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SW, Copyrights, and The Library of Congress

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Ok, I know there had been some discussion a little while ago on the board about Original Copies of the films in regards to do they exist, can we get them, etc.

Well a friend of mine works at the Library of Congress and was able to give me a bit of information (that is all publically available) about the films and what exactly the LoC has. She was also able to give me some information on copyrights.

Basically if you go to http://catalog.loc.gov and do a basic search. Search for 96512247 using the search type LCCN-ISBN-ISSN you should get the the entry for Star Wars and if you click on 'Full Record' you will get all the information.

Basically what this tells us is that the LoC does have a copy of the original film reel (as was expected) and that this appears to be the '77 version. My friend told me that the online copyright database only contains works registered on or after 1/1/1978 so the film was copyrighted May 25 1977 which makes sense, but we cant search that record.

So if we look down at the Source of Acquisition information we see 5 entires. the first three appear to be laserdiscs from the 80's these are the viewing copies so it would seem that the viewing copies are going to contain the updated scroll since thats whats on the laserdiscs.

The other 2 copies they have are listed as ref. copies which are the archival copies and as my friend stated, 'you probably can't watch them' but looking at the dates these reels seem to be the original versions.

Now, some information not on the page my friend gave me is that the LoC (generally) recieves (at least) 2 copies of the work. one copy is made available for viewing and the other (the one in better condition) is put in hi-tech format specific storage. She also said (this came up in another thread) that they dont actually let you 'touch' the viewing copy and that basically you can just watch it in a small viewing room and it would not be possible to aquire scans of the actual film.

So basically this is a good news, bad news type thing. Good: Even if Lucas no longer has a copy of the Original Film the Library of Congress appears to have one (that is also probably stored better, and thus in better condition, than any copy that Lucasfilm has) Bad: But we wont ever see this copy as its for Archival purposes.

-Darth Simon
Why Anakin really turned to the dark side:
"Anakin, You're father I am" - Yoda
"No. No. That's not true! That's impossible!" - Anakin

0100111001101001011011100110101001100001

*touchy people disclaimer*
some or all of the above comments are partially exaggerated to convey a point, none of the comments are meant as personal attacks on anyone mentioned or reference in the above post
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Intriguing research. Thanks for the effort!

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
<span class=“Bold”>JediRandy: They’re certainly beyond any repair you’re capable of making.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: You aren’t one of us.
<span class=“Bold”>Go-Mer-Tonic: I can’t say I find that very disappointing.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>JediRandy: I won’t suck as much as a fan edit.</span>

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Isn't this where Nic Cage is supposed to tell us just how easy it is to break into the LoC and 'borrow' the print so we can all see it for the (inter)national treasure that we all know it is?
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ROTFLMAO....Now *THAT* would have made "National Treasure" a much more exciting film. Much higher stakes involved there.

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
<span class=“Bold”>JediRandy: They’re certainly beyond any repair you’re capable of making.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: You aren’t one of us.
<span class=“Bold”>Go-Mer-Tonic: I can’t say I find that very disappointing.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>JediRandy: I won’t suck as much as a fan edit.</span>

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But if we replace the Constitution with the original 77 version, then we can make a *real* "Special Edition.

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
<span class=“Bold”>JediRandy: They’re certainly beyond any repair you’re capable of making.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: You aren’t one of us.
<span class=“Bold”>Go-Mer-Tonic: I can’t say I find that very disappointing.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>JediRandy: I won’t suck as much as a fan edit.</span>

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Lucas will kill you.
"A Jedi can feel the force flow through him".
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Interesting information......anyone care to lift this from the LOC?
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^ I have several balaclavas and bags marked 'SWAG'

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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?
 
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So, is it at least possible for film scholars to watch the '77 version?
originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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LOL that would be priceless i can see a movie being made about that, that makes fun of stuff.
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I don't get it. Why doesn't one of the tens of thousands people who signed this petition just get a job there?
VADER: Let me look on you with my own eyes...

