Movie Reviews

Published on April 28th, 2016 | by Neil Jordan

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Star Wars Fans Will Enjoy Elstree 1976

Greetings & Salutations Fellow Movie Fanatics!

‘Star Wars’. Arguably one of the greatest movie franchises of all time if not THEE greatest. When Star Wars:A New Hope blazed into theaters in 1977, those who participated in the making of the film from actors, to extras, to crew members knew that they were a part of something that would perhaps be written into history as perhaps one of the best science fiction films in recent years at a time when most films of that genre were relegated to B, C, even D movie status.
Never in any of their wildest dreams could they have imagined that the project they were working on, Episode:IV, would go on to become the phenomena that the franchise has evolved into.

A number of documentaries have been produced for TV and film about the production of the movie and how it came to be but today’s selection for your consideration centers not on the well-known stars of Episode:IV, but on actors who portrayed pivotal ‘background’ characters and the extras who participated in the film.

Written and directed by Jon Spira, ‘Elstree 1976’ is a collection interviews staring John Chapman, Jeremy Bulloch, Anthony Forrest, Paul Blake, Laurie Goode, Pam Rose, David Prowse, Angus MacInnes, Derek Lyons, and Garrick Hagon. All skilled and accomplished actors from England, Canada, and the U.S. For some, ‘Star Wars’ was their first major acting gig. For others, it was an addition to their already impressive resumes most of which consisted of theater and stage performances. In this film, they reminisce and recall the memories they had about their time on the set of ‘Star Wars’ and how it affected their lives then and continues to do so today. People always think of James Earl Jones when they think of ‘Darth Vader’. As epic as his voiceover work was, he was not the actor in the costume fighting the battles and directing imperial forces. No. The credit for THAT role belongs to David Prowse. He was the bodybuilder/actor who would engage in the great lightsaber battle with actor Alex Guinness on the DeathStar. Jeremy Bulloch, the man who would become the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return Of The Jedi’ giving credence to the classic British saying ‘There is no such thing as a small role’. Accomplished actor Garrick Hagon whom portrayed Luke Skywalker’s old comrade ‘Biggs’ AKA Red 3 and Paul Blake, the great theater actor whose tombstone just might end up reading ‘Here Lies Greedo’. These are just a few of the individuals who graciously agreed to share their experiences on the movie and the impact it had on their careers and their futures good and bad. Sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic the movie is a firsthand account of how the real world merges with the fantastic.

I myself am a ‘casual’ Star Wars fan and I very much enjoyed this film. It is a genuine ‘peek behind the curtain’ if you will. The film clocks in at about 1 hour 30 minutes so it’s a bit long on the tooth. But very much worth it. If you’re a fan of ‘Star Wars’, set aside some time on the date of May 6th and buy the DVD or digital download, grab some snacks, and follow these folks on a trip down memory lane. I’m going to give this on 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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