ON DAVID LYNCH'S REVENGE OF THE JEDI
SOMEHOW MY FATHER CONVINCED MY mother to squander a date night and watch David Lynch’s Dune when it was in the theaters in 1984. I was seven; my sister, five. When we asked about the movie, my mother or my father or both—they may’ve coordinated their anecdote—told me they knew they were in trouble when the theater manager handed out to everyone in the audience a one-sheet that attempted to explain the intricacies of the film’s logic.
Now I am the theater manager. What’s worse, the production I hope to untangle is my own.
In 1977, George Lucas released Star Wars. In 1980, he released a sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, and, in 1983, another sequel, Return of the Jedi. During Jedi’s production, and even after its release, Jedi was often referred to as Star Wars III. This is not to be confused with Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith, a Star Wars prequel released in 2005. Also, until the end of 1982, Return of the Jedi was titled Revenge of the Jedi. This is not to be confused with Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith.
I write about two directors named David. David Lynch, who wrote and directed Blue Velvet and co-created/directed Twin Peaks, and David Cronenberg, who wrote and directed Videodrome and the 1986 remake of The Fly. I don’t mean for this to be confusing.
Two excerpts from the screenplay for David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi appear in this essay. The first begins, “INTERIOR: DEATH STAR—MAIN DOCKING BAY”; the second begins, “INTERIOR: JABBA’S PALACE—HALLWAY.”
Okay. Let’s begin.
George Lucas and producer Howard Kazanjian considered a number of directors for the third Star Wars film. By April 1981, the decision was between two directors; Lucas offered the job to David Lynch. According to Kazanjian, Lynch “was thrilled.” At that point, and since May 1980, the film was called Revenge of the Jedi.
INTERIOR: DEATH STAR—MAIN DOCKING BAY
CLOSE UP: the face of Darth Vader, mask of volcanic glass, brilliantly lit landing bay and white-armored legions therein reflected—a star-field.
EXTERIOR: ROAD TO JABBA THE HUTT’S PALACE—TATOOINE
(As the image of Darth Vader’s face is erased, our eyes naturally look to the image that replaces Vader’s face: a desert road—but for a moment, the Vader star-field and the road share the screen. Even as Vader’s face is replaced by sand, there is an afterimage—an ocular trick—that lingers: the sharp angles of Vader’s face, the dark lenses where would be eyes, the breath—a machine, a desert wind—crackles hate. In this afterimage, all the seams of Vader’s mask are apparent and the gruesome flesh within seeks to ooze from them.
We float above the desert road. “Ripples of dust undulate tide-like in the light of the moon. The WHISPERING grains billow up like the foam of waves as they hit the rock.” Sand blows past and toward the horizon.
A wind, barely audible but felt large, sounds along the road, caught between walls of rock, a road cut millions of years before by torrents of water all gone deep underground.
INTERIOR: “DARK WATER - MENTAL IMAGE
“Suddenly a drop falls into the black, and white-hot widening rings appear on the dark water's surface.
EXTERIOR: ROAD TO JABBA THE HUTT’S PALACE—TATOOINE
Only the desperate and the foolhardy use this road. “We hear a familiar beeping and a distinctive voice before [we catch sight] of Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio [as they make] their way along the road toward the ominous palace….”
Among the best-known on Lucas and Kazanjian’s list of might-be directors for the new Star Wars film were Richard Donner, John Carpenter, Terry Gilliam, David Cronenberg, Richard Lester, and John Boorman. This list provides us with a set of what-ifs, some not as compelling as others. Donner, for instance, had, by 1981, directed The Omen (’76), Superman (’78), Inside Moves (’80) and half (give or take) of Superman II (’80). The Superman films make him an obvious choice: He worked within a well-established mythology, with significant FX, and, incidentally, with composer John Williams. Furthermore, Donner’s films are without a notable style—a plus if Lucas wanted his trilogy to look of a piece.
