Both George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola have an homage in the film to their previous works. On John Milners license plate the letters and numbers THX 138 appear. This is the title of George Lucas previous film. On the movie theater marquee in one scene the sign reads Dementia 13, Coppola's earlier film.
As I sat down, for what would mark my first time ever seeing George Lucas’ star studded classic American Graffiti, I wondered what kind of transfer Universal would bring. My history with the studio has been up and down as far as video quality in surprising ways. Their extremely unnecessary American Pie The Book of Love BD was immaculate while their much more lucrative Meet The Fockers was poorly. I took into account that Graffiti is a film that was released at least three years before I was born and left a little room for leeway and what I got was what I would consider a definite improvement over the films DVD copy but far from a definitive version.
AJ. If this is your first time watching American Graffiti how would you know its better then the DVD version? Well for starters the film has a crisper more detailed look to it and color, when the film isn’t pitted in a cloak of darkness, is pretty vibrant. Still, the video quality remains aged looking and grain is present throughout most of the film, minus tight up close shots. One particular scene in the film where three of the characters are off wandering around in the woods after a certain theft and break up occurs is almost all dialogue as the picture is cloaked in the darkness of the woods. I imagined the theater when this film was first released and imagined people sitting in the dark as the film provides very little visibility or light. According to the bonus features Lucas was keen on making what, these days, would be consider outtakes and placing them in as the final take in the film so maybe this traveled along those lines. Seeing as how this is a Special Edition version it looks like the only corrected version that could be coming down the line, if there is one, would be a directors cut or collectors edition box set for the film. Otherwise what you get is as good as it gets for now, which honestly isn’t bad, just not 100% true HD quality. Audio is capable if not sounding a bit hollow in some area’s. Where the film counts; the music, the cars, the chatter works pretty well. Dialogue is sometimes murky but not often enough it becomes a problem.
~U-Control Feature: Picture In Picture Video Commentary With Director George Lucas & The Music of American Graffiti.
~The Making of American Graffiti: Over an hour of bonus’ featuring interviews with the cast, George Lucas, and Francis Ford Coppola to name a few. It s a really detailed look at the film from getting the film financed and shot to filming issues and casting calls. Really a great bonus feature. Not exactly new but great just the same.
~Screen Tests: This movie could have been way dirtier if these screen tests were any indication. Not exactly required viewing but interesting all the same.