The Large Image
- John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Henry Fonda appeared collectively for the primary and final time within the 1962 traditional movie How the West Was Gained.
- How the West Was Gained is an epic household saga that spans many years of Westward growth, masking vital occasions in American historical past.
- The movie was the first-ever full-length function movie to make use of the Cinerama course of, a pioneering widescreen know-how.
There isn’t a doubt that John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Henry Fonda are three of Hollywood’s biggest stars. They individually made many classics however not often labored collectively. However do you know that there’s a Western that the trio appeared in collectively? Though they did not meet onscreen, the threesome appeared collectively for the primary and final time within the star-studded triple Oscar-winning 1962 traditional, How the West Was Gained. This movie had the distinctive distinction of being directed by three of Hollywood’s best directors, who additionally shared the glory of constructing the first-ever full-length function movie utilizing the Cinerama process. How the West Was Gained comprised 5 interrelated segments, with Henry Hathaway directing three of them, whereas John Ford and George Marshall directed one phase every.
How the West Was Gained
A household saga masking a number of many years of Westward growth within the nineteenth century, together with the Gold Rush, the Civil Conflict, and the constructing of the railroads.
- Launch Date
- February 20, 1963
- John Ford , Henry Hathaway , George Marshall , Richard Thorpe
- Carroll Baker , Lee J. Cobb , Henry Fonda , Carolyn Jones , Karl Malden , gregory peck
- 164 minutes
- James R. Webb , John Homosexual
What Is ‘How the West Was Gained’ About?
How the West Was Gained is an American fictionalized historic account of the interval between the good westward migration and the institution of regulation and order within the Wild West. The movie follows three generations of the Prescott household throughout many years, spanning vital American historical past occasions, just like the Gold Rush, the Civil Conflict, and the development of the railroads. This epic journey is instructed via the lens of the Prescott household, starting with Zebulon (Karl Malden) and his spouse, Rebecca (Agnes Moorehead), who tragically perish of their seek for a greater life.
To indicate how harmful the journey west was within the 1830s, the primary chapter, “The Rivers,” directed by Henry Hathaway, depicts the perils of navigating rivers. The chapter captures Zebulon and his household’s hardships and adventures as they make their means westward. It’s on this chapter that Jimmy Stewart is launched, enjoying reverse Carroll Baker because the frontiers of Wild West love blossom. The second chapter, additionally directed by Hathaway and titled “The Plains,” covers the subsequent era of the Prescotts and focuses on one of many daughters, who initially decides to return east however later finds herself in St. Louis. Debbie Reynolds as Lilith Prescott groups up with another Western genre pioneer Gregory Peck as Lilith’s broke and opportunistic love curiosity, and follows their drive to make it in life regardless of the chances. “The Plains” is about within the early 1850s.
It was love at first sight, till demise did they half.
The third chapter, “The Civil Conflict,” directed by John Ford, is about in opposition to the backdrop of the American Civil Conflict and supplies a bridge between the tales of The Prescotts’ daughters and their kids. This chapter follows Zeb Rawlins (George Peppard), the son of Jimmy Stewart and Carroll Baker’s characters, as he enlists and fights for the Union within the struggle. It additionally introduces John Wayne to the movie. George Marshall’s “The Railroad” phase, set within the late 1860s, captures the competitors between railroad strains as they carve up new territories. Henry Fonda joins the fray on this chapter, reprising his function as an American on-screen father figure, serving as Zeb’s information within the absence of his father. The ultimate chapter, “The Outlaws,” directed by Hathaway, is about within the late Eighties and serves because the fruits of the Prescott household’s journey as they settle within the West. We see the surviving members reflecting on their previous and witnessing the emergence of a tamed West that thrives below the rule of regulation.
‘How the West Was Gained’ Is John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, & Henry Fonda’s Solely Film Collectively
Bing Crosby, the legendary multimedia star, approached MGM in 1960 with a proposition to develop a tv showstopper based on photographs of the Wild West appearing in Life magazine. Alongside the venture, he recorded an album of the identical title, How the West Was Gained, meaning to donate a number of the proceeds to St. John’s Hospital. MGM purchased the rights to the movie. The preliminary plan was to movie six segments that includes twelve-star actors of the time, together with Bing Crosby himself, Gary Cooper, and others. Cooper, who died of cancer before filming began, was changed by Jimmy Stewart.
In the long run, How the West Was Gained ultimately featured an A-list forged of heavyweights: John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Henry Fonda, alongside Singin’ in the Rain star Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck, and Harry Morgan, amongst different seasoned actors. Though John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Henry Fonda don’t seem in any scene collectively, their presence within the movie is palpable.
Who Does Jimmy Stewart Play in ‘How the West Was Gained’?
Jimmy Stewart is the primary of the trio to seem. In contrast to in his previous Westerns the place his characters gave the impression to be accountable for their future, like Grant McClaine in Night time Passage, for which he broke his working relationship with Anthony Mann, in How the West Was Gained, Stewart’s character seems considerably misplaced. He portrays Linus Rawlings, a stressed lone traveler within the Wild West referred to as “the mountain man,” in Henry Hathaway’s opening chapter “The Rivers.” Stewart portrays Rawlings prominently on this chapter, buying and selling furs and encountering the Prescotts, who’re tenting earlier than embarking on their westward journey. He instantly develops a romantic reference to Eve Prescott, considered one of Zebulon’s daughters.