As out-of-place as the other directors on Kazajian and Lucas’s list might seem, when their cinematic careers are considered only to 1981, their inclusion is easier to understand. By ’81 for instance, Terry Gilliam had directed only one film, the fantasy comedy Jabberwocky (’77) (Time Bandits was released in November of ’81, six months after Lucas chose David Lynch for Revenge of the Jedi). Prior to John Carpenter’s first big budget effort The Fog (’80), he directed Dark Star (’75), a comic sf film; Assault on Precinct 13 (’76); and Halloween (‘78). He also co-wrote the screenplay for The Eyes of Laura Mars (’78), directed by Irvin Kershner (whose next film was The Empire Strikes Back). David Cronenberg’s The Brood (’79) and Scanners (’80) saw the director beyond the low-rent look of Shivers (’75) and Rabid (’77) and the avant-garde of his student films Stereo (’69) and Crimes of the Future (’70); and though his preoccupation with body horror is very present, it wouldn’t be firmly established until Videodrome in 1982. Before ’81, a single image represented all of Cronenberg’s oeuvre: the exploding head of the First Scanner, designed by Chris Walas, a “creature consultant” on Jedi.
Richard Lester and John Boorman were both experienced filmmakers. Since the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night (’64), Lester directed fourteen films before ’80 (and, in 1980, he directed the other half of Superman II); since Catch Us If You Can (’65), a vehicle for beat group The Dave Clark Five, Boorman directed six films before ’81, notably Deliverance (’72). Lester, either an influence on Lucas or a director whose films Lucas “kind of liked,” became a more conservative director after The Bed Sitting Room (’69). Throughout the seventies, and culminating with his Superman films (parts II and III) in the eighties, Lester moved toward big-budget fantasy. Boorman’s catalog, on the other hand, gets progressively weirder (Zardoz [‘73], Exorcist II: The Heretic [‘77]).
Would Jedi be different if directed by any of these what-ifs?
Lucas chose Lynch to direct Jedi shortly after The Elephant Man (’80), Lynch’s second feature film, proved to be a success (It was nominated for four Golden Globe awards and eight Academy Awards and won several international awards, including the BAFTA for Best Picture), but Lucas was already familiar with, and liked, Lynch’s work. Lucas, overseeing second-unit work at Elstree Studios in London for The Empire Strikes Back (’80), crossed paths with director Stanley Kubrick, who was filming The Shining (’80). “Lucas had just seen David Lynch’s Eraserhead, and praised it for its timeless style: ‘You couldn’t tell what decade it was shot in,’ he told Kubrick, admiringly.” (For what it’s worth, Kubrick liked Eraserhead too. According to David Hughes’s The Complete Lynch, Kubrick “screened Eraserhead for the cast and crew of The Shining, in order to put them in the mood for the film he was making.” Lynch tells a related anecdote in his book Catching the Big Fish:
…[some guys who were working with George Lucas] said, “Yesterday, David, we were out at Elstree Studios, and we met Kubrick. And as we were talking to him he said to us, ‘How would you fellas like to come up to my house tonight and see my favorite film?’” They said, “That would be fantastic.” They went up, and Stanley Kubrick showed them Eraserhead. So, right then, I could have passed away peaceful and happy.
[By the way (and I realize we’re in the midst of a for-what-it’s-worth), while there is no reason to doubt this anecdote, I do doubt that Kubrick said, “fellas,” etc.—the whole dialogue was clearly put through a Lynch filter.])
INTERIOR: JABBA’S PALACE—HALLWAY
CLOSE UP: the back of Threepio’s golden head: the reflected light fills the screen, dims as the giant metal door closes behind them—just before we hear the sound of the door’s teeth meet, the light goes—for a long second, we see nothing but the faint, oval-shape of Threepio’s head, then on either side of Threepio’s head, appear the grotesque faces of the palace guards: skin the texture of a slug’s and slick with a sweat of mucus, pink-rimmed snouts, stupid-marble eyes, and yellowed tusks protruding from their lower lip.
The face of “Bib Fortuna, a humanlike alien with long tentacles protruding from his skull.”
CLOSE UP: of Fortuna’s mouth, a round hole full of little, pointed teeth, and Fortuna’s pale lips—Fortuna’s face drifts in and out of focus as he shouts an abrupt greeting in the club tongue. After a brief exchange between Fortuna and Threepio—punctuated by beeps and trills from Artoo—Fortuna agrees to bring the pair face-to-face with his master.
We watch as the droids, Fortuna, and the two palace guards walk deep into the tunnel, an “endless black cavity.” We can’t tell exactly when, but they slip out of sight around a bend in the tunnel.
