How the West Was Won (1962)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas

    For continuity, all discussion
    please post here:-
    How the West Was Won

    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    The history of Western expansion in the United States as told by the story of one pioneer family's history. Zebulon Prescott takes his family from New York, heading West in the early 1800s. His children and grandchildren eventually reach the Western shore after years of hardship, war, and struggle.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    The fifty years of American westward expansion between the 1830s and 1880s are viewed through the experiences of the Prescott and Rawlings families, as they migrate by the Erie Canal, continue over the prairies from St. Louis during the California gold rush, suffer through the Civil War, and finally help build the railroads on the plains and bring law and justice to the frontier. Along the way they meet mountain men, journey by wagon train, deal with Native Americans, and face outlaws in the southwest.
    Summary written by scgary66

    Directed by
    John Ford (segment "The Civil War")
    Henry Hathaway (segments "The Rivers", "The Plains" and "The Outlaws")
    George Marshall (segment "The Railroad")
    Richard Thorpe (uncredited) (transitional historical sequences)

    Full Cast
    Carroll Baker .... Eve Prescott Rawlings
    Lee J. Cobb .... Marshal Lou Ramsey
    Henry Fonda .... Jethro Stuart
    Carolyn Jones .... Julie Rawlings
    Karl Malden .... Zebulon Prescott
    Gregory Peck .... Cleve Van Valen
    George Peppard .... Zeb Rawlings
    Robert Preston .... Roger Morgan
    Debbie Reynolds .... Lilith 'Lily' Prescott
    James Stewart .... Linus Rawlings
    Eli Wallach .... Charlie Gant
    John Wayne .... Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
    Richard Widmark .... Mike King
    Brigid Bazlen .... Dora Hawkins
    Walter Brennan .... Col. Jeb Hawkins
    David Brian .... Lilith's attorney
    Andy Devine .... Cpl. Peterson
    Raymond Massey .... Abraham Lincoln
    Agnes Moorehead .... Rebecca Prescott
    Harry Morgan .... Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (as Henry 'Harry' Morgan)
    Thelma Ritter .... Agatha Clegg
    Mickey Shaughnessy .... Deputy Stover
    Russ Tamblyn .... Confederate deserter
    Spencer Tracy .... Narrator (voice)
    Rodolfo Acosta .... Gant gang member (uncredited)
    Mark Allen .... Colin Harvey (uncredited)
    Beulah Archuletta .... Indian woman (uncredited)
    Robert Banas .... Dance Hall Dancer (uncredited)
    Willis Bouchey .... Surgeon (uncredited)
    Charlie Briggs .... Flying Arrow Barker (uncredited)
    Paul Bryar .... Auctioneer's assistant (uncredited)
    Walter Burke .... Wagon poker player (uncredited)
    Polly Burson .... Stock player (uncredited)
    Kim Charney .... Sam Prescott (uncredited)
    Ken Curtis .... Cpl. Ben (uncredited)
    John Damler .... Lawyer (uncredited)
    Christopher Dark .... Poker player with Cleve (uncredited)
    Kem Dibbs .... Blacksmith (uncredited)
    Craig Duncan .... James Marshall (uncredited)
    Ben Black Elk Sr. .... Arapajo chief (uncredited)
    Jay C. Flippen .... Huggins (uncredited)
    Sol Gorss .... River pirate (uncredited)
    Tom Greenway .... (uncredited)
    James Griffith .... Poker player with Cleve (uncredited)
    Barry Harvey .... Angus Harvey (uncredited)
    William Henry .... Staff officer (uncredited)
    Jerry Holmes .... Railroad clerk (uncredited)
    Roy Jenson .... Henchman (uncredited)
    Claude Johnson .... Jeremiah Rawlings (uncredited)
    Jack Lambert .... Gant henchman (uncredited)
    John Larch .... Grimes (uncredited)
    Stanley Livingston .... Prescott Rawlings (uncredited)
    J. Edward McKinley .... Auctioneer (uncredited)
    Harry Monty .... (uncredited)
    Bob Morgan .... Member of train robbery gang (uncredited)
    Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... (uncredited)
    Robert Nash .... Lawyer (uncredited)
    Cliff Osmond .... Bartender (uncredited)
    Tudor Owen .... Parson Alec Harvey (uncredited)
    Harvey Parry .... Henchman (uncredited)
    Jack Pennick .... Cpl. Murphy (uncredited)
    Gil Perkins .... Henchman (uncredited)
    Red Perkins .... Union soldier (uncredited)
    Buddy Red Bow .... Native Man (uncredited)
    Walter Reed .... (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... Officer (uncredited)
    Victor Romito .... Henchman (uncredited)
    Jamie Ross .... Bruce Harvey (uncredited)
    Gene Roth .... Riverboat poker player (uncredited)
    Bryan Russell .... Zeke Prescott (uncredited)
    Danny Sands .... Trapeze man (uncredited)
    Joe Sawyer .... Riverboat officer (uncredited)
    Jeffrey Sayre .... Auction spectator (uncredited)
    Harry Dean Stanton .... Gant henchman (uncredited)
    Clinton Sundberg .... Hylan Seabury (uncredited)
    Karl Swenson .... Train conductor (uncredited)
    Ken Terrell .... River pirate (uncredited)
    Lee Van Cleef .... River pirate (uncredited)
    William Wellman Jr. .... Officer #2 (uncredited)
    Harry Wilson .... Cattleman at barricade (uncredited)
    Carleton Young .... Poker player with Cleve (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    John Gay uncredited
    James R. Webb

