Coming to DVD


I saw this on DVDSavant's page. On May 12 MGM is releasing this film along with King and Four Queens, Young Billy Young and Time Limit.

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Just saw the title listed for its 5/12/09 issue. Great news. I assume it'll be in widescreen -- in all the years I've seen this, not once has it been in its proper CinemaScope aspect ratio (2.35:1).

But an odd group of films for MGM/Fox to release together.

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[Great news. I assume it'll be in widescreen -- in all the years I've seen this, not once has it been in its proper CinemaScope aspect ratio (2.35:1). ]
You're in for a real treat, it is one of the best CinemaScope films ever made. The Guns of Navarone isn't bad either. J. Lee Thompson was a great widescreen director, see also Kings of the Sun and Taras Bulba.

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Guns is my favorite film. Lee Thompson got the job directing that film (when the original Navarone director, Alexander MacKendrick, was fired because the film wasn't coming together) after producer Carl Foreman asked Greg Peck, who had director approval, to choose between J. Lee Thompson and Michael Anderson. Peck brought Niven and Quinn in on the process and Foreman ran a few films helmed by each man for them to make a judgment. The movie that decided them on picking JLT was North West Frontier, because of the way he held the tension, built the characters, and his sense of screen composition.

This release is indeed in widescreen and I can hardly wait. Plus, the TV prints (of the American version titled Flame Over India so Americans wouldn't think it was a western) are rather ragged now. I have the pan & scan VHS which has a decent print but it's, well, pan and scan.

Though I actually do think Flame Over India is a better title -- more exciting and exotic. NWF is just too staid, unimaginative. Usually I prefer the original title.

(By the way -- I liked your response on that other thread about that fake copy for sale!)

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Hello,

North West Frontier is out for rent and sale. I got it from Netflix, and watched it this weekend. Great fun, a real good old fashion adventure. Thanks MGM for letting us see a classic! I have to admit I've never seen Lauren Bacell as a young actress before and boy is she a looker! God bless good movies.

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Hullo Runbone - I recommend you rent "To Have and Have Not" for Lauren Bacall's first big screen appearance. She's extraordinarily good, and I still can't believe she was only 19 at the time. One of my favourite films.

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you might also check out "The Big Sleep" - another one she made with Bogie. an early film noir.

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I received the U.S. region 1 version today. It is much better quality than my Australian non-anamorphic encoded widescreen version. The region 1 actually has proper colour (blue skies!) while the R4 looks dirty with the colour too de-saturated.

The R1 has a strange artefact on the extreme left edge of the image, but I doubt this would be visible on a TV. It could annoy people who have projectors that show the entire image though.

This film is basically a remake of John Ford's film Stagecoach, except with a train instead of a stage. No doubt that's what John Ford's son Patrick was thinking of when he co-wrote the story the film is based on. I know the film is set in India, but it basically is a Western.

I'm glad I finally own a nice looking DVD of this wonderful film!

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Many films used the basic story of a small group of people traveling through hostile territory and other dangers. Stagecoach itself is not original in this regard. But this general link doesn't lessen the excellence of most such films.

North West Frontier bears some superficial resemblance to American westerns...though you could say the reverse too. But that's actually why the film's title was changed in America to Flame Over India. To an American, North West Frontier would sound like a western, or at least a film about the exploration of the northwestern part of the country (too similar to the 1940 MGM film Northwest Passage, about precisely that). To a Brit or other Commonwealth resident, on the other hand, the title could only refer to the colonial legacy in India. Frankly, I think the US title is much more exciting and evocative. The original title is rather tame and dull sounding, very much unlike the film.

Thank you for the report on the disc's quality. I haven't received mine yet, so that's good to know. I'm also looking forward to finally seeing this widescreen, which I never have, under either title.

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[ To a Brit or other Commonwealth resident, on the other hand, the title could only refer to the colonial legacy in India. Frankly, I think the US title is much more exciting and evocative. The original title is rather tame and dull sounding, very much unlike the film. ]
Well, I am Australian, but the first time I heard the title "North West Frontier" I assumed it was a Western! This is perhaps a reflection of the fact I know more about Hollywood westerns than the history of colonial India.

[Thank you for the report on the disc's quality. I haven't received mine yet, so that's good to know. I'm also looking forward to finally seeing this widescreen, which I never have, under either title. ]

I absolutely love 1950s widescreen films, I own around 200 CinemaScope films on DVD and can say that North West Frontier makes brilliant use of the format. Often the compositions utilise depth and width, which was hard to do given the slow Eastmancolor negative and Bausch & Lomb CinemaScope lenses the filmmakers had to use.

Here is a depth composition from the film that I love taken from the two DVDs I own:

U.S. region 1 version: http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/787/ntsc.jpg
Australian region 2&4 version http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/1117/palt.jpg

The film was shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, who of course is most famous for filming 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

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I guess our American cultural imperialism has infiltrated and corrupted even memories of the Empire!

I share your views about 50s films, widescreen and otherwise. Thanks for the picture info!

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[I guess our American cultural imperialism has infiltrated and corrupted even memories of the Empire!]

The United States has given the world two of the greatest cultural gifts: Hollywood films and Jazz music.

Without naming names, those two things alone make up for some of the lesser politicians that the U.S. populace on occasions has decided to elect to the Presidency. :D

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Assuming you're referring to the late administration (out of office as of 20 January), you'll get no argument from me. As someone who voted otherwise (twice), I decline any responsibility for the errors of my fellow countrymen!

On the other hand, think of all that exported humor of the past eight years.

Do you know you posted the same message twice, simon? The one below this, which was the same as one you posted yesterday. Just in case you might want to delete the second transmission.

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