INTERIOR: JABBA’S THRONE ROOM
“…filled with… creatures…. Artoo and Threepio” hesitate beneath an arch made of a local stone and without any decoration. The cavernous space is dark, and the curved, low ceiling creates dark spaces. (“…some sets were so murky and cloistered it was difficult to navigate within them…” “Most of the sets are very dark…. It’s just made life rather difficult, to physically get the light into the sets, which has been built with ceilings in.” “‘There was a breathing problem,’ Kazanjian confirms. Indeed, temperatures on the set reached 100° under the lights with so many personnel jammed into such a small area, while conditions inside the monster suits were unimaginable”). Threepio faces an empty space where, logically, Jabba would sit. Instead,
[Lynch] shows us something that isn’t in [Frank Herbert’s novel Dune]. With his fascination for physical and psychological transformation and the potential Otherness of flesh, Lynch is compelled to visualize a Third Stage Guild Navigator…. The… burnished gilt and emerald Grand Hall is penetrated by a glistening black locomotive-sized oblong box.... [“The golden Byzantian of the throne room is invaded by a locomotive-like carriage bearing the gigantic amoeba who rules the universe.”] The sides of the huge box slide back, revealing a glass tank filled with orange fog. Then… a creature glides out of the mist and up to the camera. A giant peach-colored head with a massive cranial dome, cauliflower-textured face with a small, vulva-shaped vertical mouth, pale, wide-spaced eyes almost on the sides of the head, spindly arms and hands, and a long, insect-pupa-like body tapering back into the fog.
Threepio greets the Third Guild Navigator; the Third Guild Navigator doesn’t exactly reply, but it does speak:
THIRD GUILD NAVIGATOR
We have just folded space from Ix…. Many machines on Ix… new machines. Better than those on Richesse… you are transparent… I see many things… I see plans within plans.
[Impatiently addresses Artoo] The message, Artoo, the message.
David Lynch declined the offer to direct Revenge of the Jedi.
There are several explanations for why Lynch turned down Lucas’ offer. Kazanjian implied—in either an interview conducted by John Philip Peecher in 1983 or an interview conducted by J. W. Rinzler between 2011 and 2012 (the bibliography in Rinzler’s The Making of Return of the Jedi doesn’t make this clear)—that Lynch turned down the offer because Dino De Laurentiis offered him Dune, an offer Lynch accepted. More recently, Kazanjian said, at a Star Wars Celebration convention in Anaheim, that Lynch wasn’t hired because, “Ah, he didn’t want Johnny Williams to do the music and he didn’t want Ben Burtt—Academy Award winner like three times—to do the sound.” He added, “That’s the truth and only you guys have heard it.” The audience applauds, and the moderator adds, “Ha, ha, ha, ha. Wow. That’s incredible.”Incredible, yes—as in hard to believe. Kazanjian’s original claim, that Lynch weighed the pros and cons of Lucas’s offer and chose Dune instead, is more credible.
While promoting INLAND EMPIRE, Lynch was interviewed by Josh Horowitz for MTV News and was asked, “Is it true you almost directed Return of the Jedi? How close did you come?” Lynch replied, “Not close at all. I had a meeting with George [Lucas]. I like George. It was his thing. I said, ‘You should direct this. It’s your thing! It’s not my thing.’” Lynch added, in an interview with Chris Rodley, “And, obviously, Star Wars was totally George’s thing,” and then, after considering Thomas Harris’s The Red Dragon (ultimately directed by Michael Mann as Manhunter [‘86]), he was offered Dune. My favorite retelling of the story, repeated in part in J. W. Rinzler’s The Making of Return of the Jedi, is in response to the question, “Why’d you turn down George Lucas for directing Star Wars: Return of the Jedi?” What follows is Lynch’s anecdote (to preserve the character of the anecdote—oft repeated but unrehearsed—I’ve kept ahs and stutters, etc.):
I was asked ah by George ah to ah come up to see him and talk to him about directing [what] would be the third Star Wars. And I had next door to zero interest, but I always admired George… you know George is a guy that does what he loves, and I do what I love, the difference is what George loves makes hundreds of billions of dollars. So I thought I should go up and at least visit with him and it was incredible. I had to go to this building in LA first and get a special credit card and I had to get special keys and a letter came and a map and, um, then I went into the airport and I flew up and then they had a rental car all ready for me and these keys and you know everything was set and I was to drive to this place and I came into an office and there was George and he he talked with me for a little bit and then he said “I want to show you something” and right about at this time I started to get a little bit of a headache just a—you know what I’m talking about—okay… so he took me upstairs and he showed me these things called Wookies. And now this headache is gettin’, you know, gettin’ stronger. And he showed me many animals and different things. Then he took me for a ride in his Ferrari for a lunch and George is ah, kind of short so he was he was his seat was way back and he was almost lying down in the car and we were flying through this little town up in Northern California we went to a restaurant—not that I don’t like salad but that’s all they had was was salad—then I got a really, like, almost like a migraine headache and I could hardly wait to get to home and I and even before I got home I kind of crawled into a phone booth and called my agent and said there was no way no way I could do this. “He said David David David calm down you don’t have to do this.” And, um, so George, bless his heart, I told him on the phone the next day that he should direct it it’s his film he’d invented everything about it but he doesn’t really love directing and so someone else did direct that film. But uh, I did I called my lawyer and told him I wasn’t going to do it and he said you just lost I don’t know how many millions of dollars but it’s okay.”
