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Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: DP
Date: November 24, 2020 07:21AM
A longish read, so do it when you have time...

It’s a scene etched into every Star Wars fan’s mind. The roguish anti-hero Han Solo sits alone at bare table in the Mos Eisley cantina. An alien bounty hunter pulls up a chair to confront him. After some tense chit-chat, the amphibian-looking barfly pulls a gun and fires a laser blast inches from Solo’s head. Without batting an eye, Han fires a return blast under the table, killing the bounty hunter and sauntering away from the grisly yet PG-rated scene. Everybody’s seen it. Except not.

That impromptu shootout in the first Star Wars is but one of the sequences that diverges from what audiences saw when the movie was originally released in 1977, and it’s perhaps the most infamous of writer/director George Lucas’s endless tinkering with his beloved space saga. This means that a whole generation of supposedly passionate fans have been living a lie. The galaxy far, far away that fans like me fell in love with is a different film entirely.

I confess that I love Star Wars far too much. It’s a cultural artifact that permeates my whole being. I couldn’t count how many Star Wars birthdays I’ve had, how many toys I’ve bought, and how many home video editions of the original trilogy I owned. I’ve even made some of my best friends by challenging them to exceedingly nerdy Star Wars trivia (Q: What was the number of the garbage compactor that nearly killed Han, Luke, and Leia in the first movie? A: If you don’t know it, we aren’t best friends.)

And yet I’ve never seen the original version of Star Wars — a crime that should be punishable by freezing me in Carbonite and shipping me off to an uncertain fate with Boba Fett. But today, it requires nothing shy of an actual quest if you want to find Lucas’s 1977 original, the ur-Star Wars from which the subsequent multi-multi-billion-dollar cultural empire sprang. Lucas has ensured the “original” is a tampered-with version he now sells riven with edits and festooned with computerized effects. To see his original vision, one must dig.

Take, for example, one awful addition to the Special Edition in a scene cut from the 1977 release. Han Solo confronts a human version of Jabba the Hutt in Docking Bay 94. The Falstaffian human actor portraying Jabba in 1977 was replaced by a laughably obvious CGI creation in 1997, worsened only by an even crappier-looking computer enhanced Solo stepping on CG-Jabba’s tail.

The greatest affront came in that Mos Eisley cantina scene. The version I first saw had Solo defending himself, returning fire after that first errant blast. The original version, I later learned, had Solo straight-up blasting this marble-eyed Greedo customer (who, let’s face it, was probably going to kill Solo eventually anyway) and swing out of the cantina like the John Wayne gunslinger his character is set up to be.

The abhorrent CG-Jabba is one thing. Han returning fire was another. No other addition to the original films pissed fans off more. The rallying cry of “Han shot first” became shorthand for fans everywhere who felt betrayed by art that was toned down to be more marketable to parents. George Lucas, one of the richest men in the world, sold out the very people who made him so wealthy.

The rejiggered scene prompts Star Wars geeks to lose their collective s••t, because it fundamentally changes Solo. Through the chintzy reconfiguring that has the bounty hunter shoot at Han first, Lucas removed the moral ambiguity of the morally ambiguous Han Solo. To audiences, and to the character’s personality, it just made no damn sense.


[getpocket.com]





Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: November 24, 2020 07:43AM
I believe that I still have it on VHS. I have it on a dvd that I made from a laserdisc.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: DP
Date: November 24, 2020 07:58AM
I have it VHS too. Maybe I need to get it copied to something more permanent!





Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: davemchine
Date: November 24, 2020 08:34AM
But do you have Harmy's special edition? It's worth a google.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: rz
Date: November 24, 2020 08:59AM
I saw the original... in a theater in 1977. And I've seen 6 or 7 of the sequels/prequels. Never have seen the third prequel yet. And wife and I can't agree whether or not we saw the second prequel... plot sounds vaguely familiar, but neither of us is 100% sure we actually saw it.

Do I care who shot first? No. I have enough going on in my life to obsess about something so trivial.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Acer
Date: November 24, 2020 09:06AM
OK, but what fan of Star Wars does not know about this? Even if you only ever saw the corrupted version, two seconds on the Internet will have the Han Solo Shot First crowd screaming The Truth at you.

</trek_curmudgeon>
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Speedy
Date: November 24, 2020 09:14AM
Quote
rz
Do I care who shot first? No. I have enough going on in my life to obsess about something so trivial.

Heresy.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: November 24, 2020 09:15AM
Since the original clip exists on youtube at 1080p, some simple editing would give you a virtually original version.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Schpark
Date: November 24, 2020 09:22AM
I also have the original trilogy on VHS.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: November 24, 2020 09:49AM
Try to get a copy made from Laser Disc. It's the original movie with much better video quality than tape.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 24, 2020 10:15AM
Guys just look up Harmy's Despecialized Edition. The work has already been done.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: MikeF
Date: November 24, 2020 11:11AM
Try to find the Star Wars Holiday Special.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 24, 2020 11:28AM
Quote
Schpark
I also have the original trilogy on VHS.

Ditto. Maybe. Don't have VHS player anymore, however.
Got rid of VHS/DVD combo player a few years back.
==
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: deckeda
Date: November 24, 2020 11:52AM
Quote
MikeF
Try to find the Star Wars Holiday Special.

