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Elstree 1976

UK 2016
produced by
Hank Starrs, Steve Milne, Christian Eisenbeiss (executive), Robert Hornak (executive), Costa Theo (executive) for Canal Cat Films, The Works, Verax Films, British Film Company
directed by Jon Spira
starring Paul Blake, Jeremy Bulloch, John Chapman, Anthony Forrest, Laurie Goode, Garrick Hagon, Derek Lyons, Angus MacInnes, David Prowse, Pam Rose
written by Jon Spira, music by Jamie Hyatt

documentary
Star Wars

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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In 2016, when Elstree 1976 came out, one was pretty much thinking with endless re-issues of the film, DVD extras, endless YouTube videos that discuss every frame of the movie, and the resurgence of interest (that had hardly wande in the first place) with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, everything had been said about the original Star Wars from 1977 already ... and Elstree 1976 finds that small patch of land that has so far been overlooked, that being coverage of the background and bit actors as well as those hidden under masks for the entire movie (most prominently Dave Prowse as Darth Vader and Paul Blake as Greedo) - many of them virtually unknown even if they have their own action figures -, and how they got their roles in that movie that many of them believed to be a low budget movie (even though that's claimed a lot, Star Wars really was not from the get-go, an estimated $11 million was quite some cash back then - and is rather much for a "low budget" indie to this day!), what they did until then and where it got them. And perhaps most interestingly, how they dealt with their latter-day fame - thing is, when they signed up, none of them (and nobody else) could have even imagined what a phenomenon the Star Wars series would eventually turn out to be, and that all of them would be celebrity guests at conventions, no matter how small their role might have been (though obviously, some fared better than others).

 

Now basically, for the avid lover of Star Wars, this movie will be another part of the puzzle they love to assemble, and it's made by someone who obviously loves the series - and hey, some of the behind-the-scenes shots alone are awesome, giving one a whole new perspective on the movie. More importantly though, this one also works with those only moderately interested, as it also delves into the lives of those out in the acting world trying to make it and not totally succeeding, painting a very vivid picture of that scene, with all its pratfalls even. And I have to state again here, some of the behind-the-scenes footage in this movie is just priceless, especially for its unpolished look that clearly shows that when they were shooting the original Star Wars, they had no idea what they were going for yet.

So yeah, totally worth a watch for not only the hardcore Star Wars-fan.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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