Back in 2016, a cult-movie miracle occurred when film historian Ed Glaser discovered the last remaining 35mm print of 1982's The Man Who Saves the World—better known as “the Turkish Star Wars”—tucked away in a vault in Turkey. After two years of restoration, the film now has its own 2K digital scan.
A few months back, Glaser and his company, Neon Harbor Entertainment, made this short video explaining exactly what makes the Turkish Star Wars (“the most infamous rip-off ever made!”) so special and mind-blowing. It also shares the incredible story of how the film was made—including how its makers spliced in the necessary (but unaffordable) special effects from a “borrowed” copy of the real Star Wars:
Creativity, desperation, grift, and some truly insane costumes combined to make what’s become one of the most notorious cult films ever—and, until recently at least, one of the most elusive, viewable only on crappy VHS bootleg dubs. That’s poised to change with the 2K scan (color-corrected, with missing sections restored) about to burst into the world; according to a Neon Harbor press release, it’ll have simultaneous world premieres at the Cinema Museum in London and the CCA in Glasgow on Star Wars Day, May 4.
We reached out to Glaser to see if American fans can also look forward to seeing a pristine version of Turkish Star Wars on the big screen—or what any future plans for the restoration might be. He replied:
Gosh, there’s nothing I’d love more than a screening—lots of screenings!—in the US. I am definitely pursuing that possibility. Right now, as you’d imagine, there are some legal and logistical hurdles to overcome. We’re able to do this particular screening as a one-off thanks to the support of King’s College London, the Turkish Cultural Centre, and some other excellent folks.
I should clarify that I don’t own the rights to the film—just the 35mm print and 2K scan. But I’m continuing to reach out to organizations—and am seeking particularly brave distributors—who’d be interested in working together to produce a broader release or series of exhibitions. People need to see it!
Here’s hoping someone stateside steps up—may the (gloriously ripped-off, fun-fur-bedecked) Force be with us all, because we’re dying to see this thing in all its original, cheesy glory.