History, Legacy & Showmanship
Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:22

Celebrating Forty Years of Star Wars

All right, I shouldn’t have tell any of you what today is... it’s Towel Day!

And also, of course, the 40th anniversary of a little film called Star Wars. Not Episode IV. Not A New Hope. Star Wars.

To recognize the occasion, we’ve got a couple things for you here at The Bits today.

First up, our very own Michael Coate has updated and expanded his excellent History, Legacy & Showmanship retrospective column, A Force to Be Reckoned With: Remembering “Star Wars” on its 40th Anniversary. He’s combed newspaper archives all across North America to produce a definitive history of the film’s debut theatrical release back in 1977-1978. Every theater that showed the film, the day it opened in that theater, all of it. Trust me, I’ve learned from personal experience that one’s memory of seeing the film back in 1977 is not as accurate as Michael’s exhaustive research – he’s sent me the vintage microfilmed newspaper clippings to prove it. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Star Wars is a landmark film, a work of such soaring imagination that it will set standards for years to come.” — Bob Thomas, Associated Press

[This is a revised and updated version of a previously published article.]

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, George Lucas’ legendary space opera that introduced the world to The Force and a host of memorable planets, spaceships and characters. [Read on here...]

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 13:03

Here’s What’s Wrong with Movies...

I’ve figured out what’s wrong with movies.

This thesis prevailed on me as I went to see the 3-D Imax version of a new picture called The Great Wall. This picture opened to dismal reviews, but the previews had made it look righteous and the effects, I knew, would be fun, and they were and the whole experience wasn’t bad.

And on the way out, I was thinking of all these feckless movie reviewers who get published and why they would trash this movie. I thought to myself: “Why were they so hard on this movie? It’s just a fun “B” picture?”

And then I figured it out. They all are. 90% of what we see in the theaters are “B” pictures with “A” budgets.

Let’s discuss... [Read on here...]


All right, first things first today: We have a quick bit of follow-up for you this morning on those annual original Star Wars release rumors, the latest appearance of which caused a bit of a stir yesterday (and which we commented on in yesterday’s post). I know... we’re getting tired of talking about it too, but we have what seems to be rather definitive new information.

We’ve essentially confirmed that Disney’s current 4K scan of the film is the most recent revised version (essentially the latest “special edition”), not the original theatrical edition. What’s more, Disney’s director of Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, held a special event at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts last night, a presentation called Animation Restoration at Walt Disney Studios. Gluck was asked there about Star Wars and reported that the original cut negative for the film currently exists in its “SE” configuration only. (There’s more info, so do continue on past the jump.) [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

“It’s hard to tell who the movie is for. It’s too childish for adults and too provocative and snarky for kids.” — Film historian/author Caseen Gaines

The History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Digital Bits typically celebrates popular and significant motion pictures and TV series. Periodically, though, we will look back at unpopular or maligned productions to examine if the passage of time warrants a reevaluation. So with this in mind, The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective for Howard the Duck on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

Howard the Duck, based upon the 1970s Marvel comic book series, starred Lea Thompson (Back to the Future, All the Right Moves), Tim Robbins (Bull Durham, The Shawshank Redemption) and Jeffrey Jones (Amadeus, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and featured a talking, cigar-chomping duck from another planet that is zapped across the galaxy to Cleveland where he meets a musician who attempts to help him return home.  [Read on here...]

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 00:01

A Force to Be Reckoned With

Star Wars is a landmark film, a work of such soaring imagination that it will set standards for years to come.” — Bob Thomas, Associated Press

On the eve of the release of the eagerly-awaited Episode VII: The Force Awakens, The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship offer a look back at the original Star Wars, George Lucas’ legendary space opera that introduced the world to The Force and a host of memorable characters.  [Read on here...]

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...]

“There was no way for Spielberg to top himself, and perhaps it is just as well that Last Crusade will indeed be Indy's last film. It would be too sad to see the series grow old and thin, like the James Bond movies.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the silver anniversary of the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, George Lucas & Steven Spielberg’s third entry in the popular Indiana Jones movie series starring Harrison Ford as everyone’s favorite archaeologist-adventurer.

The Bits celebrates the occasion with this retrospective featuring a compilation of box-office data that places the movie’s performance in context, quotes from well-known movie critics, production and exhibition information, and a list of the 70-millimeter “showcase” presentations.

The article also features an interview segment with a quartet of film historians (found on Page 2), who discuss the attributes of the movie and whether or not it has endured. [Read on here…]

Friday, 27 June 2014 07:37

An Honor To Be Nominated: Star Wars

(If it can be difficult to remember who won the Academy Award for Best Picture, it’s downright mindbending trying to remember everything else it was up against. In An Honor To Be Nominated, I’ll be taking a look back at some of the movies the Oscar didn’t go to and trying to determine if they were robbed, if the Academy got it right, or if they should ever have been nominated in the first place.) [Read on here...]

“This picture is not called The Temple of Roses; it is called The Temple of Doom. The warning is clearly marked on the box.” — Steven Spielberg

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the follow-up to the incredibly popular Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Bits celebrates the occasion with this retrospective column. It features some quotes from movie critics, some trivia on the film, an interview segment (featuring film historians Scott Higgins and Eric Lichtenfeld), a list of the movie’s premium-format (70mm) presentations, and a compilation of box-office data that places the movie’s performance in context. [Read on here…]

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