Friday 14 December 2018

Star Wars v Superman: The two biggest fantasy films of the 1970s

Superman (1978) had a lot in common with Star Wars

Episode Nothing has occasionally looked at some of the other big films of 1977.

But today I'd like to look at a film which arrived more than 18 months after Star Wars Richard Donner's Superman. It was released 40 years ago this week, and I think it's revealing to compare this huge superhero epic with George Lucas's much cheaper creation.

Friday 7 December 2018

Gloria Katz, 1942-2018: The writer who gave Star Wars some of its best lines

Gloria Katz with George Lucas

Think for a moment of some of the best lines in Star Wars – the wittier ones, that remind you of the golden age of movies.

The chances are that you are thinking of lines that were written by the late Gloria Katz and her husband Willard Huyck.

Friday 23 November 2018

When was the title Star Wars devised? It’s earlier than you might think

The title Star Wars as it appears in the film

Apart from its virtues as a film, Star Wars had one of the best titles ever to grace a movie.  But it could just as easily have been called The Adventures of Luke Starkiller

Today, we’re looking at the origins of the title Star Wars – and, at the same time, the meeting at Cannes that set George Lucas’s idea on the way to becoming reality.

Friday 16 November 2018

40 years on: the animated sequence of the Star Wars Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special animated segment

This Saturday, November 17, it's 40 years since the Star Wars Holiday Special, probably the strangest event in Star Wars history.

There’s plenty to mock in the special. I’ve indulged in that mockery myself in posts here and here. We can deride the domestic life of Chewbacca’s comedy, some painful comedy shtick, Princess Leia’s musical tribute to the wookiee holiday Life Day, and Luke Skywalker’s bizarre hair and make-up, to begin with. 

But in the blessed spirit of Life Day, perhaps let’s look at one aspect of the special that has been relatively-kindly received 
– its animated sequence.

Friday 9 November 2018

The commercials in the Star Wars Holiday Special

An ad for Kenner Star Wars toys during
The Star Wars Holiday Special on CBS

On November 17, it will be time to celebrate – if that's the word – the 40th anniversary of The Star Wars Holiday Special.

I've looked before at its most excruciating moments (in a two-part blog post here and here). I've also tried to appreciate the things a young viewer in the 1970s might have loved about it (which only took one post).

In recent times, someone has posted all the commercials from a recording of the Holiday Special, and I think they deserve a post of their own. 

Friday 2 November 2018

Some unsung heroes of the 1977 Star Wars

The Star Wars effects team receive their Oscars from Joan Fontaine

When you read original, 1970s coverage of Star Wars, you come across a few names which are rarely mentioned today.

On the other hand, there are a few people who were not named much at the time, but who we later discovered to have been a key part of the film's success.

Friday 26 October 2018

Screen Scene magazine - where Star Wars sat alongside Logan's Run and The Tomorrow People

The Star Wars poster in Screen Scene issue 5

The 1970s fashion for poster magazines encompassed pretty much every area of popular culture: pop stars, Kung Fu, horror films and, of course, Star Wars.

We've already examined some issues of the Star Wars Official Poster Monthly. Now here's a short look at a one-off edition of a British poster magazine which reminds us of some of the other entertainment that was around at the same time.