There’s no audience reaction included at the end of this clip, but Lynch’s anecdote is meant to amuse, and it is amusing—I assume the reaction was laughter.
That Lynch was offered Jedi is generally met with bemusement. For instance, Dan Fitch wrote, “The very notion is as surreal as one of David Lynch’s own films. Could the director of such unorthodox fare as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and Lost Highway, really have taken charge on Star Wars: Episode VI: [Return of the Jedi]?”
There’s nothing surreal about a film producer generating a list of available directors, and that list getting narrowed down to one or two. Nor was it surreal to consider Lynch. He was a respected director, he’d made a film for a Hollywood studio (Brooksfilms) that was a commercial success, and he was available. It’s only strange (let’s not use the word “surreal”) in retrospect. In 1981, Lynch was not yet the “Czar of Bizarre.”
Fitch goes on to speculate, “As for what would have been the consequence of a Lynch directed Return of the Jedi, YouTube is awash with Star Wars fans’ interpretations. Those backward-talking Emperors have to be seen to be believed.” Fitch exaggerates; there are three such interpretations, the best by Samuel C. Spitale. As parodies, these interpretations are amusing, but in no way do they imagine a Lynch-directed Jedi. As Greg Olson suggests, “[Lynch] made the sound judgment that he didn’t want to be a journeyman worker within a minutely detailed imaginative universe of established characters and situations that another artist had dreamed up.” We might modify Olson’s claim; Frank Herbert’s novel Dune is “a minutely detailed imaginative universe of established characters and situations that another artist had dreamed up”—but it wasn’t “dreamed up” on film. Lynch would author the look of Dune. He would not have such a free hand with a Star Wars sequel.
Jedi could never be Lynch’s Jedi—except subtly.
David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi would have a different texture. Scenes we know well—Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio’s encounter with Bib Fortuna inside the cavernous entryway to Jabba the Hutt’s throne room, for instance, would require little to be made “Lynchian.” A close-up on Fortuna’s hideous mouth. A moment in the dark when we can no longer tell if Threepio is somewhere in front of us, or if he’s rounded an invisible corner (“…I always like something dark in the frame...”). There’s so much in that scene that fits the Lynch aesthetic—concrete, inscrutable language, the importance of sound design.
Texture is a key word in the Lynch lexicon—Lynch on texture:
I don’t necessarily love rotting bodies, but there’s a texture to a rotting body that is unbelievable. Have you ever seen a little rotted animal? I love looking at those things, just as much as I like to look at a close-up of some tree bark, or a small bug, or a cup of coffee, or a piece of pie. You get in close, and the textures are wonderful.
Lynch’s appreciation for texture is apparent across his oeuvre. From the inclusion of resin sculpture or impressed objects in paintings such as “Man Throwing Up” (’67), “Rock with Seven Eyes” (’96), and “I See My Love” (‘12) to the body parts that equip “Fish Kit” (’79) and “Chicken Kit” (’83), to the curtains—“the walls are red, but they’re not hard walls”—in Twin Peaks’ (’90 – ‘91) red room, to the lamp he builds in the short film “Lamp” (’03). And this is Lynch on texture in Frank Herbert’s novel Dune:
In a lot of ways, this novel is the antithesis of the usual raygun and spaceship science fiction I’m used to seeing. Dune has believable characters and a lot of depth, a lot of resonance. It’s not all surface flash. In many ways, Herbert created an internal adventure, one with a lot of emotional and physical textures. And I love textures.