    William H. Daniels
    Milton R. Krasner
    Charles Lang
    Joseph LaShelle

    Original Music
    Ken Darby (associate)
    Alfred Newman (also title song) (song title uncredited)

    May Boss .... stunts (uncredited)
    Polly Burson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Everett Creach .... stunts (uncredited)
    John Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
    Richard Farnsworth .... stunts (uncredited)
    Sol Gorss .... stunts (uncredited)
    Fred Graham .... stunts (uncredited)
    Johnny Hagner .... stunts (uncredited)
    Donna Hall .... stunt double: Debbie Reynolds (uncredited)
    Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
    Charles Horvath .... stunts (uncredited)
    Loren Janes .... stunt double: Debbie Reynolds (uncredited)
    Loren Janes .... stunts (uncredited)
    Roy Jenson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Leroy Johnson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Eddie Juaregui .... stunts (uncredited)
    Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
    Ted Mapes .... stunts (uncredited)
    Troy Melton .... stunts (uncredited)
    Louise Montana .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
    Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
    Hal Needham .... stunts (uncredited)
    Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited)
    Gil Perkins .... stunts (uncredited)
    Carl Pitti .... stunts (uncredited)
    Rusty Richards .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Victor Romito .... stunts (uncredited)
    Ronnie Rondell Jr. .... stunts (uncredited)
    Danny Sands .... stunts (uncredited)
    Dean Smith .... stunts (uncredited)
    Richard Talmadge .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
    Bob Terhune .... stunts (uncredited)
    Ken Terrell .... stunts (uncredited)
    Autry Ward .... stunts (uncredited)
    Troy Ward .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jack Williams .... stunts (uncredited)
    Henry Wills .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jack Young .... stunts (uncredited)
    Joe Yrigoyen .... stunts (uncredited)

    Other crew
    Sammy Cahn .... lyricist: "Home in the Meadow" (song title uncredited)
    Ken Darby .... lyricist: title song
    Robert Emmett Dolan .... music adaptor: "Home in the Meadow"
    Robert Emmett Dolan .... music coordinator: "Home in the Meadow"
    Dave Guard .... singer: "The Erie Canal"

    Some stock footage from other (non-Cinerama) epics were used. The Mexican army marching past the Alamo came from The Alamo (1960) and a Civil War battle was taken from Raintree County (1957). The final scenes of the modern U.S. were from This Is Cinerama (1952).

