“American Graffiti” a montage of music and some classic performances

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Logan5, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. rpd

    rpd Forum Resident

    so there is not an an unaltered VHS version?
  2. rpd

    rpd Forum Resident

    Is yours unaltered?
  3. JBStephens

    JBStephens I don't "like", "share", "tweet", or CARE.

    South Mountain, NC
    I don't like that "sunset" thing at all.

    Attached Files:

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  4. Linus

    Linus Forum Resident

    Melb. Australia
    Absolutely NO WAY! More American Graffiti totally rocks.

    If nothing else it's proof that George Lucas CAN make a decent sequel!
    Saw it 9 times when it was first released in the cinemas!!

    American Graffiti & More American Graffiti are my two fave films EVER!
  5. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Marysville, WA
    I'm surprised that in this forum -- so obsessed with sound -- nobody has brought up the AMAZING work by Walter Murch in creating sound that matched the visuals seamlessly. This was an incredible feat, IMHO, and it was done pre-digital with good old-fashioned creativity. In an interview, Murch recounted how this was accomplished:

    <<Taking an example from your own work, when you edited sound on American Graffiti, did you have an entire radio show recorded that you could reference as needed?

    Yes. We produced a two-hour radio show with Wolfman Jack as DJ—with commercials, with the songs. George [Lucas] built that show himself. While he was editing the film, he edited the songs, the commercials, and the disk-jockey patter. That is what's called a "B-track." It ran alongside the dialogue during the editing of the film.

    And what did you bring to the production?

    The acoustic treatment of worldizing it, so that it seemed to be something that existed in real space. The idea was that every teenage car in this town was turned to the same station, and, therefore, anywhere you went in the town, you heard this sound echoing off the buildings and passing by in cars.

    George and I took the master track of the radio show and played it back on a Nagra in a real space—a suburban backyard. I was fifty-or-so-feet away with a microphone recording that sound onto another Nagra, keeping it in sync and moving the microphone kind of at random, back and forth, as George moved the speaker through 180 degrees. There were times when microphone and speaker were pointed right at each other, and there were other times when they were pointed in completely opposite directions. So that was a separate track. Then, we did that whole thing again.

    When I was mixing the film, I had three tracks to draw from. One of them was what you might call the "dry studio track" of the radio show, where the music was very clear and sharp and everything was in audio focus. Then there were the other two tracks which were staggered a couple of frames to each other, and on which the axis of the microphone and the speakers was never the same because we couldn't remember what we had done intentionally. Sometimes, Wolfman Jack would be on axis on one track, but he would be off axis on the other track. I was able to blend those three tracks to get the right amount of atmosphere. I could make transitions from a live, very present sound to something that sounded like it was very distant and bouncing off many buildings. I could create a sense of movement too—hence, the moving microphones. >>

    Read the entire interview here.

  6. reidc

    reidc Forum Resident

    Fitchburg, Mass
    I have the dual pack of American Graffiti and More American Graffiti. I also have the single DVD edition of More...

    While I can't remember how the video is on More...(I am a sucker for the music)- the Video on American Graffiti is downright horrible! The screen is almost too dark to see. I don't know if there is any difference in the singlew DVD edition of the first?

  7. minerwerks

    minerwerks Forum Resident

    Well, I wouldn't give Lucas all the credit. The project was pretty much handed over to someone else. B.W.L. Norton wrote and directed.

    I like the film as well, and consider it at the very least an interesting experiment. I can understand why many feel it a bit needless to expand on the fates of the characters as revealed in the first film's epilogue, though I'm the kind of person who likes to see what digressions arise in a "universe" populated with interesting people. I was very excited to get this on DVD, because the multiple aspect ratios the film uses are quite effective and can only be seen in a widescreen version.
  8. rpd

    rpd Forum Resident

  9. Well he can produce a decent sequel (look at "The Empire Strikes Back" as well) but he didn't direct the film. The talented film/TV director B.L. Norton did the sequel and he did a really good job working with the material.
  10. Linus

    Linus Forum Resident

    Melb. Australia
    I agree. More American Graffiti was very cleverly written, given the fact that the fate of most of the characters was neatly tied up in the epilogue/final credits of American Graffiti.

    Oh, my vote for the best scene/song combination in American graffiti would have to go to the drag race using "Green Onions" - I still get goosebumps from that. (Likewise, the opening helicopter scene in More American Graffiti which uses Martha And The Vandellas' Heatwave).

    Lastly, I have a VHS copy of American Graffiti which is missing several scenes. One important one - Kurt waiting by the phone for the blonde in the T-Bird to call is cut completely!! Not only that, but a certain 4 letter word beginning with "S" is overdubbed and replaced with "stuff", Milner files his traffic violation under "chickenstuff" in this version. At least the DVD corrects these atrosities.
  11. Downsampled

    Downsampled Formerly PlusMinus

    I think you deserve an answer to this one!

    I am only guessing, but I assume that most (all?) VHS versions are unaltered. I suppose they might have made a VHS version of that last laser disc version.

    I have never read about the change! Now I have a reason to look through the laser disc bins. My last laser disc search was "The Compleat Beatles," and ever since I finally found that I've had nothing else to look for.

