Debbie Reynolds, conquering the West one song at a time
I think it's the only Cinerama movie I've ever seen.
It seemed terribly long and none of the subplots were interesting enough to merit the extraordinary (for the time) technical setting.
Formulaic epic Western manufactured by the book.If it wasn't made in Cinerama it would be even more forgotten today than it already is.
I saw it about two years ago. Loved it.
It is remarkable considering the technical hurdles the actors and everyone had to overcome. The score is great and the cinematography is fantastic. No CGI, all stuntmen and real everything. They don't make em like that anymore.
The cast is a veritable "Who's Who" of Hollywood at the time. Even Chip from "My Three Suns" had a role.
Loved it. Needed more musical numbers, though.
I have never been more aware of actors hitting their marks than in this movie. The main actor in every scene is has to stand right in the middle. Poor Debbie can't even move because she has to stay in the middle of the screen.
Drove 350 miles round trip to see it in Cinerama with my grandparents when it first came out. They were so disappointed in it.
What if Meryl had had the Debbie Reynolds role?
It would be a much more boring movie, r10. Streep doesn't have the kind of movie star allure that part needed.
She was twelve years old when it came out, r10/Meryl Loon.
[quote]Chip from "My Three Suns" had a role
I loved My Three Suns! My favorite sun was the middle one, from Galaxy 2Z526.
I am quite fond of the opening segment with Karl Malden and Agnes Moorehead as the parents who take Debbie Reynolds and the rest of the family west via the river and run into a pack of thieving varmints led by Walter Brennan. I have watched that part alone over half a dozen times.
To me, the story pretty much ends when the children bury Karl and Agnes after they perish in the rapids. I make it about as far as Debbie's ridiculous Michael Kidd-style show tune in Kansas City before I bail.
I'd love to see it in the full Cinerama treatment.
The Blu Ray version is great. It has a Smile box version of the movie which retains the shape of the Cinerama screen. It reduces the fish eye look when the curved screen is made flat. Plus the lines are gone.
That's good to know, R16.
Certainly there are a lot of problems with the movie as a movie; its plot is horribly disjointed, and so on. But there are spectacular camera shots in HWWW that literally cannot be duplicated because of the bizarre Cinerama camera, and it's worth seeing for that feature alone.
Saw this at the Martin Cinerama in St. louis when I was a kid. Loved it and also the soundtrack. As R16 said, the blu ray is great and it's fun to watch the Smile Box Cinerama silulation.. without those pesky seams (where the films connected) in the original print.
Was this like a long time ago? Kinda like back n the 80's. What's chimerama?
I despise Debbie Reynolds. I always have.
It looks terrific now restored on HD and widescreen tv - before it looked cramped and the 3 joins were obvious. It turns up frequently on tv here (in UK), I like to drop in for a while. The Railroads segment is good with Peppard, Widmark, Fonda and that stampede of bison. Pretty formulaic otherwise - Debbie is a hoot as the old granny in the later scenes. She teams up with Thelma too.
I'd watch most any movie with Gregory Peck in it.
It was interesting to see Carroll Baker play Debbie Reynolds pioneer sister around the time she was getting the big Hollywood sex symbol build up for THE CARPETBAGGERS.
We prefer "How The West Was Fun"
I don't know how the west was won
How the ocean let all the sailors come
They came over one by one if only just to see
I don't know how happiness gets hidden in the wilderness
I'm leaving in the morning with my paddle and my lime
I don't know how to find you when
All I've been is a lighted window
Waiting for the dark to make it's way back into light
And you will hold me in your arms
And you will hold me in your arms
Maybe I'm just a pilgrim who is trying to make sense of you now
Pray the wind will take me where the space meets up with time
Where you will hold me in your arms
The Greensleeves tune was used for the song Debbie sang about "I'll build you a home in the meadow."
Come, come to this wonderous land, where the something, something....
All its points were spot on, just not conveyed very well...
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I think this one is largely forgotten these days. Last saturday, Carroll Baker made an appearance at Film Forum to do an audience Q and A regarding her 1962 film Something Wild (well worth seeing). She also took questions about her life and career. She wrapped up one story saying how she agreed to do How the West Was Won. I could sense she was hoping to get some applause, but the reaction was tepid for that story. Fortunately she did get love for her work in Something Wild. BTW, Carroll is still pretty sharp at 81, a little hard of hearing, but otherwise she seems to be in pretty good shape for a woman her age.
Its a very simplistic view of the west and the early days of trappers and mountain men and pioneers and the Indians and the railroads. Later westerns like McCabe & Mrs Miller or Little Big Man showed a different reality in the age of the new violence, as in The Wild Bunch or Soldier Blue.
Stuntman Bob Morgan, the husband of actress Yvonne De Carlo, was seriously injured during the shoot. While he was filming a gunfight on a moving train, chains holding a flatcar-load of fake fiberglass logs snapped, and the logs rolled and crushed Morgan's leg, which had to be amputated. It took him five years to recover enough to walk again, with De Carlo putting her career on hold to nurse him back to health.
The film had its debut overseas in late 1962 but wasn't released in the U.S. until February 1963.
Hope Lange was cast as Henry Fonda's daughter and George Peppard's love interest. Her entire performance ended up on the cutting-room floor.