And then look for the clip where Letterman asked Harrison Ford about it.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: November 24, 2020 01:09PM
I have the original on VHS and Laserdisc. I could transfer the VHS but I'm fairly sure the Laserdisc player doesn't work, not even sure if my old VCR works either.

After looking at the instructions into how the get Harmy's version I think I can deal with my DVD I bought. LOL!

[docs.google.com]



Grateful11
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: November 24, 2020 01:33PM
I've had the despecialized editions for a while now and I don't think I've ever watched them. I myself have seen the originals but my daughter has not. Might have to break those out this weekend.




__________________________________
There’s a guy wearing overalls with no shirt.
Which I think we all know is the International uniform for the last guy you’ll ever see.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 24, 2020 01:59PM
Quote
Grateful11
I have the original on VHS and Laserdisc. I could transfer the VHS but I'm fairly sure the Laserdisc player doesn't work, not even sure if my old VCR works either.

After looking at the instructions into how the get Harmy's version I think I can deal with my DVD I bought. LOL!

[docs.google.com]

I know where there is a working laserdisc player, unfortunately since I retired I can't get access to it until the library reopens at the university. An alumnus donated a collection of operas and classical performances on CD, DVD and laserdisc and included his high end Runco, THX certified player.

P.S. Anyone know where codes for a programmable remote exist for Runco? The remote was one thing not packed up by the alum's assistant and not to be found.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: November 24, 2020 02:15PM
The first DVD (Special Edition) releases contained a letterboxed (not enhanced for widescreen TVs) DVD of the original versions. I have that release so it at least looks clean if only medium rez.

I've watched the Harmy's versions, they are clearly a labor of love and very good.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Mike Sellers
Date: November 24, 2020 03:09PM
Quote
macphanatic
I believe that I still have it on VHS. I have it on a dvd that I made from a laserdisc.

Pfffffff!! I have it on a BetaMax tape.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 24, 2020 03:35PM
Quote
Mike Sellers
Quote
macphanatic
I believe that I still have it on VHS. I have it on a dvd that I made from a laserdisc.

Pfffffff!! I have it on a BetaMax tape.

hail smiley
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: November 24, 2020 03:57PM
Quote
Lew Zealand
The first DVD (Special Edition) releases contained a letterboxed (not enhanced for widescreen TVs) DVD of the original versions.

These versions are non-anamorphic. If your TV attempts to stretch the image to fit the width of your display, the image will stretch horizontally. More likely, the image will simply have black bars on all four sides of the image. Either way, not great.



It is what it is.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: DP
Date: November 24, 2020 04:00PM
AFAIR, Greedo said he'd have to kill Han so Han acted on the threat. Works for me.





Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: November 24, 2020 04:16PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Lew Zealand
The first DVD (Special Edition) releases contained a letterboxed (not enhanced for widescreen TVs) DVD of the original versions.

These versions are non-anamorphic. If your TV attempts to stretch the image to fit the width of your display, the image will stretch horizontally. More likely, the image will simply have black bars on all four sides of the image. Either way, not great.

Yes, this is a problem for playing DVDs like this nowadays. Luckily I ripped everything years ago so there are no black bars anywhere but blown up to 65" it gives a very soft picture.

Honestly the kids just get the special edition 1080p versions with the stupid stuff everywhere and they're Star Wars savvy enough to know how it's *really* supposed to look.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: November 24, 2020 04:29PM
Found the Harmy Despecialized with my Duck Duck Go fu.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: rz
Date: November 24, 2020 06:25PM
Quote
MikeF
Try to find the Star Wars Holiday Special.

I found it online. Haven't watched it yet though.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: November 24, 2020 11:20PM
From the end of an article:

Quote

When news of Disney’s $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm went through, rumors ran rampant that the original versions would finally be packaged and sold. Finally, the Mouse could override Lucasfilm’s intransigence! Alas, Disney still doesn’t own Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi — 20th Century Fox does.

So here’s an interesting thought: Disney now owns 20th Century Fox.

Smart money says Disney gets the original versions of the Original Trilogy out on physical media while a market still exists for it.



It is what it is.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/2020 11:22PM by N-OS X-tasy!.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: November 25, 2020 12:09AM
I've got the LaserDisc box set with Han using the Best Defense defense.

I really should check to see if my Pioneer player still works.

If there are any belts in it, they're probably toast goo, by now.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

Everybody matters or nobody matters.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Why Finding the Original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ Verges on the Impossible
Posted by: deckeda
Date: November 25, 2020 06:16AM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
From the end of an article:

Quote

When news of Disney’s $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm went through, rumors ran rampant that the original versions would finally be packaged and sold. Finally, the Mouse could override Lucasfilm’s intransigence! Alas, Disney still doesn’t own Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi — 20th Century Fox does.

So here’s an interesting thought: Disney now owns 20th Century Fox.

Smart money says Disney gets the original versions of the Original Trilogy out on physical media while a market still exists for it.

I was under the impression that especially for A New Hope, the film stock long ago basically fell apart and that only subsequent non-HD digital copies are what’s left.
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