    No ordinary "single-camera" version was filmed simultaneously with the Cinerama version, resulting in two noticeable dividing lines on the non-Cinerama theater prints, video, TV and DVD versions (indicating the three synchronized film strips originally used). The same problem occurred with the other Cinerama film in release at the time, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962), which had not been shot in a "single-camera" version either. Both were MGM films.

    Since the three lenses of the Cinerama camera sat at angles to each other on the camera itself, it was very problematic for actors to film a scene as they would in front of a single-lensed camera. When their images were projected onto the three panels of the Cinerama screen, it would appear as though the actors were looking either slightly up-screen or slightly down-screen, and not directly at their fellow actors. This is very evident in a few scenes in the previous Cinerama film, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962). However, by the time this film went into production, this problem was solved somewhat. In order to compensate for the lens angles, actors would have to look one-third of the way in and toward the camera, and pretend that they were looking at their fellow actors. Hence, when their images were projected onto the Cinerama screen, it would appear as though they were looking at each other. It was a very difficult process for actors, which is one of the reasons that three-panel Cinerama was abandoned for narrative films after this film was released.

    During the Indian attack that was filmed in Lone Pine, California, a Conestoga Wagon tumbles down a hill. In order to create the illusion of the audience being inside of a tumbling wagon, a track was built down the slope of a small hill and the top portion of a Conestoga Wagon, without the wheels, was affixed onto a flatbed along with a mechanism that would turn the wagon over and over as the flatbed was guided down the hill. The Cinerama camera, in turn, was attached to one end of the flatbed so that it could shoot directly through the turning wagon as the stuntmen, including Loren Janes, were tumbled around the insides of the wagon along with boxes, barrels, blankets and other cargo. It took more than two days to prepare the scene and several takes to complete. In the final cut, this scene lasts no more than five seconds on the screen.

    The first non-documentary Cinerama film, it was also one of the last to use the old three-camera technique, resulting in two very visible, somewhat distracting, dividing lines in the non-Cinerama print and all TV and home video versions.

    Hope Lange was cast as a love interest for George Peppard's character, but her scenes were cut from the final print of the film. She portrayed young Julie Stuart, the daughter of Henry Fonda's character, Jethro Stuart. After Lang's scenes were deleted from the film, Julie was later portrayed by Carolyn Jones.

    Stuntman Bob Morgan was seriously injured, and almost died, while performing a stunt in this picture. Toward the end of the film, there is a gunfight on a moving train between the sheriff and a gang of train robbers. Morgan was one of the stuntmen playing a robber and was crouched next to a pile of logs on a flatcar. The chains holding the logs together snapped, and Morgan was crushed by the falling logs. He was so badly hurt it took him five years to recover to the point where he was able to move by himself and walk unaided.

    Due to the detail that would have been shown via the Cinerama process, the costumes had to be sewn by hand, rather than with a sewing machine, as they would have been during the time periods depicted in the movie.

    Debbie Reynolds and George Peppard are the only cast members who appear in three of the five sequences in the film. According to Ms. Reynolds, in an interview for the documentary Cinerama Adventure (2002), her character of Lilith was originally supposed to have drowned in the river. However, it was decided that Lilith would best tie the generations of Prescotts together, so, she remained in the story to become an elderly lady in the film's conclusion.

    One of the few American films to have its world premiere in London, England.

    Because the 2 dividing lines that separate the 3 separate projections could not be totally edited into a seamless match, the directors skillfully used camouflage techniques to disguise the lines. Some of the objects used for this were trees, lamp posts, window edges, porch rails, building corners, doorways and wooden crates which were positioned at these points.

