Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Original Star Wars film reels

Where to begin?                                               
That's the question I find myself asking 
as I was preparing to do a retro review of George's Unaltered Original Widescreen release of Star Wars on the big old shiny Laserdisc - 
( remember them?)
 on the very weekend
 Rogue One is debuting
 in theatres worldwide.

So here I am  thinking about  how
 I'm going to tackle this project -
 What angle am I going to take ?
 How shall I  approach this-  
and what will my review reveal to my average reader 
that hasn't already been discussed  many times before?
 What it is it about this release of the movie,
  that they may not already know? 
Well, as it happens,
 as I reviewed the Laserdisc chapter's menu's -  
   a question came to mind.

When George and company decided to release the now 
infamous "Star Wars Trilogy - The Definitive Collection" -why for the love of Money didn't they correct a major flaw in the previous 10 year old Standard Play CAV LaserVideo Disc release? 
No- I'm not referring to anything that has to do with 
color timing and / or "special effects".
I'm referring to how many disc were used to
transfer the print to Laserdisc.
I mean--
Star Wars was a six reel print, 
and there are two sides to each disc- six total sides
on the three discs - right?
So why not release the film true it's theatrical version - 
and only transfer 1 reel to each side? That way -
 the Home Video release matches the original film - 
the way it was distributed & shown in theatres? 

Granted - a reel change could(?)
 end in the middle of a scene - 
 and that does occur at one point in this print -
 during the Trash Compactor scene -
 but then again I've experience worse scene breaks
 with other films between side changes on Laserdisc 
than what occurs in the 35mm film version of Star Wars.  
 I wonder why the didn't leave the timing cues in place 
on the home video releases? 
Today  "prints" are a thing of the past - 
but in 1993 -  this was still all SOP in the film distribution &exhibition industry.

  I guess I can kind of forgive the original 
1983 CAV release for only using 5 sides for the film -
  leaving the sixth side blank
 ( as Insane as that sounds ), cause you know, really, 
how many people had a Laserdisc player in 1983?
Maybe someone @ Fox or Pioneer didn't want you to
have to get up and flip the damn disc over yet one more time? 
However, by 1993 -
there was a explosion ( pun intended)  of
 LD player's onto the market
 - featuring LPCM Digital sound & some - 
such as the Pioneer CLD-D702 
even had Jog & Shuffle and both side play ! 
    Unlike the 1983 pressing -
 which Pioneer / Fox had control over -
 the 1993 version was spearheaded by Lucasfilm itself,
 through it's newly developed THX Laserdisc Program -
 designed to "elevate the home video & audio experience....
  to an unprecedented level!"  
 So now - it begs the question: 
  Why the hell not?
   Now- I know someone out there, as they read this, 
   is thinking they know the answer, 
cause bet you a buck
 you are thinking it's all Cost related - right? 
Well - in this huge 9 disc set -
 which retailed for $249- 
( & that's in 1993 dollars !!!) 
mainly due to it's shipping weight -
 cause someone thought it was a great idea to included
 that large, heavy, hard-bound "All about George" book
  in this release. Now That ! was the real cost.
 An addition disc would have only added about another 
$10 bucks to the cost, so I'm not buying it.
 And I didn't - 
      at least not till years later- and used, not @ retail.  
Had they simply left out the book- 
I bet it would have save us $50 bucks.

 So I guess now I have my angle -
 not just for this article,
but also for the addition review I'm going to write
 about the other CAV Widescreen release - 
The Special Collection Edition from Japan. 

  This is for those of you whom -
 as many times as you have seen the original Star Wars, 
 either on Laser, Beta, VHS, or via DVD, 
missed seeing the original film during it's many theatrical runs - 
and would like to know where each reel of film ends
 & where the next one begins. 

For reference - I'm going to compare where each real ends - and the next one begins - with where they can be found on the Definitive Collection LD, and it's DVD counterpart - the Bonus Disc from the 2006 Limited Edition - which was sourced from the same D-1 Master tape. yes- the FACES Edition was also sourced from the same Master- however- it's CLV & contains fewer Chapter Markers ( only 38 Vs. the DVD's 50 Vs. TDC's  82 !)  If all you own is a VHS copy, I'm sorry. I'll note running times.  Keep in mind that this is not technically the last frame on the reel - as the second timing cue ( which last 4 frames ) is placed @ about one second ,  at 22 frames, before the end of the reel.

                                 NOW - to it's credit, The Def. collection did manage
                                    to get at least one disc correct. Disc Five.
                                           ( Disc 4 ends @ the end of film reel 5.)         
Disc 5 contains only the Sixth reel of film. 

REEL 1 :
The award winning reel one comes to end just as R2 & 3PO
 follow Luke down into the garage as the image  Fades to black.
This is the one timing cue in which I had to used the 16mm frame for a reference,
  & this is the 1st timing cue of the two - which appears 8 seconds
      ( or 174frames ) before the reel's end.

TDC Disc 1. Ch. 14
REEL 2 Begins.
Disc 1. Ch. 15

This reel change occurs @ 18:35 seconds -
                                            end of Chapter 8/ Beginning Ch. 9. on the DVD.
REEL 2 ends here: 
Tarkin: ... "We will then crush
        the Rebellion with one swift stroke"

TDC Disc 2 Ch. 23.

 REEL 3 begins here:
                   Disc 2 - Ch.24                         

                                                           This reel change occurs @ 36:01 seconds -
                                                              end of Chapter 16 & exactly @ Ch. 17.


     REEL 3 ends

on Disc 3, Ch. 1


        REEL 4 begins:   

Disc 3, Ch. 2

                                           This reel change occurs @55:52 in Chapter 27

REEL 4 ends :

Disc 3 Ch. 14

Reel 5 begins:
   Disc 3. Ch. 14

                                               This reel change occurs @ 1:16:08 @ the end of
                                                      Chapter 34 / Beginnings of Chapter 35
                                                         "I've got a bad feeling about this."

Reel 5 ends :

Disc 4. Ch. 27

Reel 6 begins

Start Disc 5 Ch. 1


                                               This final reel change occurs @ 1:38:34
                                           @ the end of Ch. 43 & exactly @ Ch. 44 mark
                                                     just after Han says to Luke
                                                   " May the force be with you."                                                                                    

   The 1st image for the reel one wasn't taken directly from film - 
            it's sourced from The 2006 Bonus DVD of the Definitive Collection.
           ( Along with the 1st frame of each following reel.)  
    The timing cue was digitally added to the 1st frame.
     The frames displayed showing all other timing cues were sourced 
             from the  Star Wars: 35mm Silver Screen Theatrical  print restored
             by  Team Negative1.
     The frame used to represent chapter 17 on the 2006 BONUS DVD
      has been changed from the image used in the official release. 
     The image used here to represent chapters 27 & 28 in the 2006 Bonus DVD
      menu has been digitally edited together.