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JW question to hardcore fans - filmfootage of ESB sessions?


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This is a question to you guys who know every little detail about all kinds of publications related to JW:

Once I read at the FSM board about a BBC (?) documentary which shows John Williams at the sessions of Empire Strikes Back, more exactly it shows him conducting the entire Asteroid Field sequence. But this footage along with the entire doku has never been released in any form and only made appearances during special viewings.

Really, I don't know if any of this is true or what this docu is actually about (jw or just ESB in general). Does anyone know more about this or knows if bootleg copies of this footage exists?

FSMs search engine is messed up so unfortunately it is impossible to find this topic. I am not even sure if it was at FSM.

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It's about Williams in general and also about ESB in particular, because he was scoring it at that time. At some point during the Mynock sequence he stops conducting and starts laughing, though I've never been able to find out how.

I just realized though that I have absolutely no idea where my disc of this has gone. :joy:

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Sounds like really cool stuff. How long is this documentary? Is it really complete with narration, interviews and all that or is it just the raw footage for something that was supposed to become a documentary?

Does anyone know why exactly this isn't available in any form and such a rarity? Was there a copyright issue? I mean one would think that a documentary about the greatest film composer still alive would be something one would proudly distribute instead of hiding it away in some dusty archive. Especially if it has exclusive footage of him conducting the sessions of his greatest score.

I just realized though that I have absolutely no idea where my disc of this has gone.

Means there are bootleg copies floating around? :joy:

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It's about Williams in general and also about ESB in particular, because he was scoring it at that time. At some point during the Mynock sequence he stops conducting and starts laughing, though I've never been able to find out how.

:P

It is because the stings had A LOT of notes and they were just reading it, so they mesed it up a bit. I do the same thing when I conduct and there is a rather difficult passage and the masochist conductor in your head knows that the players are going to fall all over themselves.

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Sounds like really cool stuff. How long is this documentary? Is it really complete with narration, interviews and all that or is it just the raw footage for something that was supposed to become a documentary?

It was a BBC documentary as far as I recall. I don't suppose many of those were released for purchase at that time.

Means there are bootleg copies floating around? :)

Well, some people taped it when it was on TV. And some of those some managed to copy their tapes... :flush:

:P X3 (John Powell)

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Yes, it's a BBC documentary and a really cool one. It's called "Star Wars: Music by John Williams" and it was aired in the UK a week before the release of the film in 1980.

It's probably the best piece of filmed documentation about John Williams ever produced so far. It shows a lot of behind-the-scenes footage from the Empire Strikes Back scoring sessions and a lot of quotations from JW himself as well, especially during the spotting session and the writing process. Williams goes very far in describing his approach to film scoring and his various experiences as a film composer.

If you want a peek about it, go here.

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Okay, I cannot stand it. Who has this documentary, and how might we find it?! Holy smokes.

Spinning off a bit, I remember as a kid, probably around 1983 or so, the American tv show "20/20" doing a segment on JW. I remember the narrator opening the bit with, "Which theme most fits this man?" or something like that, and then they played segments from various themes while Williams walked around with a briefcase. Does anyone out there remember that one?

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Okay, I cannot stand it. Who has this documentary, and how might we find it?! Holy smokes.

Spinning off a bit, I remember as a kid, probably around 1983 or so, the American tv show "20/20" doing a segment on JW. I remember the narrator opening the bit with, "Which theme most fits this man?" or something like that, and then they played segments from various themes while Williams walked around with a briefcase. Does anyone out there remember that one?

That 20/20 bit used footage from the ESB doc. :P

Neil

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I wonder if someone could license the BBC material and use it in combination with newly shot material about williams to create a feature film length documentary. That would be a great job for the folks from music from the movies and their DVD series. Maybe we should bombard them with emails? :D

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I haven't checked out the YouTube link above, so I don't know what exactly it is. But this FSM podcast has the exact audio excerpt from the docu where they're recording the Mynock cue (beware of X3 spoilers though). Not what nice reverb the score has in that clip. The streaming quality obviously sucks, but the reverb alone makes the music sound so much more natural than the SE CD...

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I haven't checked out the YouTube link above,

Is there a link that I'm missing? By the way, thanks for the FSM bit. Once again, I can't hardly stand this-- somebody HAS to have this on tape or something!!

Ah yes, and now a new Holy Grail.

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Hello, I don’t know if you know or remember it, but back in 1980 there was an in-depth documentary about John Williams on tv, BBC 1. It was about an hour long and it was absolutely fantastic. It covered his work mainly on The Empire Strikes Back, having been released at the time. I don’t know what the program was titled. It showed so many behind the scenes moments from the film and a lot of Williams’s scoring sessions with the L.S.O. All of this I have not seen since! So it must be in the archives somewhere. It would be great if it were released. I TAPED IT ON CASSETTE!

Now there is some bad news and some ,well, alright news. The bad news is that I found out the tape only to find out that my brother recorded over it back along, drat! The other news is that I found out some other tapes and it seems that I copied parts of it but not very much. I also have a part from it from another show aired at that time. If you are interested I can send you the stuff I have, I can send it in mp3 or WAV, format. (You will have to give some time to find it out.) I don’t know the significance of this and maybe someone has a video recording of the program, 1980???, but I for one would love to see it again as I am a fan of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite soundtrack all time. If you have heard of ths program or even know of it’s existence would love a reply.

Robin

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ahhh, his hair is BROWN! that's crazy. now my long revered statue of williams has to be modified to change from brown to white.

even crzier than that: his pullover is red! :P

Do you need more proof that this is not the real John Williams? :)

We need to find this and put on youtube or emule or somewhere...

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I found the 20/20 segment online in the star wars newsgroup last year when ROTS came out. I've had the BBC doc for years, I first saw it at college 16 (!) years ago. About 6 years ago a friend of mine managed to get a copy and i copied it from him.

Interestingly, one of the cues they spend a lot of time showcasing is a cue that was dialed out in the finished film: the music from when the mynock sucks on the window until the cut to the ext of the Falcon as Han and co. come down the ramp.

There is also a nice, condensed history of JW's career up to that point, some footage of his home in Westwood, CA (he still lives there, AFAIK), and great stuff of him working in his little composer's room on the Fox lot in West Los Angeles (obviously, pre-Amblin days). BTS footage of music editor Ken Wannberg and orchestrator Herb Spencer too, including a segment where JW talks Spencer through how he wants the piece orchestrated from his sketch (above mentioned mynock scene).

This footage was pillaged by Kevin Burns for the EMPIRE OF DREAMS documentary, where it shown as they discuss the scoring of STAR WARS (not EMPIRE), so if you've seen that doc, you've seen pieces of the footage.

It is a great doc, and I wish I was able to share it with you all in its entirety, but it's just not possible for me to do so...

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I  I've had the BBC doc for years, I first saw it at college 16 (!) years ago.  About 6 years ago a friend of mine managed to  

Interestingly, one of the cues they spend a lot of time showcasing is a cue that was dialed out in the finished film:  the music from when the mynock sucks on the window until the cut to the ext of the Falcon as Han and co. come down the ramp.

..

Waht did JW find so funny about that scene?

K.M.

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