollywood. The lines will always be there and there will always be some distortion at the joins. Nature of the beast. Cinerama (the real kind) was not perfect. In the film the lines were disquised as much as posssible by using strong vertical objects such as trees or buildings whenever possible.
     
  15. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    It is rare that a post of mine is quoted so often. [​IMG]
    If technology can get rid of the "lines", then I'd like them "gone on/with the wind"!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Supporting Actor

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    Your not alone Jeff, I absolutely love the movie but the lines are so dang distracting. And when I don't notice them I start looking for them! I start saying to myself, "Alright, where did they go? They should be right around this area."
     
  17. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I too love this film. The lines are distracting, but it would not stop me from buying a SE if the lines were still there in the SE. [​IMG]
     
  18. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    The film is meant to be seen in a theatre setting. Because of the viseral all-encompassing experience, you just go with the flow and stop looking for the "lines". On a flat tv screen, they are much more noticeable to be sure. They probably cannot be completely removed, even digitally, since the joined sections overlap and there is a bit of a misalignment always present. When a rival procecss called "Cinemiracle" surfaced in 1958 with the film "Windjammer", it improved on the parallax problems and optically "faded" the edges of each panel. In Cinerama this fading was done mechanically with a saw-like piece of metal called a "Gigolo" which vibrated up and down to fuzz the join areas to the left and right of the middle panel. Cinemircale bypassed the Cinerama patents with a slightly different camera design and presentation process. The company eventually folded and sold its assets to Cinerama. Any video presentation would be a very poor representation of the real thing. For those who believe in original aspect ratios and proper presentation, HTWWW should always been seen in 3 projector Cinerama. I know that Ron E. was bowled over by it when he saw it for the first time at the Cinerama Dome a couple of years ago.

    One last bit of trivia. Cinerama Inc. came very close to perfecting a single lens that covered the 146 degree view which the original 3 camera system did. They ran out of money and abandoned the project and switched to 70mm using standard lenses and the Cinerama process as it was meant to be was no more.
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    You're absolutely correct! I was with Ron and Steve Simon last September in LA, when we watched this fine film in the proper setting. It was probably one of the best theater experiences I ever had as a moviegoer.





    Crawdaddy
     
  20. Jim Robbins

    Jim Robbins Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree, I've never seen anything surpass Cinerama. IMAX is very good but having that image wrap around you was better. HTWWW would make a nice HD DVD.
     

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