A couple of years back I bought a huge lot of Star Wars photos off of Ebay. Luckily for me, included in the lot were a number of b&w contact sheet dupes I’ve not seen published or re-sold anywhere else. Unfortunately whoever duped them from the original sheets did a poor job, so the quality (and especially the sharpness) varies, however, it’s STAR WARS so it’s worth sharing regardless. Some of these photos have probably been published before, but certainly not all. —the edit room floor
With thanks to Jacob Rosenberg
Previously on Cinephilia and Beyond:
Unseen photos from Star Wars: Shooting in Tunisia
A couple of years back I bought a huge lot of Star Wars photos off of ebay. Luckily for me, included in the lot were a number of b&w contact sheet dupes I’ve not seen published or re-sold anywhere else. Unfortunately whoever duped them from the original sheets did a poor job, so the quality (and especially the sharpness) varies, however, it’s STAR WARS so it’s worth sharing regardless. Some of these photos have probably been published before, but certainly not all. —the edit room floor
Twenty-five years ago, renowned scholar Joseph Campbell sat down with veteran journalist Bill Moyers for a series of interviews that became one of the most enduring and popular programs ever aired on PBS. In dialogues that span millennia of history and far-flung geography, the two men discuss myths as metaphors for human experience and the path to transcendence, touching on topics including world religion, heroic figures, and pop culture. This series demonstrates that, despite superficial differences between cultures, all stories are humanity’s story.
For the first time, you can listen to all six episodes of “The Power of Myth”, the beloved 1988 PBS series featuring mythologist and storyteller Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. In these playable and downloadable conversations, Moyers and Campbell explore the powerful influence of enduring myths on the choices we make and the ways we live. Listen to all 6 episodes as podcasts here.
Filmed at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch and New York’s American Museum of Natural History, this series redefined “good television” through smart conversation that connects to us all. In the first interview, filmed at George Lucas’ “Skywalker Ranch”, Moyers and Campbell discuss the relationship between Campbell’s theories and Lucas’s creative work. Twelve years after the making of The Power of Myth, Moyers and Lucas met again for the 1999 interview, the Mythology of Star Wars with George Lucas & Bill Moyers, to further discuss the impact of Campbell’s work on Lucas’s films.
Hand annotated shooting script of Return of the Jedi.
The process of breaking down the script occurs after the producer reads through the screenplay once. Then he goes back and marks certain elements that need to be taken care of before production, or even before pre-production can begin. Then all of the production elements are reduced to lists in order to schedule and budget the production. The scenes with breakdown notes are all the exteriors filmed in USA, Sarlac pit battle, and Endor forest scenes. There are several marks and elements in this breakdown script, marks that give the crew an idea of screen time, number of shots within a scene, what shots would be acomplished by first unit, by second unit, or by ILM…
Most are marks and notes that determine the extent of the VFX within a sequence, (to think about cost), crew (live action vs visual effects) location, live action vs miniature of stop motion, etc. It does indicate the first pass at how to accomplish the work on screen. Often times, a given sequence might involve live action, stop motion, matte paintings, vfx, etc. – all within one sequence. This breakdown begins the process of how to breakdown the scene into it’s components. —indignate
The Canadian short that inspired Star Wars. Made in 1964. C-3PO’s moves on display in the first minute.
A long time ago, in a galaxy that had never seen Star Wars, George Lucas was an art-house filmmaker. Now, through the wonders of cyberspace, you can watch most of his early shorts online.
Lucas shot 6-18-67 on a scholarship from Columbia Pictures. He was supposed to produce a short making-of documentary about MacKenna’s Gold, which was filming in Arizona. However, he felt alienated from the Hollywood production, and instead made a lyrical short about man and nature in the desert. In Easy Riders, Raging Bulls author Peter Biskind elaborates on how this choice embodied Lucas’s “anti-studio attitude”:
[MacKenna’s Gold] was a lumbering, elephantine studio Western, very much in the style of the bloated musicals of the ‘60s, and it was Lucas’s introduction to the Old Hollywood. “We had never been around such opulence, zillions of dollars being spent every five minutes on this huge, unwieldy thing,” he said. “It was mind-boggling to us because we had been making films for $300, and seeing this incredible waste—that was the worst of Hollywood.” While the other students shot conventional “making-of” documentaries, Lucas shot an imagistic film about the beauty of the desert, with the production barely visible in the far distance.
You can find most of Lucas’s early films are available online, if you do a little digging. Look at Life (1965) is his first credited film on the IMDb—he made it for an animation course at U.S.C. The collage of stills expresses a sort of hippie consciousness, depicting a battle between the powers of love and oppression.
1:42.08 (1966) is a sort of tone poem about the beauty of fast cars. He would later return to the subject in American Graffiti and in various forms throughout his career (the titular finishing time is in minutes and seconds, not parsecs).
Freiheit (1966), is another film about man versus an oppressive establishment. (Freiheit is the German word for freedom.) The star, Lucas’s schoolmate Randal Kleiser, went on to direct movies like Grease and The Blue Lagoon.
Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967) is Lucas’s most famous short. The 15 minute sci-fi film, made at the University of Southern California, took first prize at the National Student Film Festival in 1968, and would form the basis for Lucas’s astonishing debut feature THX 1138 (1971). Like Freiheit, it depicts a man attempting an escape from an oppressive society, but this time it takes place in a dystopian future. While it’s much darker and more distant than the blockbuster that made Lucas’s name, it’s the short that most resembles Star Wars, managing to create a whole futuristic world on a student’s shoestring budget.
Filmmaker: A Diary by George Lucas (1968) is another making-of documentary, filmed during the production of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rain People. Lucas was Coppola’s Padawan learner, and he often films Coppola from below, making him loom large in the frame. And he looks happy to be on a film set, rather than, as in 6-18-67, trying to get as far as possible from it. At one point Coppola describes his own deliberations about whether to take paycheck jobs: “The world is filled with guys who said ‘Well, I’m going to make the money and then I’m going to make the personal films.’ And somehow, they never get around to doing it.”
Source: Forrest Wickman, slate.com
This documentary covers all three original Star Wars movies with input from cast, crew, and George Lucas himself. Running at 2 hours and 30 minutes this is without a doubt the best of all the “Making of…” documentaries covering the production of the Original Trilogy.