In Lynch’s Dune, shortly after the Third Guild Navigator floats toward its microphone, Lynch cuts to a close-up of its eye, then to a close up of the fleshy “v” that is its mouth—texture. Lynch’s vision of the Third Guild Navigator—“a doughy grasshopper”—is reminiscent of the baby in Eraserhead, a moist clay horror of Lynch’s own making and reminiscent of the more monstrous concept drawings of Jabba the Hutt. Picture old Jabba, licking his lips. James Daniels suggests that the inclusion of the Third Guild Navigator is a direct result of the Star Wars films: “Just as post-SW audiences demanded futuristic weapons, they also demanded weird-looking aliens.” It’s more likely Lynch included the Third Guild Navigator because, having read on in the Dune series, and under contract to direct two sequels, he envisioned what a Third Guild Navigator might look like, and wanted to include one in the film.
Dune offers insight into how texture would subtly color David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi.
(I say this is true—that Dune offers insight into how texture would subtly color David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi—in spite of what the makers of Dune themselves said at the time. For instance, Freddie Francis, David Lynch’s cinematographer, said in 1984: “One doesn’t want it to look like Star Wars IV, and it’s not that sort of film anyway.” By Star Wars IV, Francis didn’t mean A New Hope; he meant he didn’t want Dune to look like a sequel to Jedi.)
At a multiplex in Boston during the summer of 1983 I peeked into a theater and saw on the screen Luke Skywalker make his way cautiously across a metal walkway in a dark chamber. A scene like the scene toward the end of Jedi, when Luke and Vader fight in the Emperor’s throne room, but a scene not actually in the film. Perhaps a showing of David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi.
George Lucas and producer Howard Kazanjian considered a number of directors for the third Star Wars film. By April 1981, the decision was between two directors: David Lynch and Richard Marquand. Lucas first offered the job to Lynch; when Lynch declined, Marquand was offered the job, and accepted. Richard Marquand directed Return of the Jedi.
Michel Chion speculates as to why Lucas offered Jedi to Lynch at all:
In 1981, Lucas proposed that Lynch direct the third episode of the first Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi (1983). This was a sign of esteem and confidence, in view of the financial as well as the emotional stakes riding on this third episode which would have to match the global success of the first two. Lucas’s choice may seem surprising, because in Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the emphasis had been on the brio with which scenes were linked to each other and on the light heartedness of the overall tone. …Lucas’s proposition suggests that along with the obligatory purple passages, he wished to give the third episode a graver tone in line with the mellowing of characters and the trials they had undergone.
I wonder, though: if Lucas was looking to make a darker entry, Lynch makes sense, but why, then, consider Marquand? Let me propose, alternative to Chion’s theory, that maybe Lucas entertained, simultaneously, radically different visions for his film. A dark Star Wars and a bright Star Wars. Jabba’s palace or the forest moon Endor.
Perhaps Lucas knew Lynch would never direct a Star Wars. Lucas enjoyed the frisson of offering the film to Lynch, but deliberately set out to scare Lynch away with “Wookies” (obviously, Ewoks).
Richard Marquand directed Return of the Jedi.
His film credits were few—a horror flick called The Legacy (’78), a Beatles biopic (instead of actors, impersonators—covers the same ground as Backbeat (’94) but lacks Laura Palmer), and a respectable spy film called Eye of the Needle (’81)—Lucas: “Richard Marquand was the director of the film [Return of the Jedi]. He’d done some great suspense films and was really good at working with actors. Eye of the Needle was the film I’d seen that he had done that impressed me the most. It was really nicely done, had a lot of energy and suspense.”
Directed, in the case of Jedi, means Marquand sat in the director’s chair. What else it means, is unclear. The Lucasfilm line on Marquand is that all he could direct were scenes with actors, and otherwise deferred to Lucas, who directed as producer, as he explains:
These movies [the Star Wars films] by this time had gotten to be more like television shows. The hierarchy in the way a television show works creatively is very much different than the way it works on a motion picture. The executive producer pretty much is the overall creative overseer of the project and comes up with the ideas for the scripts and, you know, directors just try to fulfill the obligation of getting it on the screen.
