Learn Every Movie Star Wars Borrows From In This Epic Rundown
The first Star Wars is unquestionably an amazing film, but it's hardly the most original movie ever made. In writing the script, directing and editing, George Lucas wore his influences on his sleeve, throwing in casual stylistic references to the classic Flash Gordon serials, John Carter stories or movies like The Hidden Fortress and Metropolis. It all comes together to create one of the most thrilling science-fiction sagas ever put on the big screen, but it's still interesting to dissect and really dig into it. Enter Michael Heilemann, an interface director at Squarespace who is working on creating a full-length, annotated cut of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. And you can watch an early cut of what he's put together above.
The work is being done for an e-book Heilemann is writing called Kitbashed, where the author does a full analysis of all the works that fit into George Lucas' mind while he was creating Star Wars. As noted by The AV Club, the official description, the project will cover "everything from [George] Lucasí earliest student films, European cinema of the time, westerns (American and Italian), samurai films, war films, comic books, artists, composers, and so on and so forth, up to and including the release of the film that changed the world." As you'll see by looking at the site where the story is building, the e-book isn't completed yet, but it is very far along.
Watching the full annotated film as you see above is definitely interesting, as it puts everything in context together. That said, it's not necessarily the most viewer-friendly cut of Star Wars that you have ever seen. For those of you who have shorter attention spans, Heilemann also has a Vimeo page where he has uploaded samples from the larger whole. For example, here is a quick clip that intercuts Luke looking at the two suns of Tatooine with a scene from Lucas' own THX 1138:
There's also a video that splices the famed Mos Isley Cantina scene with a number of likely influences, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Casablanca, Yojimbo, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and The Magnificent Seven.
Heilemann says on his site that the project isn't 100% completed yet, with some extended sequences of the movie lacking annotation, but, as he says, he's "tired of sitting on it." Now let's just hope that Lucas and his lawyers don't end up having a problem with it so that he can finish.
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