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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

by mark f
posted on 1/18/08
OK. My thread has become a wasteland, except for darlin' nebbie, but what the hell...

4. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)

Lucas takes a little bit of Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress and a whole lot of The Wizard of Oz, blends it with Buck Rogers serials, throws in a hip sense of humor, and voila! It's a nice combination of old veterans Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing with the "newcomers" Hamill, Ford and Fisher, plus it gives you James Earl Jones' ominous voice inside the covered-up bod of David Prowse (the weightlifter/bodyguard in A Clockwork Orange). I was there in the theatre on May 25, 1977, to see the opening of Star Wars. It was already a phenomenon. In fact, even though my bro and I bought our tickets 90 minutes in advance, we went to the book store to wait instead of standing in line. That meant that when we returned, there was only one seat available, so I let my younger brother sit while I stood in the back. It didn't matter. My mind was blown, plus we just stayed for a second show afterwards anyway. Then, when we walked out to my car, I had flyers for buying 20th Century stock from a local business. Well. I tossed those, even if I lost a pretty penny right there. I seem to recall the company's stock rising 50% the first week.

What else can you say about the original Star Wars? To meatwad, I want to tell you how terrific this film looked on the bigscreen. You can talk and talk about improvements in the video/DVD/changes by Lucas, etc., but trust me, over 30 years ago, Star Wars was a mind-blowing experience. People in the audience cheered, laughed and gasped, often all at the same time, and there is no way in hell, you'll convince me that moviegoers were less-sophisticated 30 years ago. Hell, back then, the audience at least required a film to have a script and some decent acting! (and yes, why would anybody wanna rag on Star Wars for the acting? If you do, you must live in some flippin' shell. Ha! Don't worry, I'm not dangerous, YET.)


I don't know what else to say about Star Wars which you don't already know. Everyone, except me, realizes that The Empire Strikes Back is far superior because it digs deeper into the mythos and creates "shocks". However, I still don't buy it. The Empire Strikes Back, my #80 film on this list, is a beautiful film and highly worthy of praise, but just like Godfather II, it needs some legs to stand on, and even then, it doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. I know that puts me in the minority, but look at it this way; I've been in the minority for a LONG time.

P.S. I'm so crazy that under normal circumstances, I would have put Return of the Jedi in my list. It just keeps reminding me of so many films I haven't included. I guess I could start a mafo Maxwell Smart's Top 100: "Missed it by that much..."