Black Angel (1980)
Watch the two long-lost short films that played before Star Wars. Back in the day it was common for short films to play before movies. This is before they started playing commercials. Pixar is known for keeping up the tradition, but whole generations have grown up without watching a film before the film. The original Star Wars trilogy was no exception, but the films were lost to generations. Now, thanks to the Internet, fans can watch the two films that opened before Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for free on YouTube.

Black Angel (1980)

Before Empire Strikes Back audience watched Black Angel, a short medieval film written and directed by Star Wars art director Roger Christian. Made for a mere £25,000 gifted to him by George Lucas he shot the film in Scotland and it was shown before the theatrical release of the second Star Wars film in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Scandinavia. It heavily influenced director John Boorman in the look of Excalibur. It was never shown again because the original negatives were thought to be lost. In 2011 negatives were discovered and a few days ago Christian released it on YouTube.

Dilemma (1981)

Before Return of the Jedi audiences watched the computer animated film Dilemma directed by John Halas and Eric Brown and created using the videoCel system by Computer Creations Inc. The music was composed by Richard Arnell and Dave Hewson. Halas was a pioneer in animation and created this award-winning short. It's one of the earliest fully digitised computer-animated films and posed an eternal question Halas had wondered about for years: will man's inevitable progress bring about his destruction? Considering how ground-breaking the special effects were in the Star Wars films it's no wonder that it was chosen to accompany the film.

What do you think of short films? Do you remember watching any of these?

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember those! Wow, had computer animation come a long way.

dolorah said...

Oh, I'll have to come back later and watch both of these. I'd rather watch short films before the films rather than 25 minutes of movie previews and advertising.

Thanks for posting these gems.

Maurice Mitchell said...

It really has Alex but it's not as simplistic as I thought it would be considering.

Tony Brubaker said...

I desperately want to perform literally every concievable and possible sex-act in the known universe on Carrie Fisher (as the bird was in 1974 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

Tony Stork said...

"Dilemma" almost defined the phrase 'minor classic' ! ! !.

Tony Brubaker said...

I thought it was gonna` be a sex film, as in, "Dial Emma For a Good Time" ! ! !.

Yolanda Renee said...

Black Angel, beautifully shot, lovely scenery, but I thought it had too many plots in one short film, and way too much riding or leading a horse through really beautiful scenery. How is the young maiden tied to the castle and the sickness or was that the sickness? Did I miss something?
I liked Dilemna - the more knowledge is achieved, the greater the thirst for blood grows.
I hope they bring the shorts back - what better way to introduce new artists?

Corya Kennedy Channing said...

I worked for the company that produced Dilemma. I met John Halas and was inspired by him. Our small computer animation company was located in South Bend, Indiana. Yes, we were doing amazing, early digital animation using a special system designed by my genius boss, Thomas Klimek. Eric Brown was one of our very talented animators. These guys were doing things with computers and art and video tape that only a few early innovators were capable of. I will always cherish my time spent learning and working with these truly amazing guys.


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