This is topic Star Wars (Derann) in forum 8mm Print Reviews at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Ernie Zahn (Member # 274) on October 28, 2013, 09:18 AM:
Thanks to Ron Douglas, I now have this fine print! He sold it to me in fantastic shape too!

Osi did a review of the Cinevision version, but I didn't see one about the Derann version in the index of reviews.

I typically don't write reviews of the film itself and focus, rather, on the specific print release. If you don't know what Star Wars is then I suggest you get the DVD before the more serious investment of a film print. That goes for most movies. I have movies that I enjoy, but it's only movies that I love, that I keep as S8 prints. Just a suggestion! Collect whichever way you like!

On to the review.

The packaging is pretty standard for Derann releases, particularly later ones. White boxes. The first box has cover art, though strangely enough, it's the artwork from Return of the Jedi, despite this being the first film. Really solid white reels. It's mounted on 4x600 ft reels.

This is my first Derann print and I'm pleased at how generous the leader and tails are. Usually when I load a film it takes several feet for it to catch and for some prints, it's already rolling when I switch it forward. Not the case here. I also noticed, what one member pointed out, that the beginning and end of each reel has a nice little audio and visual fade.

It's scope of course. The print is very sharp, which is no surprise since this was struck from a negative. The color is very nice and the print is very clean. Only a couple splices from the negative that I could see. The grain is really hard to detect in certain shots. Reel 3 on the Death Star is particularly clean. The only strange thing I noticed was that for the first 25 feet or so the contrast would get really strong then return to normal. Almost like a breathing effect. It passed after a short time and it looked great after that. It almost looks like it was in the chemical bath for a little longer at one part of a reel. This is pretty negligible though. he other visual note is that unlike the Cinevision print, this is slightly cropped. Some shots with Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) are a bit cropped. Personally, it didn't bother me but if you want a purer form then the Cinevision is right for you.

The sound is brilliant. I ran this through my Yamaha RX-V373 with Dolby Pro Logic II. Really great experience. This is a Stereo print though I don't have a projector with proper stereo separation.

I wish this wasn't out of print, it's a must have for many Star Wars collectors. Super 8 or otherwise. For some die hard fans of Star Wars it would even be worth it to buy a projector just to own and run this film through it.

This is particularly valuable since Lucas made this point about the original release VS the special edition:

There will only be one [version of the films]. And it won't be what I would call the "rough cut", it'll be the "final cut". The other one will be some sort of interesting artifact that people will look at and say, "There was an earlier draft of this." The same thing happens with plays and earlier drafts of books. In essence, films never get finished, they get abandoned. At some point, you're dragged off the picture kicking and screaming while somebody says, "Okay, it's done." That isn't really the way it should work. Occasionally, [you can] go back and get your cut of the video out there, which I did on both American Graffiti and THX 1138; that's the place where it will live forever. So what ends up being important in my mind is what the DVD version is going to look like, because that's what everybody is going to remember. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won't last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you'll be able to project it on a 20-foot-by-40-foot screen with perfect quality. I think it's the director's prerogative, not the studio's, to go back and reinvent a movie.
To all you collectors out there, I'd say take good care of this "artifact." If you'd had your run with it, then take care of it when you sell it to the next collector. Right now there are very few ways to watch this release.

1. The lesser formats: Laserdisc, VHS, videodisc, betamax. These formats don't come close to the same quality and most of them are pan and scan or simply letterbox and not true anamorphic.

2. DVD: A DVD was released of the theatrical cut but there is a lot of criticism about it. Mainly it was a rush job. The image is washed out, the color correction is off, wayy off. And there are a host of other issues with the quality. Also these too are not anamorphic but 4:3 letterbox like the laserdisc and VHS.

Lucasfilm released a statement [paraphrasing] saying that the '97 special editions were achieved by making permanent changes to the original negative. Therefore the DVD is an approximation of the theatrical cut. Not a fully restored edition. Derann's negative was destroyed per licensing agreements (at least that's what I've been told). So, these Derann and Cinevision prints are pretty crucial. With the exception of 35mm release prints floating out there, these are the last best methods to watch a great quality version of the Star Wars (pre-special edition) version.

To top it off, now that Disney owns Star Wars, you'd think that might be a chance to release the theatrical version? Sadly no. They have legal rights for subsequent Star Wars films, not the original ones. 20th Century holds distribution rights till 2020 and the 1977 film is permanently held by 20th Century. Here's an article about it.

These prints are the closest to theater quality we might ever have. On that note, I mentioned this in another thread. I do have the lossless version of the original 6 channel audio from the 70mm print. If someone is skilled enough they could re-record with the 70mm audio. It won't retain the 6 channels but it's a different mix and any good engineer will tell you that starting from the best source will always yield better results - no matter what medium the product is delivered on.

