November 4, 2023

The Weird Thing About AMERICAN GRAFFITI (4K)

AMERICAN GRAFFITI 50th Anniversary Edition (4K UHD)
1973 / 112 min
Review by Mr. Paws😽

Considering it was one of the biggest hits of 1973, it’s weird that American Graffiti has sort of become George Lucas’ “forgotten” film. I realize that’s because he went exclusively into the Star Wars business right afterwards. 

50 years later, it’s also weird to revisit a Lucas film where the focus is exclusively on the characters, not the technology or visuals. Even his comparatively quaint first film, THX-1138, was all about the look and concept…probably why he keeps tweaking with the special effects on that one decades later.

Speaking of which, American Graffiti remains the only Lucas-directed film that he’s never really messed with afterwards. No Director’s Cuts or Special Editions…just the same nostalgically congenial, semi-autobiographical slice of life that charmed audiences back in ‘73. Who knows? Maybe it was the only finished film he was truly happy with. Maybe he simply forgot he ever made a movie that didn’t translate into millions in toy sales.

"Jesus! What's wrong with my hand??"
Whatever the case, American Graffiti may not be his best film (that’ll always be the original Star Wars), but it’s obviously his most personal one. Taking place over the course of a single night in a small town, the episodic narrative follows four young men at a crossroads in their lives. Not all aspects of the film have aged well, but for the most part, it remains engaging, funny and occasionally perceptive, with one of the greatest song-driven soundtracks of the era.

It’s also kind of weird that the overall picture quality of this 50th Anniversary 4K release is merely…okay (though it sounds great). Since the Blu-ray image for American Graffiti was never stellar to begin with, this is something of an improvement. But Universal has done far better with some of their other classics. It must also be noted that there are no new bonus features, though the ones included are pretty cool.


THE MAKING OF AMERICAN GRAFFITI - This is an excellent feature-length documentary about the production. Features numerous interviews with most of the major cast and crew.

SCREEN TESTS - Considering all of these screen tests feature actors who’d go on to bigger things, this is pretty interesting.




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