Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:
A careful review of all the different releases and comparing them to the timeline shows that the original May 1977 version of the film (see Moth3r’s bootleg and Puggo Grand) had 4 differences. 3 FX shots and the end credits. Not to mention the soundtrack.
I’m curious, which FX shots are replacements?
When the Falcon leaves Tatooine, the shot of the Star Destroyer shooting at it, then the composite shot of the Yavin IV temple when Leia et al arrive, and then the shot with the Rebel lookout when the Rebel fighters blast off. There are subtle differences between those shots in Moth3r’s bootleg, Puggo Grand, JSC, and SWE and those same shots in Definitive Collection, Faces, GOUT, SSE, 4K77, and all the non-English versions (German, Spanish, and French specifically). Two of the were changed for the SE. Because SSE, 4K77 and all the non-English versions (even the earliest pan&scan releases) match the Definitive Collection and GOUT, the change had to be made for the late 77 release and they must have used a modified copy of the May 1977 edit for the early English language home video releases which would explain the JSC and SWE. But thanks to them we have them in widescreen. They aren’t too noticeable upscaled to 720p and spliced into 4K77.
I’m not sure if those shots are actually different. Having captured the 16mm myself for PG (and PE), I can say there are many ways I could have captured it, which would have led to differences is appearance. The one and only proven shot difference that any of my 16mm captures uncovered was in ESB when Luke was rescued from Cloud City. That caused a bit of a stir, I might add.
When you compare them frame by frame they are definitely different. The first shot has different timing and different explosions. It looks like a test run of the real FX shot. The second had a distinct timing difference with the people walking. The third one also has a timing difference and a distinct difference to the planet/sky composite. And it is consistent between Moth3r, yours, JSC, and the SWE. Frame by frame all those are identical and all those are distinctly different from the SSE, 4k77, the Spanish THX, French TXH, DC, Faces and GOUT (the last three are from the same master recording). The later two shots were changed for the SE, but the first one (the falcon being shot at) is the same for the 97 SE through Disney+ as the GOUT. So it is definitely not any problem with the capture for it to be so consistent on those particular versions. It is definitely a different shot that was replaced sometime later in 1977 (before the Technicolor prints and international prints) were struck.
And there is a topic on here where this was discussed in length, although the didn’t find a reason for it. I believe the reason is that the May 1977 interpositive and prints were pulled and ended up being the best copies to use for telecines later (even the O-neg took a beating form all the interprositives they printed off of it). For your and Moth3r’s projects, it was the original version (there is also another telecine out there of the same version with the original End credits). For all the English telecines prior to DC, a copy with the opening crawl and end credits replaced but not the three scenes was used. A new Interpositive was struck in the 80’s that they used for the DC (and re-released as Faces and GOUT) that changed the English versions to match the foreign language versions. Because of what those early version have in them and the known timeline of when prints were made, the only point those scenes could have been changed is before the technicolor and international versions were made. All the early versions have a mono soundtrack that is just a downmix of the stereo. That is another clue as the mono mix wasn’t made until later. And I checked with several of the various team members who have had access to the 35 mm films, and none of them have seen the alternate end credits on any 35 mm print. From what I see, the only way these 4 things could be different is if the movie was edited sometime between May 1977 and when the international and Technicolor prints were made. And more likely it was not long after the interprositives for the May 1977 release were struck. My guess is that all the 70mm prints were this older verion (as several of the opening screens were 70 mm). We do now they were rushed and these three shots are acceptable, but not perfect and would be easy to change before more interprositives were struck. especially since they are all exactly the same length which caused no change to the soundtrack.
And your Puggo Grand is the best copy of the alternate end credits. I used a small bit of about 10 frames to recreate it. The credits are quite different in spacing and the Dolby logo is completely different. I just redid it from better sources and the little bit where the end title cards changes to the end title scroll has a flash of an overlap mistake that I haven’t been able to recreate accurately. So regardless of anything else, the end credits were redone and the original only appears in 3 sources. But the three FX shots are different as well. So is the opening crawl, which is more than just a new crawl text, but we know when that happened.