DVD Review HTF DVD REVIEW: How the West Was Won: Ultimate Collector's Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ken_McAlinden, Aug 30, 2008.

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  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    You're right! From my point of view, I don't have a problem with what Warner is doing with the regular dvd. However, for the ultimate edition and at that price point I think Warner is wrong not including that feature despite what they're trying to accomplish with Blu-ray.
     
  2. MikeGale

    MikeGale Agent

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    The fact is, watching HTWWW in ANY format other than Theatrical Cinerama is a compromise. Just accept the fact that there's no way can Smilebox or Letterbox or any existing home video presentation can possibly recreate the original experience, and live with it. Remember that Cinerama was a gimmick -- a fascinating gimmick, but a gimmick that didn't catch on. HTWWW was made to showcase this gimmick. As such, HTWWW was an interesting experiment, but was hardly a great movie. (Personally, I think some of it is pretty lame -- and I even thought so when I was 11 years old and actually saw it in Cinerama.) As an analogy, Hitchcock's "Rope" was an interesting experiment as well, and worth seeing to observe the experiment, but not a great movie either. So I'm looking forward to HTWWW for the commentary and to revisit David Strohmaier's outstanding documentary about the Cinerama process. Based on Ken's fine review, with these expectations, I'm certain I will find my purchase to be money well spent. Thanks, Ken!
     
  3. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I don't agree with your assessments of Rope and How the West Was Won. You under-estimate both films. I don't agree that Cinerama was a gimmick. I saw the restored film projected at the Arclight / Cinerama Dome several times, and it looked like a legitimate use of the cinematic language to me. Cinerama is more than a gimmick: it's a perfectly valid visual storytelling experience. The subject matter of HTWWW is big enough for Cinerama. Just the right size, in fact. Most Hollywood productions could use a lot more of what HTWWW has got in Cinerama.

    You are correct in saying that home video does not duplicate the theatrical experience, but that is true of all films.

    I wish to modify my statement in post 18: now that the smilebox option is perfected and available, Warner Home Video should retire the standard letterbox from broadcasting and DVD releases. Since the smilebox accurately represents the film, and the standard letterbox does not, there is no longer a reason to continue with the standard letterbox. The DVD package, although very nice, could have been easily reconfigured to accommodate the smilebox version. To re-issue the film in standard letterbox after going through all that trouble to restore it, smilebox it, and remove the dividing lines is a grievous lapse in judgment.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, I have to disagree with you too about the HTWWW and Rope.





    Crawdaddy
     
  5. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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  6. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I don't understand what you mean "trying to accomplish with blu-ray", doesn't it make MORE business sense releasing the Smilebox version on DVD, because the install base of DVD is 10000 times that of blu-ray? Don't you try and release things in a format that people can actually buy and use?
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I think I've made myself clear as to what they're trying to accomplish and if I'm wrong then why isn't smilebox on the dvd version?
     
  8. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    In the 80s and 90s i got "extras" like widescreen, digital sound, and commentaries on my LDs. Extras that tape guys didnt get. I paid a pretty penny for all that, and the best picture that could be delivered at that time. Blu-ray is the next step. Enjoy what you have, and feel free to cross over when the time is right for you. But once again, i paid a pretty penny, and i dont mind a perk or two with my Blu-ray.
     
  9. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    I consider your LD/VHS comparison to DVD/Blu to be an apples to oranges comparison. Part of the reason those features were available first on LD and then DVD was due to the linear real-time nature of tape vs the random chapter/special feature access of LD and later DVD.

    One can defend the studios' decision to withhold special features from DVD in an attempt to drive consumers ot Blu if one wishes. It may or may not pay off for them. But I do not consider the VHS comparison to be valid. One could access a special feature like a trailer, documentary, "making of" doc or commentary instantly on a LD or DVD. On a VHS, it would necessitate running the tape to the end, and would require extra tapes for the features, etc, which basically makes such extra features somewhat futile. And choosing multiple audio streams on VHS was close to impossible. The technology which made "extra features" a possibility on LD existed for DVD as well, though not for VHS.

    As to whether it will pay off, i cannot say. I am not certain I am sold on "smilebox", but I would have liked to have seen it. I'm not getting a Blu-ray player for this movie, and am not buying the so-called UE if it is deficient in features; so in my case, this adds up to a "no sale". However, i accept that studios can do what they wish regardless of what I think.
     
  10. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    I don't know if this question has been asked or answered elsewhere and, if so, please forgive me. But, does the Blueray version include a non-Smilebox transfer of the film, or is it only Smilebox?

    Thanks!
     
  11. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    HTWWW Blu-ray will have a standard letterboxed version of the film as well as the Smilebox version. The Bd apparently contains all of the extras from the SD-DVD two disc set as well.
     
  12. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    Aspect Ratio: 2.89:1


    The image is going to be very small on a 32 inch or smaller TV screen.

    Is this wider than the DVD of Ben-Hur ?

    There is a 2 disc set SD release of this film without all the bells and whistles. Mostly just the film.
    It is much cheaper than the Ultimate Edition and you get to see the restored film. It would seem that those unhappy that the smilebox version is not included in the Ultimate edition would be happier with this edition of this new dvd release.

    http://www.amazon.com/How-West-Was-T...0335120&sr=8-3

    The wording says 2 disc. The picture of the DVD says 3 disc.
     
  13. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    For what it is worth ImDB shows Ben-Hur with an aspect ration of 2.76:1, so HTWWW is a bit wider.
     
  14. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    If I might add my tuppence worth . . . a fascinating discussion and typical for a forum of this sort. All about aspect ratios, and whether or not the studio is screwing us, about value for money, about exploiting our obsessive desires, and nothing or hardly anything about HTWWW as a movie, as a piece of entertainment, as a work of art, as a triptych with three directors, as an expression of America in the optimistic Kennedy era etc etc etc.

    And on the subject of the Smilebox being unique to BluRay . . . isn't this really just a one-off, a unique set of circumstances, a CURVEball for both consumers and retailer?
     
  15. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Discussions of film style and symptomatic criticism are off topic here.
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Why did they make that so-called bad business decision?

    Also, I have to buy my BRD online like everybody else so I don't know what you mean by repeating Warner's company line.



    Crawdaddy
     
  17. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    I'm as guilty as anyone here, but I can imagine how Ken feels now that his review thread has been just about trashed.

    Shouldn't this discussion continue elsewhere?

    My apologies Ken.
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Actually there isn't much left to talk about besides the review now because "it is what it is" and nothing is going to change these releases now.






    Crawdaddy
     
  19. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    3-strip Cinerama had 7 tracks of sound. Five channels behind the screen and the other two the left and right side wall speakers. There was a switch that could send the sixth channel to both side wall speakers and the seventh to the rear speakers.
     
  20. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I was thinking the same thing, but wanted to keep my head down until the shells stopped flying. Perhaps we could start one thread with the DVD paranoid conspiracy theorists pointing to the presence of an outstanding letterboxed presentation and the lack of smilebox as definitive proof that Warner is out to get them and a second thread for the Blu-Ray paranoid conspiracy theorists pointing out how Warner last week released 10 classic westerns in two box sets exclusive to SD DVD as definitive proof that Warner is not supporting them. [​IMG]

    Regards,
     

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