Watch for Free a Long-Lost Film That Preceded Screenings of The Empire Strikes Back

By Nick Cowen on at

If you want your morning stirred up by some ethereal beauty, you may want to set 25-minutes' worth of time aside to watch Roger Christian's short film Black Angel. Never heard of it? Read on...

Roger Christian was the art director on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Alien and The Life Of Brian and the set director on the original Star Wars film. He wrote a short film called Black Angel and George Lucas commissioned him to film it as an opening act to be shown in cinemas before Empire Strikes Back. Christian shot the film in the wilds of Scotland on a budget of $25,000 using a crew of nine people and two trained horses.

As Christian himself points out in the intro, Black Angel caused quite a stir when it was released in 1980 and John Boorman's Arthurian epic Excalibur owes it quite a debt in terms of inspiration in the visual department; Boorman showed the film to his entire crew before they started shooting.

Tempting as it is to reveal the details of the plot in Black Angel, we're going to refrain from doing so, because the less you know going in, the better a time you'll have. Perhaps the most mind-boggling thing about it, next to its current obscurity is that Christian wanted the film to fade away, believing that since he didn't have the original prints anymore, the visuals weren't up to scratch. He even goes so far as to say that viewers take note that Black Angel was made 'in a very different era'. Hit play on the video and judge for yourself...