Closing Credits: Irvin Kershner
Irvin Kershner has died aged eighty seven. While that name might not spark instant recognition in everyone, for those fans of the Star Wars saga it should, Kershner is the man who directed The Empire Strikes Back.
Not only did he direct the darkest and some would say best in the Star Wars series, including the three latest films, but he had also directed the unofficial Bond film starring Sean Connery, after he had left Bond.
It's strange to think that there are a couple of big films and strong films that Irvin Kershner directed and yet he directed only fifteen films, a couple of television films and episodes for seven different television series.
I do find that surprising because Kershner directed The Return of a Man Called Horse starring Richard Harris, Raid on Entebbe starring Charles Bronson, Eyes of Laura Mars starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Never Say Never Again and RoboCop 2 with all but RoboCop 2 lined up on his career list one after the other.
Kershner was born in 1923 and directed his first film in 1958 at the age of thirty five and directed the film he's known for most, The Empire Strikes Back, when he was fifty seven.
The Guardian have a comment from the man during his career which identifies one of the key factors to his style:
"I like to fill up the frame with the characters' faces...There's nothing more interesting than the landscape of the human face."
Sometimes it is a shame that George Lucas gets so much credit for these films, and it's probably quite a surprise to some that Irvin Kershner was the man who gave that film the look and feel that it has.
It's also a shame that considering Empire and Never Say Never Again, that he didn't direct more films in his career. However let's be thankful for what he did direct.