MOVIE REVIEWS - 1977
There were movies before STAR WARS and, then, there were movies after STAR WARS.
George Lucas had been part of the San Francisco movie movement in the ealy 1970s that had operated under the banner of Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope. Unlike Coppola, Lucas never wanted to be a movie mogul. He simply wanted to make films the way he wanted to make them.
After the indifferent reception to THX 1138, and unwated studio interference on that film's final edit, Lucas proved he could make a mainstream, commercial hit with AMERICAN GRAFFITI. That film allowed him the opportunity to secure financing, through Alan Ladd at 20th Century Fox, to make STAR WARS.
Throughout the film's entire production process, even people working directly on the film weren't quite sure whether Lucas had a hit or a monumental failure.
STAR WARS premiered on 25 May 1977, but it wasn't an immediate hit. Word-of-mouth began to take hold and, after several weeks, the lines of moviegoers wanting to see what all the excitement was about became increasingly longer.
A modern day mythology was born.
It's easy to forget that Steven Spielberg also delivered another movie masterpiece in 1977, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.
CE3K (as it came to be known when being written about) was not a science fiction fantasy in the way STAR WARS was. It was much more grounded in human drama and took the post-Watergate mistrust of government cover-ups to a whole new level.
1977 also consolidated Burt Reynolds as a major movie star with the delightfully cheeky SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. The film also introduced a new generation of moviegoers to the comic genius of Jackie Gleason as Sherrif Buford T. Justice.
But it was STAR WARS that dominated the year. It made George Lucas a movie mogul and forever changed the way movies are marketed, released and, almost single-handedly, invented society's 21st Century love affair with pop culture.
social media is no obstacle ...