    (Although I think I don't mind the sunset either. I can't believe I'm saying that.)
  12. Drifter

    Drifter AD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    I'd have to dig my VHS out of storage to check but it was altered in the sense that it was pan & scan. :sigh:
  13. Cheepnik

    Cheepnik "Digs" "beat" "poetry"

    My 1985 VHS copy has no digital sunsets or any of that nonsense, but is fullscreen pan and scan. So pick your poison.
  14. rpd

    rpd Forum Resident

    Ah, so no widescreen vhs available without the altering, right?
  15. Cheepnik

    Cheepnik "Digs" "beat" "poetry"

    No idea. Just reporting what my copy has.
  16. Greatest Hits

    Greatest Hits Just Another Compilation

    I think Lucas added some more storm troopers during the opening credits, as well. :D
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  17. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    I'm waiting for someone to notice Jar Jar was sitting inside Mel's on some shots.....:D
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  18. Logan5

    Logan5 New Member Thread Starter


    WTF! Now that is funny…oh, good one.:biglaugh::biglaugh:

    King Kong (1933) Alternate Ending with Top Gun!

    Damn dirty maverick he killed Kong!
    Chip TRG and JCM like this.
  19. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I actually disagree. I think the shots look OK and aren't that horrible. Lucas has said many times that the entire shoot of Graffiti was a scheduling nightmare, since it was supposed to take place in a single day, and he was never able to actually shoot that opening scene at dusk, as intended. It ain't that big a deal.

    Yeah, that's 100% correct. They spent a ton of money getting the jitter out of the frames for the digital restoration, since with only 2 perfs of registration, the image isn't very steady. The main reason Lucas (and friend/adviser Haskell Wexler) opted to shoot the movie in 2-perf was to help lower the lighting budget. Scope lenses back then needed a ton of light to get any kind of useful depth-of-field, and they just couldn't afford it for this picture.

    BTW, I've been told by insiders that if you were to try to do a movie like this today, one with several dozen rock hits in the soundtrack, just the copyright clearences would cost you about $50K-$100K each. I think that'd be a couple of million, before you shot a frame of film.

    Finally: note that they also did a complete 5.1 remix of the film for DVD, which I believe Walter Murch supervised as a favor to Lucas. Murch is one of the few real geniuses in this business -- an amazing, amazing man. The new mix is a revelation, and sounds absolutely terrific. Can't wait to see how good it looks/sounds in Blu-Ray.
    Chris DeVoe and JCM like this.
  20. Drifter

    Drifter AD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    I have more of a problem with the fact that he erased part of the buildings in the back (as well as a tiny "Mel's" sign) yet the erased parts can still be seen in other shots; that's inserting continuity errors where they weren't any! I think he overdid the sunset a bit too.
    The reason there aren't any Elvis songs in the film are that the cost was way too high for his catalogue.
  21. JMT

    JMT Forum Resident

    Rocklin, CA
    Shouldn't Ron Howard be listed here too?

    Great movie. This and The Godfather are two movies that my wife and I make it a point to watch annually.
  22. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Forum Resident


    Re: MORE AG. Count me in for someone who likes the movie, despite it's flaws (No Dreyfuss, the sudden exisitance of a YOUNGER brother of Curt and Laurie, etc.)

    The Steve and Laurie arc seems a bit overdone, but the others are decent, especially the Milner story.

    As for the multiple ratios, I think it works great. 16mm/1:37 for the Vietnam/Toad stuff to give it the documentary/TV News feel, the Widescreen of Milner's story, and the multiple-shots "Woodstock" style during Debbie's parts all work nicely. I can see what they were aiming for, but I can also agree that the average movie goer would not even "get it"--especially when you throw in the changing of the time periods.

    Should it have been made? Nah. There was no need for it. HOWEVER, it's not that bad. It just has a lot to answer up to when compared to the original.
  23. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I don't agree, and I never noticed the erased buildings. To me, it's a trivial issue. The changes in the Star Wars films are far more obtrusive.

    Elvis wasn't part of the original conversation. There's a hundred other artists not in the soundtrack either, but the ones that are there all had major hits for this period. It all works for a late summer 1962 storyline.

    My only point was that a 1973 film with 36 rock songs in it was very unusual, even back then, and it would cost a fortune to do something like this today. This film cost under a million bucks, you know; nowadays, the soundtrack budget alone would be millions and millions of dollars.

    BTW, forgot a great Wolfman Jack story: reportedly, Lucas auditioned a half-dozen DJ's, trying to get one who would sound like the Wolfman. Bob "Wolfman" Smith found out about it and called up the studio and said, "hey! Why don't you just hire the real guy?" They were shocked, because everybody had assumed the Wolfman was dead, and Lucas hired him immediately. He liked him so much, he expanded the scene where Drefuss goes by the radio station, and let Wolfman improv more lines. That completely revived Wolfman Jack's career, and led to him hosting the NBC Midnight Special concert show (among many other TV appearances).
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  24. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    Excellent info! Thanks for sharing that! :righton:
  25. Drifter

    Drifter AD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    Sorry, but that is incorrect! Lucas had indeed chosen a few Elvis tunes to be on the soundtrack. Universal offered the same amount of money to all the various publishers and most went along with it, but RCA wanted more, thus Lucas had to drop the Elvis songs to stay within budget.


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