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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 07:36 GMT 08:36 UK
Barry Norman's Star Wars verdict
Barry Norman
Barry Norman gives Star Wars the thumbs-up
As Star Wars celebrates its 30th anniversary, here is how Barry Norman - the presenter of the BBC's Film 77 - reviewed the "utterly delightful romp" Star Wars when it burst on to British cinema screens in December 1977.

For total entertainment, one can do no better than recommend Star Wars which, for those who approach it in the right mood, is two hours of sheer bliss - the ultimate in space-age fairy tales.

For the younger viewers, I suspect the heroes of the picture will be the two robots R2-D2, played occasionally by a model but often by Kenny Baker, and C-3PO, played entirely by Anthony Daniels.

Well, I don't really think there is anything I can tell you about Star Wars that you haven't heard already - it's quite simply all the Saturday morning matinees rolled into one.

It has a princess, played by Carrie Fisher, fleeing with the vital plans of the evil galactic Empire's ultimate weapon. It has an idealistic hero, played by Mark Hamill, coming to her rescue after she has been kidnapped by nasty Peter Cushing and the even nastier David Prowse, as Lord Darth Vader.

It is in fact an amalgamation of every cinema convention there has ever been: a mixture of the Arabian Nights, the Knights of the Round Table, the Western, a science-fiction epic and a touch of the Wizard of Oz thrown in, in the shape of C-3PO who's like a pompous version of the Tin Man.

I won't attempt to tell you what the plot is about as half the fun is working it out for yourselves.

But as Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford set out to save the princess and the galaxy as we know it, watch out for Peter Mayhew as the hirsute Chewbacca, a sort of huge and short-tempered Muppet.

And observe too how everyone takes the extravagant and convincingly used-looking machinery of this far-fetched space age for granted.

Star Wars is that rare commodity - an utterly delightful romp and you'll be sorry if you miss it.

And it has a happy ending in more ways than one. In the first place, Alec Guinness - as a sort of Arthurian Knight - was given such a percentage that he no longer needs to worry, if he ever did, about his old-age pension.

And in the second place, the final scene leaves all the options open for a spectacular sequel.

As to that, Gary Kurtz the producer has assured me the sequel will not be made unless he and the director George Lucas are quite sure it can be as good as the original.

I only hope financial blandishments won't persuade them to change their minds and cut corners in search of the easy dollar.


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