059: Smouldering Piles
I reflect on the late Irvin Kershner, vertical-take off/Anti-Gravity, gruesome charred bodies, and burning piles. Ouch! But first…
Irvin Kershner: Farewell
Poor Irvin Kershner ^ died last Monday (original article, Nov, 2010). When I was young I watched ‘The Man Called Horse‘. Only because it was directed by the mystery man hired to direct the forthcoming SW sequel. I really enjoyed it.
He seems to have been a lovely, funny, thoughtful fellow. If you haven’t listened to his commentary track on the old ESB DVDs, you should. It’s really interesting and refreshing. Inspirational actually. And the affection with which he remarks on the characters is really touching. Perhaps that’s why most fans love the second Star Wars film most of all.
“It consisted mostly of an entrance rampway and an enormous pit gouged from the rocky soil. This served as clearance radii from the effects of the simple antigrav drive which boosted all spacecraft clear of the gravitational field of the planet.
The mathematics of spacedrive were simple enough even to Luke.”
– 1977 Novelisation
Vertical take-off planes were so exciting in the 1970s! Who needs anti-gravity when you’ve got Harrier Jump-Jets?
We’re still in late 1977/early ’78 readers. And if you ever wondered how that Landspeeder floats? – you now have the answer. Not any of that anti-gravity stuff but a load of jets underneath. Whooooosh!
You won’t believe this – or maybe you will! – but it was only a year ago when I re-read the novel that I realised that the space-ships in Star Wars actually use anti-gravity! Maybe I knew 30 years ago but it was a surprise to me. Funny really, because how else could they do what they do – with such ease – in the films? It also makes me wonder why the AT-AT Walkers even need to walk? Anyway, since I forgot about it, it’s always just seemed like some silly far-fetched concept. The kind of thing you’d only get in lesser Sci-Fi. You know, like Star Trek.
Loads of rich colour in this page. Doesn’t Luke appear to run right past the remains of his relatives. How could he miss them?
You need Preparation H mate!
Luke’s wails in agony. There’s nothing quite so bad as smouldering piles is there?
On a serious note: did any of you ever think that the two charred bodies looked a bit – wrong for Star Wars? I’m not sure if it’s because they look – to me – a bit silly; or too horrific and explicit. We’ve seen his uncle and aunt alive and now suddenly there are these odd looking charred skeletons – almost improbably – lying face-down outside their front door. Admittedly, by today’s standards – with those ridiculous CSI shows on TV – it’s tame. I mean we don’t dive into their glistening, bloody eye sockets and feast on the gore. But it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t mind the bloody arm-slicing in theCantina (though it was shocking in ’77), so maybe it’s just crudely executed, a bit lame and undignified looking.
Uncle Ben Owen”
See the way the text was altered on this page? Originally Ben was in the speeder with Luke as they sped off, but later,”OK, stay and wait (Ben)” was added, and Ben’s own speech bubble was modified to make it come from out of frame. All very confusing I admit! Can you figure it out?
(worm's-eye view of the underside of Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder)
"C'mon" shouts Luke, as he hits the thrusters beneath the landspeeder. They power up and shoot jets of something or other to the ground—like a vertical take-off aircraft or hovercraft.
"It's too dangerous, Luke" Ben Kenobi warns.
"OK, stay and wait" replies Luke, before speeding away.
We see the Lars homestead in flames. Luke has jumped from the landspeeder and is running into the inferno, shouting, "Aunt Beru! Uncle Ben/Owen."
(CU on Luke)
'Then he sees two smouldering piles which had once been human beings.'
"No! Nooo." he wails.