Thursday, July 15, 2010
Fun Summer Movies: STAR WARS - A NEW HOPE (1977)
The summertime blockbuster which, along with Jaws (1975) set the standard for all blockbusters that would follow. I did not see Star Wars upon it's initial release, but thanks to it's popularity I was able to see a few years later when it was released. And it was an awesome movie going experience. I had never seen anything like it before and was totally blown away. George Lucas crafted his best film ever and the entire cast was terrific. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker was terrific and it was great seeing him progress from rebellious teen to full Jedi knight by the time Return of the Jedi came along 6 years later. Harrison Ford was iconic as Han Solo, kind of stole the movie from Hamill in this one. And just a few years later Ford would create another classic movie character, Indiana Jones. Carrie Fisher was spunky as Princess Leia, and she too would evolve as the series progressed. It was cool seeing screen legend Alec Guiness in a film like this and he was perfect. Also nice seeing horror/sci-fi legend Peter Cushing as well. Rounding out the cast was Mayhew as Chewbacca, Daniels as C3PO and Prowse as the imposing Darth Vader, with that cool deep voice of James Earl Jones supplying the vocals.
Star Wars was a phenomenon that set box office records and made science fiction films cool again. The lines at theaters for this film and all the other films in the Star Wars series were massive. Soon people would be showing up in Jedi robes and Stormtroopers outfits. Star Wars just became an out of this world thing. I know I have seen A New Hope at least 50 times and it never gets old. Actually the second film, The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite of the series, but Hope is the most fun. Escapes, laser shoot-outs, space battles, humor, cool visual effects, great heroes and villians all combine to make this a winning fun summer movie. The original trilogy is way better than the newer sequels because of the fun factor. The new ones, while awesome to look at can't recapture that same magic. A New Hope is the definitive summer extravaganza.
Was originally scheduled for a Christmas 1976 release, but was pushed back five months as post-production (especially special effects) took longer than expected. Studio executives were concerned that the new 25th May 1977 release date would put the film's box office chances at risk as Smokey and the Bandit (1977) would come out that same week. However, by the end of its initial theatrical run in the U.S., Star Wars (1977) had grossed over twice as much as Smokey and the Bandit (1977).
The movie opened in May 1977 and by November had dethroned Jaws (1975) as the all-time box-office champ. It then was beaten by E.T. (1982), but was back on top when it was re-released in 1997. It held that position until Titanic (1997).
The first film to make over $300,000,000 million.
The lightsaber sound effect is a combination of the hum of an idling 35mm movie projector and the feedback generated by passing a stripped microphone cable by a television.
Mark Hamill held his breath for so long during the trash compactor scene that he broke a blood vessel in his face. Subsequent shots are from one side only.
Chewbacca's "voice" is a combination of several animals including bears, badgers, walrus and camels.
Stunt doubles were not used for the scene in which Luke and Leia swing to safety. Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill performed that stunt themselves, shooting it in just one take.
Harrison Ford deliberately didn't learn his lines for the intercom conversation in the cell block, so it would sound spontaneous.
Most of the crowd watching the heroes receive their medallions are cardboard cutouts.