Panavison movie "HOW THE WEST WAS WON"

I just saw this movie last night , on PBS. For its day, it was pretty good. The plot was a bit weak, but the score and photograpy saved it. I am curious about the “Panavision” process-because the image is so wide, it has to be shown in letterbox format on standard TV receivers. You can clearly make out the three images-how many theatres were equipped to show Panavision films?
Will HTDV receivers be able to shoe this format?
Finally, who wrote the score for this flick?

How the West was Won was not shot in Panavision, but in Cinerama. While Panavision uses lenses to “squeeze” the image, and other lenses to “unsqueeze” it, Cinerama used three synchronized cameras capturing different parts of the scene. As you saw, they overlap a little at the edges.

IIRC, Panavision does not use anamorphic lenses to squeeze more picture into the frame. Its gimmick was that it turns the picture on its side, fitting a wide angle onto a longer segment of film (hence its nickname, Lazy 8, or 8 perforations per frame turned on its side). This rundown may help. It notes that Cinerama required anamorphic lenses with different distortions, since the image was projected on a curved screen.

Oh, and the score was by the reliable Alfred Newman, as the Internet Movie Database would be happy to tell you.

One more thing: I just confused Panavision with Vistavision (Lazy 8), which was never very popular on account of its sideways format.

Damn! You beat me to it. I’ll just say that most “scope” (as opposed to “flat”) movies are still filmed in Panavision, and Johnny LA has the description accurate. I’ve only seen two movies in VistaVision (both on TV, not a theater.) One was White Christmas, and I can’t remember the other one…I want to say Houseboat, with Cary Grant, but I could be wrong.

VV, the only one allowed to point out my own idiocy is me! :slight_smile:

So, to clarify, Panavision does in fact use a distorting lens, though I gather it’s not strictly anamorphic. Optical geeks will have to explain the difference.

I do recall that Cinerama required a special curved screen that not all movie theaters had – I believe there was actually a chain of heaters with Cinerama in the name – something like the IMAX theaters we have today. In St. Louis, there were only one or two theaters equipped to show Cinerama films. When they were showing films that did not use the technique, they closed a curtain over the screens on either side.