Tuesday, March 27, 2018

“American Graffiti” is the April Movie Classic in Bigfork

“American Graffiti” is about the culture and life style of the whole generation of post WWII American youth.  It has several claims to fame including being the most profitable film ever produced in Hollywood. Although most of the big Hollywood movie companies didn’t want to get involved, it did find a home at Universal Studios. The money side of this classic is a classic in itself. It was made on a $777.000 budget (lucky 7s) and has become one of the most profitable films ever produced with  some $200 million in box office, and, video sales, not including merchandising…so far. Co-written by George Lucas, it was based on his younger years in ModestoCalifornia. Set in 1962, it is a study of the cruising and rock-n-roll culture of post-WWII youth packed into the events of one night. The profits may be staggering but so is the list of the future famous actors in the movie.  This April Movie Classic will be shown on the big screen of the Edge Theatre in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday, April 12. Time: 6:30PM. Price: free of charge.

George Lucas co-wrote this movie as a series of short vignettes covering the events of one night. Wolfman Jack sort of narrates it, Ron Howard, Suzzanne Somers, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Phillips and a bunch more stars are sprinkled around in the movie. It was supposed to be filmed in San RafaelCalifornia where it was set to take place, but the town would not let them shoot after the second day. Obviously it did get finished and is a legend in the movie business.

The 1973 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland was the premier of “American Graffiti” and it opened the same year in the United States.  The response was positive and immediate.  It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and eventually the United States Library selected it for preservation.

George Walton Lucas Jr. (born 1944) is an amazing film maker and entrepreneur. And one cannot write just a couple of paragraphs about his work to do it justice. It is best to say he is just one of the best, and American Graffiti is something he wanted to do for a long time. It is the story of his era growing up in California and he wanted to preserve this story for future generations to see and become acquainted with the era. When you see this movie you see a time when Lucas was growing up and you can appreciate how youngsters of his age enjoyed themselves, at least in Modesto California.

I suspect for him it is Lucas looking at Lucas, and I suspect he likes what he sees.  Probably a cliché but it was a simpler time after a great war had been won and before the killing fields of VietnamLaos and Cambodia started and forever changed America. So, it is a good film for the audience to just sit back and relax and enjoy what Lucas put onto film for the audience to do just that. Enjoy the film and the time it represents.


George Walton Lucas Jr. (born May 24, 1944) is an American film-maker and entrepreneur. I am not going to try to put into this blog any list of Lucas’ achievements in film or business. There is no need except maybe to mention that he has had 57 awards and 37 more nominations for awards from some 44 organizations Ref: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000184/awards .  Above is Lucas receiving the National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush in 2006. See note at the end of this blog. 

That is a nice run that is not over yet.

Roger Greenspun was the reviewer of this movie for The New York Times and has one of the best descriptions I found when researching the movie. In the August 13th, 1973 edition he wrote, “American Graffiti exists not so much in its individual stories, as in its orchestration of many stories, its sense of time and place. Although it is full of material of fashionable nostalgia, it never exploits it.” See what you think, when you see the movie yourself.

The movie is on the big screen of the Edge in Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday April 12, at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon of the period. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynnpriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn

Note:This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. See Copyright.