Hey folks, Harry here... Seems I'm now getting hit with tons of emails as that screening of the original print of STAR WARS... well it ain't happening any more. Apparently THE CITY OF ANGELS FILM FESTIVAL was pursuing getting the print, but were not allowed to screen it as the only print that Lucasfilm will allow to be screened is the Special Edition.
Ok, first off, I want to be real clear about this... I wasn't going to be attending the film festival, so this isn't me being bittersweet about this whole situation. You see, this was a cool thing I was just excited to let you readers in the Los Angeles area know about. You see... THE CITY OF ANGELS FILM FESTIVAL is doing a "Century of Cinema" screening series this year where they pick a film or two from each decade in the century of cinema to screen, and show it. Here's what they were going to screen:
D.W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE (1916)
Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS (1927)
Robert Flaherty's NANOOK OF THE NORTH (1927)
Driga Vertov's THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA (1929)
Walt Disney's SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
Vittorio de Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF (1949)
Francois Truffaut's THE 400 BLOWS (1959)
D. A. Pennebaker's DON'T LOOK BACK (1966)
Mike Nichols' THE GRADUATE (1967)
George Lucas' STAR WARS (1977)
Spike Lee's DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)
Quentin Tarantino's PULP FICTION (1994)
Baz Luhrmann's MOULIN ROUGE! (2001)
To be on that list is an honor more than anything. That's 13 films that helped to define the very century of cinema itself. That's huge. To be chosen to represent a decade of film, in particular for STAR WARS to be chosen to represent the 1970's... one of the most important decades in the history of cinema... That's gigantic. It's saying that this film is more significant than ANNIE HALL which it lost that Oscar to, more significant to the history of film than any of Lucas' contemporaries. It says that it had a profound effect on world cinema. And as a HISTORY fest, showing the original 1977 film... that's the film that changed things. STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION wasn't made in 1977, that's a 90's flick, and if they replaced PULP FICTION with STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION and were making the statement that Lucas' special edition was indicative of a time when artists began to revisit there films for financial gain, to re-edit, re-shoot and continue to evolve their films as a sculptor would revisit an unfinished (in his mind) work. Well, that's the significance of the SPECIAL EDITION... Although, it has nothing to do with the monumental change in cinema that the original 1977 film represented.
Is Lucas so determined to bury the original work, that filmmakers, film fans and devotees of his film will not be allowed to even see the film as part of a RETROSPECT UPON THE VERY HISTORY OF CINEMA? This isn't a minor thing.
Several years ago when I was presenting my own CENTURY OF CINEMA program at the Smithsonian in 1998, I chose my own series of Short films, Trailer, Cartoons, Making ofs, News Reels, etc... One from each decade beginning in the late 1890's with El Spectro Rojo. I included the original 1977 teaser trailer for STAR WARS, the one with the heart beat soundtrack behind it all... the non-colored Light Sabers, and it was a bleached out shitty FUJI stock copy, but the Audience was jazzed to see it projected, because this was what Audiences first saw. This was the beginning of it all... That line, "A FILM LIGHT YEARS AHEAD OF ITS TIME!" If we heard that about a modern film in its own trailer we'd feel it was the most egotistical display of hyperbole ever... BUT... it was true.
It is the only STAR WARS trailer to not be scored by JOHN WILLIAMS... no hint of "THE THEME" and it gets you jazzed, pumped and ready to dream about a boy, a girl and a galaxy. THIS type of event, is about HISTORY not revisionism. With the YOUNG INDIANA JONES, Lucas was always so strict to try and bring history to kids, what about preserving his own history and allowing it to be told?
Personally, I've always wanted to see that original test screening print of Star Wars that had old WW2 Dogfight footage inserted where the space ships were supposed to go. I've wanted to see... would I think like DePalma that Lucas had made a disaster, or like Spielberg that it was going to be genius? That's HISTORY! Giant HISTORY! The same way that if you go to the Prado in Madrid and you see the Hieronymus Bosch triptych of THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS... not only is the final version exhibited, but the pencils/charcoal roughs and the pre-painting that he did as well as the finished one. Lucas likes to draw the parallel to being a painter, well historically... the evolution of the art is seen, studied and considered. What's he got to be insecure about... this festival is saying... STAR WARS IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FILMS IN HISTORY!
I love Star Wars, but I'm ashamed of George Lucas, he's really quite a little man when you come right down to it.
I'm having a hard time dealing with this email I just recieved. I really can't say anything poetic. I've been a die hard Star Wars fan my whole life. It guided my whole life as a child, into adulthood, as I now work in the VFX industry. This is it. Fuck Lucas. Is he such a selfish prick that he's going to rob memories from not only the fans, but all the skilled artists who broke new boundries in filmmaking, that he will never let the original Star Wars play? This film festival is supposed to represent films from each decade, Star Wars fitting into the 70's. Sorry, but the Special Edition is a 90's movie. With some really shitty CGI no less (Jabba anyone?). I'm through. Lucas can keep it all. He's whittled me down with his lame-ass prequels, and this just seals it. I am officially tearing up my fan club card that I got with Bantha Tracks, and having my tickets refunded. I'll stay home and watch LOTR instead.
Then there's nope...
This sucks, but is not surprising. The City of Angels film festival just sent out e-mails saying that although they tried in good faith to get the original version of "Star Wars", they have been told they will only be allowed to screen the Special Edition. The e-mail did not specify that this was an edict from Lucas Film, but I would assume that either that is the case, or that it is an after effect of Lucas Film pulling all the existing prints from circulation. Either way Fuck George Lucas. Fuck him right in the eye.
Then there's Erin's email which has the letter from THE CITY OF THE ANGELS FILM FESTIVAL...
I got really excited when you posted the notice about the original star wars playing on the big screen. I bought tics right away. But then I got this f**king email:
The City of the Angels Film Festival regrets to inform you that we will not be screening the original version of Star Wars.
We pursued the original in good faith, but were unsuccessful. The version we are screening is Star Wars - Episode IV, A New Hope (Special Edition). We regret the original edition is not available for screening.
If you would like your money refunded, please contact me immediately by e-mail: email@example.com