What we present here is that original introduction, cut not only for space, but for irrelevant content as well.
Remember. This was an April Fool's joke.
These are heady times that we fans of geek culture live in today. All of our comic book heroes are being, finally, accurately translated to the silver screen and mainstream culture has caught up to us. Or, maybe, we have just become the mainstream in the way that the Baby Boomer radicals of the 1960s became the mainstream. But the Boomers are all retired now, and the world is being run by members of Generations X and Y. The Millennials are the new counter culture; the new “desired” demographic.
But the Millennials have short memories. Unprecedented access to media and entertainment have not allowed them any way to absorb film contextually. Everything exists as though it was contemporary, with no recognition of the culture and time of its origin in any kind of historical context. They will argue that anything that isn’t “woke” (reflecting some currently-held progressive philosophy, tolerance or acceptance) is not worthy of discussion, totally ignoring any film’s previously held reputation, pedigree or provenance.
Vigorously debating whether films once regarded as “classics” are worthy of merit as viewed through the lens of their “enlightened” 2017, Millennials rarely have a kind word for any film, regardless of quality, they feel espouses the wrong side of history concerning race, gender or politics. Almost every pre-1980 film is considered a dinosaur, a relic of a past better ignored and best forgotten.
The 1970’s mostly get a pass, but, if you look at the IMDB list of the Top 250 Films of all time (admittedly, not a critical survey, but, indeed, a populist one), you will find only 74 films made before 1970. And, of those 74, only 77% are filmed in black & white. Which places the total percentage of B&W movies made before 1970 occupying IMDB Top 250 at 6.8. That’s 54 movies out of 250.
Surely, there are more than 54 great pre-1970 B&W films, especially since color process has existed only since the mid-30s, and was used sparingly for the first 20 years of its existence.
All of this is to say that there is a lot of great stuff out there the current crop of movie goers won’t even give a chance, for a myriad of reasons, the umbrella being something along the lines of “old and out of date”.
We here at Overlooked and Underseen cannot help but point this same finger at ourselves. Only 20% of the films that we’ve talked about are pre-1970. And the only B&W movie we’ve mentioned was made in 1999. Although we watch an incredibly wide variety of films (just check out our respective Letterboxd diaries), for the most part, we’ve only stuck to films that have been released in our lifetime. I couldn’t tell you why. I just don’t know.
This week, we’re going to talk about a movie that, it seems, was a few years ahead of its time. It is a film, whose failure to connect with the public effectively ended the director’s career, despite it’s incredible amount of early promise...
To read about the film that we picked, and the column as it was published, go to http://www.talkfilmsociety.com/columns/overlooked-underseen-star-wars-1977