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CT Gary Kurtz on the Star Wars Special Edition

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Darth Voldemort, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Darth Voldemort

    Darth Voldemort Jedi Knight star 1

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    Oct 21, 2014
  2. {Quantum/MIDI}

    {Quantum/MIDI} Force Ghost star 5

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    Dec 21, 2015
    A special edition thread would suffice since we already have 2 or 3 post on this.
     
  3. Avnar

    Avnar Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Sep 20, 2007
    I don't mind some of the changes but - This man is spot on!
     
  4. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 18, 2013
    As is often the case Kurtz is totally completely wrong.

    After his failure on ANH it's too bad Lucas brought him back to fail again on TESB but that is Lucas' way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  5. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    [face_dunno]Which failures are you referring to?

    Admittedly, Lucas didn't want to exceed the allocated budget for ESB and held Kurtz and Kershner responsible when they did exceed it (and he had to humiliate himself asking 20th Century Fox for more money) but we as the audience got an incredibly beautiful film, didn't we?

    I can see both sides of the argument. I understand why George Lucas was mad at him / them, but on the other hand I'm eternally grateful for what we got because of him / them. It just saddens me that in hindsight Lucas didn't feel that way, too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  6. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 18, 2013
    On ANH Lucas had to take over his duties because he couldn't fulfill them then Lucas in a huge mistake brought him back for TESB and when he failed again he had to fire him.

    Lucas being Lucas of course kept his name on the credits even though they don't really belong there in that capacity.

    Lucas has allowed Kurtz to live off successes he didn't really achieve for decades and has been nothing but kind to him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  7. theMaestro

    theMaestro Jedi Master star 3

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    Oct 16, 2015
    Everything Kurtz said is spot on. It's amazing that he's brought up a lot of the same points I have in the past including those about films being products of their time, the Jabba change being redundant because of the Greedo scene, eyelines not really matching up in the Jabba scene, and a lot of the changes simply being intrusive..
     
  8. Avnar

    Avnar Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Sep 20, 2007
    I get the feeling that you would side with GL even if it was discovered he was the devil haha ...am I wrong?? [face_devil]
     
  9. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 18, 2013
    Discovered?

    I thought that was well known already!
     
  10. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Knight star 3

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    Dec 20, 2015
    How can he be completely wrong when for the most part he is simply offering his own opinion on the changes made for the special editions?

    Many people, including me, happen to agree with him.
     
  11. BadAcrobat

    BadAcrobat Jedi Knight star 2

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    Apr 20, 2015
    The special editions are horrible, and I agree with absolutely everything Kurtz says here. 3 (nearly) perfect films were ruined in my opinion.

    Im glad I own copies of the original theatrical releases, so I don't have to watch them.
     
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  12. StartCenterEnd

    StartCenterEnd Jedi Master star 3

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    May 2, 2006
    The only change that really bugs me is the Greedo shooting fiasco. Kurtz does make good points here however.
     
  13. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 18, 2013
    Is he right for himself? Sure, but not for anyone who doesn't agree with him.

    I don't agree.
     
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  14. Binary_Sunset

    Binary_Sunset Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Oct 28, 2000
    Thanks for sharing the video!
     
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  15. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 6, 2016
    Doesn't make him wrong.

    It's not like he's giving his opinion that water isn't wet.
     
  16. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Mar 10, 2005
    GK is not unreasonable, but I'm happy with what GL did.
     
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  17. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Nov 10, 2011
    From the way the Rinzler book tells it, the problem for Lucas wasn't the budget. He was willing to provide whatever budget was necessary (within reason)--remember, it's not as if Lucas doesn't care about these movies. The problem was he needed to know what the budget was going to be in advance so he could get the loan from the bank. Kurtz kept giving him wildly inaccurate estimates which ultimately resulted in Lucas running out of money (he's already loaned a bunch of his own money to finance the film) and the bank refusing to give him any more, basically dooming the film. Lucas physically didn't have the money to finish it himself. 20th Century Fox was threatening to invoke a clause in their contract to take over control of the movie.

    In the end, Lucas finally managed to get a different bank to give him a loan that would make up the difference, but he also had to give Fox a bigger cut of the box office both on Empire and on the next sequel. It was an incredibly touch-and-go situation which resulted in Lucas barely pulling through by negotiating more unfavorable terms for himself. Lucas was willing to do this for the sake of the movie, but it all would have been completely avoidable if Kurtz had done his job properly from the get-go. The problem was entirely Kurtz's incompetence. And Lucas isn't the only one claiming this, there are other people who worked on the film quoted in the book who say essentially the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  18. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 18, 2013
    One of the basic problems is when they borrowed from the bank and then kept going back again and again it got to the point where they said "No more." Another factor IIRC was that someone new to the bank was overseeing the loans and was unfamilar with Star Wars or movies in general and didn't understand the workings so stop increasing the money.

    The point though is that Kurtz was simply not a top producer and couldn't get IK to stay on target. It's one of the great mistakes that Lucas made that almost ended in disaster.

    That he allowed Kurtz to dine off this for decades while at the same time Kurtz goes on about this that and the other thing just shows how kind a person Lucas is and doesn't hold Kurtz's incompetence against him.

