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DVD Talk review of "How The West Was Won"

Old 09-11-08, 01:30 PM
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DVD Talk review of "How The West Was Won"

It's interesting to compare David Cornelius' rave review of "HTWWW" with the NY Times review published Sept. 9. While both lavished praise on the restored Cinerama print, the NYT was decidedly less impressed with the film's storyline, with the exception of the John Ford "Civil War" segment. I've never seen it at all, so I'm curious how others feel about about the quality of the plot, acting, dialogue, etc. Spectacular visuals alone aren't enough to get me to spring for the set; I took a pass on "The Big Trail" because, as a movie, the consensus seemed to be that it really wasn't that good.
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Old 09-11-08, 01:54 PM
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By today's storytelling standards, it's a very "stagey" and/or "theatrical" kind of storytelling...think "Gone With The Wind". I think the strength of the actors here elevates the rather standard screenplay. It's also a movie that tries to be a lot of different things (most likely to appeal to a broad audience): an epic western, a family-oriented drama, and even a musical at several points.

For me, it wasn't so much the story as it was seeing all these great actors interact with one another. So I have to agree with the NYT to some degree.
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Old 09-11-08, 04:35 PM
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For perspective: I'm partial to westerns, epics, and all-star casts, so HTWWW is kind of a perfect storm for me. If you're on the fence on this one, you might do fine to rent it first, maybe even spread the viewing out over two days or so. (One thing I left out in my review is that the episodic nature of the film's five "chapters" allows you to take the story in small doses without affecting the overall film.)

And Shannon's right, it's one of those give-'em-everything movies, which may come off as perfect or too much, depending on your tastes.
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Old 09-21-08, 04:37 AM
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God God, the movie should have been at the very least 3 hours long-its a mindbogglingly short 168 mins-to tell the story of the conquering of the west!
actually it should have been 4-not padding-its just that as you are getting a feel for each period/group-zap-next era. Notice they skipped the whole Civil War
The 1960s city ending was appalling
The film was more like appetizers, not a 4 course meal-but the photography is beautiful
And the 3 camera 'join lines' are still visible in some spots-how with todays technology they couldnt hve been seamlessly erased is a mystery.

There were times you could see this was Cinerama at certain times like the Bufffalo stampede-stage right to stage left-and then a hard turn right again, but going out of the frame-distortion.
And all that smarmy 'git me a husband' and songs should have been cut-Jeeze-each era should have had an hour per
This was Cliff Notes HTWWW-

Last edited by Seashellz; 09-21-08 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 09-21-08, 11:11 AM
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Well, *my* version of HTWWW certainly didn't skip the Civil War. I distinctly remember Gen. John Wayne and Gen. Harry Morgan along with Lt. George Peppard and Confederate spy Russ Tamblyn. Not to mention Pres. Raymond Massey.
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