Cinerama: How the West Was Won
Cinerama, the Imax of the 1950s, revolutionized the nature of the movies, and How the West Was Won (1962) was the last and best true Cinerama film. Nothing before or since has quite matched the immersive effect of three synchronized projectors and a giant, curved screen.
How the West Was Won's multigenerational story is hokey fun (and simplistic history), but the real pleasure is in the spectacle, whether it's a buffalo stampede, a train wreck, or a tracking shot through an old river town.
Since Cinerama was designed for a curved screen, it loses a lot on a flat one. Warner Brothers provides two different versions of the movie: a conventional letterbox edition and a special "smilebox" transfer that simulates the original curvature. Both make for wonderful viewing, but the smilebox version gives a better sense of what Cinerama was like--especially if you have the luxury of viewing it on a large HDTV.
Republished with permission from PC World (view original version)