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Good News Everyone!

Long-Lost Fantasy Film From Star Wars Art Director Will Soon Surface

This is actually the first I’ve heard about the long-lost short film from Star Wars art director, and Academy Award winner Roger Christian called Black Angel. Which is odd, considering it’s totally my kind of thing. The sword-and-sorcery title was made with financial assistance from George Lucas and played before Empire Strikes Back in Europe and Australia. It’s been lost for years but like the plot of many fantasy film, the magic has been reawakened! Now, how does Christian plan to get it to the hungry masses?

Black Angel revolved around a knight of the Crusades who is transported to another realm and must save a princess. It was a directorial debut for Christian who was able to use his relationship with Lucas to get the film screened before Empire. It stared Patricia Christian and James Gibb.

“The short was never released on VHS or DVD, and Christian himself was unable to track down the original negative. The director believed it was lost—until he got a call from an archivist at Universal Studios last December,” writes Wired. “The movie’s gorgeous art design and cinematography influenced many Arthurian myth films that followed, fromExcalibur to Legend. Christian slowed and elongated the action scenes with a technique called step-printing, which Lucas then used for a lightsaber battle in Empire.”

Now that Black Angel is in his hands again, how will Christian distribute it?

“Probably the best way is a downloadable version,” he tells Wired. “I think it would be great to see it in a cinema again on a program with Empire Strikes Back. That’s how it was intended to be seen.”

Odds are pretty good on that last bit considering the original trilogy will be back in theaters (in 3D) soon. Did you see this film when it was originally released?

(via Wired)

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  • Darren Ross

    I saw this in the UK when I was 7. Since then, not a whisper of its existence, so much so that, as the years passed, I genuinely began to think it might have been a manufactured childhood memory! From what I recall (and this is *very* hazy) it felt like an arthouse film, and was quite dark. It had the sort of Arthurian legend locations one saw in John Boorman’s Excalibur but with a hint of Terry Gilliam’s directorial vision thrown in. I also recall being very surprised by the ending. This must have been the second film I ever saw in the cinema, but while I retain only glimpses of it in my memory, I think it must have been a visually powerful film because it’s haunted me ever since. In a world where everything is instantly available on the Web, it is astonishing to think there is a film it will have taken me 33 years to see a second time. I thought it would remain forever a dream from childhood. I would say I cannot wait to see this film again, but obviously I’ve waited over three decades! Fantastic news! Hurrah and huzzah!

  • Anonymous

    Amazing. I was literately talking about this yesterday as in the day before today! – I had commented that I wish I could get hold of this film so that I could show it before Empire and recapture part of my childhood.
    When Empire came out I was at an age where I was old enough to catch a bus into the city by myself to watch it; Empire thus became the film that I saw more than any other at the cinema, I must have watched it 12,13 times! As a consequence I also saw this film that many times and it has left an enduring mark on the memory of my childhood.
    Now that I have a name for this film I will be watching out for it becoming available.

  • Wendy Scott

    Yes, I remember seeing this with “ESB” so many times in the UK and being absolutely bored stiff by it. My memory of it is that it is very slow and languid; don’t think there was much dialogue but my memory of it was that it was a “Gwain and the Green Knight” type story. I’d like to see it again, if nothing else than to reappraise. Whatever I may have thought of it when I was 15, glad that it is back in the hands of it’s maker and he’ll have the opportunity to get it to the public again.