Thirty Eight Years is a Long Time in Hollywood.
It’s hard to believe that it’s thirty-eight years since the original Star Wars film was released. The Spy Who Loved Me,Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Saturday Night Fever stand as films that were also released 1977.
In 1977, movies that were released some 38 years earlier included Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood and Bringing Up Baby starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.
I’ll leave you to reflect on the relative longevity of each of those films.
I remember the release of Star Wars very well. My school had somehow been given five tickets to the film’s premiere, and decided to run a Science Fiction Story competition to fairly allocate the tickets. Fourteen year old me was nerdy enough to want a see a new, exciting sci fi film, and always being one for efficiency, I recycled a story I’d written in English class and duly submitted it. The fact that it was really a supernatural horror story rather that being anything to do with sci fi should have been a significant impediment to me winning one of the tickets, so it was just as well that only four other students could be bothered to enter the competition.
So, as fate would have it, I ended up a winner and therefore was among the first to experience the wonder of the world that the film created. I was happy to assume the role of school-yard cinematic pseudo-sophisticate and spruke the film to all and sundry.
The contrast between that rather luke-warm response from the student body in 1977 and the frenzy surrounding the release of Star Wars VII couldn’t be more stark. The trailers for the new film have nearly melted YouTube on their release, and both my sons, along with groups of their mates, are booked in two months ahead to see the new film at one minute past midnight on release date, along with multiple multiplex-fulls of others, old and young. Whether dressing up for such events can be classed as deep loyalty or tragic fan-boyism is open to debate.
I’m looking forward to seeing the new film, but thirty-eight years on, I won’t be “first” this time around – the price of staying up until the small hours is just too high.
Meanwhile, I have mixed feelings about the fact that I can’t find a copy of that old short story. Like Star Wars Episode 2, it’s probably best forgotten.