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Big Trail-Fox Grandeur Special Ed

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Finally-the Grandeur print!

by Jeff on 6/3/2008

I remember seeing this version in the presence of the John Wayne family and the look on Pat Wayne's face as he watched his then 22-year old father make his starring debut was wondrous. The film is as much, with the exception of Tyrone Power, Sr.(who looks nothing like his moviestar son), who gives what might be the worst performance in a major studio film from the first half of the 20th century. Even he cannot detract from the astounding compositions that director Raoul Walsh (WHITE HEAT, THE ROARING TWENTIES) captured on 70mm film in 1929-30. In short the story of a wagon train going from Missouri to the wilds of Oregon and the trials and tribulations both natural and manmade they encounter on the way, there are scenes in this film that are still jaw dropping almost 80 years later-the lowering of the wagons over a cliff, a river crossing (both just as harrowing in real life as they were onscreen as they pretty much had to do it the same way the pioneers did it), an indian attack, and forests primevil. The sound may be a little tinny (the standard version actually has a little more oomph in the sound) but the print is gorgeous and Wayne-although a little green-already has the screen presence that would make him the biggest movie star ever. A must have!

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Product Overview

One of the first big-screen Western epics, The Big Trail helped establish a then almost unknown John Wayne as the "Duke". In this sweeping pioneer adventure, a courageous young scout (Wayne) leads hundreds of settlers across treacherous cliffs, through brutal snowstorms, Indian attacks and buffalo stampedes to their destiny out west. Along the way, he loses his heart to a beautiful pioneer woman (Marguerite Churchill) whose love he never stops trying to win. Tyrone Power Sr. also stars in this visually spectacular classic that remains one of the greatest movies of its genre.


Studio Foxvideo
SKU 207325558
UPC 024543519300
UPC 14 00024543519300
Format DVD
Release Date 8/19/2014
Rating NR
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen/Standard  2.10:1/1.33:1 [4:3]
Name Wayne,John
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Arthur Edeson - Cinematographer
Hal G. Evarts - Based On Story By
Jack Dennis - Editor
John Wayne - Actor
Lucien N. Andriot - Cinematographer
Marguerite Churchill - Actor
Marie Boyle, et. al. - Screenplay
R.H. Bassett, et. al. - Original Music By
Raoul Walsh - Director
Tully Marshall - Actor
Tyrone Power, Sr. - Actor
Winfield R. Sheehan, et. al. - Producer
ReviewSource Variety
Review A big screen effort [based on a story by Hal G. Evarts] and an elegantly directed job by Raoul Walsh. But the recurrence of the same things, interrupted now and then by a 'big scene', such as the river or cliff crossing, or El Brendel's dragged-in comedy with his mother-in-law, or the simple romance and the silly melodrama, commences to weary...This leaves the historical portion, the Oregon trail, as the single interesting part...Young John Wayne, wholly inexperienced, shows it, but also suggests he can be built up. He certainly has a great start as the lead role in a $2 million production...Marguerite Churchill is set much in the same key, with not a great deal to do. Hers is mostly a silent role through being continually in a scrap with her sweetheart (Wayne) and not speaking to him...The widescreen Grandeur [process] seems to dim the photography; leaves ensemble scenes indistinct, except for figure or form.
ReviewRating 7
ReviewSource Film Freak Central
Review The Big Trail is the kind of movie that comes wrapped in a big piece of butcher's paper with the word WESTERN stamped on it. It offers the barest structural skeleton of the genre, with pioneers fulfilling their Manifest Destiny over terrain both harsh and unforgiving, and it sticks with its forward march to Oregon with only minor narrative flourishes to distract from the standard-issue myth of America...The film devotes all of its visuals to showing the vast space of the nation being founded. Terrain is very big in The Big Trail, on the level of both story and image--part of its purpose is to cover as varied a series of surroundings as possible, both to impress on us the hardship of the settlers and the unthinking awe at the might of the land of the free. Somehow, the limited camera positions of early sound filmmaking only enhance this, requiring many wide shots that consequently swallow up the figures in land and surroundings. Director Raoul Walsh also has a keen eye for stunning vistas, ensuring that feeling of being in the sweet arms of America (even as it thins your ranks), adding up to an auto-pilot reverie that would be unthinkable just ten years later. I can't say that it makes for crackerjack storytelling, but as a throwback to a bygone era it's probably priceless, and worth seeing at least for specialist purposes.
Reviewer Travis Hoover
ReviewRating 8
DVD, Widescreen, English, Spanish, Subtitled, Dubbed
Product Attributes
Actor Wayne,John
Label Fox Home Entertainment
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Barrie Maxwell, DVD Verdict The most impressive aspect of The Big Trail is the sheer spectacle that it presents.
Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews ...does a wonderful job in showing the impressively vast landscapes...offers a look at the early primitive methods of filmmaking...
Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide ...remains one of the most impressive early talkies...
Michael E. Grost, Classic Film & Television Visually spectacular early sound Western...
The Motion Picture Guide Walsh's direction is superb as he captures the thrilling outdoor action in this epic...

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Finally-the Grandeur print! by Jeff on Jun 03, 2008