Regardless of going through his struggles throughout his lonesome adventures, Rawlings later reunites with the Prescotts and helps them defend themselves in opposition to pirates, with whom he additionally has a bone to chew after they stole his “beavers.” Finally, captivated with love, he abandons his extra adventurous life and settles down with the equally cussed Eve. His story culminates within the John Ford-directed chapter “The Civil Conflict,” the place he represents a statistic on the human value of the struggle that cemented the institution of the U.S. Stewart felt miscast for the function, because the function was initially written for a 28-year-old, and his onscreen love curiosity, Caroll Baker, was considerably youthful than his fifty-three years on the time of filming. This age distinction is perceptible within the movie, contemplating how energetic and wild his function calls for. Nonetheless, Stewart delivers a strong performance and stays one of the vital memorable characters within the movie.
Who Does John Wayne Play in ‘How the West Was Gained’?
As Stewart exits the display screen, John Wayne enters. Wayne portrays Normal William Sherman, a real-life determine within the Civil Conflict famend for his strategic prowess. In How the West Was Gained, Wayne’s character seems solely within the pivotal Battle of Shiloh, the place he performs a key function in securing an inconceivable victory for the Union troopers. On this battle sequence, director John Ford, with whom Wayne collaborated on a record of fourteen films, subtly questions the rationale behind the struggle. The scene additionally displays on the person contributions made throughout such historic instances, with Wayne’s Normal Sherman offering essential encouragement to his low-on-confidence compatriot, Normal Ulysses S. Grant, performed by Harry Morgan. Sherman’s poignant assertion, “The military is best off with you than with out you,” resonates deeply not solely with Grant but in addition with Zeb Prescott, who grapples with the identical query in regards to the which means of struggle. Whereas John Wayne’s look is fleeting, his presence leaves an indelible mark. Though Wayne and Stewart share the “The Civil Conflict” phase, their characters’ narrative connection is established via Stewart’s on-screen son, Zeb. It’s Zeb who saves the lives of each generals by eliminating a Accomplice soldier in search of to take advantage of their proximity to achieve private glory.
Who Does Henry Fonda Play in ‘How the West Was Gained’?
Henry Fonda joins the fray a lot later, portraying Jethro Stuart alongside John Stewart’s onscreen son, Zeb, who has now joined the US Cavalry. Zeb acts as a peace ambassador between the railroad building firm and Indigenous People. Fonda, reprising his iconic everyman persona, embodies Jethro Stuart as a humane and justice-seeking particular person. By his interactions with Zeb, Jethro guides the younger cavalryman towards doing the correct factor and upholding the guarantees made within the peace settlement with the Indigenous folks. Witnessing his superior renege on these guarantees, Zeb experiences an inside battle that makes him resign from his place, which fuels his character arc.
‘How the West Was Gained’ Was a Technological Pioneer of Cinerama Filmmaking
How the West Was Gained was the first feature film shot with the innovative Cinerama process. With the tv business gaining reputation, Cinerama emerged as a groundbreaking widescreen movie experience. Using three synchronized projectors and an enormous curved display screen, it was marketed as a particular theatrical occasion requiring reserved seats and formal apparel. Whereas the image high quality on the curved display screen was beautiful, changing it for smaller screens proved problematic.
Throughout the manufacturing of How the West Was Gained, filmmakers confronted quite a few challenges with the Cinerama know-how. In keeping with the e book Take One by Unicorn Publishers, Henry Hathaway remarked, “That damned Cinerama! Have you learnt a waist shot is as shut as you may get with that factor?” Certainly, seeing the movie confirms Hathaway’s assertion – close-ups are scarce. The identical e book quotes John Ford complaining in regards to the tedious issue of dressing giant units for the know-how’s super-wide photographs. As reported in The New York Times, How the West Was Gained producer Bernard Smith defined:
“It’s important for our functions that nearly the entire film be shot outdoor. All through the movie, one of many fundamental themes is to indicate little folks in opposition to an enormous nation – large deserts, infinite plains, towering mountains, and broad rivers. We wish to seize the spirit of journey, the stressed spirit that led these women and men throughout the nation within the face of many difficulties and risks.”
A harder downside with the know-how was the way it impacted filming. Filming for Cinerama was tough as a result of actors needed to be positioned in unnatural methods, making them look misplaced and disconnected from one another. This was as a result of the ultimate image was constructed from three separate movies projected collectively. Solely when proven on a particular curved Cinerama display screen did the actors seem like taking a look at one another and interacting naturally. On an everyday flat display screen, it could appear to be they’d no eye contact.
How the West Was Gained was a industrial success regardless of its staggering $12 million funds reported by The Wall Street Journal. The film grossed over $46 million at the domestic box office, and made greater than $50 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing movie of 1963. It earned eight Academy Award nominations, profitable three of them. With its grandeur, How the West Was Gained stays an epic traditional that showcases a number of the greatest works that Hollywood has delivered. Directed by three of cinema’s greatest minds, How the West Was Gained additionally stands out because the movie that had three of one of the best skills on-screen showing in the identical film.
How the West Was Gained is obtainable to hire on Apple TV+ and Prime Video within the U.S.