Back in the ’70s and ‘80s, the Turkish film industry had a thriving sideline of cinematic ripoffs of popular foreign films, from The Wizard Of Oz to The Exorcist. One of the most notorious of these wasn’t explicitly designed as a ripoff at all, though. Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saved The World) doesn’t follow the plot of the original Star Wars (at least, we don’t remember Luke Skywalker breaking boulders with his bare hands in the original). But over the years, it’s earned the affectionate nickname of “Turkish Star Wars” thanks to its unauthorized use of footage from Lucas’ film. That same infamy has made it incredibly difficult to track down, and no original 35mm prints of the film were thought to exist—until now.
Yesterday, The A.V. Club received a press release from Ed Glaser, the proprietor of cult-movie company Neon Harbor, saying he had tracked down and bought the only existing print of Turkish Star Wars. He found the print in the collection of a retired projectionist in northwestern Turkey, who apparently lied to the distributor and said it had been damaged during its theatrical run so he could keep it for himself. Glaser calls the print the “holy grail” of cult movies, and says he plans to scan it with the intention of displaying the resulting DCP theatrically, and hopefully eventually releasing the film on Blu-ray. How he’ll work around the fact that the movie not only has footage from Star Wars, but John Williams’ Indiana Jones theme and snippets from a handful of other popular movie soundtracks—all completely unauthorized—is unclear.
Glaser is something of a connoisseur of weird foreign remakes of American movies: He hosts a web series, Deja View, about that very subject, and back in 2009, he produced an American DVD release of the Turkish Rambo “remake” Rampage.