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Star Wars 'Tantive Orange Items'

Explanation : In the 1977 movie 'Star Wars', early on in the film is an item/error/object which appears for multiple frames. See 'Guide' for visual identification. These items/errors/objects have appeared, disappeared, reappeared and disappeared as the movie was released in various home versions.

Purpose : To document the variations. Then to hypothesize : What they are? (rips, burns, transfer errors, ?) : Why they occurred? : What caused them? : Figure out why certain versions do/don't have them, and see how that can help determine which home video versions originated from a print of the movie which is closest to the original 'Star Wars' negative.

Online discussion of the Star Wars Tantive 'Orange Item' frames:

Note : Click 'Source' to show screen captures. All screen captures shown at reduced size. Scroll over for full size. (HTML5 Browsers)

Key (Background color)

Observations :

A 35mm print frame size is approximately 1 3/8" wide. (35mm) Orange Items A.1 and B.2 almost make a circle of about half and inch. This is close to the width of a finger, so speculation might suggest during one of the emulsion processes, someone accidentally touched and modified this negative or IP or print. Orange Items B.3 and C.4 have a similar frame location, and happen consecutively, so possibly these were created by a mechanical process. Orange Item D.5, we're not sure about. It first came to our attention by the provider of the 35mm scans. We hadn't seen this Item in other version of the film.

Early Home Video versions used the same negative/IP/print of the film as it was shown in theaters. But then in the early 80s, this changed and a negative/IP/print without the Orange Items was used for multiple home video versions. Then the Orange Items returned for the final home video release pre-Special Edition. Once the 1997 Special Edition occurred, we are speculating that a new negative or IP was used for this sequence. The shot has been significantly reframed and does not contain the Orange Items.

Theories :

See links at the top of page for the currently happening discussions.

Ben's & Burtt's Fault? Origin Hypothesis:

Quote from page 53 of The Sounds of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler

"At one point while Burtt was working in the basement of Park Way, he was handed the color work print. At that time, Lucasfilm had only one work print of Star Wars, so the utmost care was used when handling it. "I thought, 'This is really valuable; my future's at stake here," says Burtt. "So I threaded the work print up on my Movieola very carefully. I checked all the rollers and sprockets to make sure it was okay. Then I pressed Go - and ripped the films to shreads! Oh, boy. So I spliced it back together and tried to pretend it didn't happen. But all the screenings from then on always had this jumpy spot right when the stormtroopers come bursting through the door of the Blockade Runner."

As Ben Burtt calls out that he was working on a 'work print' this possible explanation of the origins of the Tantive 'Orange Items' is most likely false.