How the West Was Won
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2 items from 2008


Restoration shows how 'West' was done

30 April 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

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 Aug. 26 in three newly restored and remastered versions.

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

During its initial theatrical run, West -- a winner of three Oscars, including best original screenplay -- was shown in theaters specially equipped with three synchronized projectors on extra-wide, slightly curved screens. Later, it was presented on traditional screens with the three separate panels optically joined to form a standard widescreen image, leaving two vertical "join lines" clearly visible on the screen.

The join lines are noticeable as well on the original DVD edition of the film that Warner released in July 1998, barely a year into the format's life cycle.

The film has been a consistent seller for Warner, and George Feltenstein, the division's senior vp classic catalog marketing, has long wanted to produce a special edition. »

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Actor Richard Widmark Dies at 93

26 March 2008 | IMDb News

Richard Widmark, the actor whose menacing portrayals in numerous film noir thrillers made him synonymous with the genre, died Monday at age 93. According to news reports, the actor passed away at his home in Roxbury, CT after a long illness. Widmark appeared on both radio and the stage before making one of the most auspicious -- and audacious -- debuts in film history as the giggling killer Tommy Udo, a man who pushes an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs, in the 1947 thriller Kiss of Death; the film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Globe for New Star Of The Year, and a contract with 20th Century Fox. His portrayals of hard-boiled men, sometimes criminals, sometimes just plain amoral, made him an instant star, and he played villains in The Street with No Name, Road House, and Yellow Sky. He notoriously menaced Marilyn Monroe in Don't Bother to Knock, played a racist criminal in No Way Out, and was a pickpocket caught up in a Communist spy ring in Pickup on South Street. Widmark proved he could also play against type as a doctor tracking down a killer infected with the bubonic plague in Panic in the Streets, and a doomed con man in Jules Dassin's Night and the City. The actor worked consistently throughout his career, adding Westerns to his repertoire with roles in Broken Lance, The Alamo, Cheyenne Autumn (directed by John Ford), and How the West Was Won, and appeared in the Oscar-winning Judgment at Nuremberg as well. He segued into television in the 1970s as Madigan (based on his 1968 film of the same name, directed by Don Siegel), and received an Emmy nomination for 1972's Vanished, where he played the President of the United States with a secret to hide. Other notable films during the 1970s and 1980s included Murder on the Orient Express, The Domino Principle, Coma, and the film noir update Against All Odds; his last role was in the 1991 political drama True Colors, after which he retired from filmmaking. Widmark is survived by his second wife, Susan Blanchard, and his daughter, Anne, from his first marriage to screenwriter Jean Hazlewood, who died in 1997. --Mark Englehart, IMDb staff

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