LUKE: Dad, where are your eyebrows?

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WO_S6UgkQk0
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Originally posted by: greencapt
Isn't this where Nic Cage is supposed to tell us just how easy it is to break into the LoC and 'borrow' the print

"uh...we're Star Wars protectors"
originaltrilogy.com Moderator

So shines a good deed in a weary world.

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"I'm in it for the money, sweetheart."

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
<span class=“Bold”>JediRandy: They’re certainly beyond any repair you’re capable of making.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>MeBeJedi: You aren’t one of us.
<span class=“Bold”>Go-Mer-Tonic: I can’t say I find that very disappointing.</span></span>

<span class=“Italics”>JediRandy: I won’t suck as much as a fan edit.</span>

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Originally posted by: SilverWook
So, is it at least possible for film scholars to watch the '77 version?


Actually I dont believe so. I mean the only versions they have that appear to be the '77 version are the two reference/archival copies which they dont let out to be viewed. It may be possible that if you are a well known/renowned film scholar that they will let you view these copies, but I dont believe that to be the case. I will ask my friend for some more information, but from what they told my i get the impression that the archival copies are put in the high tech storage and 'locked away' so to speak.

-Darth Simon
Why Anakin really turned to the dark side:
"Anakin, You're father I am" - Yoda
"No. No. That's not true! That's impossible!" - Anakin

