Cinematic Releases: Elstree 1976 - Reviewed

A new bit of untold Star Wars history is revealed in Jon Spira's wonderfully crafted documentary. 



No. I'M BOBA FETT. No one else.
Me. Me. Me.
Elstree 1976: a crowd funded feature about the biggest science fiction/adventure movie EVER is currently in limited run theaters and on streaming services. We review it. 

Typically when we think about the early days of Star Wars, we associate it with the heroes we all know and love and the creator, George Lucas. Elstree 1976 tells the tale of the lesser known cast members that have gone unknown and unnamed for far too long. This is a chronicle of the extras that helped fill out those legendary villains, Stormtrooper suits, the creatures, and other interplanetary side players that haven't been given their due. This is a sometimes sad piece of pop culture history that revels in personal stories and the nostalgia that keeps us coming back to the original classic. Never reaching the heights of the bigger stars of Star Wars, Elstree 1976 shows another side of movie making.

Longtime fans of Star Wars are finally treated to a documentary that doesn't strictly center on the making of the saga. Elstree instead spends its entire run time on a conversational bit of filmmaking that's about real people we can all can relate to. Discussing personal losses and career triumphs, these folks all have stories that make this an endearing watch, that just so happens to center on Star Wars. To varying degrees, frustrations with comic conventions are vented while other stories ooze with nothing but positivity. Elstree 1976 chronicles all sides of the story, good and bad.

They said I'm grounded for a week because I have really bad aim. 

Through a series of personal interviews, David Prowse, Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Garrick Hagon (Biggs), and a cast of other background players talk about how they became attached to the film, their first meetings with Lucas, and the lasting memories that they still remember as the highlights of their professional acting lives. Discussing problematic makeup routines, clumsy accidents on set, and the overall feeling of excitement about the movie, these background players still hold the history of A New Hope in high regard. Hagon mentions his heartbreak as his entire role as Biggs was left on the cutting room floor. Seeing David Prowse and Jeremy Bulloch discuss their experiences is just another added bonus that turns this into a must see film for followers of Lucas' creation. Sadly, Prowse's experiences with Star Wars have left him embittered and disappointed with the way he's been treated.

Growing up with Star Wars, I found this to be a love note to my childhood, the moviemaking process, and the extras that often times go completely unnoticed and unrecognized. As a 90 minute discussion with the people that played main characters (under mask) to little fanfare and others that never hit the strides of fame they longed for, Elstree 1976 is a great documentary that lets us see a sometimes darker shade of movie history. Other than the super slow pace, this is a must see for the rabid SW fan.


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Score

-CG