A long time ago, in a newspaper far away…

Last week, the Guardian reprinted part of its original 1977 review of Star Wars. (Note: none of that revisionist “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” nonsense round here, please. The film’s name is Star Wars. Two words. Got that? Thank you.)

The review opens with some lines quoted in the production notes for the film, taken from Arthur Conan Doyle’s preface to The Lost World:

“I have wrought my simple plan
If I give some hour of joy
To the boy who’s half a man
Or the man who’s half a boy”

As the reviewer (Derek Malcolm) points out, that “about sums up the picture, except that it gives some two hours of joy, and will probably also be appreciated by girls who are half women and women who are half girls too”.

And talking of Derek Malcolm and Star Wars, one thing that film demonstrates is the power of a good soundtrack (both in terms of music and “peow! peow!” noises). A few years ago, I read a piece in which Malcolm described seeing an early cut of Star Wars, before the music and sound effects were added.

George Lucas asked him what he thought, and Malcolm replied, “You’ve made a very nice little film. I’m sure you’ll make your money back”. Then Lucas went off and finished the audio track to the film, and – well, we all know what happened next, don’t we?

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