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Widescreen Full 70 MM Film "The Big Trail" @ Youtu

 
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Ken Viewer



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 6:48 pm    Post subject: Widescreen Full 70 MM Film "The Big Trail" @ Youtu Reply with quote

This is the restored 35 MM CinemaScope version of what I believe is the only available film of the 1929-1931 70 MM process called "Grandeur" or "Grandeur 70" by its inventor, the Fox Film Corporation, and other names by other studios. This film is "The Big Trail" and it was huge.

Several studios licensed the process, including M-G-M, and used it to make movies, but it was at the start of the Great Depression and theaters could barely afford to convert to 'talking pictures,' much less pay for all-new projectors and screens in order to show widescreen 70 MM films. So only two -- count 'em, 2 -- theaters in the U.S. showed the 70 MM version: the 5,900-seat Roxy in Manhattan and Sid Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles (which was a lot larger 87 years ago).

One day in the 1980s, New York's Museum of Modern Art's films division decided to try and find the "lost" widescreen version (Fox filmed multiple versions of the movie, changing the position of the actors and Conestoga wagons, etc., for the 35 MM square-screen version (a rare 1:20 to 1 ratio vs 2:10 to 1 for the 70 MM version). (The square-screen version was -- and is -- still available back then.)

They searched here and there, under parked cars and in subway tunnels. They sent out search parties in Griffith Park and in Montebello, CA. Then they called Fox's successor company, 20th Century-Fox, and asked for some help, like maybe a ravaged print of the 70 MM original.

So Fox went to its vaults (William Fox's motto was "Never throw any film out") and dug up the original camera negative in 65/70 MM. The whole film on the master negative... with the soundtrack.

But Fox wasn't going to pay to restore it (it's a lousy film but a different one in the widescreen version).

So MOMA had its resident restorer/magician have a go at it. Well, he couldn't or wouldn't restore it to 70 MM proportion so he rephotographed it in widescreen 35 MM CinemaScope.

And here, for however long it remains working, is a link to the entire widescreen version of the movie, which is significantly longer than the square-screen version. Even on Youtube and in CinemaScope, you get the feel of 70 MM; there are no 'special effects,' the film used some 20,000 extras and a massive number of wagons. The director, Raoul Walsh, shot his first film in 1913 and had a 52-year career directing using film cameras But the film was a stinker; it featured John Wayne in his first starring role:

https://youtu.be/OPbUi4hxxDc

YOU NEED TO SWITCH THE YOUTUBE SETTING TO "Theater Mode," which is a symbol on the bottom right of the screen. You'll figure it out.

Ken
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Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2783
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both versions are on DVD. Today it blows your mind. No telling what it did back then. Ranks with Wayne's best films.---Yohe
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Ken Viewer



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Yohe wrote:
Both versions are on DVD. Today it blows your mind. No telling what it did back then. Ranks with Wayne's best films.---Yohe


I attended a showing of the restored widescreen film version that MOMA presented way back when. They had a wide widescreen but we were so disappointed it was not the original Grandeur 70 MM process, not that we had any real idea what to expect, since the film hadn't been seen in 50 years. It looked a lot better, however, than what's posted on Youtube due to limits on digital uploads.

Yohe, I've been missing your movie reviews, even if they are of pictures photographed in low-resolution digital format. I don't trust any other reviewer.

I don't purchase DVDs of movies. It's just more stuff that'll get thrown out when I croak. Use that money to take taxis around instead of the mobbed subways and the three-buses-per-hour mainstream Broadway line where it takes two-or-more minutes to unload and load passengers at every stop.

In the first post, I left out credit to the uploader for both his efforts and his accurate, informative, elegant notes about the film.

His screen name is Charles L. Dick, Jr.

Ken
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