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Friday, 23 August 2013

GOODBYE, GILBERT TAYLOR...

Legendary British cinematographer Gilbert Taylor. Image: FOX.

The very sad news has come in from the Kurtz/Joiner Archive's FACEBOOK page that legendary cinematographer Gilbert Taylor BSC, who helped bring the worlds of Tatooine and the Death Star, and heroes like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, to such believable life on the Elstree Studios soundstages between April and June 1976, has passed away. He was 99. As well as the original STAR WARS, Taylor brought his considerable experience -a genuine child of British film-making- and talent to movies such as DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, The Beatles' A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, REPULSION, Frank Langella's DRACULA and Richard Donner's seminal horror classic, THE OMEN, the film he completed before making STAR WARS, where he went on to join George Lucas as his Director of Photography after the director's originally planned choice, Geoffrey Unsworth, backed out quite late in the day. Taylor would continue his association with sci-fi after his one and only full cinematic encounter with the Skywalkers by going on to handle the visual reins of the lively, colourful adventure spoof FLASH GORDON, alongside director Mike Hodges. But it will always be STAR WARS for which his work, with his then regular and dedicated camera team, will be most remembered and savoured- Taylor even managed to return to that universe in the mid-nineties to film some rewarding special linking material of Dave Prowse as Darth Vader for a HASBRO interactive video/board game...

STAR WARS AFICIONADO MAGAZINE: BEHIND THE SCENES: THE INTERACTIVE DARK LORD!

On location in Tunisia with George Lucas.

Despite the behind the scenes frictions between Taylor and Lucas at that time in 1976- more a case of the Old Cinema Guard's attitudes clashing with those of the New, Taylor was soon proud of his association with STAR WARS after it became such a world-beating success, and went on to recognise Lucas as a cinematic visionary.

Goodbye, Gilbert Taylor, and thank you...

▶ Gilbert Taylor on "Star Wars" and filming the attack on the Death Star - YouTube

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