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Return of the Jedi joins the National Film Registry

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Return of the Jedi was inducted today in the National Film Registry, completing the induction of all three movies of the Original Trilogy.

(https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-21-078/)

What does this actually mean? To my understanding, the Library of Congress already has a copyright deposit print that’s most likely in rough shape and nowhere near as good as the print for 4K83.

At least the US Government now has a mandate to keep a copy of the theatrical cut in their protected archives so the original version never becomes a ‘lost film’.

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The copyright deposit print for ROTJ at the LOC is absolutely not in rough shape. The portions I got to see in person looked brand new. Great colors and virtually no print damage. It’s likely that, unlike Star Wars and ESB (which seem to have been release prints that were later sent to the LOC copyright depository) ROTJ was a newly struck print sent straight to the LOC.

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That’s awesome to hear!

You’ve been to the LOC? If so, have you seen the prints of Star Wars and ESB?

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 (Edited)

From the https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-21-078 article:-

“Little did I know when I started writing a tale about good, evil, friendship and the Force, it would become a lifelong journey of creativity, imagination and innovation for so many,” said filmmaker George Lucas. “A great honor of learning ‘Return of the Jedi’ has been included in the National Film Registry is knowing the original trilogy of the Star Wars Saga will be preserved in full as nominated by the public, safeguarded as part of our shared American Cinema heritage by our nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress, and the National Film Preservation Board.”
 

Hey, George… is there another way you could somehow honour the public who nominated these three films, the same public that dearly love these films so much, as well as the countless talented artisans, craftsmen (and women) and crew… who worked on them, these three films which form an important part of cinematic heritage… so that everyone could view and experience these iconic, pioneering, and landmark movies once again?

 

An article up on the official Star Wars website - ‘Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi joins the National Film Registry
 

“Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here?”

“Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?” - Oddball, of The Awkward Squad

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Nilbog said:

You’ve been to the LOC? If so, have you seen the prints of Star Wars and ESB?

I’m not the guy you’re responding to, and I haven’t been to the LOC, but this article talks about someone seeing the Star Wars print at the LOC. From his description, it’s a Technicolor print. The quality is mostly good, but the colors are somewhat faded and there are scratches on the outside of the reels. I’ve never heard anyone talk about the ESB print, but I’d bet it’s probably gone pink at this point.

My preferred Skywalker Saga experience:
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX

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The LOC does not have a technicolor print. They have copyright deposit prints on the standard film stock used for each regular printing of the OT films. I don’t have time to retype the whole story again but a number of years ago I was able to visit the film storage vault in Culpepper, VA and see the prints in person.

Star Wars looked like a regular release print that had been shown in theaters prior to being sent to the LOC and had all the usual wear and tear of a theatrical release print. It was faded to a light pink but still had enough color info for the telecine operator to color correct it with relative ease.

ESB also looked like a release print and was sadly as red as a cherry, though with today’s tools you could probably still pull out decent colors.

ROTJ looked brand new like it was struck yesterday. No noticeable print damage and beautiful vibrant colors.

The prints have since been elevated to a preservation status that means it’s basically impossible for the public to access the actual prints anymore. The author of that article above saw a copy of Star Wars that was made via a 2K telecine which was completed sometime after my visit (it was in a pipeline of upcoming projects when I was there). It’s my understanding anyone can go to the LOC in D.C. (not the film storage facility) and request to view that copy but you have to sit and watch it there on whatever player they provide. Which, honestly, is rather pointless these days with the existence of 4K77.

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At least there can’t be any shenanigans with Disney/Lucasfilm offering up an SE print in exchange for that old copy the LOC has.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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SilverWook said:

At least there can’t be any shenanigans with Disney/Lucasfilm offering up an SE print in exchange for that old copy the LOC has.

“But National Film Registry, are you sure you don’t want the delightful crooning of Joh Yowza to be archived with you forever?”

But we can’t turn back. Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust. And what there is is most likely directed towards a large-scale assault.

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Oh they have Joh. They have copyright deposits of the ‘97 SEs too. I didn’t spend much time with them but they were all very clearly brand new prints sent directly to the LOC after being struck. Pristine condition.

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IMO, with prints of the original versions becoming increasingly rare as time progresses, it’s invaluable that at least one copy of each movie is protected by those with the best resources, even if there are now other ways for the public to watch them.

I wonder if the prints were since scanned in 4K at the LOC?

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Nilbog said:

I wonder if the prints were since scanned in 4K at the LOC?

In all honesty, probably not. The LOC is a phenomenal institution and the value of work they do preserving our knowledge, history, and art can NOT be overstated.

However, they are a government institution and subject to all the bureaucracy, politics, funding, and budget constraints typical of such governmental trappings.

Private corporations and even private individuals generally have newer, better, more advanced tools and technology at their disposal.

With the exception of classified and/or legally unobtainable military tech, the wealthy private sector almost ALWAYS has better stuff than the government. And film preservation is not any different.

Though I will say the cold storage film vaults of the LOC are top notch (mostly because they were built and donated by a wealthy member of the Packard family - as in Hewlitt Packard) and thus it’s name: the Packard Campus.

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canofhumdingers said:

Oh they have Joh. They have copyright deposits of the ‘97 SEs too. I didn’t spend much time with them but they were all very clearly brand new prints sent directly to the LOC after being struck. Pristine condition.

Horrifying.

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I’m just wondering which cut of Manhunter is represented in their copyright deposit.