Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who spent a good decade or so amiably switching around the top two places on everybody’s “Most Vastly Powerful Person In Hollywood” list, have been back in the news recently musing on the state of the industry now and in the future: a now and a future that they feel is a little grim for them personally and the moviegoer more generally.
So it’s an interesting moment to take a look back at what the two of them and fellow one-time “brat pack” kid Martin Scorsese had to say about the future of the industry in 1990. And who better to ask them the questions than the much-missed Siskel and Ebert? Alongside brief glimpses of Steven Spielberg’s “country kitchen” and the fascinating spectacle of Martin Scorsese with a magnificent beard, there’s speculation about the forthcoming importance of these things called “computers.”
Spielberg is drawn into talking about the possibility of sequels, flat-out refusing to entertain the idea of “E.T. 2” but musing about the possibility of new “Indiana Jones” flicks: we all know how that one turned out. Lucas meanwhile notes, with concern and confusion, that his 1973 film “American Graffiti” was “ a regular movie where there are a lot of human beings, and actors who act, and it’s funny, and it’s like a real movie” (seriously, his words). Lucas would later find a way to free himself from al of these bothersome aspects of cinema, leaving us with the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy and the ashes of our dreams.
It’s Scorsese, who is consistently one of the most interesting of those always-interesting people who both work in cinema and commentate on it, who provides the best insights. Most interestingly, he discusses his developing interest in preserving and restoring archive film (triggered by Siskel waving a battered, rusting canister containing the studio’s original print of “Lawrence of Arabia” at him). Scorsese launched the heroic Film Foundation the same year with that aim, and it continues to restore and rescue damaged films. And so, the most interesting thing these legends have to say about the future… is about the past. Check it out below. [thanks to Larry Wright for the tip!]