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  1. #311

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    I started reading LOTR again yesterday (September 22 - Bilbo and Frodo's birthday). I read it almost every year, and without hyberbole, it gets better every time I read it.

  2. #312
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hope
    Reading comprehension clearly isn't your strong point, is it? Moorcock says that Brackett's account of working on Star Wars matches Hart's (an account which makes no connection between Brackett and Kershner), and then notes his own experience of working with Kershner. At no point is any direct link between Brackett and Kershner mentioned by either Hart or Moorcock.
    You are a shameless liar. Here's the quote from Moorcock:

    Leigh Brackett was a good friend of mine, and her account of the job matches Hart's. My experience of working with Kershner about three years later also echoes Hart's view. Kershner was a nightmare to work with, and all his ideas were derivative.
    Here's Hart's version:

    The last and most crucial link to "Star Wars" and literary science fiction is Leigh Brackett, the original scriptwriter for "The Empire Strikes Back," the first sequel, and by any reasonable standard the best of the series. The late Pauline Kael was a tireless champion of journeyman director Irvin Kershner, and many film buffs take her lead in crediting Kershner with the movie's sense of urgency and drama. But this does an injustice to Brackett, whose career uniquely bridged pulp science fiction and Hollywood. Brackett started out writing space operas in the Smith mode. Her first short story was published by Astounding in 1940, and she quickly became known as an expert pulp technician. She was also a capable teacher, upgrading the work of her husband Edmond Hamilton and tutoring the young Ray Bradbury, who credits her with getting him started as a writer.
    and

    Brackett died of cancer shortly after submitting her first draft of "The Empire Strikes Back." Though the film's credits list her as screenwriter along with Lawrence Kasdan, Pollock says Lucas had to throw out her draft and start from scratch with Kasdan's help. This is hard to swallow, bearing in mind that Lucas and Kasdan also co-wrote "Return of the Jedi." The strengths of "The Empire Strikes Back" echo those of Brackett's own work as surely as the mediocrity of "Return of the Jedi" matches that of Kasdan's subsequent films, all built from secondhand materials: Chandler-lite for "Body Heat," warmed-over John Sayles for "The Big Chill."
    So Stephen Hart claims that Leigh Brackett was the genius behind The Empire Strikes Back and not the "gasbag" George Lucas (Hart's term) or the "derivative" Irvin Kershner (Moorcock's term). Moorcock says his experience "echoes" Hart's fairy tale -which is to say, the one about Brackett writing the script used in TESB. For you to lie so brazenly about Hart's article and Moorcock's response when all one has to do is click a few links to see for him or herself shows a lot of Chutzpah.

    One, Brackett died shortly after handing in a partial rough draft. Two, that rough draft was rejected and none of it was used. Three, Brackett had nothing to do with the filming of the movie nor did she work with director Irvin Kershner. Four, when Hart claims out of his own ignorance that Brackett must be the genius behind TESB, he's just fatuous. When Moorcock seconds Hart with a Moorcock & Bull story about how Brackett's "account of the job matches Hart's", he is lying. Hart claims Brackett wrote the screenplay used in the movie. Her publisher, estate and the others who DID write the finished product say otherwise -and have copies of her draft to back it up!
    Home Theatre Forum

    Ditto

    As far as Lucas not getting credit for the screenplay, Lucas and Spielberg both did the same thing on Raiders. After spending months of notes and daily brainstorming/writing sessions with Kasdan, the two of them refused screenplay credit, even though Kasdan offered it to them. Nicholas Meyer did the same thing on Star Trek II, as did David Cronenberg on The Fly. It's not that unusual.

    WGA screenwriters get paid by the draft, but Brackett never finished hers before she died. Per WGA contract stipulation, Lucas didn't even have to pay her. But he did more than that: he not only paid her estate above the Guild minimum for her "draft," he was the one that petitioned the Writer's Guild to put her name on the screenplay credits, even though she only got about two-thirds of the way in. In one of his interviews, Kasdan stated that Lucas informed him up front that he'd be sharing credit with a writer whose stuff they couldn't even use, simply because he liked her earlier work.

