|Looking through the coupe's window, Lucas checks in on Mackenzie Phillips.|
Glance at earlier video editions of Graffiti ('cause everybody still owns a VCR, right?) and you'll see why. The credits unfold over a grainy photo of Mel's Drive-In, a compromise required after a camera malfunction prevented a better shot. Production notes reveal that while filming at Mels Drive-in on 7/17/72, Lucas' favorite Eclaire camera fell off the tripod and was badly damaged. As a result, the sky is washedout, making it hard to tell that the time of day is sunset--a detail crucial to establishing the movie's dusk-to-dawn time frame.
|4-song soundtrack sampler included with 25th-anniversary VHS edition|
I think the revised shot is an improvement. The hell with purity; it is a welcome grace note to Lucas' cinematic masterpiece. Now leave it alone, George! I wonder if there will be any surprises for the Blu-ray edition? The 3-hour director's cut, perhaps? Well, one can dream can't he?
• American Graffiti, Collector’s Edition. [DVD] (1973, 1998). High School Reunion Collection. Universal Studios.
• American Graffiti [VHS] (1973, 1998). Universal Studios.
• Daly, Steve. (1998). Entertainment Weekly. Issue 452, p77.
• Hearn, Marcus. (2005). The Cinema of George Lucas. Harry N. Abrams.