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Accidental 1985 change

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 (Edited)

Here’s a change that ZaneFlare92 spotted and brought up in the 4K77 thread. I don’t think it was a deliberate change, but it is a change to the original theatrical version…

It looks like all versions of the film prior to the creation of the new Interpositive in 1985 had an artificially extended bright scene as Luke makes his foolhardy first attack pass on the Death Star:

Imgur

All 3 film scans agree, Luke is supposed to stay bright - Video clip:

vimeo.com/278040945

What this probably means is that the effect was produced as part of the color correction process - they artificially turned up the brightness to achieve this look (as opposed to using on set lighting to produce an in camera effect). This would mean that the extended bright version is not on the negative. The last interpositive created for home video releases was made in 1985, and that would have been created directly from the negative - so the extended brightness wasn’t there and I guess nobody thought to re-add it, so none of the home video releases from that point on have it. However, I just looked at the 1982 CED release, the 1983 HBO broadcast and the 1982 rental tape and they all have the extended brightness, which makes sense as they were probably created from the same color timed interpositive as the release prints.

This frame is from the CED version:

Imgur

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An accident or not, this shot stuck in George’s memory and was later time shifted for the SEs. (possibly to get around an issue with the print they used for the restoration and this artificial brightness?) From the doubleofive SE visual comparison guide:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMh7UH0DbCPGxQyEOdmfmYiFnh3lgoBNNLCPnHTQnvyCtXQnScSo8L_vR3x6A9y_Q/photo/AF1QipM-E_d2z7v5AEQ37avUDEUwzhpnTdjhsp29NV6h?key=aDFfLXE3clp4SldVcndkalc3UjJ4UlU2ZUlDb0JB

Aside: one way to partially determine if a shot is artificially brightened, check if the actors blink or attempt to shield their eyes.

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I never noticed that before. Nice catch. I think the brightening actually works pretty well. When Luke says, “I got a little cooked…” it now makes more sense, as his X-wing was enveloped in the light and heat from the explosion. You can see why Biggs was worried.

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