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American Graffiti: Special Edition
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I wasn't around in `62 -- I was born in `63, as a matter of fact, and I was 10 when George Lucas' American Graffiti was released. I wasn't really aware of either George Lucas or American Graffiti in 1973, although four years later I would know Lucas from his next -- and most popular -- film, Star Wars. I did not go to the movies much in 1973, but I saw this wonderful film when it was broadcast by ABC some years later. (ABC, capitalizing on its "hot" new sitcom, Three's Company, shamelessly promoted it as "starring Suzanne Somers." In fact, Suzanne is not even billed with the eight "stars.")
If film and television historians have it right, though, American Graffiti was the catalyst for the 1950s Nostalgia fad that begat TV's Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and the blessedly short-lived Joanie Loves Chachi (not to mention Sha Na Na and Broadway`s Grease). And it isn't terribly surprising that Happy Days and its spin-offs owe their inspiration -- if not their very existence -- to Lucas' first major culturally significant film. Happy Days starred Ron Howard, who (as Ronny Howard) had second billing in Graffiti, while Laverne and Shirley costar Cindy Williams was the female lead.
American Graffiti is a bittersweet yet comedic look at what the DVD publicity blurb says was "America's last age of innocence." In the summer of `62, JFK was in the White House, the Beatles were still unknown in this side of the Atlantic, and drive in diners and movie palaces were very popular. There was no Internet or even Studio 54 just yet, so kids went cruising, looking for girls to pick up or rivals to race in their souped-up hot rods.Read more ›
Every single one of the film's major cast members takes part in the documentary program. Director George Lucas and Producer Francis Ford Coppola (plus other members of the production staff and crew) also participate in this fascinating behind-the-scenes "Making Of" feature, which is one of the best documentaries I've ever come across on a DVD.
Mr. Lucas talks openly and extensively about the making of "Graffiti" and guides the viewer, step-by-step, through the many aspects of creating this unique film -- from the difficulty in getting a studio interested in the project, to the movie's filming on the streets of two small California towns, and through to the release of the picture in theaters (the movie opened on August 11, 1973).
Many interesting tidbits of information are revealed in the documentary, including Harrison Ford's recollection of his "cowboy hat". It seems that Harrison was opposed to getting one of those awful '60s-style haircuts (as were others in the cast). So Ford talked Director Lucas into letting him wear a cowboy hat instead. And then there's Charlie Martin Smith ("Toad"), who had some problems parking his motor scooter in the film's very first scene. But Charlie's gaffe was left in the final cut of the movie by Director Lucas. (Which is a good thing too; it's a great moment in the picture.)
Some original actor Screen Tests are also included in the Making-Of documentary.Read more ›
A few years ago, I saw the movie again on TV. I realized that, even though I was much more mature (at least physically), this movie still seemed very very good.
I recently got the DVD and watched it properly and I have to say that, after careful scrutiny, this really is one of the finest films ever made. I won't retell a story that's much better told by the movie, but: it has a lot of laughs, but it's not entirely a comedy (especially the ending); it has plenty of music, but it's not a musical; it has plenty of action, but no blood and gore; it seems incredibly realistic, but there is never a dull moment; there are multiple storylines and an ensemble cast, but it never gets confusing.
Every aspect of this movie is impressive, but I'm particularly struck by the genius of George Lucas and associates when it comes to casting. Every actor in this movie seems perfect for the role they play. If you look hard you'll see quite a few familiar faces getting their start (including Suzanne Somers very briefly as the girl in the Thunderbird). Many, particularly Harrison Ford & Richard Dreyfuss, went on to long, successful careers. Although they were all great in this film, I thought that Candy Clark was a standout.
If you get this collector's edition of the DVD you'll also be able to see an in-depth "extra" on the story behind the making of the film - very interesting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A classic is a classic, if you grew up in the fifties nothing else need be said, except, WATCH IT AGAIN !!!!'Published 3 days ago by DWB
A classic, thoughtful but fun. Where else do you get George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Suzanne Somers, Mackenzie Phillips, Cindy Williams, Wolfman Jack, a... Read morePublished 4 days ago by LR
I had to watch it after I was in high school when I first say it. It is a classic.Published 8 days ago by Terry Huffman
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|American Graffiti 2011 DVD version - original or newer special effects?||
The answer is YES! The skyline had been touched up above Mels Diner in the films Rock Around The Clock introduction!
Feb 8, 2013 by fulcilives | See all 2 posts
|Why was American Graffiti never done in Hd or Blu-Ray?||Be the first to reply|
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