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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 05-02-08, 12:46 PM
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The above is not the newly restored transfer though. They took great care to align the three panes perfectly, so there would be no distortion.
Old 05-02-08, 02:08 PM
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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.
I actually agree that the smaple image on that site is not very good, though I also wonder if it being a still image has anything to do with that. It could be that in motion is when the Smilebox process really comes alive. And testimonials from those who have seen Cinerma Adventure ont he big screen seem to indicate that, at least when viewed in a theatre, the Smilebox process is very effective. Hopefully that is true on the Blu-ray release as well. And hell, if it isn't at least we've still got the flattened image as an option.
Old 05-02-08, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jmj713
The above is not the newly restored transfer though. They took great care to align the three panes perfectly, so there would be no distortion.
Aligning the panels perfectly won't prevent the distortion. The three cameras used during the production were pointed in different directions when filming to match the curvature of the Cinerama screen. When the panels are aligned together on a flat surface, there is distortion.
Old 05-03-08, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jmj713
Holy crap, that's an amazing deal for all that you get! Thanks for the heads up, I'm in.
i made one order and it switched to 24.xx after placing the order.
then i canceled it and it did the same thing on a second order.

better get it in before the fix.

Last edited by whotony; 05-03-08 at 12:58 AM.
Old 05-03-08, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gerry P.
Aligning the panels perfectly won't prevent the distortion. The three cameras used during the production were pointed in different directions when filming to match the curvature of the Cinerama screen. When the panels are aligned together on a flat surface, there is distortion.
It's basically the "globe vs. map" issue. When a map of the world is made, it's geometrically distorted due to the change from 3-D space to 2-D. When it's a globe, the geometry is properly shown. Cinerama is sort of 2 1/2 D since it has real depth to the image when projected.
Old 05-03-08, 10:46 AM
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There is no way to approximate the experience of the buffalo stampede in a Cinerama theater on a 50 to 60 inch television screen. The only thing that comes close is IMAX and that has a problem because IMAX theatrical films were not designed to be shown in that format.

Unfortunately, economics dictate that single screen theaters that showed Cinerama and other widescreen formats of the 1960s are no longer commercially viable. Still even watching films like this on home theater can give younger viewers an appreciation of old style film making. Today the buffalo stampede would have been done with CGI and would have not have been as impressive. Same for the train robbery, which I still feel is the best sequence of this type ever made.
Old 05-04-08, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by baracine
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.
I can't say the points you make about the Smilebox process have converted me, but after going back to the Smilebox site and looking over the image a bit more, I do have to say it doesn't look as "unwatchable" as it originally appeared. Maybe it just took some time for the "look" of it to sink in.

Like you, I'm a technology kind of person, so I eagerly await the release of WTWWW. The cleaned-up still images just look incredible.

But... I'll reserve (my) final judgement of the Smilebox effect until I see it on screen.
Old 05-04-08, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon2
I eagerly await the release of WTWWW.
"Why the West Was Won"?
Old 05-05-08, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z
"Why the West Was Won"?
"When the West Was Won"
Old 05-11-08, 11:39 PM
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Besides eliminating the spherical distortion, Warner Bros.has done its normal super job correcting the color image, whose color appears over saturated in the screen captures and on the DVD I have of the movie. One thing that is missing from this movie is any commentary by the surviving performers, from Karl Malden and Eli Wallach, both in their 90s, and from Carroll Baker and Debbie Reynolds.

If only Warner Bros. would get interviews with them now, so that when they put this seamless How the West Was Won in a westerns box set, there will be something to separate the two versions, a new commentary track.

And Warner Bros. should get on the stick and make a commentary track for The Hanging Tree with Karl Malden, who not only starred in the movie but directed part of the movie when the original director Delmar Daves left the shoot. If the technicians can enhance and improve the image quality of HTWWW, they can surely fix up the print damage and color problems with The Hanging Tree, Gary Cooper's last real western (They Came to Cordura was more a war movie than anything else).
Old 05-15-08, 06:42 PM
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About four years ago or so at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood there was a brief special engagement run of How the West Was Won in the true three projector cinerama.

