Friday, 28 September 2018

Gary Kurtz, 1940-2018: an obituary

Gary Kurtz with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill
on the set of Star Wars

Gary Kurtz died on Sunday, September 23, at the age of 78.

He was, of course, the producer of Star Wars – and screen credits don’t get much bigger than that. And yet I think he has also become one of Star Wars’ unsung heroes.

Friday, 21 September 2018

The Star Wars Official Poster Monthly #2

The US version of the Star Wars Official Poster Monthly #2

In another look at the Star Wars Official Poster Monthly, I'm going to examine how this 1977 publication lifted the curtain on the film's visual effects  and told us about life on Tatooine.

Friday, 14 September 2018

The original Darth Vader back story – before he was Luke's father

The back story of Darth Vader, as presented in the Star Wars Official Poster Monthly, issue 2

Star Wars told us relatively little about its mysterious villain, Darth Vader.

We knew he was a young Jedi Knight who turned to the dark side, murdered Luke's father and helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the other Jedi. But was he human, alien, part-machine? What was under that mask, and why did he make that mechanical breathing noise?

So much remained untold that it was thrilling to see a magazine article that gave us Darth Vader's back story  even if it was different from the one that would be developed in The Empire Strikes Back and afterwords.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Star Wars Official Poster Monthly

The giant poster inside issue one of the Star Wars Official Poster Monthly

The 1970s saw a craze for magazines that unfolded to form giant posters. Kung fu, Hammer horror films, the Fonz  they all inspired poster magazines.

Naturally, the biggest film of all time would spawn a title of its own.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The music of Star Wars: from the original LP onwards

The Star Wars double LP from 20th Century Records.
(This one's a UK copy, manufactured by Pye.)

Those who saw Star Wars before the addition of John Williams' music say the score transformed the movie.

Carroll Ballard, who directed second unit footage for the film, said in Dale Pollock's Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas: "It was a mind-boggling difference. It gave the hokey characters a  certain dimension. When you saw the film without the score, you couldn'ty take it serously. But the music gave it the style of an old-time serial, and it was geat fun."