Osi and others, I will work to getting this to you guys soon! I was thinking of sending this off to Steve O too. As I recall he offers stereo re-records.
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on October 28, 2013, 01:25 PM:
Great review Ernie! Welcome to the many happy "few" that have the pleasure of screening STAR WARS the way it was always meant to be seen!
Posted by Pete Richards (Member # 2203) on October 30, 2013, 03:52 PM:
Great review Ernie!

I'd be very interested in that audio mix, I'm also looking for the original mono audio track as well that has some differences to the stereo mixes (like the 'close the blast doors' line).
Drop me a PM, I have some other Star Wars stuff that you might be interested in.

Posted by Bill Brandenstein (Member # 892) on June 06, 2018, 04:02 PM:
OK, those of you with Derann "Star Wars" prints, some technical observations would be helpful. I'm trying to work an audio edit out for a friend for his print. My audio source is the Blu-ray in full 5.1, which I've already done quite a bit of editing on to de-specialize the audio back to the older form, at least so far as timings go. This is the first time I've handled a feature print of "Star Wars."

Unlike Ernie's print, my friend's print has no fades at the heads or tails of reels; there are also no shifts of contrast, which is great news. Except for a too-brief "Fox" logo at the start, and an annoying "U.K. Distributors" logo at the end (bright oranges & reds after those dim blue credits is quite jarring), this otherwise seems to be every frame of an unaltered theatrical print. Since it's on 1989 LPP stock, I wonder if that means it would be considered a "later" print, and perhaps that means it might be from a second, later negative as well? If so, my eventual sound edit might not fit all Derann prints.

The sound is only fair in quality, and sync is awful. More than half of the feature is off by 2 or more frames, owing to mismatches where the negative material had to be spliced. Has anyone else ever seen this? It was fun to crank it up loud, but the poor quality of the stereo track hardly works for Dolby Pro Logic, it's really fat around 200Hz, has no significant low bass, and rolls off going up into the treble range where it completely ends at 8Khz. Not much dynamic range either, which was obviously run through a compressor-limiter. The old VHS Hi-fi tracks sound profoundly better.

My goal is to take the top-quality Blu-Ray audio and conform it to this print in 5.1, from which a stereo folddown is also easily created. Re-records and double-system sound would then be possible. However, I have to correct all of Derann's sync errors first.

So if you have a Star Wars print and would care to contribute, please tell us:
1) What stock your print is on, and if LPP, the date code;
2) Are there fades at reel starts/ends or not;
3) If there are sync errors in the sound. The print I'm working with is glaringly bad in much of reel 2, and lesser errors in portions of the other 3 reels.

Thank you in advance!
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on June 08, 2018, 04:30 PM:
We have a stereo copy of this film, it is due for a screening soon so as soon as my Brother brings it up i will check the film stock if i remember. I can only add this,
This title had a number a print runs, if you were lucky to get an early copy you will almost certainly have one of the better ones, there were a lot of copies of this title sold by Derann. We are more than happy with the print we have but i would only describe it as a good print, nothing special at all. Colours are good, the image in some places, is rather grainy, the sound is also good, again nothing special. The obvious attraction is clearly the fact that it is the original 1977 cut, pre CGI trash.
Ours does not have any sound defects or sync problems. I do recall a number of odd parts sold as White box specials on a number of lists, they popped up frequently as well as good odd parts. we were extremely lucky with our feature, we purchased a second hand copy advertised on an old Derann sales list. when we got it we were horrified at the awful quality of three of the reels, i sent it back for the attention of Derek Simmons and within a week he sent a brand new sealed copy to us at no extra charge with a lovely letter apologising for the inconvenience. He explained that he suspected the one they sold us from the sales list was indeed, probably made up of odd parts sold separately. we were only expecting a refund not a brand new print. This was the sort of service Derann offered more than once.
Overall, it is a good scope print, rated as A-/B with the sound being B+/A-
For top notch prints i go with the fog, T2 or grease to name a few. The image on these knocks spots off the Star wars prints. [Wink]
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on June 09, 2018, 11:24 AM:
Great insights Tom. "The Fog" is a very good scope print!

I really lucked out on my STAR WARS print. I bought mine, many years ago, from Paul Foster, who personally picked it up on the very first day of it's being available, and David Prowse (Darth Vader) was there to sign the box, (in silver ink). Now, I have no idea as to what number the print was, and how many were sold that first day, but it's bound to be fairly early in the run. [Smile]

However, I did replace reel four of the feature with another copy of reel four. I wish I hadn't done that! [Frown]
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on June 09, 2018, 11:47 AM:
Thats funny you should say that Osi, although our print was brand new and sealed, our reel four is a slightly better contrast to the other three reels. In a way im glad as this is the reel with the most action. However, it is a good print and the fact that mr Simmonds himself must have signed it off to us in place of the poor second hand copy we got, we were thrilled and could not be critical at all. Its the one movie my Brother keeps threatening to sell but every time we watch it he says," maybe later". [Wink]
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on June 11, 2018, 11:35 AM:
My first reel 4 was very good but, as with most other collectors who did the same, the reel four was played most often and it was more to have another reel four that was in as good of shape as the rest of the feature!

