Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Rocker, Sep 26, 2011.
That's a long time to freeze Han.
Extended flashback sequence! Adds to the 80s flavor.
The grand prize of the Star Wars Space Fantasy Sweepstakes. If you like a mystery...
Nice post, Rocker.
I think you've summarized the Star Wars discoveries as per P+S/FS/WS - but imagine what it was like for us Halloween fans! Any number of scenes have killer Michael Myers watching his prey from far left (or right) of frame, which is wonderful in widescreen but totally lost full screen! Michael's presence at the edge of the frame is often accompanied by a John Carpenter 'sting' on the soundtrack indicating the threat. As a kid, viewing the film on FS VHS, I was often scratching my head during those moments, thinking: "Why is this scene supposed to be scary?"
Yeah, Halloween is another good example of how important the framing and composition are to the effectiveness of a movie. Any full-screen or pan-and-scan version is an abomination, of course, but films like Halloween and Star Wars that are shot in 2.35:1 are the ones that suffer most.
Another minor but memorable Star Wars example for me was the scene in Return of the Jedi where C-3P0 and R2-D2 are being led into Jabba's palace by Bib Fortuna. Just as the shot ends, as 3P0 says "I have a bad feeling about this", a Gamorrean Guard enters the frame on the far left. In the full-screen VHS i owned as a kid, you never see the pig guard at all because the shot stays panned to the far right. So when I finally saw a widescreen print in the late 90's, even minor details like this just blew my mind.
I remember getting the Imperial Shuttle ship from ROTJ for Xmas one year ('86, I think) and the the thing wouldn't fit through my bedroom door with the wings extended.
Star Wars and all that it entailed was my BIG obsession when I was a kid (music replaced it around age 11 or so and it's been that way ever since)...I had all the ships except for a plain old garden variety Tie Fighter (!) and most of the action figures, Vader carrying case and all. Gave 'em all to my stepbrother back in '92. I have very few regrets in life- giving that stuff away, however, is chief among them. When I look to see what these ships and action figures go for on EBAY these days...it's almost too depressing to think about
As for the movies, for me, it's the original trilogy in their untampered forms or nothing (thank god for my laserdisc rips)...I think Lucas' revisionism is a travesty. And the only times I've ever fallen asleep in the theatre were during Clones and Sith.
With all the inconsistencies, one thing that surprised me was how in star wars, when luke asks Ben 'how did my father die' you can see Alec guiness plays it like he is lying when he says Darth killed his dad.
Because it was over?
In retrospect Guinness did give that line a perfect touch.
Yet he gives Luke "your father's light saber". Did Obi-Wan grab Anakin's light saber during their battle? Don't recall that being in Episode 3.
Also Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen have that discussion about how "Luke has too much of his father in him", which only makes sense if the public story is that Anakin died and that Vader's identity is not known to anyone except Obi-Wan, the emperor, and a few others.
"A young Jedi named Darth Vader betrayed and murdered your father. What I told you was true... from a certain point of view." You should have heard the groans from the audience when Guinness said this in the 1983 film.
I think any subtle attitude on the part of Guinness is in the eye of the beholder. I'm not convinced when Star Wars was shot that Lucas had decided that Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were one and the same; you can make a good point that this was something that only came later. In fact, Leigh Brackett's original script for Empire doesn't have this in it, either. It was added later, according to The Secret History of Star Wars.
Being a bossy bitch easily cloaks the Force from people.
And then there's "Ghostbusters": "Hey, Harold Ramis is in this movie! And there's a black Ghostbuster, too!"
Oh I don't think Lucas had the whole thing planned about baser being likes father. But the way guiness's eyes get a bit shifty at that part it's almost like Lucas said 'say this line like it's kinda true but not'
Given Lucas's reputation, even as far back as the original film, I have a more difficult time believing that Lucas actually gave suggestions to an actor on how to deliver a line, than believing Lucas actually had the whole "Vader is Luke's father" thing worked out already (which the evidence really seems to suggest he didn't).
