‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Turns 30

Mike Ryan:

I’m not sure what he could be thinking, because, as far as I’m concerned, The Empire Strikes Back is not only the perfect science-fiction movie. It might just be the perfect movie.

Ryan gives credit to director Irvin Kershner. I say the unsung hero of Empire is screenwriter Leigh Brackett. George Lucas wrote the story, but Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote the screenplay. Why is the dialogue so good, the characters so interesting, compared to the other films in the franchise? Because George Lucas didn’t write the dialogue. Empire has more great lines of dialogue than the other five Star Wars movies combined. (My very favorite, right from the day my dad took me to see a matinee on opening weekend, was purportedly an ad-lib by Harrison Ford: “I know.”)

Among her screenwriting credits: The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, and The Long Goodbye. Those three and Empire would make for a great film festival.

Friday, 21 May 2010