American Graffiti

The George Lucas film, "American Graffiti" is poignant in several ways. Released August 11 1972, the film takes place in 1962, just before the Kennedy assassination and just before political crises polarized the country and the world. In developing the script, Lucas took his collection of 45's and wrote each scene according to the backdrop of a single. 75 songs made up the soundtrack which became the first film that contained such an extensive soundtrack of original rock'n roll recordings. Lucas also produced the film in Techniscope which was considered old technology at the time, but added the feeling of an "urban documentary style." Techniscope lended the benefits of 16mm and widescreen that Lucas felt set the boundaries between feature length and documentary films. Lucas used two camera operators and no cinematographers, instead relying on the consultation of his friend Haskell Wexler. Wexler used 1,000 - 2,000 watt bulbs in scene lighting and 12-volt bulbs inside cars to light the faces of characters. The resultant color, sound and lighting for this film is brilliant. And to think it was done with "old" technology shows the value of ingenuity over innovation.