Marquand’s role as director in-name-only is further implied in Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. The narrator states, “Another challenge on the set was Richard Marquand’s relative inexperience with special effects”; then Carrie Fisher reiterates the point; finally, over footage of Marquand taking cues from Lucas in front of the Endor bunker set, we hear a voice-over of Lucas—“I hadn’t realized that, you know, ultimately it was probably easier for me to do those things than to farm them out because it was even more complex than the last one, I really did have to end up being there every day on the set and working very closely with Richard and shooting second unit….”
Marquand, however, in a 1984 interview with Jules-Pierre Malartre, claims his directorial stamp is on Jedi: “If you look at the three Star Wars movies, you can see they’re very different. Their look and approach to action and camera work, and so forth, are very different.” Credible, except for special effects shots—who directs the shot of a model of an Imperial shuttle moving toward a matte painting of the unfinished Death Star? Marquand further complicates the question of who directed Jedi when he describes his style: “I love to gain a tremendous simplicity. I like to make it look as though it’s tremendously easy, as though there wasn’t a camera around very much. I don’t love flashy work. I like to make it look like it just slid in and happened”—his style, Marquand explains, is to have no discernable style at all.
Return of the Jedi could only ever be George Lucas’s Return of the Jedi. Even Lucas’s Jedi could only be the third Star Wars based on the template established by the first Star Wars. The only totally original vision is A New Hope.
After Jedi, Marquand directed Until September (’84), a romantic drama starring Karen Allen. Then Jagged Edge (’85). Robert Loggia was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor; it’s the film Glen Close starred in before Fatal Attraction (’87). Janet Maslin dismissed Jagged Edge for its “crashing melodrama”; Paul Attenasio damns it as a “director’s exercise.” (There’s a child in the film—I can’t remember whose child—none of the characters are responsible enough to raise children—but I amused myself examining his bedroom: a futuristic truck on his shelf [I spent too much time trying to identify it; it resembles the titular vehicle from the television show Ark II (’76)—perhaps it’s a model from Jedi?] There’s a Ghostbusters (’84) poster and, on the back of his bedroom door, a poster for Return of the Jedi.)
Marquand’s last picture is Hearts of Fire (’87), the story of a highly likeable tollbooth operator and singer-songwriter named Molly McGuire who attracts the attention of a middle-aged, retired rocker named Billy Parker. She inspires him to leave his chicken farm and go on tour in England and he invites her to join him as his opening act. While in England, she’s seduced by James Colt—a soulless pop star whose hit song (a cover of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”) is all over the radio. Molly is played by “Fiona”—Fiona Flanagan; Billy is played by Bob Dylan.
The film’s only delight is Fiona, but… well… Bob Dylan is in it. How do you remain largely unknown after you direct a Star Wars film (of the original trilogy!) and Bob Dylan?
At a press conference in London for Hearts of Fire, Dylan sits behind a long table with Fiona, Marquand, and… I don’t know who else, the camera keeps zooming in on Dylan. Journalists, incredulous that Dylan is acting in a movie they already know is lousy, keep asking Dylan, Why? Why did you do this film? Dylan offers a variety of non-answers, as is his wont: “Oh, it’s just the right time, the right place, the right words.” To the question, “Why didn’t you write the script yourself?” Dylan replies, “I couldn’t’ve written a script like this, it’s beyond me.” All this can be seen in the documentary Getting to Dylan (’86); watch it for Marquand—he’s quite charming.
Marquand died of a stroke weeks before Hearts of Fire was released.
 Dark Star, according to John Kenneth Muir, “…is the first science fiction film in the American cinema to devise a visual conceit for faster-than-light travel. As the Dark Star leaves orbit… all the stars race suddenly towards the camera…. This visual notion of ‘light speed’ would become de rigueur, a common image repeated in Star Wars and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, among others.” (Muir doesn’t mention the obvious precedent for this effect, the star-gate that astronaut Dave Bowman travels through toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey [’68]). Source: Muir, John Kenneth. The Films of John Carpenter (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2000), 63.
For complete citations see the print edition of the Bennington Review (issue five) or contact the author via the comments field of Little Stories. www.adamgolaski.blogspot.com
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ADAM GOLASKI is the author of Color Plates. His work has appeared in 1913: A Journal of Forms, Best Horror of the Year, The Lifted Brow, and LVNG no. 11.