History, Legacy & Showmanship

The Empire Strikes Back joins The Godfather, Part II as one of the rarest of films—a sequel that lives up to and expands upon its original.” — Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

There is no question this year is a huge one for fans of Star Wars. While the whole galaxy awaits Episode VII: The Force Awakens, let us not forget this year also marks the 35th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, one of the most revered sequels of all time. The Digital Bits celebrates the occasion with this retrospective featuring a compilation of box-office data that places Empire’s performance in context, quotes from well-known movie critics, production and exhibition information, a list of the opening-week, limited-market theaters that were the first anywhere to play the movie, and an interview segment with a group of filmmakers and historians who discuss the attributes of the movie and examine why Empire is frequently labeled the fan favorite.  [Read on here...]

“[Spielberg] has said he felt invincible at the time, so what you get is a Steven Spielberg channeling his inner ten-year-old and going crazy on a movie backlot.” Mike Matessino

“The main reason to celebrate 1941,” says Mike Matessino, “is because it has been restored in HD and released on Blu-ray, particularly the extended version that fans have come to love and which Steven Spielberg considers his Director’s Cut.” Matessino produced the two-disc CD soundtrack release of 1941 issued by La-La Land Records in 2011 and will be hosting the American Cinematheque’s March 22nd screening of the film and cast-and-crew Q&A. The screening will mark the theatrical debut of a new DCP of the extended cut of the film.  [Read more here...]

“I knew we had a good picture, but I had no idea that it would become such a staggering hit.” — producer-director Robert Wise

“Considering the degree to which most people pride themselves being cynical, I’m still surprised that a movie this heartfelt was so thoroughly embraced by so many people and continues to be. Perhaps folks aren’t as hard-edged as they pretend to be.” — film historian and author Barry Monush  [Read more here...]

Star Trek: The Motion Picture provided a unique experience, leaving some audience members, myself included, elated at the prospect, “The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning.” — Robert Meyer Burnett

“I do feel very lucky to have been a kid while this amazing renaissance of fantasy filmmaking was going on.… Star Wars, then Close Encounters, then Superman, then Alien, then Star Trek: The Motion Picture… at least in terms of going to the movies, those are two-and-a-half years I wish I could experience again. It was a truly magical time.” — Mike Matessino  [Read more here...]

“[T]he lasting impact of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is that it showed that a James Bond film could be made without Sean Connery in the lead role. The producers maintained that audiences came to the films to see James Bond, not necessarily the actor playing him.” — Bruce Scivally

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 45th anniversary of the release of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sixth cinematic James Bond adventure and, most notably, the first not to star Sean Connery as Agent 007.  [Read more here...]

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