Posts from RoughRider in thread „The Big Trail (1930)“

    OK, more info on the home video releases of The Big Trail.

    The initial US home video release of the film in 1988 has a sleeve that says 110 minutes and the VHS itself says approximately 112 minutes. The catalog number is 1362 and the UPC is 086162136238. Being early Fox, it's presented by their Michigan-based subsidiary, Key Video.

    The film ends up to be 121m:28s including exit music. It's the same print as the 1990 UK VHS release (which has the same catalog number) but has subtitles for sections where the audio can't be heard. The exit music doesn't appear on the UK VHS either. Confusing, huh? It looks like the audio was restored in the two years in between.

    So these early VHS releases are the same as the Fox Movie Channel print except not widescreen. The FMC print doesn't have exit music to my knowledge (at least not my copy).

    The 1988 US VHS was repackaged with new cover art in 1993 and retained the same catalog and UPC numbers. I don't know what's actually on that edition, though, nor the final VHS incarnation that has a different cover and catalog/UPC number. In any case, I wouldn't believe the running time printed on the jacket or tape.

    The first UK DVD of the film has a catalog number of 1362DVD, but it has been confirmed to be the standard 108-minute version released on DVD worldwide.

    I've been told that the really long version of The Big Trail was never released theatrically, that the film premiered in Grandeur at 125 minutes. So what's missing compared to the FMC and early VHS prints would only be a few minutes. Evidently this remaining footage still exists but is in rough shape, especially the soundtrack.


    Originally posted by Senta@Dec 8 2006, 12:00 PM
    [ATTACH]1134] I spent almost half an hour trying to add this attachments - don't know why.


    So I now have the catalog and UPC numbers, and know the tape has a 'making of' documentary which isn't mentioned on the sleeve.

    Thank you, Senta.

    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.


    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).


    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.
    Senta :rolleyes:


    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).

    It's usually on the spine of the box. Is it a Fox VHS? Please scan front and back.



    Originally posted by Senta@Nov 7 2006, 03:57 PM
    i got it today at last, I got it. On VHS 110 min, with Making of documentary at the beginning :rolleyes:


    Hello, Senta

    I'm curious... what VHS do you have of The Big Trail that includes the documentary?

    Can you provide details like the UPC and catalog numbers?


    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.

    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

    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.

    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

    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.

    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

    Thanks for VHS details.

    Amazon UK had two copies of The Big Trail available from affiliate sellers, so I bought one. It's listed under the same VHS cover you show but with a 1998 release date. There's always the chance what I get won't reflect the cover shown, in which case it might not be the 116-minute version that you verified. It might be the cover shown on The John Wayne Film Society, which I assume is the newer VHS release.

    Since the UK DVD is 103 minutes (PAL), I imagine Fox would have released it to VHS as well. The back of the UK DVD says 'Approx 103 Minutes' and I've verified it to be the same print as the US DVD (right to the second). But it's obvious that Fox UK released a longer version on home video in 1990. Unless, of course, you were mistaken in your time calculation of the film from start to finish, and the BBFC's video running time of 116m:35s included trailers.

    I should note that PAL running times can get confusing. Some DVDs are encoded in such a way that there's no 4% PAL speedup. For example, the UK DVD of Lady from Louisiana plays back at exactly the same speed as NTSC (film time). The box says approximately 83 minutes and that's what it is in real time. So for some PAL videos, taking the running time and multiplying by 1.04 to get real film time isn't applicable. I think this would apply only to DVD which is purely digital as opposed to analog VHS. So in the case of Lady from Louisiana, if I play the DVD on my computer with WinDVD's 'PAL TruSpeed' feature turned on, the film plays 4% too fast. I verified this by syncing the UK DVD with a DVD-R culled from the American VHS -- they're exactly the same running time. The DVD is just digital data, and I guess it's up to the player's decoder to output either a PAL or NTSC signal.

    Another example is the UK DVD of The Magnificent Showman which syncs perfectly with the NTSC DVD I have under the title Circus World, all without compensating for PAL speedup. Other UK DVDs, though, have to be sped up to see real film time (like The Big Trail). This understanding of PAL is important because it can alter the true running time of a film. But as mentioned, I don't think this applies to VHS although I could be wrong. A VHS running 116m:35s in PAL should be equivalent to 121m:26s in NTSC.

    I'll post an update once I have the UK VHS converted to NTSC and do sync tests to verify the running time.


    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

    An update on the UK video version of The Big Trail.

    I ordered the RC2 DVD from Amazon UK which lists the running time as 116 minutes, just like the VHS version mentioned earlier in this thread -- the one confirmed to be 116 in PAL (or 121 in NTSC film time). I was disappointed to discover that the RC2 DVD has exactly the same running time as the RC1 version (108 minutes NTSC).

    It seems, then, that the UK VHS is the one running 116 minutes in PAL and subsequent video releases on DVD used the shorter version. But the DVD Amazon UK sent me has the newer cover, the one saying Studio Classics at the top. The previous UK DVD, released in 2003, has a different cover and is listed at 116 minutes, too (probably a mistake by Amazon just like the newer version).

