For those who love film, it was great news to learn that the next Star Wars flick will be shot on 35mm. In today’s digital age, celluloid is only available to the biggest directors in the biz, like JJ Abrams and Christopher Nolan, and it’s good to see Abrams using his power for cinematic good.
So it was also a bittersweet moment that the cinematographer of the original Star Wars, Gilbert Taylor, passed away last week at the age of 99. Taylor was not only the director of photography for Star Wars, but he also shot Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day’s Night, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, episodes of The Avengers TV series, The Omen, and the big screen version of Flash Gordon.
There’s many reasons Star Wars captivated a generation, and one of the biggest is it was a wholly unique vision that had never been seen before. Although Taylor didn’t get along with Lucas, there’s no question he was one of the most important members of the Star Wars team. Just think of how many incredible and indelible shots that Taylor captured for the film in glorious 65mm. Come to think of it, you can’t think of any bad shots, or forgettable shots that Taylor captured for Star Wars. It was all pretty unforgettable stuff, especially for the generation that grew up with Star Wars, and have loved it ever since.
Many working on Star Wars had no idea what they were making, but once all the pieces came together, it added up to a hell of a movie. Taylor certainly did fine work before hooking up with Lucas, but it will probably be Star Wars that he’ll be best remembered for, and that’s certainly not a bad epitaph at all.