Michael Heilemann, an interface director at Squarespace, has undertaken a vast project to document the inspirations that fed into the original Star Wars film. The analysis, according to Heilemann, covers “everything from [George] Lucas’ earliest student films, European cinema of the time, westerns (American and Italian), samurai films, war films, comic books, artists, composers, and so on and so forth, up to and including the release of the film that changed the world.” Heilemann’s e-book, Kitbashed, is a work in progress—although it’s quite far along—but he recently released an annotated cut of Star Wars that draws from his extensive research. The video includes the whole film intercut with relevant scenes from film and TV that inspired Lucas’ work.
While this cut of the film isn’t as thorough as Heilemann hopes to make it—there are some stretches without much annotation, and he writes on the Kitbashed site that he still has “a lot of work to do”—it’s still a fascinating way to watch the movie. Starting with the famous opening crawl, the video illuminates the astounding breadth of material that was banging around in Lucas’ head as he assembled Star Wars. It’s the kind of thing that ought to be on a special-edition Blu-Ray release but never will be because of copyright issues. If you don’t have time for the whole video, Heilemann also has shorter annotated clips on his Vimeo page. [via Kottke.org]