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Sunday, 26 May 2013

ROTJ AT 30: ALAN HUME REMEMBERED (2010 BLOG)



The sad news has come through from the film website CINEMA RETRO that legendary cinematographer Alan Hume has died. He was 85.
Hume was a most in demand and highly skilled talent in the film industry before his eventual retirement, and had many worldwide classic pictures, and several TV series (including the Linda Thorson/Patrick Macnee era of the colourful classic THE AVENGERS series), under his career belt. Of particular interest to STAR WARS fans would be the intriguing cinematic flavour he brought to RETURN OF THE JEDI for fellow Brit director, Richard Marquand (Hume was a regular member of Marquand’s movie making team (alongside film editor Sean Barton), both of whom had previously impressed Lucas).
Whereas the recent Prequel Trilogy all had the same kind of unified overall cinematic and directorial style (from George Lucas and David Tattersall), the nice thing about the Classic Trilogy of STAR WARS is seeing how each movie has its own unique distinctive look and flavour that sets each one apart from the other. Gilbert Taylor’s cinematography for STAR WARS is pin sharp and distinctive, Peter Suschitzky’s for EMPIRE has a very glossy and elegant style befitting the first sequel, whilst Alan Hume’s contribution to RETURN OF THE JEDI, though interestingly controversial with fans over the years, would add lots of atmosphere, gritty dark browns, blacks and blues to the films quasi-mixture look of light and dark, especially to the interior of Jabba the Hutt’s Palace and the Emperor’s Throne Room chamber on the Death Star II, where the important drama played out between Palpatine, Luke and Vader is at its most intense and dangerous.
Hume (right) with director Richard Marquand (left) on the Sail Barge set at Yuma. Image: via STAR WARS ARCHIVES website.

Beyond JEDI (which seemed to have been a bit of a bumpy ride for the British talent:
Alan Hume on "Return of the Jedi" - YouTube), Hume’s other cinematography work is well worth checking out, especially his Roger Moore JAMES BOND films (1977's THE SPY WHO LOVED ME in particular, with its explosive finale inside a submarine kidnapping sea tanker), and in director Richard Marquand’s pre-JEDI movie assignment, based on Ken Follett’s novel, EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which has some beautiful outdoor location photography and captures the realism of World War II era Britain very effectively, mixed with a Hitchcock-style mood noir sheen.
Goodbye, Alan Hume, and thank you for your superb contributions to both STAR WARS and the entertainment industry. Your work will always be remembered and admired by fans for a long time to come.




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