I’m not sure if this is the right thread for what I’m about to say, so if there’s a thread for something like this, please point the way!
Rewatching ESB for probably the 50,000,000th time, I actually noticed something weird about one scene in particular. Right when Darth Vader says “No, I am your father”, pay close attention to him. I can’t really describe what it is, but it’s the way he moves as he says that immortal line. It’s very subtle, but if you look closely, you’ll notice it.
I’m not sure if that’s David Prowse moving with the rushing wind or if it’s something from the editing process. And the only thing that comes to mind seeing him move like this is that it could probably be something called the “forward-reverse technique”. I say that because it reminds me of when the technique was used for the scene in that godawful “Batman & Robin” movie when Robin comes out of the water and goes right back in again. Only with ESB, it wasn’t as colossally (and painfully) obvious.
I don’t know if I’m the only one who sees this or if I’m just rambling about nothing, but if anybody has the answer to this, I sure would appreciate it because I keep thinking it’s a Special Edition change until I watched the Grindhouse Edition and noticed the subtle movement there. So I’m guessing it’s been there since 1980. So really, my question is what the heck it is?
I, too, have noticed that shot.
This “rock and roll” trick was discussed, lightly, on the “Empire of Dreams” documentary, but for a shot in ANH. At the 56:03 mark of the documentary, editor Paul Hirsh said that he had to “rock” the final few frames of a medium shot of a Tusken Raider “back and forth” so that the shot appears that the sandperson was raising his weapon-stick up-and-down several times instead of just raising it up once as it was originally filmed.
Getting back to Vader and ESB, my theory is this: given what we know of that shot, David Prowse in the Vader suit says the line, “obi wan killed your father” during the filming. To keep Luke and Vader’s blood relations a secret, the shot was kept intact throughout the post-production stages until James Earl Jones reads Luke true parentage. Using dramatic pauses between “I…” and “…am your father” in Jones’ delivery, the filmmakers like the reading but they didn’t want to edit down the recording, so the editor extended the shot to fit the recording by using the said “back and forth” trick.