Sunday, May 29, 2005

Raiders: The Adaptation

On this pleasant-but-overcast holiday morning, I drank some coffee from one of my favorite mugs, watched some C-Span tapes that I've been meaning to get to for a while, and knocked off a couple of crossword puzzles from the "finish later" stack. In a little bit, I'm going to go into work for a few hours to enjoy the solitude and polish off some work that didn't get done Friday. Notice a pattern here?

There's a good article in the Chicago Tribune Arts section this morning (registration required and then after a week I think you have to pay for it - McCormickite control freaks) about these three kids in the 80s who remade Raiders of the Lost Ark in their backyards. It sat on homemade video until it emerged at the Austin Film Festival, with the blessing of the great Harry Knowles.

I love things like this, and it makes me sad to think how many creative efforts are lost forever, whether professional creations -- Fuller's recent "Big Red One" re-issue, countless disintegrating silents, Hollywood cutting room-floor excerpts, Groucho's quiz show episodes that almost got tossed in the trash by an overzealous janitor (a few did, gone forever), drive-in/exploitation gems, and 60s-70s Eurotrash -- or the fun stuff teenagers come up with after (or during) school.

The reason that "Apocalypse Now Redux" and the "This Is Spinal Tap" DVD are so great is that they make extensive use of footage unused at the time of the original release. It's like having two movies for the price of one. However, don't get me started on the rampant P.C.ism of the E.T. cops running around with flashlights or (even worse) Han Solo killing Greedo as a "last resort." More on all that sometime in the future.

This is also a rationale to never throw anything away. I'm an archivist at heart, and for a while I was contemplating library school, just so I could get some tips on putting order to everything.


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