    This was one of only two films made in true Cinerama which were shown in regular theatres after their first runs. None of the previous Cinerama films were ever shown in regular theatres because they were travelogues and documentaries made only to show off the process, as opposed to telling a story, and it would have been pointless to show these in a "regular" format.
    Link this trivia
    The train station in the film at "Gold City" was shot at Perkinsville, Arizona, and is still standing, although in a state of disrepair. It is now the mid stopping point of the Verde Canyon Scenic Railroad. The train station, the town sign and several other smaller buildings still exist.

    A comic book version of this film was published in conjunction with the film's release, as was the practice back then with all family and children's films. In the comic book, when Sheriff Ramsay (Lee J. Cobb) tries to prevent Zeb Rawlings (George Peppard) from going after the outlaw Gant (Eli Wallach), Rawlings whacks Ramsay over the head with his rifle and knocks him unconscious, which explains the bandage on Ramsay's forehead in the next scene. No such explanation is offered in the film; it is as if somebody had edited something out.

    Features more than 12,000 extras, including several Indian tribes.

    Gary Cooper had been offered the role of Linus Rawlings, but died before filming began. James Stewart then accepted the part despite feeling miscast.

    Russ Tamblyn and Bryan Russell also appear on the other 1962 Cinerama film The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962).

    James Stewart offered to play his own dead body in the Civil War story but was refused by John Ford who instead used a double who bore no resemblance to Stewart. When George Peppard imitates Stewart's voice during the grizzly bear reminiscence story he was reprimanded by Ford but yelled back that he wanted the audience to remember that Stewart played his father.

    Spencer Tracy was only able to narrate the film rather than play a part due to his health problems.

    John Wayne had intended to play a character in the part directed by Henry Hathaway, but John Ford insisted he appear in the Civil War sequence.

    As part of their collaboration with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Cinerama agreed to modify their system by reducing the frame rate to 24 frames per second (the industry standard) so that this film would have an exhibition life after its Cinerama engagements.

    Although James Stewart's character was only supposed to be 28 in the movie, Stewart was actually nearly 54 at the time of filming.

    John Wayne shot the key cameo of Gen.Sherman in five days.

    Of the five segments, Henry Hathaway directed "The Rivers", "The Plains" and "The Outlaws", John Ford directed "The Civil War" and George Marshall did "The Railroad". Some uncredited work was done by Richard Thorpe.

    Raymond Massey made a career out of portraying Abraham Lincoln, having played it on stage, on TV ("The Day Lincoln Was Shot") and on film (Spirit of the People (1940)). This film marks the final time he played the President.

    John Ford complained that the sheer breadth of the Cinerama cameras meant that he had to dress his sets to a much wider degree than usual.

    This would later inspire an ABC TV series of the same name that ran for a total of 11 episodes in 1979.

    The top grossing film of 1962.

    Among the stars who were approached to take part in the film but did not were Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, James Cagney, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, 'Shirley Maclaine' and Kim Novak.

    The opening pan across the Rockies is actually an out-take from This Is Cinerama (1952). The same holds true for the closing aerial sweep.

    Spencer Tracy provides the narration. Bing Crosby was originally slated to provide this.

    A lot of the actors were very intimidated by the 3 lens Cinerama camera and felt they had to elevate their performance to something approaching the way one performs on the theatrical stage as opposed to the more subtle style of acting normally required in front of a camera. This is why a lot of the actors in the film come across as being quite over-the-top.

    Debbie Reynolds and Carroll Baker became very good friends whilst making the film.

    Henry Hathaway was famous for his salty language. Debbie Reynolds instigated a swear jar on the set in an effort to curb him of his excesses - every time he swore, she would have to put some coins into the jar. Reynolds ended up losing quite a bit of money.

    The river-rafting sequence was filmed over a period of seven days.

    Cinerama was so expansive, it couldn't really be configured for close-ups. The nearest it could manage was to place a key actor in the central frame and try to get in as close as possible. This proved to be very intimidating for a lot of actors as the camera (an enormous piece of apparatus under a black hood with 3 lenses) would be literally in their face - 18 inches away, to be precise.

