Monday, September 27, 2010

Movie Monday: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing (Director: George Lucas)
Plot: Part IV in a George Lucas epic, Star Wars: A New Hope opens with a rebel ship being boarded by the tyrannical Darth Vader. The plot then follows the life of a simple farmboy, Luke Skywalker, as he and his newly met allies (Han Solo, Chewbacca, Ben Kenobi, C-3PO, R2-D2) attempt to rescue a rebel leader, Princess Leia, from the clutches of the Empire. The conclusion is culminated as the Rebels, including Skywalker and flying ace Wedge Antilles make an attack on the Empires most powerful and ominous weapon, the Death Star. Written by P. Wong

Trivia & Scenes!
Alec Guinness always recalled the experience of making the movie as a bad one, and consistently claimed that it was his idea to have his character killed in the first film, so he "wouldn't have to carry on saying these rubbish lines". Contrary to this, George Lucas has said he made the decision to kill off Kenobi, that Guinness was "less than happy" his character was dying earlier than expected, and that Guinness appeared to enjoy his time on set.
In earlier drafts, including the ones that were used for audition readings, the planet Alderaan was known as Organa Major. Although the name was changed, the "Organa" was retained and became Leia's adoptive family name.
Chewbacca's "voice" is a combination of several animals including bears, badgers, walrus and camels.

Before Alec Guinness was cast as Obi Wan, George Lucas briefly considered using Peter Cushing, who plays Tarkin.

Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) worked as an orderly in a Yorkshire hospital prior to being cast in the movie. He won his role ten seconds after meeting George Lucas for the first time; all the 7'2" Mayhew had to do was stand up.

Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles (his name is misspelt in the credits as "Dennis Lawson"), is the uncle of Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels.

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.

Interested in creating a modest line of colorful space toys, Kenner Toys signed on for the merchandising shortly before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) opened, although they did not believe the movie would be a hit. When Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) became a hit, they were unprepared to handle the demand and produce enough Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) toys to handle the demand for Christmas. Instead, they sold boxed vouchers for various toys. The toys sold in the "Empty Box" campaign during December were not delivered until the following March.

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.

At one point, George Lucas planned for the characters of Luke Skywalker and his aunt and uncle, to be dwarves.

George Lucas based the character of Han Solo on his friend, director Francis Ford Coppola.

Harrison Ford deliberately didn't learn his lines for the intercom conversation in the cell block, so it would sound spontaneous.

According to Mark Hamill, studio executives were unhappy that Chewbacca has no clothes and attempted to have the costume redesigned with shorts.

The studio was unhappy with Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) as a title after negative market testing. A competition was held during shooting for cast and crew to come up with a better one but nothing stuck.

20th Century Fox was so sure Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was going to be a disaster that they came within a matter of days of selling off their stake in the film as a tax shelter. Positive feedback from an advanced screening made them change their minds, and the profits from the film ended up saving the studio from bankruptcy.

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: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) had grossed over twice as much as Smokey and the Bandit (1977).
At one point in the scripting process, the Force was a large crystal or galactic holy grail called the 'Kyber crystal'
Production was so laden with problems that George Lucas worked himself into poor health. He had to be checked into the hospital after suffering from hypertension.

Carrie Fisher found the dialogue to be very difficult, later saying, "You can type this stuff, but you can't say it". Harrison Ford had similar trouble (particularly in the scene where the Millenium Falcon leaves Tatooine), and persuaded George Lucas to let him change several lines.

Alan Ladd Jr. was very anxious when he attended the premiere in Japan, only to be met by total silence at the end. What Ladd didn't realize was that silence is the greatest honor that a Japanese audience can bestow on a film.

The pulsating engine sound of the Star Destroyer is a manipulated recording of a broken air conditioner.

The first film to make over $300,000,000.

The hilt of the lightsaber given to Luke Skywalker is a Graflex 3 Cell Camera flash tube with some rubber grips and a loop attached to the base, these flash tubes can still be bought today but cost around the same as an official replica hilt

Jabba the Hutt was originally supposed to appear in the film, dropped in optically on top of a stand-in actor. However, the effect was not acceptable and the scene was cut until CGI allowed it to be completed for the 1997 'Special Edition'.


Michelle said...

Amy and I must have been lucky girlies 'cause we got Star Wars toys for Christmas, not empty boxes. Our Grammy is the Best. She also stood in lines to get us Cabbage Patch dolls.

hanner_da_nanner said...

Weren't the first Star Wars toys a little before your time? haha.
Wow thats love.