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How The West Was Won Ultimate Collector's Edition - August 26th

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How The West Was Won Ultimate Collector's Edition - August 26th

Old 04-30-08, 01:45 PM
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This is great! I bought this title two years ago to add to my John Wayne collection. At the time I did not know about the "join lines" and was so appalled at the picture presentation that I turned it off after 30 minutes or so and sold the DVD. Only later did I read about what caused it, but it was still unwatchable, IMO.

Having a restored picture and finally watching it for the first time should be a wonderful experience.
Old 04-30-08, 02:32 PM
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What we can expect...

Compare the amputated 35 mm version to the restored and electronically joined and colour-corrected image.



I remember sitting in the theatre watching this scene. The camera is rolling down this main street towards the river. As it moves, the spectator could look down the side streets of the main street left and right because of the 140 degrees of vision.

Note how the internal geometry of each of the three images has been altered so that each image flows into the next one seamlessly. Note, in particular, the angles of the shadows on the right and the angles of the horses' harness on the left.

Last edited by baracine; 04-30-08 at 02:54 PM.
Old 04-30-08, 02:44 PM
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Other amazing demo shot from Hewlett Packard's site:

Old 04-30-08, 02:44 PM
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I kind of wish, Warner's would rerelease this restored version theatrically, since it's best seen and experienced on a huge screen.
Old 04-30-08, 05:02 PM
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Maybe it should be Almost-Ultimate Collector's Edition, no SmileBox on the SD version
Old 04-30-08, 08:08 PM
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I must say, I've never seen this movie but after all I've read here I'm pretty darn excited for the Blu-ray!
Old 04-30-08, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
The existing version is badly cropped left and tight (more on the right than the left). I don't think it's even anamorphic.

I'm very happy for the new technology that melds the three screen images and the Smilebox process which may trick the viewer into thinking he's sitting in front of a curved screen: http://www.cineramaadventure.com/smilebox.htm

They have to be kidding! Please tell me that's just an option on the BR. That's awful. It would be nothing like viewing it on a Cinerama screen.

I saw a 1960's re-release of HTWWW on a real Cinerama screen. I was about 13 and after being immersed in the movie for a few minutes the look of the curved screen disappeared.
Old 05-01-08, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Jon2
They have to be kidding! Please tell me that's just an option on the BR. That's awful. It would be nothing like viewing it on a Cinerama screen.

I saw a 1960's re-release of HTWWW on a real Cinerama screen. I was about 13 and after being immersed in the movie for a few minutes the look of the curved screen disappeared.
Well. The idea of Cinerama was to create a kind of 3-D effect of being immersed within the image. Obviously that cannot be replicated on a television. The idea of Smilebox is to recreate the effect of the curved screen on the image. If a camera were to be filming a true Cinerama presentation it would have that curved look to it.

I also suppose that if the TV is big enough and you are viewing it straight-on it may even be able to add somewhat of the 3-D effect that straight letterboxed widescreen would lose out on. And let's remember that the letterbox version would appear to distort the panoramic image.

In my opinion Smilebox is a great feature to add to the BD, and from what I've heard about the technique, it's also the best way to reproduce Cinerama on a flat screen.
Old 05-01-08, 02:17 AM
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HOW THE WEST WAS WON is in my top 5 westerns to watch every year.
Awesome Cast with Great Directors.
Glad they were able to clean up the print.
From those examples, it looks FABS.


Also coming out of the same day is the ERROL FLYNN WESTERNS COLLECTION.
"Montana"
"Rocky Mountain"
"San Antonio"
"Virginia City"
Which will have the usual assortments of bonus features.
Http://forums.goldenagecartoons.com/...ad.php?t=11118
Old 05-01-08, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by baracine
What we can expect...

Compare the amputated 35 mm version to the restored and electronically joined and colour-corrected image.



I remember sitting in the theatre watching this scene. The camera is rolling down this main street towards the river. As it moves, the spectator could look down the side streets of the main street left and right because of the 140 degrees of vision.

Note how the internal geometry of each of the three images has been altered so that each image flows into the next one seamlessly. Note, in particular, the angles of the shadows on the right and the angles of the horses' harness on the left.
Originally Posted by baracine
Other amazing demo shot from Hewlett Packard's site:

Those examples look absolutely fantastic.
Old 05-01-08, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Frozenhamster
In my opinion Smilebox is a great feature to add to the BD, and from what I've heard about the technique, it's also the best way to reproduce Cinerama on a flat screen.
I agree. When projected on a flat screen, the three side-by-side images exaggerate the "fish-eye" effect. A person walking right to left in front of the centre camera to the left camera, for example, would look like he suddenly turned 45 degrees right on the left screen. When the image is curved, the normal perspective of the global image is somewhat restored, looking like something you'd see from the corner of your eye. The film was meant to be shown on a concave surface.
Old 05-01-08, 07:56 AM
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I may change my mind

The photo examples look fantastic. After reading the reviews yesterday I decided to watch my HTWWW edition I got in 2005. I'm glad I got it so cheap ($7.50) so I won't feel so bad about upgrading.

