Friday, May 5, 2017

Quirky Documemtary: "Elstree: 1976"

My husband and I had a lot of fun last evening over at the main branch of the Regina Public Library.  We decided to go and see the above documentary film in their lovely little theatre.

Personally, I had no interest in seeing any sort of documentary having to do with the filming of the original "Star Wars" movie, but my husband was keen on having us do something new and different together and I wasn't about to turn that down!  Sometimes I feel that I know the back of his head better than any other part of him, because I spend so much time looking at it as he studies text books, writes notes and works on his computer.  

Plus, I figured it must be meant to be because earlier in the day I purchased stamps at the post office and the clerk gave me a book of 10 stamps touting the series, "Star Trek". "Star Wars", "Star Trek"...yeah, okay, whatever...either, or...

We were both pleasantly surprised by this odd little film.  It traces the history of some of the bit players from the original "Star Wars" movie series.  I found David, the fellow who actually played the Darth Vader character, the most interesting.  We were shown a few short clips of his original scenes prior to the Darth Vader voice being dubbed in by James Earl Jones, and it is a good thing that happened! haha  The low budget gave David a Darth Vader mask that muffled his voice so badly he could hardly be understood!  The few sentences we were able to make out in his own voice were about as far from the deep resonance of Jones as it is possible to get. hahaha  We learned about the way some of the costumes and special effects were creatively invented and spliced together, all in low budget manner, since of course the kinds of digital special effects we are now used to were not available 40 years ago.  

All the actors interviewed are still making a few dollars for the Star Wars franchise and for themselves by attending hours long photograph and autograph sessions at various fan expos, but most of them never rose much out of the obscurity of being extras and walk ons in other movies.  Some of them left acting not long after that first "Star Wars" adventure and went on to other careers, but those who stayed in the acting business are still enjoying the benefit of that film or else are rueing the fact they didn't recognize what a blockbuster it was going to be, so didn't really set themselves up for better gigs afterward. 

The fellows who played Boba Fett, the bar monsters and some of the paratroopers who were able to take off their masks in group scenes and have a line or two, so are more recognized, or who even have plastic action figures based on their characters, were most interesting to listen to as they described how they were hired for those roles and what their relationships with George Lucas turned out to be on set.  One of the most in demand fan expo actors is a fellow who played Han Solo's friend in an opening scene that was evenually axed completely from the final production but has become more well known since the advent of YouTube, where bits and pieces of that scene have shown up. 

Last night was the first showing of several this weekend and I do hope the computer file this documentary was being shown to us on is able to be replaced.  We had to miss the last 10 minutes of the movie because it became apparent the file is somehow corrupted.  We saw about 5 minutes of the movie toward the end three times over as the tech tried and tried to fix the problem, but it didn't work out.  Since my husband and I and one other fellow were the only attendees for that first showing, there was little upset expressed by the audience, but I thought it might have been nice if the 3 of us had been issued some sort of special pass to return tonight or tomorrow to see the last bit.  I felt sorry for the tech: as we were leaving the theater we heard him cry out, "O no, it's TOAST!!"  I am guessing today will be a mad scramble to get in touch with the company they received the file from in their attempts to get another copy downloaded or otherwise sent to them. 

There are a few more films coming over the next few months that look interesting to me.  Next week's film is about feral cats in Turkey that looks fascinating.  A friend in Alberta sent me a link to a movie she likes about the life of folk artist Maud Lewis.  Last night it was mentioned in the upcoming movies for the Regina Public Library Theatre, so I think I will try to see that one.  Unfortnately the cats movie is playing next weekend when I have the choir dress rehearsal and concert and friends coming over on the Sunday.

It is past time for my husband and I to get with the programme and start enjoying a few more of the cultural entertainments this city has to offer.  As we discovered last evening, it IS possible to go to an event on a week night that is fun and is over early in the evening so that my husband can get to work the next day without being exhausted.

Speaking of my husband, he is suffering a chemical reaction to the carpet glue under the new flooring that was installed in the office yesterday.  He was pretty out of it by the time he got home for dinner last evening and had a long nap before we went to the film.  Today he has important meetings and conference calls in the morning, but if opening all the windows in the building are insufficient to stave off more reactions to the chemicals he will be working from home this afternoon.

O my...I just realized that means I had best stop blithering here and get at least the upstairs of this suite cleaned properly just in case he arrives home to work later on.  I can't be running our noisy vaccum while he is working and trying to dust around him is quite impossible.

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