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BFI preserving OOT!!

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I hope that this is the right place to post this one.

I emailed the British Film Institute about the OOT and this was their reply:

"Thanks for your message about the STAR WARS films that has been passed over to us in the BFI's Curatorial Unit.

I certainly agree with you that the original versions of the STAR WARS films are as worthy of preservation as the altered reissues that came later. Indeed, the BFI's National Film and Television Archive is permanently preserving prints of all three of the films as they originally appeared, and also holds video material that reflects these original versions.
"

YES!!

They also brought up the releases planned for September:

"After much speculation it would appear that the original versions are about to resurface. The 1977 version of STAR WARS is scheduled for DVD release in September, and I would imagine that the other titles will follow."

I have replied to the email expressing my delight that the OOT is being preserved on film. I included my concerns for the quality of the DVDs to be released in September and invited the BFI to join with the campaign against unsatisfactory DVD releases of the OOT. I also asked for suggestions of groups and organisations (national and international) to approach.
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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That´s very good news, but no surprise. When the non-anamorphic announcement from Lucasfilm had been made, thedigitalbits already said they knew lots of sources to get original surviving film elements of the OOT, and it would only be a matter of a very short time to get them if needed. Robert Harris said back in May that even a basic restauration could be done while meeting the deadline if they would immediately start with it.

Better would be to inform them about the Laserdisc master situation, and get them to an official statement like: "If LFL have no original copies of the OOT anymore, we would be more than happy to provide them with film elements to make new transfers."
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Thanks Vigo! (BTW is that as in Jean Vigo?)

Do you have any suggestions for other people to contact?

I'm considering retail companies, both on- and off-line, notifying them that I will not be purchasing LucasFilm's new DVDs and will be doing all I can to discourage others from doing so.

What's the American equivalent of the BFI? Anyone?
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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aural,

I believe it would be the AFI, American Film Institute.
Stopped they must be, on this all depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor.
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Thanks, heroesfate!

I have sent a preliminary email...
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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The really big question is can they ever show them to the public? Lucasfilm sqaushed the AFI's plan to show an original print of Episode IV several years back.
originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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True, true. But at least they're being cared for.

Knowing that there are prints being kept in appropriate conditions gives an incentive to go on campaigning, don't you think?
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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"Lucasfilm sqaushed the AFI's plan to show an original print of Episode IV several years back."

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. This was for the showing of the most important films of the '70s, right? They asked for original theatrical releases, and LFL declined, saying they'd be happy to provide the SEs. AFI then decided (demonstrating magnificent integrity) to tell LFL where they could stick the 1997 SE versions, and didn't show the films at all. Again, this is as I remember the incident shaking down. It would be a different story if they could get their hands on, and assemble, their own prints, wouldn't it?
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The festival was supposed to be a showcase of 20th century filmmaking. AFI selected one or two films for each decade. Star Wars was picked to represent the *entire* 1970's in that festival. Showing the SE in that context would be pointless of course. I find it really ironic they saluted George just a few years later.
I have heard Lucasfilm blocked a Library of Congress showing as well, but can't find mention of it. The LOC does have their own print.
originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I recall reading about that screening a few years back but I'm fairly sure it wasn't the AFI which held it.

And the original film was one of the first films placed in the National Film Registry back in the 80s so it should be safe.
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Originally posted by: auraloffalwaffle
True, true. But at least they're being cared for.

Knowing that there are prints being kept in appropriate conditions gives an incentive to go on campaigning, don't you think?


And the nice thing is, there is nothing keeping them from making their own "backup" digital transfers/clean-ups of these, since that is protected by copyright law.

Anyone know anyone who works for the BFI?

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Originally posted by: andy_k_250
Originally posted by: auraloffalwaffle
True, true. But at least they're being cared for.

Knowing that there are prints being kept in appropriate conditions gives an incentive to go on campaigning, don't you think?


And the nice thing is, there is nothing keeping them from making their own "backup" digital transfers/clean-ups of these, since that is protected by copyright law.

Anyone know anyone who works for the BFI?



Nice idea, but it would never happen. The BFI certainly have a DVD division (they turn out some of the best world cinema releases in the UK) but there's no way they'd have the budget to create a digital transfer of a film they could never release commercially.

The only way it can be done properly is if LFL relent and decide to do it themselves. Which would mean either admitting that they were lying about not preserving OOT elements, or conceding that they need someone else's help (e.g. Robert Harris') to curate the necessary materials.

Sorry to paint such a bleak picture, but can you honestly see either of these happening any time soon?
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I think we just have to keep trying. If we put up enough of a fight over these September releases then I believe we can get the message through to LFL and Fox that we're not going to be satisfied until the OOT is properly mastered and released in digital format!
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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"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
Kenneth.Weissman@wpafb.af.mil
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.

Jeff



Jeff Joseph
SabuCat Productions
E-mail: sabucat@sabucat.com
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.
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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It's great that the BFI are keeping their prints, no doubt in excellent storage conditions. However, although the BFI always tries to get the best print available for their archive, anyone who has seen prints from their archive can tell you they're not always preservation grade (they are often post-release prints). I'd hold out more hope for the Library of Congress copy, which AFAIK is was pristine at the time of archiving (which means faded and discolored now, but not scratched/torn/dirty).
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I shall have a go at the Library Of Congress too. I figure the more people on our side the better, am I right?
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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Originally posted by: ShiftyEyes
I recall reading about that screening a few years back but I'm fairly sure it wasn't the AFI which held it.