0100111001101001011011100110101001100001

*touchy people disclaimer*
some or all of the above comments are partially exaggerated to convey a point, none of the comments are meant as personal attacks on anyone mentioned or reference in the above post
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Stan: Members, this is our darkest hour. We've just learned that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg now intend to update and change Raiders of the Lost Ark. [the crowd begins to murmur] There's only one way we can stop this important and historical piece of art from being harmed. Mr. Secretary? [hands the mic to Cartman, who moves over to an easel]
Cartman: Thank you. [turns a page up and over. A schematic of George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch is shown] Our intelligence tells us that the original negative to Raiders of the Lost Ark is currently somewhere in George Lucas's house. We need to find and usurp that negative.
Man 3: And if we get a hold ot the negative they can't change the movie?
Stan: That is our understanding.
Woman 2: [a blonde] Sounds like a good idea to me. I don't want them to change Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Crowd: YEAH!
Skeeter: Yeah! We should go get that negative as soon as we get Hat free!
Crowd: YEAH! [the signs go up] Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat!
Kyle: [rusn to the mic] Nonono! We need to do this first.
Woman 2: But we have to free Hat.
Stan: It's just that, you know, he killed twenty-three babies.
Man 4: Well yeah, but it was in self-defense!
Crowd: YEAH!
Cartman: He... killed... twenty-three babies in self-defense?
Skeeter: Hat was attacked maliciously and unprovoked by a gang of babies in West Town Park. When that many babies get together they can be like piranha.
Man 5: Three eyewitnesses testified that if Hat hadn't killed those babies, they'd have killed him!
Crowd: YEAH! [the signs go up] Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat!
Stan: Alright alright. But right now we've gotta focus on getting those original prints of Raider
Skeeter: He's right. We'd better split up. Some of you go with the boys and get those film prints, the rest of us come with me to go talk to the governor about freeing Hat.
Crowd: YEAH! [the signs go up and the crowd moves out. Not one of them stays with the boys] Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat! Free Hat!
Stan: Well, it looks like we're gonna have to do this ourselves.
Tweek: No! Not this! I'm out! I can't deal with the stress you guys create! [walks off the stage]
Kyle: We're just gonna fly to California and break into George Lucas's house. What's stressful about that?
Tweek: Hwaaah!
Cartman: [rushes up to stop Tweek] Okay, Tweek, let me tell you something: You've been our new friend now for two weeks, okay? And I've gotta be honest with you, it isn't going well.
Tweek: Haaah!
Cartman: People aren't that into you, Tweek. They find you kind of annoying. Now, I say you've got one last shot here, and I don't want you to blow it, okay? Does that help take the stress off?
[Skywalker Ranch, night. Inside the camera gets a view of Lucas's library. Among the items there are various props from his Star Wars films, four Emmys, four Oscars... the door opens and a flashlight scans the room. Stan, holding the flashlight, walks in with the other boys]
Stan: Okay, go. [the other boys, with their own flashlights, pour in]
Tweek: [trying to stay composed, with eyes closed] I'm breaking into George Lucas's house. I'm not breaking into George Lucas's house. I'm in a green field.
Cartman: [draws near] Stop, Tweek! This is not the time for faggocity! [walks off]
Kyle: [eyeing a prop] This looks like the right room.
Tweek: I'm in a field... surrounded by deer.
Stan: [finding the video library] Over here! [the other boys join him at the stacks. They see "Star Wars Episode 1, Version 300," "Star Wars Episode 1, Version 301," "Star Wars Episode 1, Version 302," etc., then "First Day of School" and "First Day of School, Digitally Enhanced," then "Wedding Video" and "Wedding Video, Digitally Enhanced." The camera scans past "Kids First Swimming Lesson" and "Kids First Swimming Lesson w/ Digitally Enhanced Weather" to stop at the reel of "Raiders of the Lost Ark, Original Negative 1982."]
Kyle: That's it!
Cartman: Alriiight! Get it, Tweek!
Tweek: Huh uh.
Cartman: Get it, you piece of crap, before I grab your nutsack and twist it!
Tweek: Guh huh huh! [walks off and returns with a stool. He climbs up on it and gets the reel canister. The door opens behind the boys and the lights go on]
George Lucas: What are you doing?! [the boys turn in horror]
Tweek: Oh God! Oh Jesus!
George Lucas: You're the boys from that ...stupid club. Give me that! [grabs the film reel from Tweek]
Tweek: [hops off the stool] Aaaaaah!
Kyle: Do with us what you will, Mr. Lucas! [goes down on his right knee] But please, don't change Raiders of the Lost Ark.
George Lucas: We're gonna make it better. The movie's gonna be changed, and that's that!
Cartman: Alright, you asked for it. I'm afraid you leave us no choice. It's time for Plan B.
Stan: Aw, really?
Tweek: Oh God, no! Not Plan B! [Lucas looks at the boys quzzically]
Cartman: [beat] You have a heart made of ice, Mr. Lucas, and so we're goin' tuh melt your icy heart... with a cool island song. Gentlemen? [the boys reach for the left side of their bodies and rip off their clothes. Underneath they wear colorful Latin outfits and grin.]
George Lucas: [confused] ...What??
Cartman: Hit it, Tweek! [Tweek goes over to a boombox and presses the play button, then returns to the group. Caribbean music plays] In the tropical isle with the coconut tree, there's a lots of-
Stan: Waitwaitwaitwaitwait. I thought we were gonna cool his hot heart with a cool island song.
Cartman: ...No, he has an icy heart.
Kyle: ...But you can't melt ice with a cool song, 'tardheart.
Stan: So we have to warm his icy heart with a "hot" island song
Cartman: It's a cool island song.
Kyle: Well then we're gonna end up freezing his hellish heart with a cool island song.
Cartman: Oh, do we wanna do that?
George Lucas: ALRIGHT, that does it!
[Skywalker Ranch, day, Lucas's living room. The boys stand behind Lucas as he talks on the phone with someone]
George Lucas: [listening] Yes, thank you, officer. [hangs up and walks around the boys] The police are on their way, boys. [stops and faces them] Soon you'll be in jail getting RAMMED!
Tweek: [freaks out] Aaaahh!
Stan: Those rams can do to us what they will, Mr. Lucas, but we'll never stop trying to protect films. [Lucas looks at them]
Kyle: It's not too late to do what's right. Give us the print. There's still some good in you, Mr. Lucas. We know there is. [Lucas hangs his head in shame and turns away]
George Lucas: It is... too late for me, boys.
Kyle: You yourself led the campaign against the colorization of films. You understand why films shouldn't be changed.
George Lucas: M-that's different. These are my movies. I made them, and I have the right to do whatever I want with them
Stan: [steps forward] You're wrong, Mr. Lucas. They're not your movies. They're ours. All of ours. We paid to go see them, and they're just as much a part of our lives as they are of yours.
Kyle: When an artist creates, whatever they create belongs to society
George Lucas: Have I... become so old that I've forgetten what being an artist is about?
Stan: Give the print to us so that we can protect it from Spielberg and anyone else who wants to alter it.
George Lucas: [turns and approaches them] Perhaps... you are right. [presents the reel to Stan, but a door opens...]
A Voice: STOP! [Lucas is startled and the camera pans to Steven Spielberg and three guards] What are you doing, George?!
George Lucas: Steven, Uh, I-
Steven Spielberg: Give me that print, George! We need to make the alterations!
George Lucas: Steven, these boys had a point. I don't remember what it was, but it was good.
Steven Spielberg: You haven't let these do
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Stan: [steps forward] You're wrong, Mr. Lucas. They're not your movies. They're ours. All of ours. We paid to go see them, and they're just as much a part of our lives as they are of yours.

