A long time ago, in a country far, far away ... someone made a Star Wars ripoff.
According to Neon Harbor (via Screenrant), the only remaining 35mm print of a movie officially titled The Man Who Saves the World has been discovered in a collection of films belonging to a retired projectionist in northwestern Turkey. The movie, which follows two Turkish spaceship pilots who crash-land on a planet ruled by an evil wizard, was released theatrically in Turkey in 1982 and quickly came to be seen for what it actually was: a remix of plot elements from Star Wars (to be exact, A New Hope), complete with copied or actual footage from that film and "borrowed" music from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon and the James Bond entry Moonraker.
This kind of surreal piracy is nothing new; over the years, many countries, such as Indonesia, Korea and Nigeria, have created their own versions of popular Hollywood movies, with Turkey being especially notorious for the practice. And one of that nation's most sought-after productions by cult film collectors has been The Man Who Saves the World, which has been known outside its country of origin as Turkish Star Wars and thought lost until now.
Apparently the projectionist never gave his copy of the film back to the distributor, instead telling them that the print had been damaged. And now, thanks to his prevarication, this once-lost oddity can now be seen again. Film historian Ed Glaser said:
“A 35mm print of ‘Turkish Star Wars’ is the holy grail, not just of rip-off films, but all cult film. There are no negatives, and the few other prints of the film ever struck have been destroyed. My goal is to get this one scanned to preserve it for posterity -- and hopefully screened in a theater for other fans like me.”
Whatever you may think of Turkish Star Wars, it certainly occupies a bizarre little corner of the history of cinema. Watch a trailer for the film below and tell us -- is this something you would like to watch and see preserved for posterity's sake?