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Watch: 2-Hour Annotated 'Star Wars' Video Explores The Myriad Influences That Shaped A Classic

The Playlist By Mark Zhuravsky | The Playlist May 30, 2014 at 10:26AM

Let's talk about the influences that shaped "Star Wars" for a moment—everyone name checks Joseph Campbell's "The Heroes With A Thousand Faces," Akira Kurosawa's "The Hidden Forteress" and countless "Flash Gordon" serials. Those are certainly among the key touchstones that George Lucas re-imagined into the most influential franchise in movie history, but there are countless other points of reference that shaped the fertile mind of a young auteur.
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Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope George Lucas

Let's talk about the influences that shaped "Star Wars" for a moment—everyone name checks Joseph Campbell's "The Heroes With A Thousand Faces," Akira Kurosawa's "The Hidden Forteress" and countless "Flash Gordon" serials. Those are certainly among the key touchstones that George Lucas re-imagined into the most influential franchise in movie history, but there are countless other points of reference that shaped the fertile mind of a young auteur. Are they worth cataloging and then editing into an annotated cut of "Star Wars" in an attempt to illuminate Lucas' creative process and the material he had access to and was engaged with at the time? 

An interface director at Squarespace seems to think so: Michael Heilemann has assembled an extensive and impressive Kitbashed cut of "Star Wars" as well an e-book in progress, offering a wealth of material and analysis. We get a bit of bio on Lucas as well as the history of the many threads that intertwined to eventually reveal the deceptively simple tale of a young man who just wanted to pick up some power converters at the nearby Tosche Station. It's well worth a read and a viewing, though it is currently a work in progress, with Heilemann stating simply "It's done when it's done." In the meantime, he promises an "exhaustive analysis of the sources of inspiration that led to the creation of Star Wars, covering everything from Lucas's 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." Dig in. [AV Club]

This article is related to: Star Wars, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, George Lucas


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