    It's also shows how clueless Kurtz is. There is no one whose role in Star Wars is more-overrated than his. Part producer of ANH and fired producer of TESB.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  19. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Yes, and all the while he tells this cock-and-bull story about how he left over creative differences, about how he was this great man of principle standing up for artistic integrity while money-grubbing Lucas sold out to commercial concerns. And he's been peddling that same B.S. line for years, and even in this very video where it doesn't make a lick of sense, as if Lucas would ever allow himself to be dictated to by 20th Century Fox to make changes to his movies. As if that's even something Fox would have ever thought to ask for. As if Lucas hadn't been expressing his disappointment with certain aspects of the films for years. As if the 2004 and 2011 re-releases never happened, where the additional changes were actually downplayed or outright omitted in the marketing. As if Lucas weren't actually losing money by refusing to release the originals in a restored format where an eager market clearly exists for them.

    Just total, transparent, self-serving B.S. It's infuriating, honestly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  20. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 6, 2016
    So it's not that the bank wouldn't loan what was required to complete the film. It was because Lucas didn't borrow what was required at the first time of asking, due to Kurtz?

    Maybe it was different in the seventies but, in my experience, banks lend on the basis of the borrower's ability to repay the loan and the value of the enterprise which requires the loan for capital.

    It is unlikely that the bank chose to spite Lucas for not drawing down sufficient funds at the first or second instance. It just happens that the cost of borrowing increases in direct proportion to the ratio of loan to value. And it just so happens that Fox were willing to cover the balance of the negative cost at a more attractive interest rate than the bank of were willing to supplement the origin borrowing for without certain guarantees.

    The thing that stuck in Lucas's craw was that Star Wars was designed to ultimately insulate Lucasfilm from studio involvement in production. Fiscally, Fox were a more attractive prospect than a further advance from the bank. Philosophically speaking though , it was the opposite of what Lucas was attempting to achieve.

    It was academic, ultimately. Because ESB's unprecedented follow up success exceeded all expectations. Even in the wake of Star Wars industry defining breakthrough. Lucas himself even remarks that his immediate reaction to ESB's reception was "Great. I can do what I want now. I've become independent of the studios. I can complete the trilogy the way I want. " So Empire, regardless of what it cost and who ponied the dough up front for it, accomplished what it was designed to achieve and then some.
     
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  21. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Uh, yeah? The bank wasn't willing to give him more money because coming back and asking for more money on a movie that's going wildly over-budget is a proposition with a much different risk profile than just coming to them up-front and saying, "We're confident we can complete the movie with a budget of x and get a return of y."

    It never should have come to that in the first place. The costs shouldn't have kept inflating out of control. It was supposed to be budgeted at $20 million, then it went over that, and when Lucas asked Kurtz to give him the real number, Kurtz told him $25 million. Lucas said, Okay, fine. But then it kept going up. It ended up at $31 million or more. It's not just no big deal that something like that happened. Fox could very well have taken over the movie, and then there goes George's independence.

    There's no reason to make excuses for Kurtz. He was the producer. Lucas is ultimately responsible for what occurred, but that's because he made the poor executive decision of hiring Kurtz on again out of loyalty, even though he had concerns about him based on his work on the last film.

    You seem to be presenting this false dichotomy where it's either this massive budget cluster**** or else we don't get Empire. But that's not true. If Kurtz had done his job, we could have gotten Empire without the movie and Lucas's entire future being put in jeopardy in the process. Everything worked out in the end, yeah, but that's us talking in hindsight. Lucas's concerns were 100% legitimate at the time, and there was no reason things had to happen the way they did.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  22. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    So you are saying that the bank would have loaned 30m if it had been asked for in the first place instead of in increments as and when unforseen production challenges inflated the budget?

    It has nothing to do with the fact that the bank had taken the decision to withdraw from the movie financing market in the meantime?
     
  23. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 18, 2013
    Then when they did ROTJ they had a proper budget from the start of 30M+ and there were no great problems.

    Lucas is at fault for keeping Kurtz on in a capacity of any real importance. He totally screwed up because of misplaced loyalty. It served him well overall but this time it didn't work out at all. This is why when finding someone who really knew what they were doing like McCallum was paramount to the prequels being made in the most cost efficient manner possible that didn't waste tens of millions per movie.

    Few people would have the kindness that Lucas had to someone who almost ended up costing them everything (in the creative independence of movies sense).
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  24. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 6, 2016
    Why is ESB's final cost such an objectionable figure while ROTJ's is not? Because Lucas and Kazanjian predicted they would have the same production challenges that would cost the same no matter who was producing, if they were maintaining the standard of production values that ESB set?

    Are you saying that Lucas kindly allowed Kurtz to produce in the knowledge that he was inadequately qualified to deliver on the projected budget?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  25. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Nov 10, 2011
    How could I possibly tell you that? I'm not a psychic. But surely it's better to ask for all the money you need up-front with a confident and well-thought-out business plan than to keep coming back to the bank asking for more money in increments to prop up a clearly troubled production that might not even make back its money? Is the latter really an ideal way of doing business?

    Did that happen? Source? If you have the answer already why didn't you just post it?

    There are probably a lot of factors contributing to the larger initial budget. One thing that's for sure is that it's better to have a clear idea of your budget from the start. That strikes me as common sense, but apparently it isn't.

    Not quite. He allowed him to produce despite having misgivings about his ability to deliver, because Kurtz was his friend and George is a loyal guy. That was clearly a mistake from a business standpoint.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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