    The sequence where the Indians attack the wagon train took 6 weeks to film.

    The riverboat is the same one used in Raintree County (1957).

    An intermission was required to allow the projectionists enough time to re-thread the three projectors and synchronize the sound.

    All four cinematographers were Oscar-winners.

    John Ford's habit was to always sit beside the camera while it was filming so he could watch the action intently. Unfortunately because of the triple lens on the Cinerama camera, he kept appearing in shot until director of photography Joseph LaShelle hit on the idea of building a rig that allowed Ford to sit above the camera.

    The film stock was so expensive that all the actors were asked to know their lines and their marks as thoroughly as possible to cut down on the number of takes.

    The film was inspired by a factual series on the settling of the West of the same name that had appeared in LIFE magazine and which had been followed by a identically titled 2-LP set of western songs sung mostly by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. Many of the songs on the record album were also used in the film soundtrack, like "Bound for the Promised Land" and "What Was Your Name in the States?"

    * Plot holes: There is no explanation of why Sheriff Ramsey is fine in one scene and wearing a bandage on his forehead in the next, immediately following. (there was a deleted or unfilmed scene where Zeb knocked Ramsey out when the Sheriff tried to stop him from going after the train robbers).

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): While she is refusing Morgan's proposal, Lilith's shoulder strap is on/off her shoulder between shots.

    * Revealing mistakes: Tire tracks in the scene where the Indians attack the wagon train.

    * Continuity: Linus Rawlings ('Jimmy Stewart') is depicted as having gray hair. The body of the man they identify as Linus Rawlings to the Civil War surgeon has red hair.

    * Continuity: When Roger Morgan is testing a new whip, he has it in his left hand and then it magically appears in his right hand.

    * Factual errors: When the wagon train on its way to California is attacked by Indians, it is in a mountainous area, yet the Indians are identified as Cheyenne. The Cheyenne tribe was a Great Plains tribe, and would not have been that far west.

    * Plot holes: When Linus meets the Prescott family he says he is going up stream to sell is beaver pelts. The Prescott family is going down stream. The pirates are down stream from the Prescott camp. Linus should have passed the pirates when he came upstream. He couldn't happen upon the pirates when he left the Prescott camp.

    * Revealing mistakes: The scene in which Linus Rawlings (James Stewart) arrives to the Prescott camp it is supposedly at night. However, the illumination and environment shows as if it was daylight.

    * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): (At 53:31) The sign for the California wagon train lists Roger Ward as wagonmaster, but the wagonmaster, played by Robert Preston, is actually named Roger Morgan.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California, USA
    (attack by Indians)
    Badlands National Park, Interior, South Dakota, USA
    Battery Rock, Shawnee National Forest, Illinois, USA
    Bent's Old Fort National Monument - 35110 Highway 194 East, La Junta, Colorado, USA
    Bishop, California, USA
    Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
    Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Chinle, Arizona, USA
    Cave-In-Rock State Park - 1 New State Park Road, Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, USA
    Cedar Mountain, Utah, USA
    Corriganville, Ray Corrigan Ranch, Simi Valley, California, USA
    Cumberland River, Kentucky, USA
    Custer State Park - 13329 U.S. Highway 16A, Custer, South Dakota, USA
    Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, Durango, Colorado, USA
    Duck Creek Village, Duck Creek, Kanab, Utah, USA
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    Grants Pass, Oregon, USA
    High Sierra Mountains, California, USA
    Inyo National Forest - 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop, California, USA
    Lone Pine Campground, Lone Pine, California, USA
    Montrose, Colorado, USA
    Monument Valley, Utah, USA
    Oatman, Arizona, USA
    Ohio River, Kentucky, USA
    Paducah, Kentucky, USA
    Perkinsville, Arizona, USA
    Pinnacles National Monument, Soledad, California, USA
    Rapid City, South Dakota, USA
    Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA
    San Francisco, California, USA
    Scotia, California, USA
    Silverton, Colorado, USA
    Simi, California, USA
    Superior, Arizona, USA
    Tonto National Forest - 2324 East McDowell Road, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Uncompahgre National Forest - 2250 Highway 50, Delta, Colorado, USA
    Verde River railroad bridge, Perkinsville, Arizona, USA
    Whitney Portal Road, Lone Pine Creek Canyon, Lone Pine, California, USA

