The Big Trail (1930)

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  • A PAL VHS won't play at all in a standard NTSC player, so the video formats are entirely different. A PAL VHS should play back at 25fps, though. That is, the running time will be shorter. But then again, I thought this of DVD too. But being digital, a film can be encoded in such a way that it doesn't matter what television standard is used: the DVD player's hardware reads the digital data and converts it to whatever display is being used.


    As mentioned, some DVDs don't have PAL speed-up. Technically I don't fully understand this fact. My assumption is that they are encoded in a different way, perhaps progressively where each frame in a film is a single digital frame and not interlaced (two fields to create one frame). The player's hardware takes this data and then outputs it to whatever standard is being used (PAL or NTSC). So for some DVDs (at least the way I see it), the only thing that makes them PAL is the physical resolution.


    But perhaps some VHSes don't have PAL speed-up either. I imagine there are different ways a film can get telecined to VHS. I also have the UK VHS of Reunion in France on order. The BBFC lists the UK video as 99m:50s, which in NTSC would be 103m:59s (the length of the actual uncut film). The offical American VHS and TCM print runs 98m:46s.


    It should be noted that the early NTSC VHS of The Big Trail has the same catalogue number as the UK VHS (#1362), but it's listed over here as 110 minutes instead of 116. (Fox lists the DVD on their online store as 110 minutes, too, but it's actually 108.) If they have the same Fox catalogue number, they should be exactly the same film.


    In any case, I'll get to the bottom of this mystery once the UK VHS is in my hands and converted to an NTSC VHS, then to DVD-R (the same with Reunion in France). For The Big Trail I'll do sync tests with the official DVD release. Such tests can be confirmed using the WinDVD player which has a feature called 'PAL TruSpeed'. Mind you, if the UK version is either 8 minutes longer (no PAL speed-up) or 13-14 minutes longer (compensating for PAL speed-up), the difference will be obvious because of additional scenes not on the DVD.


    RoughRider
    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

  • I just watched it for the 2nd time in two days. Its a excellent film indeed. And yes, Mine also kinda exits quickly after 'The End'. The Big Trail is a good starting point for a person like me who is just really getting into John Wayne Movies. I've seen plenty of others over the years, but I cannot recall of the names of them. But really I'm just getting started as far as wanting to watch them all go's. I would love to eventualy own and watch them all.


  • Hi Rough Rider,
    I never thought that PAl and NTSC is the question of speed. Mine VHS player plays both, as well as DVD player.
    Regards,
    Senta :rolleyes:


  • You must have a multi-system VHS player that plays both PAL and NTSC. In Canada and the US such players aren't common. As for RC1 DVD players, most will convert PAL to NTSC, with some models better than others. I think the rest of the world is better equipped for both formats, including TVs that can sync to both correctly.


    Speed is a factor when it comes to PAL versus NTSC, but not always. As another example, I just bought the UK DVD of The Green Berets because it's anamorphic and the RC1 isn't. It's 136 minutes but with PAL compensation it's 142 minutes -- just like the NTSC version. They're the same film right to the second.


    But with PAL it's difficult to notice the 4% speed-up, so to verify things I synced the RC1 (NTSC) with the RC2 (PAL) and watched sections of the film. Both versions of The Green Berets stayed in sync when the RC2 was played in WinDVD with 'PAL TruSpeed' turned on; turned off the film played 4% too fast (visually and audibly confirmed because I had something to compare).


    My region-free DVD player, the one connected to my TV, will therefore play the RC2 disc 4% faster as it gets converted to NTSC. But other RC2 PAL discs don't have speed-up, so one can't make a blanket statement about PAL.


    To determine if PAL speed-up is present, you can generally tell if a running time is 4% shorter. For instance, if you know your favorite film is 100 minutes and the PAL video you have is 96 minutes, it most likely has PAL speed-up. The film could be cut, but because it's your favorite film, you know it isn't. So for my PAL videos I always do sync tests in conjunction with a timecode calculator, which is much simpler than having intimate knowledge of a film and all its scenes.


    So, yes, PAL and NTSC can be a question of speed. It's just that generally you won't notice it. But it's important when listing correct running times for foreign versions of a film. The early UK VHS of The Big Trail is a good example, which based on what was said here is the longer version. But does the 116-minute running time reflect PAL speed-up or not? To me that's important.


    And speaking of that UK VHS, I received mine yesterday. Unfortunately it's the newer release with a catalogue number of 1362S instead of just 1362; the running time on the case says 110 minutes. So even without converting the tape to NTSC, I know this is probably the standard 108-minute version currently available on DVD in the UK and US. (The UK DVD is 103 minutes but has PAL speed-up.) My assumption also means that the VHS probably doesn't have PAL speed-up.