That reminds me, you know a reel that i don't see come up for sale all that often? The "This is Scope" Derann 200ft that had, as part of it, the some of the "last Battle' sequence from STAR WARS! haven't seen it in quite awhile.
Posted by Bill Brandenstein (Member # 892) on June 11, 2018, 09:07 PM:
Thanks for the comments and descriptions, guys, and please keep adding on!

The print I'm working with is clearly "matched" on all reels with a 1989 date code and identical look. It's A- visually, meaning the black level and sharpness could be a touch better, but overall very respectable. I'm sure it was printed from a 16mm negative on a reduction machine as the sharpest Super 8 prints typically were.

The sound is a wonder, though. Reel 1 is fine all the way. Reel 2, by contrast, starts sound ahead by about 3 frames, at the 10-minute negative splice is perfect for 3 minutes, then starts to shift ahead so that the final scenes of the reel have sound about a half second early! Reels 3 and 4 are also mostly off by a few frames.

[ June 16, 2018, 10:40 AM: Message edited by: Bill Brandenstein ]
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on June 12, 2018, 06:34 AM:
I bought my print when it was first released at the BFCC which was held at The Waterman's Art Centre in 1989. It had a real cinema with the Elmo in a real projection booth. Great days.

It was my 18th birthday present from my parents and my uncle.

That was the day David Prowes attended, but for some reason I didn't get my copy signed. Doh! Maybe I couldn't afford it, as I remember just about having enough for the mono print and being unable to stretch the extra £35.00 for the stereo version.

My print is very good, with a couple of flashy white neg spices, but no big deal. The Tatooine scenes at the start are quite grainy I suppose.

I had an odd fault in that reel 3 had white sparkles all over it - not like neg dust, but a white sparkling effect. Derek Simmonds no less told me it was lab fault and replaced it for a near perfect reel. I wonder how many people just accepted that fault?

Many years later I took my print to Ged Jones at a Derann open day for him to re-record into stereo. And a fine job he did too.

I've really not noticed any sound sync issues on either recording?

Both soundtracks had a second of silence followed by a bit of wow in reel 2 (I think it's the landspeeder scene heading to Moss Eisley) but I re-recorded that little blip on my Goko.

Having read about different prints over the years I think I'm pretty lucky to have this one in this condition.

I remember when I was a student setting up a screening in a student house we shared at the time. Most of the comments were about the width of the 'scope image! This was 1992, so most people were still used to 4:3 TVs and VHS. Happy times.
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on June 13, 2018, 11:11 AM:
Was that some form of lab defect with the "sparkles"? I remember (it's been awhile since I watched this version), a slight bit of that here and there but I didn't mind it too much.

What would cause "sparkles'?
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on June 14, 2018, 02:22 AM:
It was quite unusual. The lab was still printing wet gate at that time, so maybe something to do with that?

Never seen this before or since, but the replacement was fine, so definitely a lab fault of some kind.
Posted by Bill Brandenstein (Member # 892) on June 16, 2018, 10:45 AM:
Rob, what a GREAT birthday present! Great stories, too.

I'm curious if Derann not only had more than one negative created for Star Wars due to wear and demand, but then reused the same audio master films. That would explain the problems on the print I'm working with : discrepancies in the 35mm image source.

The leaders tell all. Maybe later I can put up a description of what's on the leaders of this print, which is slightly interesting in itself.
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on July 02, 2018, 10:40 AM:
Bill, I don't know about a second negative (another reason why it would be so great if Ged Jones would join this site) but I was told that the negative was never in great shape, especially when the lab moved to dry gate printing, which revealed even more negative damage.

I suppose it is possible that in subsequent printings that the lab removed the odd frame of damage from the 16mm negative, especially if the negative snapped (there were always those flashes of white negative splice that revealed a negative join during the 1st & 2nd part) without informing Derann. That would certainly lead to the sound moving out of sync.

It would be very interesting to know what is on the leaders of your print.
Posted by Brian Fretwell (Member # 4302) on July 03, 2018, 02:57 AM:
Ref the sparkles Derann often sold "white box specials" of prints that had wet gate marks so I think you are right about that. I have a short with serious marks of that sort - once seen you can identify the pattern of it on other prints
Posted by David Hardy (Member # 4628) on July 03, 2018, 06:20 AM:
White sparkle on a print is caused by dirt or dust on the negative being printed through to the print. In short the cause is dirty lab conditions. [Wink]
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on July 03, 2018, 11:39 AM:
I agree David, but this was quite unusual.

Basically, it was like tiny but constant white grain sparkle in the image.

Like I say, I've never seen this before or again, and a replacement was fine.

It really wasn't like negative dirt.

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