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The use of the Wipe in The Hidden Fortress and Star Wars: A New Hope

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    Hi everyone,

    Been studying the editing in The Hidden Fortress bit more and came to notice that the first
    Wipe in The Hidden Fortress is used to symbolise the separation of Tahei and Matashichi. Now, also watching back the bickering scene in Star Wars: A New Hope with R2-D2 and C-3PO I realised that the wipe is also used symbolise the separation of two characters. Could this be just a coincidence or was Lucas influenced by Kurosawa so much that he even used the same type of transition for the same effect? The only other time I have seen the Wipe used for separation is in an old Hollywood film Mayday (1937) however that was used to separate two characters through a clock-wise wipe transition which introduces the rival of the pair into the next scene.

    Any thoughts?

    Moddy 😎



    That’s an interesting observation! I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it was a direct borrowing, as Lucas did appropriate quite a bit from Kurosawa. And of course, the first draft of the screenplay was an almost direct retelling of The Hidden Fortress. He must have seen Kurosawa’s film quite a number of times. 🙂



    I hate to hop on Lucas, but I suspect his use of techniques such as the wipe would have been far more superficial than anything Kurosawa did. I doubt Lucas considered the wipe as anything but a cool visual effect.

    Kurosawa did occasionally like to show off his technical virtuosity (especially in later films like Red Beard), but I’m sure he used the wipe with far more narrative subtlety than Lucas.



    I’m no so sure I would dismiss Lucas quite so easily, Ugetsu. While I wouldn’t call him a complete filmmaker with a full command of all aspects of the filmmaking process (dialogue and directing actors probably being his biggest weaknesses), the impression I have had is that he is very knowledgeable about film theory and film history. All of his films, either as director or producer, perhaps with the single exception of THX 1138, are quite intertextual and harken back to classic cinema and popular fiction from the early-to-mid 20th century.

    In my view, with Lucas the problem usually hasn’t been with him not knowing what he’s doing, but rather that he doesn’t always know how to execute what he has in mind and translate it to the screen.

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