    Watch this Trailer



    Previous discussion:-
    How The West Was Won

    For continuity, all discussion
    please post here:-
    How the West Was Won

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 12 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • How the West Was Won is a 1962 American epic-Western film.
    The picture was one of the last "old-fashioned" epic films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    to enjoy great success.
    Set between 1839 and 1889, it follows four generations of a family (starting as the Prescotts)
    as they move ever westward, from western New York state to the Pacific Ocean.
    The picture was filmed in the curved-screen three-projector Cinerama process.

    The fundamental idea behind the film was to provide an episodic retelling
    of the progress of westward migration and development of America.
    It was inspired by a much longer and more complex series of historical narratives
    that appeared as a photo essay series, by the same name,
    three years earlier in Life magazine, which is acknowledged in the film’s credits.

    The all-star cast includes (in alphabetical order) Carroll Baker, Walter Brennan,
    Lee J. Cobb, Andy Devine, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, Harry Morgan,
    Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart,
    Eli Wallach, John Wayne
    , and Richard Widmark.
    The film is narrated by Spencer Tracy.

    The movie consists of five segments, three directed by Henry Hathaway ("The Rivers", "The Plains" and "The Outlaws"),
    and one each by John Ford ("The Civil War") and
    George Marshall ("The Railroad"), with transitional sequences by the uncredited Richard Thorpe.
    The screenplay was written by John Gay (uncredited) and James R. Webb.
    Popular western author Louis L'Amour wrote a novelization of the screenplay.

    In 1997, How the West Was Won was selected for preservation
    in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress
    as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
    The score was listed at #25 on AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.

    How the West Was Won, was an expensive, sprawling epic,
    using 3 different directors.
    It was a hugely successful film, and when it was first released, it remained at cinemas,
    not for just a week, but for months and in some cases a couple of years.
    The CINERAMA process, thrilling audiences of all ages.
    I saw it on the big screen, several times!!

    Duke accepted a cameo in this film as a courtesy to John Ford,
    and his involvement, was impersonating Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.
    He worked for 6 days, and his screen time is about three and a half minutes.
    His role is little more than support, in a scene centered around actor George Peppard.

    A brilliant film, with sadly too little of Duke,

    User Review


    More quantity than quality, but a truly all-star cast
    10 April 1999 | by Brian W. Fairbanks ([email protected]) (United States)

    Watching a letterboxed version of "How the West Was Won," I noticed the dividing lines on the screen, and it was clear that much of the picture was still missing even in this format. But neither hindered my enjoyment of this sprawling epic, even if James R. Webb's Oscar winning screenplay left something to be desired. Alfred Newman's music score is terrific, and so is that all-star cast. Unlike those disaster flicks of the 70s like "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno" that claimed to be stuffed with stars but actually boasted "names" (usually familiar performers, primarily from TV, who rarely headlined a first class feature), "How the West Was Won" has the genuine article. John Wayne, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Carroll Baker, and Debbie Reynolds may mean little at the ticket windows of the 90s (and many of them are dead, anyway), but all were above the title stars who carried their own films at the box-office in the early 60s.

    Three directors helmed this project but I'd be hard pressed to distinguish whether John Ford, George Marshall or Henry Hathaway were behind the camera during any particular episode if the opening credits didn't identify each segment and its director. I suppose "How the West Was Won" is more quantity than quality, but it's entertaining overall.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().