Having said that, for a long time - at least after Empire came out - I assumed the same thing, that Obi Wan was hiding the Real Truth from Luke at that moment. But now I just sort of look at it as, Obi Wan is pausing for a moment to think of how to delicately tell Luke how his father died.
We could probably start a whole separate thread about "widescreen revelations we discovered after growing up with pan-and-scan"
I wonder how the prequels would have turned out if the Coen brothers had directed/produced them?
Someone posted on youtube a video of his kids watching Empire Strikes Back, when Darth Vader reveals who he is to Luke. Cute video that will take you back to being a kid.
There was a past thread about which order to watch the Star Wars saga (for those who had never seen it before).
Past thread: The most basic Star Wars question...
Watch the Obi-Wan - Anakin battle on the lava planet (Mustafar) during the "I have the high ground" scene. After Obi-wan cuts off Anakin's arm and he falls to the ground, he picks up Anakin's light saber off the ground and walks away with it.
I bet Lucas just did a dozen takes, not giving the actor any direction beyond, "try it differently," and then chose what he wanted in editing. Guinness was such a great actor, he could raise an eyebrow or simply look away slightly during a line, and you'd believe he was thinking something profound.
Famously, Carrie Fisher once said the only direction she ever got from Lucas was -- quote -- "faster and more intense!" -- unquote. Years later, when Carrie went on her honeymoon with singer Paul Simon, she got a bottle of champagne from Lucas with a note: "Dear Carrie... faster and more intense... love, George."
The Star Wars films were (and are) very, very, very hard to pan/scan. I can recall the first time Star Wars was transferred, I turned to the colorist doing the job (Pat Kennedy at Modern Videofilm), and said, "hey! You just cut R2 out of a shot!" It was the famous shot where R2D2 is putting out a fire on the Millenium Falcon. When a character is waaaaaaay off to one side, it's very easy in pan/scan to miss them. This was fixed, but it's extremely hard to decide how and what to show, when you're losing 40% of the picture (going from 2.40 to 1.33).
Many years later, during the 2004 mastering sessions, I asked Lucas what he was going to do about the pan/scan pass. He made a face and said, "this is the only framing I want for these films" (meaning the 2.40 scope aspect ratio).
Good to know he does have some sense.
reaction of kids to learning that Darth is Luke's father
This is how I felt in 1980! And I was 15! lol...
I believe it!
After growing up on pan-&-scan TV tapings and VHS copies, my first viewing of a widescreen print was an incredible experience.... so many shots and scenes looked sooooooo different than what I had become accustomed to!! To this day, there are still times when I watch my widescreen editions and find myself noticing things off to the sides that I'd never caught before!
Speaking of which I was shocked when Starz played Tron:Legacy full frame the other night. I thought those days were behind us.
Too bad no one shows it in the right ratio when it airs in HD such as when Spike constantly plays it.
Having seen Star Wars some 8 times in the theater during it's original run, I was already aware of the widescreen framing even at the age of 11 (being somewhat of a photography buff already at the time). I had been keenly aware of the panning process on widescreen films shown on TV. Especially that particular effect that happens when a character or object tracks across the stationary 2.4:1 frame. but is "panned" to be followed in the 1.33:1 frame - it sort of blurs out while being followed (I don't notice this as much anymore - they must just let things go out of view). I noticed it a lot in those Panavision James Bond movies on TV in the 70's.
As the VHS tapes finally came out for Star Wars (my step-father actually paid the 90-some-odd-dollar retail price for that early VHS releases), I already knew I wasn't seeing the whole thing, but was simply thrilled to no end that I could now watch this movie anytime I wanted.
The first time I got to see it in widescreen home video was in '91 after buying my first LD player and getting the old Fox widescreen LD of Star Wars. And later Empire and then Jedi. Even on an old 20" Sony Trinitron hand-me-down that I had, it looked great to me. Finally, I could see Chewie, Luke, Ben and Han - all at the same time - in those shots inside the Falcon cockpit (in pan-and-scan, you only got two at a time).
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