Before the start of the show, one of the projectionists gave a brief talk to the audience explaining the three projector process (and warning of the inherent splice lines). AND then he invited any interested audience members up to the projection booth for a tour after the movie (this was a mid-afternoon showing with kind of low attendance).

So afterwards, walking through the "booth" (which is actually a large space) one of the projectionists mentioned that the day before a film crew had been there filming to show how the three camera projection system operates and interviewing the guys doing it. It was to be for an extra featurette for some upcoming SE DVD of HTWWW that was in production.

Well years have gone by, and I've always wondered: whatever happened to that SE version of HTWWW? (I've actually held off getting the current DVD because of that).

So I'm quite happy it's finally here. I wonder if the extra features will still be using any of that projection booth footage that was shot back then...

(IMO, in conjunction with this new release, it would be great if the Dome had at least a few three-projector screenings of HTWWW this summer)
Old 05-15-08, 06:54 PM
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That would be a cool booth to see. I used to be a projectionist myself many years ago. How do they synch the 3 projectors?
Old 05-15-08, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Subgeniusguy
That would be a cool booth to see. I used to be a projectionist myself many years ago. How do they synch the 3 projectors?
I'm sure there must be the technical info on the web to be found by googling.
But from my old memories, they said it took FIVE projectionists: one on each of the three projectors, plus another to operate the soundtrack, plus a lead supervisor projectionist to help synch them all and maintain that.

The projectors were like 40-50 feet apart and due to the curvature of the room (remember this is in a dome) I don't think the projectionists could even see each other!

Last edited by MGR; 05-15-08 at 07:32 PM.
Old 05-16-08, 03:07 AM
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Yeah wikipedia has some info. Pretty remarkable. Too bad I'll never actually see it in action.
Old 05-16-08, 06:16 AM
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As fondly as I remember my true Cinerama experience when I saw HTWWW in a cinema, I think these new developments are actually more exciting.
Old 05-16-08, 11:47 PM
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I saw "Cinerama Adventure" at a special screening at Detroit's historic Redford Theater. The filmakers were there in person and hosted a Q&A after the film was shown.

There are numerous "Smilebox" sequences in this documentary, and I thought it made the clips seem more Cinerama-like even on a the Redford's decidedly not panoramic screen. So either edition of "How The West Was Won" that has "Cinerama Adventure" included is a worthwhile value.
Old 05-22-08, 12:12 AM
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I see at AMAZON you can now Pre-Order the Utlimate Edition of HTWWW at 50% off.
Old 07-03-08, 06:26 PM
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Looks like WB ended up making this a 3-disk Set for some reason.
Back cover art:


I have no idea why this content could not have fit on two disks but whatever I guess.
Old 07-03-08, 06:28 PM
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So no Smilebox?
Old 07-03-08, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jmj713
So no Smilebox?
only on the BR
Old 07-03-08, 07:24 PM
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There was a rumor they may be adding that to the DVD as well. Oh well.
Old 07-03-08, 09:19 PM
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The current version of HTWWW includes the behind-the-scenes documentary 'The making of how the west was won' - hope this is included on this new edition.

If not, I'll still get the new one and keep my old one just for the doc.

Last edited by Doctor Gonzo; 07-03-08 at 09:23 PM.
Old 07-04-08, 04:43 PM
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2 week slip.
Amazon.com is now showing release on 9-9. I assume that date's accurate.

(BTW, their pre-order price is still 19.99 for the Ultimate Collector's Edition)
Old 09-02-08, 04:49 PM
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Mine arrived in the mail today

to walmart.com for blowing off the revised release date - well worth the 19 bucks.

The Cinerama Adventure doc is fantastic! A great piece on motion picture history and the movie itself looks great without the "seams".

With the two booklets, the glossy prints and the embossed box, it's a really nice set - and the mail-in poster should look good next to the one I have of The Searchers.
Old 09-02-08, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Doctor Gonzo View Post
Mine arrived in the mail today

to walmart.com for blowing off the revised release date - well worth the 19 bucks.

The Cinerama Adventure doc is fantastic! A great piece on motion picture history and the movie itself looks great without the "seams".

With the two booklets, the glossy prints and the embossed box, it's a really nice set - and the mail-in poster should look good next to the one I have of The Searchers.
They will probably screw you on the poster since you got it before the release date.


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