Saturday, 29 August 2009

"How The West Was Won" - A Review of the 1963 All-Star Western Now Reissued on a 2Disc BLU RAY Set.

Beautifully Presented...And Utter Drivel...

At the beginning of "How The West Was Won" the word "Overture" sits on your screen with a painting behind it for a full 4 minutes - while the most God-awful cheesy music you've ever heard tests your patience to the limit.

Made in 1963, this is Hollywood at its pretentious worst - a pointless and useless Western that sullies the genre with hammy acting and songs around campfires - the kind of clap-trap ah-shucks frontier drivel where people say "varmit" and "I reckon" every ten seconds. The story is broken into 4 parts with a different director for each and a huge obvious cast - John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Lee Van Cleef, Karl Malden, Eli Wallach, Gregory Peck, old stalwart Walter Brennan - but none can save it from its candy-wrapped version of American history and its now dreadfully dated feel (Spencer Tracy was smart enough to just narrate parts of it and not go anywhere near the actual film).

The only redeeming feature here is the TRULY BEAUTIFUL print which is eye-poppingly good and there's the full compliment of extras on Disc 2 (was a 3DVD set). But it doesn't get away from Debbie Reynolds bursting into crap songs every few minutes while Jimmy Stewart just looks too old for the part and even ridiculous at times.

Still - for lovers of the film, it's a must-buy.

For everyone else, I'd say rent it first and then judge for yourself...

A beautifully presented set on BLU RAY for sure, but for me - it's a truly terrible film and a wasted restoration opportunity...

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