    But don't just take my word for it -- go to Skywalker Ranch and see for yourself. If you visit the library in the Archives Building (the one with the huge stained glass windows), you can read the actual drafts and treatments of all the Lucasfilm productions (with librarians looking over your shoulder making sure you don't copy or appropriate anything).

    In the case of Empire, they not only had copies of Lucas's original handwritten January 1978 treatment/outline (complete with spelling corrections by his secretary/assistant Bunny Alsup), but they have Brackett's "draft" there, as well. Beat-by-beat, all the major story points/character arcs are there in Lucas's original treatment: the Probe Droid arrival, Hoth battle, asteroid field, Jedi training with Yoda, all the way through to the Vader confrontation/revelation at Cloud City (no Wampa attack on Luke, though).

    Brackett's script, on the other hand, not only wanders all over the place, it even ignores several critical scenes in Lucas's outline (Vader communicating with Palpatine, Han rescuing Luke, Han's torture). What's there is as bad as some of the stuff in the prequel trilogy, and just gets worse as it limps along to page 75 (which, according to the records, is as far as she got).

    There's no romance/flirtation between Han and Leia, and Lando (who is described in Lucas's outline as "suave and debonair") has about as much personality as a random Stormtrooper. In all fairness to Brackett, she may have been already very, very sick when she started. Even so, I don't understand her ignoring/changing major plot points -- and not for the better.

    In November 2004, at an Empire revival screening at the Arclight in Hollywood, a friend of mine asked Irvin Kershner about the Brackett draft and the WGA credit. He confirmed what Kasdan had said, and added that Lucas and Kasdan had already done a lot of the heavy lifting before he was even brought on board. When you look at Lucas's original treatment/outline and then Kasdan's subsequent drafts, it's pretty obvious.
    Michael Moorcock agrees with Stephen Hart's absurd claim that Lucas (twice nominated for Oscars for Best Original Screenplay) and Lawrence Kasdan (three Oscar nominations for screenwriting) didn't write (and couldn't have written it) the movie and says he does so because of what Brackett told him about writing the screenplay, which she in fact never wrote. That's a lie almost as shameless as yours.

    Feel free to back your position up with an actual quote.
    I have not only backed up my position and given proof of my assertions, I have also exposed you as a very dishonest person who should be ashamed of himself. Of course you have no shame.

  3. #313

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfdart
    You are a shameless liar. Here's the quote from Moorcock:

    Leigh Brackett was a good friend of mine, and her account of the job matches Hart's. My experience of working with Kershner about three years later also echoes Hart's view. Kershner was a nightmare to work with, and all his ideas were derivative.

    Here's Hart's version:

    The last and most crucial link to "Star Wars" and literary science fiction is Leigh Brackett, the original scriptwriter for "The Empire Strikes Back," the first sequel, and by any reasonable standard the best of the series. The late Pauline Kael was a tireless champion of journeyman director Irvin Kershner, and many film buffs take her lead in crediting Kershner with the movie's sense of urgency and drama. But this does an injustice to Brackett, whose career uniquely bridged pulp science fiction and Hollywood. Brackett started out writing space operas in the Smith mode. Her first short story was published by Astounding in 1940, and she quickly became known as an expert pulp technician. She was also a capable teacher, upgrading the work of her husband Edmond Hamilton and tutoring the young Ray Bradbury, who credits her with getting him started as a writer.
    All this says is that Brackett's contribution was underestimated in Hart's opinion, with which Moorcock agrees, apparently based on what he was told by Brackett.

    and

    Brackett died of cancer shortly after submitting her first draft of "The Empire Strikes Back." Though the film's credits list her as screenwriter along with Lawrence Kasdan, Pollock says Lucas had to throw out her draft and start from scratch with Kasdan's help. This is hard to swallow, bearing in mind that Lucas and Kasdan also co-wrote "Return of the Jedi." The strengths of "The Empire Strikes Back" echo those of Brackett's own work as surely as the mediocrity of "Return of the Jedi" matches that of Kasdan's subsequent films, all built from secondhand materials: Chandler-lite for "Body Heat," warmed-over John Sayles for "The Big Chill."

    So Stephen Hart claims that Leigh Brackett was the genius behind The Empire Strikes Back and not the "gasbag" George Lucas (Hart's term) or the "derivative" Irvin Kershner (Moorcock's term). Moorcock says his experience "echoes" Hart's fairy tale -which is to say, the one about Brackett writing the script used in TESB. For you to lie so brazenly about Hart's article and Moorcock's response when all one has to do is click a few links to see for him or herself shows a lot of Chutzpah.
    Again, you completely fail to show any understanding of the text in front of you. Moorcock is stating that Brackett's account agrees with Hart's - namely that her contribution of a partial rough draft is underestimated. Nobody is claiming anything else - not Hart, not Moorcock and not me. The furthest Hart goes is to say that claims that Brackett's work had no influence are "hard to swallow". Moorcock may well have heard a similar opinion from Brackett. There is no lie here whatsoever, despite your shrill claims to the contrary.

    One, Brackett died shortly after handing in a partial rough draft. Two, that rough draft was rejected and none of it was used.
    Correct. You have managed to understand that much at least.

    Three, Brackett had nothing to do with the filming of the movie nor did she work with director Irvin Kershner.
    Please show me where anyone has claimed that she did. This is utterly irrelevant.

    Four, when Hart claims out of his own ignorance that Brackett must be the genius behind TESB, he's just fatuous. When Moorcock seconds Hart with a Moorcock & Bull story about how Brackett's "account of the job matches Hart's", he is lying. Hart claims Brackett wrote the screenplay used in the movie.
    No he doesn't. He skirts around the subject and says that her alleged lack of influence is "hard to swallow". Moorock reports that Brackett said something similar to him. He isn't lying - he is reporting what he has heard and saying that it matches Hart's account. Maybe Hart and Brackett's accounts aren't 100% accurate, but that doesn't make Moorcock a liar, does it? Which was, of course, the actual point that I refuted in your spiteful little outburst earlier on.

    Michael Moorcock agrees with Stephen Hart's absurd claim that Lucas (twice nominated for Oscars for Best Original Screenplay) and Lawrence Kasdan (three Oscar nominations for screenwriting) didn't write (and couldn't have written it) the movie and says he does so because of what Brackett told him about writing the screenplay, which she in fact never wrote. That's a lie almost as shameless as yours.
    If anything, that makes Moorcock ill-informed at worst. This is hardly grounds for calling the man a liar. And I must insist that you cease making similar personal attacks against me. I am basing my statements wholly upon what has been said by Moorcock and Hart - there is no falsehood on my part.

    I have not only backed up my position and given proof of my assertions, I have also exposed you as a very dishonest person who should be ashamed of himself. Of course you have no shame.
    You have done no such thing. You have persisted in the misinterpretation of the text to suit your own vitriolic hysteria, made direct personal attacks against public figures and other posters and failed to do anything but reveal your own lack of comprehension for the matter in hand.
    Last edited by Mark Hope; Sunday, 24th September, 2006 at 02:29 AM. Reason: Changed "her" to "him" in 2nd para from end.

  4. #314

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    Elfdart and Mark Hope - I should hope that I don't need to remind you fellows about The Rules that we use around here, and that Rule #1 is Keep it civil. I expect both of you (and everyone else) to show respect for each other and fellow posters on these messageboards, however much you may disagree.

  5. #315
    Quote Originally Posted by dcas
    Yes, in fact if we submitted the question to a popular vote, it might well turn out that Tolkien is considered the greatest author of the 20th century (which, if memory serves, was the result of just such a poll in the UK . . . prompting cries of outrage from various academics, educators, and literary critics).
    An Amazon.com poll picked Tolkien as the greatest author of the millennium and ranked Harry Potter in the top 10 as well, which shows you just how ignorant most people, especially English-speaking people, are of literature in general. Why do you suppose they settled on LotR and Harry Potter? Maybe because they just haven't read a whole lot of other stuff, especially stuff written more than, say, a century ago? How can a bunch of people who haven't read most (if any) of the 20th century's greatest authors--nevermind the greatest authors of the last millennium--make an informed decision about who those authors are?

    The reaction from most academics isn't outrage, it's amusement (at least in America; Europe could be a different story). We've all read LotR. The writing is serviceable and the story is a lot of fun, maybe even great--as a story. But, you know, reading is kind of our job, so we tend to read a lot more and a lot more critically than other people. You can imagine, then, that we don't really feel threatened by an online poll. It would be like Bob Dylan fans suddenly deciding they should be listening to Justin Timberlake instead since, you know, he's more popular, therefore better, right? Quality isn't something that's decided democratically. If it were, to be called "great" would be a meaningless honor.

    (None of this is to say that Tolkien couldn't or shouldn't end up on a list of important 20th-century authors, only that, when you have a group of people calling him the single greatest author of the last 1000 years, you pretty much can't help but laugh.)

  6. #316

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayside
    An Amazon.com poll picked Tolkien as the greatest author of the millennium
    ...
    (None of this is to say that Tolkien couldn't or shouldn't end up on a list of important 20th-century authors, only that, when you have a group of people calling him the single greatest author of the last 1000 years, you pretty much can't help but laugh.)
    Tolkien 0wNz0rZ Shakespeare.

    Daniel

  7. #317

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayside
    An Amazon.com poll picked Tolkien as the greatest author of the millennium and ranked Harry Potter in the top 10 as well, which shows you just how ignorant most people, especially English-speaking people, are of literature in general. Why do you suppose they settled on LotR and Harry Potter? Maybe because they just haven't read a whole lot of other stuff, especially stuff written more than, say, a century ago? How can a bunch of people who haven't read most (if any) of the 20th century's greatest authors--nevermind the greatest authors of the last millennium--make an informed decision about who those authors are?

    The reaction from most academics isn't outrage, it's amusement (at least in America; Europe could be a different story). We've all read LotR. The writing is serviceable and the story is a lot of fun, maybe even great--as a story. But, you know, reading is kind of our job, so we tend to read a lot more and a lot more critically than other people. You can imagine, then, that we don't really feel threatened by an online poll. It would be like Bob Dylan fans suddenly deciding they should be listening to Justin Timberlake instead since, you know, he's more popular, therefore better, right? Quality isn't something that's decided democratically. If it were, to be called "great" would be a meaningless honor.

    (None of this is to say that Tolkien couldn't or shouldn't end up on a list of important 20th-century authors, only that, when you have a group of people calling him the single greatest author of the last 1000 years, you pretty much can't help but laugh.)
    Agree 100%.

    And btw... I would agree that Tolkien has been *important* to writing. He more or less ushered in a whole new genre of writing.

    But that isn't enough to be considered a great writer. Wilkie Collins was a *very* important figure in originating what we now recognize as detective or mystery fiction. But that doesn't mean he isn't overshadowed by writers like Poe and Dickens.

    Similarly without Thomas Kyd there might not have been Hamlet. But that doesn't mean Kyd shouldn't be a minor figure in the history of drama (a footnote really).

    One last thing I'd point out is that it's WAY too soon for anyone to judge LOTR as literature since we are still way too close to it. 70 years isn't enough time.

    If people are still reading Tolkien 200 years from now, then I'm wrong and he's a great writer. However I happen to feel that in 100 years he'll be Wilkie Collins and in 200 years he'll be Thomas Kyd. Students conducting deep studies of the 20th century will read him as an influence of better authors.

    Of course these are just opinions of mine. No better or worse than anyone else's, including Michael Moorcock. People are WAY overreacting.

    I have no problem with defending the work of someone you think is talented but with people saying he's "smearing" people it's a little hard to stomach.

  8. #318
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfdart
    Since you missed the link last time:

    http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/

    and this link to Brin's hatchetjob:

    http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feat.../15/brin_main/



    That's just one shovelfull of lies from David Brin. The people in Star Wars who overthrow the Republic, claim the right to rule over the galaxy and so on are the villains. Now either David Brin is a complete imbecile who must also think the message in Schindler's List is "Nazis are Kewl!" or he's deliberately lying about the series.
    The question here is what Brin feels about the subtext in Star Wars and he's certainly right about a few things. Lucas is awful at really exploring the subtle moral messages in the Star Wars saga. The moral tale told by Star Wars is cast so simplistically that he Lucas fails to notice, or doesn't care, what some of the underlying morality is telling us. It seems cool that Vader's last act of redemption enables him to become one with the force (or at least appear as a force ghost at the end of RotJ) and yet when you start to think about the numbers of people killed by Vader, you start to wonder.
    Brin uses hyperbole, certainly, pushing the moral subtext underpinning Star Wars to ultimate conclusions. But lies? Not really. The conclusions he reaches are pretty easily drawn, even if they aren't necessarily what Lucas intended. But I take that to indicate that Lucas never really thought hard enough about what he was writing to vett it for these implications.

    In the end, Star Wars is best watched without too much mental effort. If you do put in too much work, you'll only be more and more disappointed.

    To get back on track, both Moorcock's and JRRT's works are much more interesting to wrap your brain around than anything Lucas has done.

  9. #319
    I skipped large parts of Lord of the Rings. If I saw poetry, I'd skip to the paragraph after. Family History? Ugg speed read it. I enjoyed reading it, but I won't be reading it again.

    Moorcock however, I enjoy reading much more. Shakespeare probaly as much as Moorcock. The Bourne books are my favorites though out of serious books to read though not Sci-Fi, my favorite Sci Fi books being Stardust by Gaimen, and Snow Crash by Stevenson.

    I prefer a faster pace. I tend to only be able to read in half hour to 1 hour sittings so I like something to have happened in that time. This is why I have also read so much manga. Half hour kills one volume in a series easy for me.

  10. #320

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran

    Elfdart and Mark Hope - I should hope that I don't need to remind you fellows about The Rules that we use around here, and that Rule #1 is Keep it civil. I expect both of you (and everyone else) to show respect for each other and fellow posters on these messageboards, however much you may disagree.
    Ahem. Thankyou for the reminder . Appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vigilance
    One last thing I'd point out is that it's WAY too soon for anyone to judge LOTR as literature since we are still way too close to it. 70 years isn't enough time.

    If people are still reading Tolkien 200 years from now, then I'm wrong and he's a great writer. However I happen to feel that in 100 years he'll be Wilkie Collins and in 200 years he'll be Thomas Kyd. Students conducting deep studies of the 20th century will read him as an influence of better authors.
    I agree - this will be real test of his "greatness". At present it's clear that he is one of the most popular, but if that were the true measure of greatness, then Stephen King would outrank him by an order of magnitude, for example. As distasteful as academics might find the idea of Tolkien being seen as the greatest author of the last 1000 years, I'll bet they'd have an even harder time accepting King on that throne...

    I have no problem with defending the work of someone you think is talented but with people saying he's "smearing" people it's a little hard to stomach.
    Yeah, just a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by billd91
    Brin uses hyperbole, certainly, pushing the moral subtext underpinning Star Wars to ultimate conclusions. But lies? Not really.
    Indeed. If anything, his articles gave me a good laugh with their hyperbolic tone. It's pretty plain that to accuse the man of lying is more than just a little daft.

    In the end, Star Wars is best watched without too much mental effort. If you do put in too much work, you'll only be more and more disappointed.

    To get back on track, both Moorcock's and JRRT's works are much more interesting to wrap your brain around than anything Lucas has done.
    Indeed. Star Wars is bubblegum. Highly enjoyable bubblegum, mind you, but like you say - you can't look too deeply.

    Amusingly enough, there was a "100 Greatest Films Of All Time" on tv hin the UK last night. Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back came in at joint first place, with Godfather 1&2 coming in at joint second. Shawshank Redemption was #3, Pulp Fiction was #4 and Some Like It Hot was #5. My personal fave, Jacob's Ladder, wasn't even on the list. Philisitines.

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