Tag Archives: A New Hope

John Mollo, Costume Designer for Star Wars, Has Passed Away

John Mollo Oscar

John Mollo, as reported by The Times, has passed away at the age of 86. His expertise was in military history, serving as a consultant for period dramas such as Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. Following the completion of his work with Kubrick, Mollo was invited to quite a different British production: George Lucas’ then untitled third feature film. Mollo brought no previous experience with science fiction to Star Wars, instead drawing on World War I trench armor for Darth Vader and Nazi storm troopers for the Galactic Empire’s, um, storm troopers (subtle Lucas was not). At Lucas’ suggestion, he turned to the imagery of the American West for the narrative’s heroes. As such, Mollo had a large hand in some of the most iconic visual designs in 20th Century popular culture and for his efforts was awarded an Oscar for Best Costume Design. He followed up Star Wars with Ridley Scott’s Alien, creating clothes which contributed to the Nostromo‘s lived-in feel. He returned to Star Wars for The Empire Strikes Back. In 1983 he won a second Oscar for Ghandi (shared with Bhanu Athaiya.

For more, please see The Hollywood Reporter.

Rest in Peace.

Darth Vader by John Mollo

Review: Elstree 1976

Elstree 1976 posterFame can be a funny thing. Andy Warhol’s famous axiom “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes” has long passed into the realm of cliché. In 1991, the Scottish musician Momus revised Warhol’s prediction to “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 people.” What in those days of internet infancy might have sounded like a smart-ass quip would be proved much more insightful by the rise of social media. The idea of celebrity has been refashioned in such a way many people take on its trappings themselves. Everyone has at least one “friend” who is constantly updating their status as if they were the Princess of Wales being tracked by the paparazzi at every turn. Human nature is drawn to stories of success. In the same way pilgrims once venerated a third class relic (something which touched something directly connected to a saint), audiences soak up the exploits of people indirectly connected to larger events. It brings them closer the object of their devotion. In this case, the beloved is Star Wars, as seen through the prism of the new documentary Elstree 1976.

Elstree 1976 focuses on some of the less famous names involved with making the original film. Some of these played prominent characters, yet are less recognizable due to their faces being obscured by masks. The best example of this would be David Prowse’s Darth Vader or (in the documentary’s sole step outside A New Hope), Jeremy Bulloch’s Boba Fett. Others appear in small, yet iconic roles, such as Paul Blake’s Greedo. Some though are extras in crowd scenes or a head briefly glimpsed over a more conspicuous character’s shoulder. This lack of spoken dialogue though has not been a barrier to renown within Star Wars fandom. Fans are thrilled to interact with the franchise on whatever level possible.

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