    But I've tracked down a copy with the 1362 catalogue number, the one that says CBS/Fox and has a different cover (the one ethanedwards posted). The copy I have is dated 1998, but the early version was released on UK home video in 1990 -- hopefully this is the one I'll get.


    RoughRider
    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

  • Hi all,
    I watched The Big Trail and was really surprised how good it is as a movie. I like Walshs movies and this one too - a real epic. And it is really hard to imagine that it was filmed in 1930.
    And Duke was really good for his part.
    I like the slow pace of the movie and beautiful locations.
    On my VHs there is also very fine documentary about making The Big Trail.
    Regards,
    Senta

  • Hi all,
    I watched The Big Trail and was really surprised how good it is as a movie. I like Walshs movies and this one too - a real epic. And it is really hard to imagine that it was filmed in 1930.
    And Duke was really good for his part.
    I like the slow pace of the movie and beautiful locations.
    On my VHs there is also very fine documentary about making The Big Trail.
    Regards,
    Senta

  • Duke's Movie Locations- The Big Trail


    Buttercup Dunes, Imperial County, California, USA


    Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA


    Grand Teton Pass, Wyoming, USA


    Hurricane Bluffs, Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, USA


    Imperial County, California, USA


    Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA


    Moisie, Montana, USA


    Oregon, USA


    Sacramento River, California, USA


    Sacramento, California, USA


    Sequoia National Park - 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, California, USA


    St. George, Utah, USA


    Yuma, Arizona, USA

    Best Wishes
    Keith
    London- England

  • Hello, Keith and all.


    I received The Big Trail, the UK VHS listed as approximately 116 minutes. If you remember, I initially received the UK VHS listed as approximately 110 minutes (no PAL speed-up present) with a different cover--the same 108-minute print Fox distributes on DVD. But the older UK Fox VHS is the 120-minute version (compensating for PAL speed-up which is present). It's the same 120-minute version shown on the Fox Movie Channel except the VHS is full-frame. So it's 12 minutes longer than what is currently available on home video; actually almost 14 minutes longer because there's no exit music on the VHS.


    The older UK VHS is the one to get. It has the Fox catalogue number 1362; the newer, shorter Fox VHS is 1362S. Maybe the 'S' means shortened? Both versions share the same UPC number, 5013738136250, so don't use that to indentify the different prints.


    Although first released in the UK on VHS in 1990, my VHS has both a 1990 and 1996 copyright statement. The shorter VHS has a 1998 copyright, so in between that time Fox UK shortened the film. I don't know whether the longer version was ever released on VHS in NTSC. The 1993 NTSC release is listed as 110 minutes, but I don't know if something appeared before that time.


    It's always interesting to see what gets cut in a shorter version. The DVD has two minutes cut in the first 10 minutes compared to the early UK VHS, so things start getting chopped right away.


    RoughRider
    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Senta@Dec 5 2006, 07:06 AM
    Hi, I shall scan later today. The number on the spine is 0869130 MONO. Yes, 20th Century Fox Home Entertaiment. Renewed on 1957.
    Regards,
    Senta :rolleyes:

    [snapback]37511[/snapback]



    0869130 is the catalog number of the current (now out of print) VHS of The Big Trail.


    So it has a documentary... approximately how long is it? I wonder why it wasn't included on the DVD.


    Don't bother with the scan, Senta, since I'll get the VHS from eBay (just for the documentary).

  • An addendum to The Big Trail on VHS.


    I just converted another official UK VHS of The Big Trail from PAL to NTSC, the one with catalog number 1362S instead of 1362. When I received the tape and saw "approximately 110 minutes" on the sleeve, I thought this was the wrong edition so never bothered with an NTSC conversion. Well, the other day I did it anyway and found it's exactly the same 116-minute (with PAL speed-up) version released with catalog number 1362. So both UK VHSes (shown below) are the same, right down to the trailers before the film starts.


    [ATTACH]1114]


    My next goal is to investigate the first official NTSC VHS of The Big Trail, released by Key Video (a division of CBS/Fox) in 1988. It reportedly also has a catalog number of 1362 with a running time of 112 minutes. Any shorter versions are of little importance, but I'm most curious.


    The first UK DVD of The Big Trail, released in 2003, also has a catalog number of 1362 but is followed by 'DVD' (1362DVD). The newer UK DVD, released in 2005, has a catalog number of 0136201009 but has been confirmed to be 103 minutes (with PAL speed-up).