I was 13 when my dad took me to the Palace Theater in downtown Chicago to see the opening night of How the West Was Won back in 1962. It was more of an event than going to see a motion picture since the picture was filmed using a three-projector process called Cinerama.
The screen wrapped around most of your entire field of vision immersing you into the film itself. It was sensational and I remember being mesmerized!
The movie consists of 5 segments directed by three directors Henry Hathaway (“The Rivers”, “The Plains” and “The Outlaws”), and one each by John Ford (“The Civil War”) and George Marshall (“The Railroad”). The western author Louis L’Amour wrote the screenplay.
This week I had the pleasure of watching it on my home screen from a Blu-ray digitally remastered version of the film that stiched the 3 individual screens into a single wide-screen image. In a word – spectacular! Only in a few scenes could you still notice a line where the images were stiched together.
The color transfer was pristine and the digital sound track score which was listed at #25 on the AFIs Years of Films Scores was equally impressive. If you get a chance – see this little gem on Blu-ray that was a big screen marvel.
In my home film collection, the Red Shoes (1949) and Black Narcissus (1947) films are in my most watched list right up there with the films of Spielberg and Scorsese. These great movies where brought to the screen by the partnership of Michael Powell (1905–1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902–1988) — together often known as The Archers. The other ingredients for these film’s enduring success is the incredible cinematography of Jack Cardiff and the music scores from Brian Easdale. Interestingly both Spielberg and Scorsese acknolwdge that Powell’s film had a major impact on their own art.
I know you have really missed my posts 😉 so let me start with last nights viewing of Predator 3D on my home screen. Predator is definitely on my short list of top 10 action films. The 1987 American science fiction action horror film directed by John McTiernan was instant hit and remains a classic due to 2 things from my perspective – Stan Winston’s creature and Alan Silvestri’s soundtrack. The new 3D BluRay transfer and conversion to 3D is super and the music score is so clean that it truly becomes a key character in the film.
“If it bleeds we can kill it” – Major Alan “Dutch” Shaefer
From 12 Monkeys to Looper, Bruce has appeared in 2 of my all time favoriate time travel films. 12 Monkeys is a 1995 film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker‘s 1962 short film La jetée, and starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt. I first saw La jette in college and it became a staple (my friends will remember well) at my home movie parties. I would rent the 35 mm print from the University of Illinois library (this was before VHS became popular). La Jette runs for 28 minutes, a B&W film shot mostly from still photos. (there are versions on Youtube but suggest getting the recently released BluRay version and watch in original French – with English subtitles).
Last years Looper was written and directed by Rian Johnson. The film stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. I first became a fan of Rian after his
directoral debut of the low-budget independent film Brick. It also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Looper was a fun ride and true to the code of time travel films.
Not for the faint of heart – Near Dark remains one of the best vampire films shot by Kathryn Bigelow in 1987. Today, Kathryn is one of our top film directors with last year’s The Hurt Locker and this year’s Zero Dark Thirty.