The dividing screen lines look horrible (now) and in many scenes when someone is talking to someone else, you can barely see who it is.

I didn't realize that Hope Lang had been cast and cutout. Sure would be nice if the new version would add additional footage.

In reading I find out a stuntman was badly injured during the train wreck sequence but no one was killed.
Old 05-01-08, 09:43 AM
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From HomeMediaMagazine.com:

'How the West Was Won' Restored for DVD, Blu-ray

Author: THOMAS K. ARNOLD
[email protected]
Posted: May 1, 2008

Warner Home Video is gearing up for one of its most ambitious catalog releases ever. How the West Was Won, the sprawling 1962 MGM Western epic boasting an ensemble cast that includes Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Gregory Peck and James Stewart, will be released to the home entertainment market in three newly restored and remastered versions Aug. 26, two of them on DVD and one on Blu-ray Disc.

What made the project a bit more cumbersome than others is the fact that How the West Was Won is one of just two narrative feature films produced in the original Cinerama three-panel widescreen process, a costly proposition that was abandoned after just one other simultaneously shot MGM feature, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.

During its initial theatrical run, How the West Was Won — winner of three Oscars, including best original screenplay — was shown in theaters especially equipped with three synchronized projectors, and shown on extra-wide, slightly curved screens. But later, it was presented on traditional theater screens with the three separate panels optically joined to form a standard widescreen image, leaving two vertical “join lines” clearly visible on the screen.

These join lines are quite noticeable as well on the original DVD edition of the film, which was released by Warner Home Video in July 1998, barely a year into the format’s lifecycle.

The film has been a consistent seller for Warner, and George Feltenstein, the division’s SVP of classic catalog marketing, has long wanted to produce a special edition. But he didn’t want one with those nasty join lines, he said, so he went to the technicians at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging for help.

That was about five years ago. Technicians did, in fact, develop a complicated software program to eliminate the join lines, and about 18 months ago they began an exhaustive frame-by-frame restoration that’s “just being finished as we speak,” Feltenstein said.

“The film has always been extraordinarily successful and popular, with the cast being what it is and the story being so inspiring,” Feltenstein said. “But we always felt that to really do it justice we had to find a way to bring the panels together and eliminate those join lines so it looks gorgeous. We tried and tried, and ultimately we found a way. The results are truly astounding.”

Feltenstein notes that in all showings subsequent to the film’s original theatrical run, be it in regular theaters, on television or on home video, “people have had to put up with those awful join lines.”

“It was a fact of life; no one

ever bothered to fix it or even make any attempt to explain to audiences why the picture looked funny,” he said.

The new and improved How the West Was Won, sans annoying join lines, will be presented on all three home entertainment editions of the film: a special edition DVD, an “ultimate collectors edition” DVD and a Blu-ray Disc edition.

The Blu-ray Disc edition also will come with a second version of the film that replicates the original Cinerama experience.

“Dave Strohmaier, considered the world’s foremost expert on all things Cinerama, calls it the SmileBox version, because it uses the shape of the original Cinerama screen and expands out with a curve so it looks like a frown on the bottom and a smile on the top,” Feltenstein said. “It’s almost 3-D, and it allows anyone who has a home theater system to recreate the Cinerama experience.”

Feltenstein said Strohmaier, whose 90-minute documentary “Cinerama Adventure” is featured on all three How the West Was Won home entertainment releases, has been intimately involved in the production of the DVD and Blu-ray Disc packages.

In addition to the documentary, other special features on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc include a film historian commentary, a vintage making-of feature and the original theatrical trailer. The ultimate collectors edition comes with a 20-page theatrical press book reproduction, 10 behind-the-scenes photos and 10 postcards. The Blu-ray Disc edition is packaged in a “Digi-book” that resembles a small hardcover book and includes 32-page of press materials and behind-the-scenes photos.
Old 05-01-08, 10:36 AM
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Ultimate Collectors Edition is up for preorder for 20 bucks right now on DVDEmpire.

http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...06388&searchID
Old 05-01-08, 10:42 AM
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the bluray is 3.95 more at Amazon.
Old 05-01-08, 01:34 PM
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Never seen this one, but it sounds great and I love these WB UCE's. Count me in for it.
Old 05-01-08, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Ackerly
Ultimate Collectors Edition is up for preorder for 20 bucks right now on DVDEmpire.

http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...06388&searchID
Holy crap, that's an amazing deal for all that you get! Thanks for the heads up, I'm in.
Old 05-01-08, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Ackerly
Ultimate Collectors Edition is up for preorder for 20 bucks right now on DVDEmpire.

http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...06388&searchID
Thanks.