"At a recent Technicolor festival in Los Angeles, the programmer asked Lucafilm if they could show one of the original British Technicolor prints of "Star Wars" but they were turned down. I guess that company doesn't want the original version to be shown again and he certainly doesn't want it exhibited in 'Glorious Technicolor' which is vastly superior to any digital format." (Richard W. Haines)

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Inspired by the recent thread about the original editing team on the OOT, I'm considering writing to some of the people who made the OOT what it was, in the hope that some of them may join in putting pressure on LucasFilm to end its suppression of the OOT in theatres and on home release (I do not consider the September discs as a satisfactory release).

People I would like to write to are:

Irvin Kershner (Dir. ESB)
Richard Marquand (Dir. ROTJ)
Gary Kurtz (Pro. ANH & ESB)
Howard Kazanjian (Pro. ROTJ)
Lawrence Kasdan (Scr. ESB & ROTJ)
Gilbert Taylor (DOP ANH)
Peter Suschitzky(DOP ESB)
Alan Hume (DOP ROTJ)
Richard Chew (Ed. ANH)
Paul Hirsch (Ed. ANH & ESB)
Marcia Lucas (Ed. ANH, ESB & ROTJ)
Duwayne Dunham (Ed. ROTJ)
Sean Barton (Ed. ROTJ)
John Dykstra (SFX ANH)
Ralph McQuarrie (Conceptual Artist, Illustrator & Backgrounds ANH, ESB & ROTJ)
John Barry (Pro. Des. ANH)
Norman Reynolds (Pro. Des. ESB & ROTJ)
John Mollo (Cos. Des. ANH & ESB)
Aggie Guerard Rodgers (Cos. Des. ROTJ)
Nilo Rodis-Jamero (Cos. Des. ROTJ)

I may also consider writing to performers like Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Jeremy Bulloch...

I could try John Williams too.

I figure that, if I ask, some of them may be prepared to go on record as being against LucasFilm's policy.

All comments / suggestions welcome!
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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There are other film institutes in other countries that do the same thing as the BFI.
Some film institutes also teach various aspects of filmmaking, and they some times show films from the archive to the class. I have a friend who studied at the Swedish Institute of Film who told me this, but she also told me that not all of them were in acceptable condition either, which is why they also use DVDs.
If a professor wants to requisition the OUT from the archives, it can be done.
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Originally posted by: auraloffalwaffle
Inspired by the recent thread about the original editing team on the OOT, I'm considering writing to some of the people who made the OOT what it was, in the hope that some of them may join in putting pressure on LucasFilm to end its suppression of the OOT in theatres and on home release (I do not consider the September discs as a satisfactory release).

People I would like to write to are:

Irvin Kershner (Dir. ESB)
Richard Marquand (Dir. ROTJ)
Gary Kurtz (Pro. ANH & ESB)
Howard Kazanjian (Pro. ROTJ)
Lawrence Kasdan (Scr. ESB & ROTJ)
Gilbert Taylor (DOP ANH)
Peter Suschitzky(DOP ESB)
Alan Hume (DOP ROTJ)
Richard Chew (Ed. ANH)
Paul Hirsch (Ed. ANH & ESB)
Marcia Lucas (Ed. ANH, ESB & ROTJ)
Duwayne Dunham (Ed. ROTJ)
Sean Barton (Ed. ROTJ)
John Dykstra (SFX ANH)
Ralph McQuarrie (Conceptual Artist, Illustrator & Backgrounds ANH, ESB & ROTJ)
John Barry (Pro. Des. ANH)
Norman Reynolds (Pro. Des. ESB & ROTJ)
John Mollo (Cos. Des. ANH & ESB)
Aggie Guerard Rodgers (Cos. Des. ROTJ)
Nilo Rodis-Jamero (Cos. Des. ROTJ)

I may also consider writing to performers like Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Jeremy Bulloch...

I could try John Williams too.

I figure that, if I ask, some of them may be prepared to go on record as being against LucasFilm's policy.

All comments / suggestions welcome!


That's a great idea - I'd be happy to help when I can. This should be a separate thread, though.
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Super Mario Bros. - The Wicked Star Story
"Ah, the proverbial sad sack with a wasted wish."
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auraloffalwaffle, a few of the people on your list are no longer living. Richard Marquand (director of ROTJ) and John Barry (production designer SW) are deceased. Alan Hume (DOP ROTJ) was actually fired before completing ROTJ as well.
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I could try John Williams too.


John Williams is actually already on record as wanting the originals to be available along with the SE's. He also asked the question of why anyone would change a classic (despite the fact that he did compose the new cue for the end of ROTJ). This was some years ago.
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Originally posted by: ShiftyEyes
auraloffalwaffle, a few of the people on your list are no longer living. Richard Marquand (director of ROTJ) and John Barry (production designer SW) are deceased. Alan Hume (DOP ROTJ) was actually fired before completing ROTJ as well.


Bugger...

Oh well, there's a few others anyway! Onwards and upwards!!
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!