|Index||4 reviews in total|
This was beautiful. I never read the Cummings poem this is based on,
but I have some sense of what is going on here involving a guy who can
teleport with a camera, a happy couple, and the people who the
teleporter photographer can take away into his world. The music is
sweet, and it carries the audience along with the montage, which is
more melodic and less harsh and cold than the other early Lucas shorts.
In fact, outside of Electronic Labyrinth, this is my favorite of the
USC batch of films (color and widescreen certainly helps).
It's probably too abstract to be enjoyed more than once or twice, but something about it clicked for me - call it the gone-but-not-forgotten student filmmaker - and I appreciated that Lucas was trying something much different than his 'statement' films (Look at Life, Freiheit) or being completely into tone-poem land (Herbie and 6-18-67). This has human beings, it has a self-conscious and sort of knowing quality, and, in a shallow bit of props, it's pretty to look at and the pacing is sensational.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town" is a 6-minute live action short film written and directed by the very young George Lucas together with his buddy and frequent early collaborator Paul Golding, who quickly stopped making films afterward and did not achieve any kind of fame whatsoever, in contrast to Lucas obviously. This was a pretty bizarre film. It's obviously that Lucas is experimenting a lot with trick photography here and that there is no really congruent story in this very short movie, but that is fine. You have to start somewhere and only practice makes you better. At least this one is better than several other very early efforts from the actually quite prolific young George Lucas. That does not make it a good film though, it just shows that he made lots of really bad stuff early in his career. I do not recommend his work here.
I saw this film in my CTCS 469 Film & Television Style Analysis class
(a whole course on Lucas's work) in Spring 2000 at the University of
Southern California. What a bizarre little movie. Somehow I doubt Lucas
is in love with this film either. It seems to me like any of the lazy
CTPR 290 stinkbombs of abstraction produced by current students here,
and not at all like his innovative and stylish student films Freheit,
Herbie, Look at Life, or The Emperor. (THX-1138:4EB Electronic
Labyrinth doesn't get an honorable mention; it was a mere exercise in
shooting in color without lighting. "It doesn't mean anything," Lucas
is quoted as saying.)
All the best, if you happen to see this one somewhere. Like at USC.
Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town (1967)
** (out of 4)
When George Lucas returned to USC after graduating he made two shorts. The documentary THE EMPEROR and this one here, which was actually the school's first student film to be shot in color and widescreen. Sadly, it's also the weakest short that Lucas had done up to this point. It's based on the E.E. Cummings poem and pretty much shows a man and a woman wondering around the country side. The short runs just 6-minutes, which is certainly a positive thing. The film is pretty to look at and it contains some nice cinematography but whatever plot the director was trying to get across doesn't happen. In fact, the film really doesn't come across as being about anything so it's up to the viewer to just come up with anything. I'm not certain that was the point of Lucas so in the end this is certainly the weakest of his short films.
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