Kyle: When an artist creates, whatever they create belongs to society

George Lucas: Have I... become so old that I've forgetten what being an artist is about?


And that's all I think most of us have been trying to say. I loved that episode and really truly hope that someone brought it GL's attention. At least Spielberg wised up at the last minute and released E.T. in *both* the original and the 'SE' versions without having to buy the stupidly expensive box-set that no one wanted.

[edit] I'd also like to add that I think what makes an artist truly great is to not only get their work out there to the public but to have the balls to stand by the work whether good or bad. Anyone can thump their chests and claim their work is 'masterpiece' but not many can claim that 'yes my work was flawed but I did my best at the time- look at what I can do in the future!'. Look how much time, money and effort GL and his lackeys have put into 'repairing' and changing the OT when a simple cleaned up remaster would have done the trick. Why-oh-why waste all that time when he could have moved on to something else and tried to improve one's craft. And GL claims WE the fans are stuck in a RUT and others at these forums claim we're lost in nostalgia?!?!? If GL had simply watched his own movies, not worried about SW 'special editions' or history revisions and focused on creating a good product in the PT then there would have been little need for discussion here. In fact, if he really dislikes SW and SW fans so much why do the PT at all? Could it be (gasp) that any artistic integrity he once had has been lost to money-hungry business sense? No... I'm sure that's not the case.. is it???? With all the money Lucas had earned prior to 1997, I feel he could have started making these oft-rumored 'little artistic' films he has always wanted to make- so why didn't he??
I $$$ have $$$ no $$$ idea.
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Originally posted by: greencapt
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Stan: [steps forward] You're wrong, Mr. Lucas. They're not your movies. They're ours. All of ours. We paid to go see them, and they're just as much a part of our lives as they are of yours.

Kyle: When an artist creates, whatever they create belongs to society

George Lucas: Have I... become so old that I've forgetten what being an artist is about?


And that's all I think most of us have been trying to say. I loved that episode and really truly hope that someone brought it GL's attention. At least Spielberg wised up at the last minute and released E.T. in *both* the original and the 'SE' versions without having to buy the stupidly expensive box-set that no one wanted.
What do you mean "No one wanted?" I've got it and wanted it.

I should also add that ET was the first movie to freak me out so bad I had nightmares.
At age 24 years and 11+ months, I still have trouble watching the movie. The chase in the movie opening and the shot where ET is face down in the ditch, they still give me the willies.
Any movie that can get that kind of reaction out of me has to be strong.
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Originally posted by: Jaster Mareel
Oh man, National Treasure was such a piece of crap.


