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Thread: George Lucas's 1988 speech about altering films

  1. #1
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    George Lucas's 1988 speech about altering films

    In 1988 him with James Stewart, John Houston, Steven Spielberg and some other celebrities/directors went on a crusade against Ted Turner who wanted to colorize black and white movies and he spoke to congress with this unique speech about film preservation and after that the AFI was born including the national film registry.

    "My name is George Lucas. I am a writer, director, and producer of motion pictures and Chairman of the Board of Lucasfilm Ltd., a multi-faceted entertainment corporation.

    I am not here today as a writer-director, or as a producer, or as the chairman of a corporation. I've come as a citizen of what I believe to be a great society that is in need of a moral anchor to help define and protect its intellectual and cultural heritage. It is not being protected.

    The destruction of our film heritage, which is the focus of concern today, is only the tip of the iceberg. American law does not protect our painters, sculptors, recording artists, authors, or filmmakers from having their lifework distorted, and their reputation ruined. If something is not done now to clearly state the moral rights of artists, current and future technologies will alter, mutilate, and destroy for future generations the subtle human truths and highest human feeling that talented individuals within our society have created.

    A copyright is held in trust by its owner until it ultimately reverts to public domain. American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history.

    People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society. The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as "when life begins" or "when it should be appropriately terminated," but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.

    These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tommorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with "fresher faces," or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor's lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new "original" negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved.

    In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be "replaced" by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.

    There is nothing to stop American films, records, books, and paintings from being sold to a foreign entity or egotistical gangsters and having them change our cultural heritage to suit their personal taste.

    I accuse the companies and groups, who say that American law is sufficient, of misleading the Congress and the People for their own economic self-interest.

    I accuse the corporations, who oppose the moral rights of the artist, of being dishonest and insensitive to American cultural heritage and of being interested only in their quarterly bottom line, and not in the long-term interest of the Nation.

    The public's interest is ultimately dominant over all other interests. And the proof of that is that even a copyright law only permits the creators and their estate a limited amount of time to enjoy the economic fruits of that work.

    There are those who say American law is sufficient. That's an outrage! It's not sufficient! If it were sufficient, why would I be here? Why would John Houston have been so studiously ignored when he protested the colorization of "The Maltese Falcon?" Why are films cut up and butchered?

    Attention should be paid to this question of our soul, and not simply to accounting procedures. Attention should be paid to the interest of those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.

    I hope you have the courage to lead America in acknowledging the importance of American art to the human race, and accord the proper protection for the creators of that art--as it is accorded them in much of the rest of the world communities."

    Any thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Cat dead, details later Sorceress's Avatar
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    I've only one thing to say: Hypocrite.
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    Grammer Flunky Shredder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorceress View Post
    I've only one thing to say: Hypocrite.
    I like the creative side of george lucas....but this shows that he is one big hypocrite....
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    Indeed, do you think Lucas has became the ultimate cinematic troll in the last decade?

    I mean when i saw the 1997 SE cuts in theaters when i was 15 4 times each i thought they were quite nice except Han not shooting first which was stupid i thought but i liked it but still the original cut is always the best as i own both cuts on laserdisc including widescreen 1995 VHS of the OT then in the last decade Lucas's ego went out of hand as he refuses to release the original theatrical cuts as he keeps butchering, torturing, mutilating, vandalizing etc. the original trilogy to no end on DVD and blu-ray with some unwelcomed crap like changing Anakin's ghost (that was the worst thing Lucas has done as replacing Sabastian Shaw with Hayden is like trying to alter It's a Wonderful Life and have Vince Vaughn in place), the door to Jabba's place being digitalized, Vader screaming "Nooo" in the trilogy on BD etc. It ****** me off to no end as when i heard about the boxset of SW with the OT being screwed with again i boycotted as did other fans to have Lucas stop his digital ego from destroying our film hertiage and bring back the theatrical cuts. Instead of giving Lucas anymore of my money, i had my mom buy me the BD boxset for Christmas then i watched the OT to see what other added/edited crap has Lucas done this time.

    But you glad Lucas has retired and had sold his company to Disney? i am very happy since i heard the news as i jumped with joy saying "Hurray! Lucas has sold his company to someone else, he won't do anymore damage to the old movies anymore". I mean when Disney bought Pixar, John Lassester was in charge of the animation departement as they put a stop to the Disney video sequels and it could be the same now that Kathleen Kennedy is in charge of Lucasfilm as she might had finally put a stop to the special special special edition crap as she knows well about film preservation like say when she helped with Spielberg on the ET blu-ray which only has the unaltered cut yet have the SE's scenes in deleted scenes. Be glad Lucas is gone and away from his company so he won't do anymore terror to the OT with more stupid ghastly editing/adding stuff.

