MOVIE: How the West Was Won
RELEASE DATE: 1962
DIRECTORS: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall
SCREENPLAY: James R. Webb
CAST: Carroll Baker, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Walter Brennan, Lee J. Cobb, Harry Morgan
Winner: Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen
Winner: Best Film Editing
Winner: Best Sound
Nominated: Best Picture
Nominated: Best Cinematography, Color
Nominated: Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Color
Nominated: Best Costume Design, Color
Nominated: Best Music, Score – Substantially Original
History lesson time: Widescreen, which is the current filming format, wasn’t always the standard. In the 1950s and early 1960s, with the advent of television, movie studios were trying anything to get people into the theaters. New concepts like 3D films came about as did the concept of making the picture bigger… more spectacular. Along came Cinerama (which got its name from “cinema” and “panorama.”) The basic idea was to take three cameras and shoot a film on 35 mm footage and then project onto 3 corresponding curved screen in specially built movie theaters. One of the first films to use this process was How the West Was Won… an epic retelling of America’s migration into the west told in several vignettes starring big stars like James Stewart, Gregory Peck and John Wayne. The film is worth watching purely for the spectacle, but also to appreciate some of the beautiful cinematography of the United States western frontier. It’s a stunning film to behold.
How the West Was Won is available on DVD and Blu-ray, and is available to rent on disc via Netflix. You can digitally rent the film through Amazon, iTunes and YouTube or purchase a digital copy via Amazon or iTunes. If you have an Xfinity subscription, you can also watch it for free via Encore.
In an effort to do an actual daily column here on Superfriends, I’m re-introducing the concept of DVD of the Day and re-naming it “Movie of the Day.” (Don’t worry, I still plan on finishing the “Batman on Film” series.) These will be very short paragraph-long reviews, but you’ll actually get them everyday. The Academy Awards take place on February 24, so each entry this month will be an Academy Award winning movie. We’ll start the first entry in the Movie of the Day series with Casablanca. More