Actually I think if we add some lemon juice to the 2004 DVD's and throw them in the oven you'll actually see all the lost cut footage!
16 years I wait and this is what I get???
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Originally posted by: starkiller
What do you mean "No one wanted?" I've got it and wanted it.

I should also add that ET was the first movie to freak me out so bad I had nightmares.
At age 24 years and 11+ months, I still have trouble watching the movie. The chase in the movie opening and the shot where ET is face down in the ditch, they still give me the willies.
Any movie that can get that kind of reaction out of me has to be strong.


OK, sorry Starkiller- I meant 'that FEW people wanted'. Trust me- I LOVE loaded DVDs with lots of extras, but to make people have to buy a much more expensive box set just to be able to get the original version of a film while the 'special edition' is readily available is just robbery- and apparently Spielberg (or someone) agreed as they changed their mind. Spielberg blamed the studio and the studio blamed Spielberg.

I didn't mean to criticize E.T.- I really dug the film, saw it several times when it was released originally and upon re-watching remembered just how strong some of the sequences are. I was just criticizing cutthroat business practices which don't give consumers the choice to make informed choices (ie the SW DVD set, any Blockbuster or WalMart 'fullscreen' version of a film stocked at a 30 to 1 ratio over widescreen, the aforementioned E.T. release, etc)
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From DVDFILE.com:

E.T. DVD review

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As everyone reading this probably already knows by now, despite ET's universal goodwill there were many (myself included) out there with their knives out and sharpened, ready to eviscerate this release but good. Thanks to a heap of marketing from Universal indicating that the original, unaltered 1982 theatrical cut of the film would only be available in a pricey three-disc box set, many rightly complained, not wanting to have to pay a steep $70 just for the privilege of owning the original version. But now, at the last minute (and despite even the packaging not revealing its true contents) only Spielberg himself has stepped forward and delivered the full monty. Both the more affordable two-disc set (available in either widescreen or pan & scan) and the deluxe box set both include the 1982 cut as well as the 2002 re-release, and surprise, surprise, both look quite good.
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well Obi-Wan Spicoli posted some information in another thread (http://www.originaltrilogy.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=2&threadid=2552&messid=115378) that I had made to get some facts straight before making this thread. It may change some of the info i posted, so im gonna copy my reply from that thread here

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Obi-Wan Spicoli,

Thank you much for this information, as some of you may have gathered the reason for my request of this information was for the following thread that I started http://www.originaltrilogy.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=2&threadid=2552

Unfortunatly, this changes some of my assumptions made, so based on the information present in the copyright listing for Star Wars and the dates the LoC aquired their copies if the crawl was already made and could have been present in the 1977 version than its possible that the versions that the LoC recieved in '78 & '79 include this crawl...the two things that makes this seem unlikely however is that the copyright date is may 25 1977, and when the subtitles for the hearing impaired were added this was noted in the copyright so it would make sense that the addition of information to the crawl would also have been noted. Also, the fact that the rereleases of Star Wars were all without the Episode IV until 1981 and the copies the LOC recieved were before this date.

What is also strange is that the earliest copy that the LOC has is dated as being aquired about a year after the movie came out. Now there is the fact that the online copyright database only contains works registered on or after 1/1/1978, but i dont think that would keep an aquisition of the film reels in 1977 from appearing on the information I refer to in the other thread.

I was giving a few more sources I can check, so hopefully I can unquestionably establish what version the print the LOC has on file is.

-Darth Simon
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Why Anakin really turned to the dark side:
"Anakin, You're father I am" - Yoda
"No. No. That's not true! That's impossible!" - Anakin

0100111001101001011011100110101001100001

*touchy people disclaimer*
some or all of the above comments are partially exaggerated to convey a point, none of the comments are meant as personal attacks on anyone mentioned or reference in the above post
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OK guys- this could be our angle!!!