    Let's all write letters to Disney, Lucasfilm and Fox to join forces together to release the original unmolested, unedited, unaltered original theatrical cuts of SW on blu-ray once Episode 7 hits BD and DVD and have Episode 7 with the OT in a special deal. I mean Disney-Lucasfilm-Fox can join together to release the original theatrical untampered cuts in proper and unique 42K scan on the negatives plus unique film restoration and all that to make the OOT look fresh and crisp on high def, they would have our money even to see Han shoot first again on HD and Sabastian Shaw back in Jedi and Darth not screaming Nooo.
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    Heroic Warrior King Gilskull's Avatar
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    I think this gets covered in that film "The People VS George Lucus". It might still be on Netflix (I haven't checked recently)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorceress View Post
    I've only one thing to say: Hypocrite.
    which reminds me that he never hear his own advice. -.-
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    Plundor Promoter He-Dad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Gilskull View Post
    I think this gets covered in that film "The People VS George Lucus". It might still be on Netflix (I haven't checked recently)
    It did. They aired the speech. George said in an interview that its different when a director fixes things that were supposed to be fixed in the first place. I think he feels it is is his to do with as he pleases. Notice in the speech he refers to others altering an artist's work...not the artist himself. I don't think that makes him a hypocrite in the sense that he's not contradicting his speech by doing a special edition. Now I am all for the original Star Wars being released and I am not a fan of most of the special edition changes, although some of them are great. (Update being fixed in Episode 1 for instance. Adding a little height to the landspeeder. Boba Fett floating Han to Slave 1. All ok. Han walking around Java, Greedo Shooting, Muppet Musical number at Jaba's palace and Hayden in ROTJ. ...very very bad. That being said I hope that Disney remasters and releases the original cuts some day. I have my original VS and the dvd version of the laserdisc till then.

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    EVIL TRENTONIAN Grepicon's Avatar
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    I like how in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones Jar Jar strolls right into the camera and looks directly into it at the beginning. That was Lucas trolling his own fans, sitting in his ivory tower.

    Kind of how like Scott Neitlich sits in his ivory office in El Segundo in 2014, ignoring all problems on MattyCollector and Digital River, decides to troll his own customers by offering a "Toyguru" signed Fisto figure in a fan contest.
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    Grammer Flunky Shredder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grepicon View Post

    Kind of how like Scott Neitlich sits in his ivory office in El Segundo in 2014, ignoring all problems on MattyCollector and Digital River, decides to troll his own customers by offering a "Toyguru" signed Fisto figure in a fan contest.
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    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Dad View Post
    It did. They aired the speech. George said in an interview that its different when a director fixes things that were supposed to be fixed in the first place. I think he feels it is is his to do with as he pleases. Notice in the speech he refers to others altering an artist's work...not the artist himself. I don't think that makes him a hypocrite in the sense that he's not contradicting his speech by doing a special edition. Now I am all for the original Star Wars being released and I am not a fan of most of the special edition changes, although some of them are great. (Update being fixed in Episode 1 for instance. Adding a little height to the landspeeder. Boba Fett floating Han to Slave 1. All ok. Han walking around Java, Greedo Shooting, Muppet Musical number at Jaba's palace and Hayden in ROTJ. ...very very bad. That being said I hope that Disney remasters and releases the original cuts some day. I have my original VS and the dvd version of the laserdisc till then.
    That is a point; he has been "fixing" his own films, which is a lot different than doing something to someone else's vision. What bothers me about the whole thing is that he is so reticent about the original versions, almost being like a child with "you'll look at the version I want you to or else!" I see no reason why both versions should not be out for all to see, both the original and the old. I mean, I can still get a black and white version of most movies that were colorized for TV. What's the problem with giving the folks who made you a millionaire what they want as long as your favorite version is also out there?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Gilskull View Post
    I think this gets covered in that film "The People VS George Lucus". It might still be on Netflix (I haven't checked recently)
    Only one of them i just gave you the whole speech.

    Do you agree Lucas is a fan of his own films and didn't care about fans? i think it's alzheimer (however you spell it).
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    That is a point; he has been "fixing" his own films, which is a lot different than doing something to someone else's vision. What bothers me about the whole thing is that he is so reticent about the original versions, almost being like a child with "you'll look at the version I want you to or else!" I see no reason why both versions should not be out for all to see, both the original and the old. I mean, I can still get a black and white version of most movies that were colorized for TV. What's the problem with giving the folks who made you a millionaire what they want as long as your favorite version is also out there?
    I 'THINK' that GL considers himself an 'artist'. These are his 'masterpieces'. As technology improves, he keeps going back and polishing and altering and 'fixing' things IN HIS EYES...

    As such, he really doesn't WANT anyone to see the 'rough draft' anymore. He only wants them to see the 'true' versions...

    It's like wondering why they don't rerelease a Ford Model T anymore... We're past it. Moving on!!

    Kind of like Tony Stark and his arc lights...

    Honestly, I'm like that myself. Whenever I'm drawing a picture or painting model or customizing something, I'm my own worse critic and keep trying to 'fix' something.


    and JUST like GL, I make a habit of tweaking too MUCH and ruining it beyond repair... I know well the need to just take a step back and say 'ENOUGH' It's good as it is!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Dad View Post
    It did. They aired the speech. George said in an interview that its different when a director fixes things that were supposed to be fixed in the first place. I think he feels it is is his to do with as he pleases. Notice in the speech he refers to others altering an artist's work...not the artist himself. I don't think that makes him a hypocrite in the sense that he's not contradicting his speech by doing a special edition. Now I am all for the original Star Wars being released and I am not a fan of most of the special edition changes, although some of them are great. (Update being fixed in Episode 1 for instance. Adding a little height to the landspeeder. Boba Fett floating Han to Slave 1. All ok. Han walking around Java, Greedo Shooting, Muppet Musical number at Jaba's palace and Hayden in ROTJ. ...very very bad. That being said I hope that Disney remasters and releases the original cuts some day. I have my original VS and the dvd version of the laserdisc till then.
    Did you too boycotted the blu-rays too in 2011? i did.

    It's funny how he mention people are "egotistical gangsters" or "barbarians" for altering art and replacing old films with new versions? is that what Lucas became from his own words in 1988? and would Lucas from 1988 hate the late 90s to today Lucas?
    "You killed Captain Clown, YOU KILLED CAPTAIN CLOWN"-Joker.

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