How the West Was Won is a 1962 American epic-Western film. The picture was one of the last "old-fashioned" epic films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to enjoy great success. Set between 1839 and 1889, it follows four generations of a family (starting as the Prescotts) as they move ever westward, from western New York state to the Pacific Ocean. It was filmed in the Cinerama process.
The fundamental idea behind the film was to provide an episodic retelling of the progress of westward migration and development of America. It was inspired by a much longer and more complex series of historical narratives that appeared as a photo essay series, by the same name, three years earlier in Life magazine, which is acknowledged in the film’s credits.
The all-star cast includes (in alphabetical order) Carroll Baker, Walter Brennan, Lee J. Cobb, Andy Devine, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, Harry Morgan, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, Eli Wallach, John Wayne, and Richard Widmark. The film is narrated by Spencer Tracy.
The movie consists of five segments, three directed by Henry Hathaway ("The Rivers", "The Plains" and "The Outlaws"), and one each by John Ford ("The Civil War") and George Marshall ("The Railroad"), with transitional sequences by the uncredited Richard Thorpe. The screenplay was written by John Gay (uncredited) and James R. Webb. Popular western author Louis L'Amour wrote a novelization of the screenplay.
In 1997, How the West Was Won was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The score was listed at #25 on AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.
Alfred Newman (March 17, 1901 – February 17, 1970) was an American composer, arranger, and conductor of music for films, and was also the head of a family of major Hollywood film composers, among them his brothers Emil Newman and Lionel Newman, his sons David Newman and Thomas Newman, and his nephew Randy Newman.
In a career which spanned over forty years, Newman composed music for over 200 films. He was one of the most respected film score composers of his time, and is today regarded as one of the greatest musicians ever to work in film. Along with composers Max Steiner and Dimitri Tiomkin, Newman is considered one of the "three godfathers of film music," and played a major part in creating the tradition of composing original music for films.
Newman also conducted the music for many film adaptations of Broadway musicals, as well as many original Hollywood musicals. He won Oscars for adapting the scores of such noted musicals as The King and I (1956), Camelot (1967), and Call Me Madam (1953), as well as for adapting the songs in such Hollywood musicals as the Betty Grable vehicle Mother Wore Tights (1947). He conducted the orchestra for all of the film adaptations of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals except for Oklahoma! (1955) and The Sound of Music (1965). He also conducted the orchestra for the only musical that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote specifically for film, State Fair (1945), and its 1962 remake. (However, the television remake of South Pacific (2001) was not made until long after Newman had died.)
Newman's was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score.
Exhilarating. Makes you feel like going way out there & winning the West all over again.
How The West Was Won
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How The West Was Won - Cheyennes
If you've the time here's the How the West Was Won complete soundtrack suite composed by Alfred Newman: