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RIP: Irvin Kershner (director of Empire Strikes Back)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Patrick Sun, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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  2. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Well-Known Member

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    Sad news indeed

    The director of the greatest SW film IMO.

    RIP
     
  3. lvicious

    lvicious Well-Known Member

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    Wow.. and I (just randomly) watched Empire Saturday night with the commentary on. I was amazed just sitting there listening to him and it was him and not Lucas or anyone else that made that obviously not only worth watching but listening to.

    He had this old school style to him that was so simplistic and made obvious sense once he explained things to you. Some were minor details you might not have noticed but overall impacted the film greatly.


    After I finished the commentary I realized that Empire would not have been as great as it was if not for Mr. Kershner. I cannot wait for the Blurays. Goodbye Irvin.


    .. oh and Never Say Never Again was very enjoyable so thank you for that as well.
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Sad news. Will watch the Star Wars trilogy again this Xmas in tribute to Kershner.


    RIP.


     
  5. JonZ

    JonZ Well-Known Member

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    Cool pic Steve.


    I'll always be grateful to the man for Empire. I remember reading a interview with him from the mid90s when he was talking about regretting not directing Jedi as well.
     
  6. Todd H

    Todd H Go Dawgs!

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    I just watched Empire last night after converting my DVD to mkv for my network streamer. Was just gonna take a peek to make sure it ripped right but ended up watching the whole thing.


    Probably my second favorite movie of all time. I think I've seen it at least a couple of hundred times. I remember seeing it opening day in DC while visiting my dad. I was 10 at the time and remember buying the entire box of Topps ESB cards afterwards. One of my favorite movie memories.


    RIP Mr. Kershner.
     
  7. TravisR

    TravisR Well-Known Member

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  8. Brent M

    Brent M Well-Known Member

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    Very sad news. Rest in peace, Mr. Kershner.
     
  9. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Irving Kershner was first and foremost a very fine dramatist. He coaxed actors into digging deep. He didn't make many movies, but those he made are notable dramas with intense ensemble acting. My favorite films directed by Irvin Kershner are The Hoodlum Priest (1961) with Don Murray as a hardboiled Father Dismas Clark, the comedy A Fine Madness (1966) with Sean Connery and JoAnne Woodward, the con game The Flim-Flam Man (1967) with an amazing George C. Scott, and the domestic drama Loving (1970) with George Segal and Eva Marie Saint.


    Kershner also guided Barbra Streisand into the best performance of her life in Up the Sandbox (1972) including a topless scene that didn't survive the sneak previews. The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976) was a respectable sequel and a solid western, and The Eyes of Laura Mars (1979) was a Giallo slasher transplanted to NYC in fine style. Of all the directors he could have worked with, Sean Connery choose Kershner to direct Never Say Never Again (1983), which almost cuts the caviar as a Bond movie. Kershner also brought some well-modulated character interaction and black humor in equal measure with dynamic action to RoboCop 2 that I don't think anyone expected to find therein.


    I still want to catch up with Face In the Rain (1963), a WW2 spy drama with Rory Calhoun as an American agent hiding in an attic, being concealed from the Nazi's by the Italian mistress of an SS officer. That one's harder to find than The Flim-Flam Man Man.


    As much as I cherish The Empire Strikes Back, it is a minor accomplishment next to Kershner's other work.
     
  10. dana martin

    dana martin Well-Known Member

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    Flim Flam Man is a great film wish it was better known, and agree that there was a good dramatic performance in his work, sympathies to his family at this time, and hope that Mr. Lucas would be kind enough to give us Mr. Kershner ' s version of Empire in 1080p when it comes to Blu, and not some excuse that it no longer exist.
     
  11. Brent M

    Brent M Well-Known Member

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    I think that does a great disservice to both the man and the movie calling The Empire Strikes Back a "minor accomplishment". As much as Star Wars is debated on this forum, I don't think anyone here would disagree that it deserves more credit than that.
     
  12. dana martin

    dana martin Well-Known Member

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    and here, is the humor


     
  13. ThomasC

    ThomasC Well-Known Member

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    Rest in peace, Mr. Kershner.
     
  14. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    I have great respect for Mr. Kershner, not only for directing the best Star Wars film (ESB is a masterpiece in its own right), but for many other very enjoyable films.


    I'm sorry that I never had the opportunity to meet him.



    Hear, hear.
     
  15. WillG

    WillG Well-Known Member

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    Sad to hear of his passing. Oddly enough just last night I was channel surfing and stopped on TESB on Spike for a little while. But like Leslie Nielsen, he lived a long life, so at least that's good. My much less Star Wars nerdish friend and I were arguing over the celebrity deaths in 3s thing and I mentioned him and Nielsen. He argued that Kershner didn't count. I had to point out that he was behind the camera for one of the most iconic scenes in film history (not to mention his successful fight to include what would be the second most remembered dialogue exchange in that film)


    Yeah, I remember listening to the TESB commentary and getting the thinking he seemed like a very warm and jovial guy who was very proud of the film.
     
  16. SilverWook

    SilverWook Well-Known Member

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    I devoured the original making of ESB book, "Once Upon a Galaxy" when I was young. The most amazing passage in that book is a transcript taken from the day Kershner wore a wireless microphone while preparing to shoot the carbon freeze scene. (The moment Harrison Ford came up with "I know." was captured as well.)


    I will always be amazed at how Kershner handled all the complexities of a Star Wars film, and the performances he got from the actors. The future success or failure of the saga as a whole rested on his shoulders as much as George's at that point.

     
  17. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I'd love to hear the actual recording the transcript was made from.

    Was that line Harrison Ford's improvisation or was it in the script?

    I read the script ages ago, and I can't remember.


    I have the highest regard for the original Star Wars trilogy and for George Lucas as a filmmaker, but I was studying Kershner's films long before he was chosen to direct The Empire Strikes Back. His previous films are vastly under-rated, and it detracts nothing from The Empire Strikes Back to say so. Lucas set the template in 1977. Kershner exerted a strong influence on many directors of the 1960s and 1970s who emulated his work. Lucas chose the right man for the job. To read this thread one would think Kershner never directed anything else.
     
  18. SilverWook

    SilverWook Well-Known Member

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    I read somewhere all of Alan Arnold's interview tapes made during the Empire shoot are in the Lucasfilm archives. He was the publicist for the film and author of the book. Maybe they'll release them in some form someday. I doubt the interviews with Lucas will surface without a little editing though.


    Harrison did indeed come up with the line himself after discussion with Kershner. The original was "I love you too." Rumor has it Lucas wasn't too happy about the change until he saw the reaction it got.


    I'm hoping TCM will honor Kershner with a day of his films.
     
  19. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Well-Known Member

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    Here is a Vanity Fair interview from last month:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2010/10/irvin-kershner.html


    He says he does not regret not directing Return of the Jedi, but would have done one of the prequels.


    He goes on at length about Harrison Ford's famous line in ESB, and the disagreement he had with Lucas over that scene. Interesting stuff.


    It's sad that we won't have his perspective on films anymore, although he contributed a great deal in his films and in the interviews he gave in his lifetime.
     
  20. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    Sad news indeed. ESB was the best of the Star Wars films by a long shot. I'll never forget how blown away I was the first time I saw it as a kid...in 70mm, of course. Saw it 14 times during its original theatrical run.
     

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