WB spends big bucks to complete restoration

Warner Bros. has remastered 1962’s “How the West Was Won,” shot originally in three-screen Cinerama, and sold an exclusive run to the Starz network Encore Westerns.

George Feltenstein, senior VP of theatrical-catalog marketing for Warner Home Video, said the studio spent big bucks (“in the healthy seven figures”) to “stitch together every frame by hand” in order to eliminate the join lines visible in Cinerama-equipped theaters. It took studio technicians six years to complete the restoration of the 162-minute movie.

Encore Westerns will premiere “West” on Aug. 30 simultaneous with its run in the letterbox version on Encore HD on Demand, which will highlight the super-wide 2.89:1 aspect ratio. Encore gets a 10-day jump on the Blu-ray DVD of the new version, which reaches stores Sept. 9.

Also on Sept. 7, the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles will present a one-time-only showing of the original version featuring three projected images on three separate screens.

The saga, which covers the years 1839-89, stars John Wayne, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark and Debbie Reynolds, among others. Three directors worked on separate segments: John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall.

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