The 1977 version of 'Star Wars' is a registered film of the LOC's National Film Registry http://www.loc.gov/film/titles.html

Congress has voted and the President recently signed into law a bill S.167 which covers, among other interesting things, the public's right to film preservation via the NFR (please note my bold text):

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Title III: National Film Preservation - Subtitle A: Reauthorization of the National Film Preservation Board - National Film Preservation Act of 2005 - (Sec. 302) Amends the National Film Preservation Act of 1996 to expand the use of the National Film Registry seal, which indicates that a film has been included in the Registry and is the Registry version of the film, for use on other approved copies of the Registry version of the film. Allows only the copyright owner or an authorized licensee of the copyright owner to place the seal on any film or other approved copy of the Registry version of a film selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in the case of mass distributed, broadcast, or published works.

Directs the Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the National Film Registry Board, to:

(1) carry out activities to make films included in the National Film Registry more broadly accessible for research and educational purposes and to generate public awareness and support of the Registry and the comprehensive national film preservation program;

(2) review the comprehensive national film preservation plan, and amend it to ensure that it addresses technological advances in preserving, storing, and accessing film collections in multiple formats; and

(3) whenever possible, undertake expanded initiatives to ensure the preservation of the moving image heritage of the United States by supporting the work of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress at Culpeper Virginia, and other appropriate nonprofit archival and preservation organizations.


Increases the number of members on the National Film Preservation Board, the maximum number of members-at-large that the Librarian may appoint, and the number of members required for a quorum.

Directs the Librarian to utilize the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center to ensure that preserved films included in the Registry are stored in a proper manner, and disseminated to researchers, scholars, and the public as may be appropriate in accordance with U.S. copyright law and the terms of any agreements between the Librarian and persons who hold copyrights to such audiovisual works.

Extends the prohibition on the unapproved use of the National Film Registry seal to any format of such a film.

Reauthorizes provisions regarding film preservation.


So as I read it, should this go through, that if we can prove the obvious- that GL considers that the 1977 version "doesn't exist"- than it is up to the public film preservationists to save 'Star Wars' from being erased from our history.

Thoughts? Read more details yourselves at the links above. I really think this would be *somewhat* do-able! Who's up for it???
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You guys should campaign for the film to be preserved in digital format as well as the print that appears to be lodged with the Library of Congress - but I think you would hit a snag with distribution.

Has anyone ever thought of running a fan campaign about the preservation of the theatrical version of the original trilogy? Ie running ads in Variety and something like cinefex (all the effects people read this)? Am pretty sure that there must be some kind of feeling in the film-making fraternity about the changes that George Lucas has made to these films. A film is really a collaborative effort on behalf of a team - If I was an effects guy from 1977 I would be bretty freakin' unhappy if my work were tempered with in the way that it has been. And as for the excuse that George Lucas has that these are "his" movies - he didn't even direct Empire or Return of the Jedi. Generally changes of the kind that he has made are decisions made by a director (who, in the past has been given "author" status, and therefore authorial license). And to be frank - movies in which George Lucas have been involved with tend to be a hell of a lot better when he has someone to collaborate with who has the power to reel in hie excesses.

You would really need people in the entertainment business to press the case to Mr Lucas. It seems more than clear to me that he is unwilling to listen to the fan base (unlike other film/TV most notable: Peter Jackson or Joss Wedon).

OK - am done ranting now.

Am glad there are other people around who feel as strongly about this as me.



I'm altering the bargain. Pray I don't alter it any further...
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Hey there IPDroid! Welcome....

Good comments- the only thing I would add is that on most studio produced films, the *studio* is considered the *author* of the motion picture and not the director. The tiny little disclaimer usually appears at the very end of the credits. I don't totally agree with this, but when so many hands go into making a film there really is no clear 'author'. C'est la vie.