"I believe the issue actually was that the AFI was asking LFL for a print of the films to borrow for exhibition, as they didn't posses one themselves."
There have been at least two instances that I am aware of where LFL has denied permission for public viewings of privately held prints of the OOT.
It also doesn't mean that even if it is preserved that it will be publicly accessible in its original form. If you have any doubt about this -- think of STAR WARS (1977)-- and try a get a copy of that film for projection --
1997's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE doesn't count, because it is a different film
in many respects.
Kenneth S. Weissman
Head, Motion Picture Conservation Center
Library of Congress
That's a good point. For our Technicolor tribute 2 years ago at the
American Cinematheque, we were going to open with a British dye transfer
print of "Star Wars". The plan was nixed by Lucasfilm, who do not wish to
have the original version of the film shown publicly.
http://www.sabucat.com - http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/mailing-lists/amia-l/2001/12/msg00073.html
Further Evidence: How Lucas & Lucasfilm Continues To Disrespect The Original STAR WARS & The Concept Of Cinema History!
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. - http://aintitcoolnews.com/display.cgi?id=16282
They are out there, folks, and Lucas is scared shitless of them.