Elstree 1976

None of us should give a crap about anything anyone says in Elstree 1976, but such is the nature of modern fandom that we do — even those of us whose affection for Star Wars is now more an occasional indulgence than a heated obsession. Jon Spira's documentary is a collection of interviews with some of the supporting performers, bit players and extras who had the good fortune to wind up in George Lucas' generation-defining space opera, back when it was just another production shooting on a British soundstage. Many of these folks now spend their time on the convention and fan circuit, where they are often greeted with adoration and deluged by autograph seekers -- all for having been a random soldier in the background of a shot, or an unnamed pilot who had a line or two.

The film offers no great new revelations, no shocking anecdotes, no amazing stories of recognition or celebrity. Spira doesn't give us much context, save for flashes of faked behind-the-scenes footage: an X-wing pilot eating a sandwich, or Stormtroopers on a cigarette break. The music is a kind of soft, lilting drone, as in so many indies. The director is clearly going out of his way to differentiate his film stylistically from the Star Wars aesthetic as much as possible.

So he gets these people talking, one after the other, in a blur of reflections and anecdotes about workaday things. When movie stars talk about other movie stars -- especially in this world of hyper-managed press and carefully stewarded public profiles -- it means pretty much nothing. But when an extra says that Mark Hamill was a nice guy, you're inclined to believe.

Director:

  • Jon Spira

Cast:

  • David Prowse
  • Jeremy Bulloch
  • Derek Lyons
  • Pam Rose
  • Paul Blake
  • John Chapman

Writer:

  • Jon Spira

Producers:

  • Hank Starrs
  • Steve Milne

Elstree 1976 is not showing in any theaters in the area.

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