    It looks like I'll have to order the UK VHS of the film and convert it to NTSC then DVD-R, and see for myself. If ethanedwards hadn't confirmed the VHS's running time, I would have assumed it was a mistake in the Amazon listing just like the DVD. Actually I would still be curious because the VHS was passed for UK certification in 1990 at 116m:35s.

    ethanedward: what date and catalogue number (or other identifiers) appears on your UK VHS? There's always the chance the one I get will have a different cover and shorter running time, although Amazon UK lists only one VHS version, from CBS/Fox dated 1998. Does yours have the same cover as listed on Amazon UK? If the VHS was passed for certification in 1990, there may have been more than one version subsequently released. If so, it would have to be a shorter version because a longer one would require re-certification.



    Originally posted by RoughRider@Oct 9 2006, 09:17 AM
    This is a rare case where a RC2 DVD of Wayne's is longer than the RC1 equivalent. I think a few of his 1940's Republic films (e.g. Dakota) are a few minutes longer than their American counterparts, too. But this is something I'm looking into and need to confirm.

    I'll quote myself here... never mind about some of the Republic films from the 1940's being longer in the UK. For some reason, obviously confusion, Amazon UK lists a number of VHS running times that reflect the actual duration in the theatre (or NTSC)--not the time it should be for a PAL video. It gets confusing when they mix PAL and NTSC times.


    Hello, ethanedwards

    OK, no exit music then.

    Yeah, the end credits these days are longer than some of Wayne's B-movies!

    I suspect the longer UK version of The Big Trail is because of language. The shorter RC1 DVD also has a Spanish soundtrack whereas the RC2 doesn't. But why Fox didn't add a Spanish soundtrack to the longer version and release it over here on RC1 is beyond me.

    This is a rare case where a RC2 DVD of Wayne's is longer than the RC1 equivalent. I think a few of his 1940's Republic films (e.g. Dakota) are a few minutes longer than their American counterparts, too. But this is something I'm looking into and need to confirm.


    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

    Thanks, ethanedwards!

    I checked out Amazon UK and see that the UK DVD of The Big Trail is the same as the UK VHS, 116 minutes.

    So based on what you said of the VHS (the trailers not being part of the 116-minute PAL running time), the UK video release of The Big Trail is 13 minutes longer in real film time than the American video release, and about the same time as the Fox Movie Channel print.

    For the sake of comparison:

    - Fox RC1 DVD/VHS: 1.33:1; 108m:08s including exit music (equivalent to 103m:48s in PAL)
    - Fox Movie Channel print: 2.00:1; 119m:55s (equivalent to 115m:07s in PAL)
    - Fox RC2 DVD/VHS: 1.33:1; 116m:35s (equivalent to 121m:26s in NTSC)

    Can someone with the UK DVD of The Big Trail confirm the running time minus extraneous modern-day intros? In other words, is it 116m:35s of pure film? (This sounds like a silly question but I'm picky to a fault.) Also, does the UK DVD/VHS have exit music?


    John Wayne on DVD: A Filmography

    Hello, and thanks for responding.

    So the PAL VHS (116 minutes) is equivalent to 121 minutes. That's about the same time as the Fox Movie Channel widescreen print shown in the US. Is the UK VHS in widescreen? Can you get the exact running time of the pure film with no extras? That's a little tricky if it's a VHS, of course, but perhaps you tranferred it to DVD which allows viewing total time to the second. The UK video was certified for release at 116m:35s in PAL, which is about 121m:30s in NTSC. But there could be extra stuff that added a few minutes.

    Although The Big Trail was in different incarnations, it was certified for a 1930 UK release at 109m:54s, pretty close to the DVD's running time. John Wayne at the Movies says the UK release was 99 minutes, so it was obviously cut further.

    Many sources say the film was initially 158 minutes for the widescreen version and 125 minutes for the standard version. It was copyrighted, though, at 13,000 feet which is about 144 minutes.

    The NTSC VHS is the full-frame 108-minute version like the DVD. So I'm most curious about the different UK VHS release, especially if it was widescreen and how long the pure film was.


    I would like to know about the UK VHS version of The Big Trail released by Fox. It's listed on Amazon UK at 116 minutes (PAL) which is 121 minutes NTSC. The DVD runs runs 108 minutes (NTSC). Is the UK VHS the same widescreen print that runs on the Fox Movie Channel? Even if it isn't, is the UK video version really 121 minutes (in NTSC and film time) or does it include extras?

    Keith responded in another topic that the UK VHS box does indeed say 116 minutes, and then I was directed to this topic. But is this pure film or does it include extras? Keith?

    Any info would be appreciated. Nothing would surprise me, especially since, for instance, the UK DVD of Without Reservations (1946) is six minutes longer than the heavily cut US print (VHS, LaserDisc and TCM library print; there's no RC1 DVD).