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Special Projects August 20, 2022 3025
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Just wanted to add my own praise for this superb edit.

This was inarguably an 'event' film in its days and I'm pleased to say I've now experienced it as it was intended. At least as close as currently possible. I watched it projected, and imagined it was a 'reserved seat only' attraction as it would have been originally.

The Roadshow version of Wayne's epic is long so you need to make sure you've marked out the time needed to give it your full attention. Perhaps do as I did and use the intermission to take a decent break.

I'm neither a big Western fan nor a Wayne fan particularly but this edit definitely helped moved the dial in that direction. This is a BIG improvement over the shorter theatrical release. I think most historians would say the 2004 version wins out in terms of authenticity but this film, corny and preachy as it is in places, stands above that more recent effort in heart and scale.

Needless to say, they just don't make 'em like this anymore. When you're told Santa Anna's army numbers 7000 and you see it crossing the plains, it certainly looks like 7000 and not a single CGI pixel anywhere.

I'm no expert on the true history of the Alamo and I'm sure any criticism you can level at this movie for straying from the facts is warranted. But as an epic tale of legendary honour and courage this does hit the mark. The additional footage adds depth to the characters, their motivations and their politics, making the slow build up to the famous siege much more compelling and plausible than in the theatrical cut. The interplay between Crockett, Bowie and Travis is more fleshed out and this was the standout element for me.

Perhaps for that reason, I found it a lot easier to get through this longer version than I did the shorter. Perhaps the change in pacing alone is enough to remedy what previously felt like a slow first act.

Another thing that really struck me, is that its really hard to believe this was Wayne's first time as director. This truly is a massive production and he acquits himself brilliantly. He's generous with his supporting cast, respectful of the Mexican soldiers and the climactic actions scenes are spectacular and very well handled.

Enormous credit to Wraith for this preservation edit. Its pretty much seamless. The sound (Oscar winning at the time I believe) is excellent and the only indication you're occasionally watching deleted footage is a slight drop in visual quality. I never found this distracting, however, and it was a good way of knowing which parts of the story had been replaced. I found the religious discussion among Crockett's men a surprising and welcome addition.

Is John Wayne's Alamo a masterpiece? I wouldn't say so, but this preservation does move it into classic status. The director was clearly aspiring to greatness and when that director is John Wayne that's something any movie goer should give serious time to.

Here's hoping Wraith's efforts will help an official release become a reality.

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Owner's reply May 14, 2023

Thank you so much for that. I regard this as my most important edit and grateful for your words.

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