Is this what I just pre-ordered ? It looked to be what was shown.

An Ultimate Collector’s Edition will also be available for $59.92. This will include the 2-disc special edition, as well as a 20-page theatrical press book reproduction, 10 behind-the-scenes photo cards and 10 postcards, and an exclusive movie poster offer.

Last edited by ernestrp; 05-01-08 at 04:34 PM.
Old 05-01-08, 05:14 PM
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They seem to have the MSRP wrong. But it is the UCE. The DVD-only edition is here: http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...tem_id=1406390
Old 05-01-08, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Ackerly
Ultimate Collectors Edition is up for preorder for 20 bucks right now on DVDEmpire.

http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...06388&searchID
Fantastic! Thanks a million....hopefully they'll honor it.
Old 05-02-08, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Frozenhamster
Well. The idea of Cinerama was to create a kind of 3-D effect of being immersed within the image. Obviously that cannot be replicated on a television. The idea of Smilebox is to recreate the effect of the curved screen on the image. If a camera were to be filming a true Cinerama presentation it would have that curved look to it.

I also suppose that if the TV is big enough and you are viewing it straight-on it may even be able to add somewhat of the 3-D effect that straight letterboxed widescreen would lose out on. And let's remember that the letterbox version would appear to distort the panoramic image.

In my opinion Smilebox is a great feature to add to the BD, and from what I've heard about the technique, it's also the best way to reproduce Cinerama on a flat screen.
We'll have to agree to disagree.

Speaking only for myself, of course, looking at the Smilebox images shown here leads me to believe the movie will be unwatchable like this. I find the effect of the curves to be a very poor and unacceptable interpretation of the Cinerama experience. I also have doubts the Smilebox effect will do anything to alleviate the distortion inherent in the Cinerama process.

As an aside, I have to wonder (with some humor) what those who have objected to black bars will make of the Smilebox effect.
Old 05-02-08, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jmj713
They seem to have the MSRP wrong. But it is the UCE. The DVD-only edition is here: http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...tem_id=1406390
Amazon has the same wrong list price but they want $28 for it. I will pre-order a copy at dvdempire.

Dirk
Old 05-02-08, 07:32 AM
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i think the press release has the wrong msrp.

All the Warner Ultimare Editons have been 39.95, why would this one be any different.
Old 05-02-08, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Ackerly
i think the press release has the wrong msrp.

All the Warner Ultimare Editons have been 39.95, why would this one be any different.
That could be. It's $29.95 from the Warner store. But $20 is still a good price.

Dirk
Old 05-02-08, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Jon2
We'll have to agree to disagree.

Speaking only for myself, of course, looking at the Smilebox images shown here leads me to believe the movie will be unwatchable like this. I find the effect of the curves to be a very poor and unacceptable interpretation of the Cinerama experience. I also have doubts the Smilebox effect will do anything to alleviate the distortion inherent in the Cinerama process.

As an aside, I have to wonder (with some humor) what those who have objected to black bars will make of the Smilebox effect.
There will be two different sets of reinterpretations:

1. The fusing of the images has altered the geometry (perspective orientation) of each of the three film components. This might be, IMHO, an acceptable interpretation of the total image in a flat version. (Please see what happened to the top of the buildings and to the hanging sign in the first example; also the joining together and "straightening" of the shadow that is split between the centre and right image.) I find this image pleasant enough in itself and I am in awe of the technology that made it possible in the first place.

2. The Smilebox process applied (probably) to that reconstructed image will also be interesting to watch as curved screen projection did alleviate in itself the more jarring effects of the three-screen process in the theatre. In this case, if the Smilebox effect is applied to the "corrected" flat image, I think the geometric values altered in the first process will be somewhat restituted as well.

That's a lot of "if"s but I can't wait to see the result in action anyway. I guess I'm a sucker for any kind of technological improvement to an old piece of film. I call it "love" and it gives me the warm fuzzies.

And to me, what is "unwatchable" is a flattened out scene like this, where the rider appears to be on a different plane of reality than his horse, who also appears to suffer from a distended, elongated neck.


Last edited by baracine; 05-02-08 at 09:31 AM.

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