The best story ideas are often the simple and pure ones. It's little wonder, then, that so many filmmakers and storytellers start by making short films - after all, if you can tell a good story in just a few minutes, you might be talented enough to make a feature.
Cinema history is full of stories about young filmmakers getting their start by making low-budget shorts. James Cameron famously made Xenogenesis, a sci-fi short which contained lots of things that would appear in his later feature films: a giant robot with big tank tracks, a cyborg, and a heroine at the helm of a hard-hitting mecha.
The short films below vary wildly, from two-minute chillers to 30-minute post-apocalyptic science fiction, but each of them are watchable for their own reasons,
It's like Star Wars, but refracted through a strange lens. Here's Han Solo, but he's green, like the Toxic Avenger, and has gills. Here's Luke Skywalker, but he's a powerful general with a white beard and a flinty look in his eye.
All this can be found in what is now commonly called The Rough Draft of The Star Wars, originally written by George Lucas back in 1974. A kind of mid-point between the somewhat vague ideas Lucas first had for his space fantasy movie earlier in the decade, and the fourth draft - which was used as the shooting script for the 1977 film - The Star Wars is a jarring document from the franchise's early history.
Last year, Dark Horse produced an eight-part series of comics based on The Rough Draft,
Thankfully, the National Film Registry doesn't discriminate against any type of film genre — little known or blockbuster, horror or noir; it doesn't matter. Past choices include Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Psycho, My Darling Clementine, The Maltese Falcon, Jailhouse Rock, Night of the Living Dead and Red River. All that matters is whether a film is truly great and/or important. This year is no different.
Among the chosen for 2010 are George Lucas' 1967 sci-fi freakout Electronic Labyrinth: Thx 1138 4Eb, George Lucas' 1980 masterwork The Empire Strikes Back, William Friedkin's 1973 horror classic The Exorcist,
Here is the complete list:
National Film Registry 2010 Inductees
All the President’s Men (1976)
The Bargain (1914)
Cry of Jazz (1959)
Electronic Labyrinth: Thx 1138 4Eb (1967)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Front Page (1931)
Grey Gardens (1976)
I Am Joaquin (1969)
It’s a Gift (1934)
Let There Be Light (1946)
Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
Malcolm X (1992)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
Newark Athlete (1891)
Our Lady of the Sphere (1969)
The Pink Panther (1964)
Preservation of the Sign Language (1913)
Saturday Night Fever
Will it be the original and superior theatrical print which nobody can deny was culturally, historically and aesthetically significant to cinema – or will it be the heavily George Lucas tinkered with Se of more recent times that is all of the above but for the wrong reasons!
Presumably Lucas will insist on the latter going in as that’s his ‘completed vision’ but the Registry must insist on the original print, as that’s the film that changed cinema and not the afterthought re-working. Perhaps the answer of which cut goes into the archive is answered by the inclusion
1. Airplane (1980)
2. All the President’s Men (1976)
3. The Bargain (1914)
4. Cry of Jazz (1959)
5. Electronic Labyrinth: Thx 1138 4Eb (1967)
6. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
7. The Exorcist (1973)
8. The Front Page (1931)
9. Grey Gardens (1976)
10. I Am Joaquin (1969)
11. It’s a Gift (1934)
12. Let There Be Light (1946)
13. Lonesome (1928)
14. Make Way For Tomorrow (1937)
15. Malcolm X (1992)
16. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
17. Newark Athlete (1891)
18. Our Lady of the Sphere (1969)
19. The Pink Panther (1964)
20. Preservation of the Sign Language (1913)
21. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
22. Study of a River (1996)
23. Tarantella (1940)
24. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
25. A Trip Down Market Street (1906)
The oldest of the films is Newark Athlete by W.K.L. Dickson and Willian Heise, which was made in 1891 at the Edison Laboratory in West Orange, N.J. While the Registry lists this as an “experimental film,” judging from a brief clip provided by the Loc (below), it’s a very different usage of the term “experimental” than is thought of today.
It appears that Newark Athlete is a true experiment, a test run by Dickson and Heise using a “horizontal-feed kinetograph camera and viewer, using 3/4-inch wide film” of an athlete swinging a pair of Indian clubs,
The Exorcist, William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty’s influential saga of demonic possession, is one of the 25 films selected this year to be part of the Registry, which is devoted to preserving films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”; science fiction was also cited this year with The Empire Strikes Back and George Lucas’ student short Electronic Labyrinth: Thx 1138 4Eb, which Lucas expanded into his debut feature Thx 1138. Nominations are made each year by the public, Library of Congress staff and members of the National Film Preservation Board; for more information on the Registry and to nominate movies for next year, click here.
The 25 films selected this year include The Empire Strikes Back, the 1980 sequel to Star Wars that many critics and fans consider the best of George Lucas' six Star Wars films. Empire shocked moviegoers with the revelation that masked villain Darth Vader was the father of hero Skywalker.
While Lucas didn't direct Empire - he entrusted it to the late Irvin Kershner - he got another film selected for the registry: the student short Electronic Labyrinth: Thx 1138 4Eb.
Among the films to be preserved are George Lucas' "Return of the Jedi," "Airplane," William Friedkin's "The Exorcist," and Alan J. Pakula's "All The President's Men." This year.s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 550.
Each year, the Librarian of Congress, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time. In other words, these films are certainly not the "best" (but we can argue that each movie truly represented high quality) but they are works of art
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