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Alternate camera angles in ROTJ Kenobi/Luke scene on Dagobah?

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For a couple years when I was a teen, the only Star Wars movie I had was ROTJ, which someone in my family taped off network TV sometime in the late 80s or early 90s.  From 1993 until 1995 (when I got the "longbox" VHS set), I probably watched this tape 30 or 40 times.

When I got the set in 1995, I immediately noticed that there were some differences in the Kenobi/Luke scene on Dagobah.  From what I remember, several shots of Kenobi used different camera angles from the TV version.  Otherwise, the dialogue and everything else was the same.

Unfortunately, I don't have a shred of evidence to back me up as that tape is long gone, but it's something I've always wondered about.  So, I'm just wondering if this has been documented somewhere, and if there's a reason for the differences, how they came about etc.

Also, how do people refer to the 1995 VHS set (pictured)?  I've always called it "longbox."  Is this what people call the "faces" set?

 

Interesting side note: the TV version was also edited for time.  The entire 3PO/R2D2/droid torture scene is missing.  So it wasn't until 1995 that I finally saw it.  I'm so used to it not being there, that it completely takes me out of the movie and ruins the pacing for me (but that could just be because it's an awful scene anyway).

Also, the Death Star looks purple in several shots.

Anyone remember different camera angles from ROTJ?

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That is indeed what we call "Faces" or "THX". As the changes guy, I have to say that this is first time I've heard of alternate angles used in that scene. I sincerely doubt it, and would attribute it to going from the fullscreen TV version to the widescreen (if that is a picture of what you had). If your VHS was fullscreen as well, it could have been a different crop (which is not something we've tracked).

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The only alternative footage of the Dagobah scenes I can think of is found in the early trailers.

Specifically an unprocessed Ben ghost (no glow, no transparency different shots).

I've never heard of alternate shots in the television versions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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There are indeed different pan&scan versions of that scene. Some of them focus on Ben's back of the head while he's talking (I think earlier releases) and some on Luke's face while he's listening, if that's what you're thinking.

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I used to think there were two versions of the medal-ceremony scene in SW because HBO used to crop off Han in the final close-up, and other networks like CBS cropped off Luke. I had only seen the film theatrically once at that point (early-mid '80s) and I had forgotten that the original widescreen version showed both.

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I remember my pan and scan VHS showed the final shot in widescreen. Suddenly bars!

But better than cropping off characters I guess.

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SpilkaBilka:

This happens all the time. People have seen "alternate" footage in Star Wars. But it's on a tape they recorded over. Or lost. Or it was only aired once.

It's actually nothing more than a psychological phenomenon known as 'false memories', and because Star Wars played a big part in fans' early life this tends to crop up often. None of them are real. The great thing about Star Wars being so popular is that it's extremely well documented, and these things can easily be verified. Some people swear the Biggs footage was originally included in an early TV broadcast, that no one taped. Or was it an early screening? No, it was the 1981 re-release? Or was it, a rare VHS re-issue?

Not to cast aside your entire thing, I'm not trying to be rude. But especially when you consider how much work goes in to altering the negative or tape master for new footage, and the fact that this release was a multi-million-unit selling, practically record-breaking release, it probably is just old memories from your childhood playing games on you. I have a few memories of things that did not--and could not--exist, given the variables, and I think everyone does, even if they don't know it. It's a surprisingly common phenomenon, but hard to argue against because it's a perception thing--or PROVE, which is why we know there is such a thing as this. This is the first I've heard of ROTJ footage, other than ships crashing into the Death Star shield--something I swear I saw, but I now realized was from the audio cassette that came with the ROTJ storybook that made this cut moment a very vivid memory (in my imagination).

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 (Edited)

Hey zombie, I totally get what you're saying, and your response was not rude at all.  I realize that there almost certainly is no alternate cut of this scene, for many reasons- especially because there's so much work involved in altering a negative/tape master, like you said.

The only thing I will say that makes this case slightly different from false memories (situations like people remembering the Biggs scene) is that I actually remember comparing the tapes at home.

The whole thing is unusual for me because the first time I watched the THX widescreen ROTJ, I thought, "huh, those angles are different."  I immediately popped in the P&S TV tape and saw that the angles were in fact different (or at least I thought they were different).  I was a member of the AOL Star Wars forum at the time; there was a guy on there who was compiling a list of alternate and deleted scenes- I remember I emailed him immediately about this, and his response was, "well, that scene was hacked up a lot in editing, it wouldn't surprise me if there were differences" or something.  And I basically left it at that, and never followed through in any other way.

I can assure you, those memories are not false. :)  I know I compared the tapes.  I know for a fact that I thought I saw different angles.  So, looking back, what must have happened is that the P&S cropping looked different enough from the widescreen that I thought there was a difference, when in fact there was not.  I was a stupid teenager with a very short attention span at the time, watching on a 19" CRT, and only compared the tapes once.  I definitely didn't do a careful comparison, and only had one TV, so I of course couldn't compare the taoes side by side.

Well, that was an unnecessarily long reply to make a very small distinction that is moot anyway!  I know I compared the tapes, but now I'm certain my interpretation of said comparison must have been wrong.  The memory is real- but it's a memory of a mistake I made.

Anyone remember different camera angles from ROTJ?

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Yeah, I would say it's a pan and scan vs widescreen thing. I discovered widescreen in the mid-1990s and it blew my mind--shots that I had grown up with (Star Wars, for example) actually looked VERY different in their original composition. Part of the excitement of discovering widescreen was that it was like watching the films for the first time all over again. Especially anamorphc "scope" films. In 1998, I spent $90 for a widescreen VHS set of the OT SE--and it was dented, on top of it! But I knew I would be seeing the films "for the first time again". I was 12 years old. For a 12 year to spend $90 dollars on films he already had--and not just the OOT, I already bought the pan and scan SE the year earlier--it was practically crazy. This was all the money I had!

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Oh yeah, when I got the 1995 THX set it was like seeing completely new movies.  I was finally able to see that Tusken raider Luke saw with his binocs ("there's sandpeople alright, I can see one of them now").  It was also really cool to see things like the scorch marks next to the exhaust port where Red Leader's torpedoes missed.  Little things like that.  $90 is a ton at that age, but I think you got your money's worth and it sent you down a good path. :)

Side note: zombie, I'm a huge fan of your book and your site, and as I was reading your article about interpositives and film preservation (http://savestarwars.com/filmpreservation.html),

I did some thinking and started this thread: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Trying-to-understand-film-preservation-perhaps-a-stupid-question-but-shouldnt-digital-masters-be-struck-from-theatrical-prints/topic/14944/

Not sure if you saw it, but if you have the time, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  The TL;DR basically is: if us fans are trying to preserve what was seen in theaters in 1977, wouldn't we want to scan a theatrical print (as opposed to say an interpositive)?

Anyone remember different camera angles from ROTJ?

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SpilkaBilka, that is such a good thread, I don't even have the time to properly respond to it. But to answer your question: yes, a scan of a theatrical print makes sense for many reasons. One of them, which I have just become aware of, is that the VFX shots of star wars were deliberately degraded to blend in better with the live action footage. I didn't know that--but it's pretty interesting! Anyway, stick around, we should talk more! :)

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010