Where Did Darth Vader’s Look Come From? A Jess Franco Film?
OK, here’s how this radical thought began: the new “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” trailer aired, and I happened to be watching this 1974 cult exploitation film by Jess Franco:
A Naked “Most Dangerous Game!”
The film is vintage Jess Franco: his unique filming style include a meandering camera, lots of b-roll with fast zooms and pan – and tons of nudity, sex and violence – mostly involving his wife, the legendary Actress Lina Romay!
The film is a “naked” retelling of the classic “most dangerous game” story – a wealthy couple who live on a deserted island invite beautiful women over – and then hunt them!
Of course, because it’s Franco, they are hunted naked – the great Actress Alice Arno plays the Countess!
It’s a great example of Franco, and I encourage you to look for it – in fact, here is a link to a story I posted about a new blu-ray that includes two separate versions of the film, plus another Romay movie as a bonus!
So how did this lead me to the original Darth Vader?
Don’t shake your head at me – there is a reason! First, here is a great summation of the origin of Darth Vader.
According the the terrific “Star Wars” website called “Force Material”:
The name ‘Darth Vader’ goes all the way back to George Lucas’ rough draft summary of The Star Wars, completed in May of 1974. In fact, elements of Vader can be found in four separate characters from that draft.
General Darth Vader, of the Royal Space Fleet, was a “tall, grim looking humanoid”. Lucas has indulged in a little bit of self-mythologising and revisionist history over the years, claiming that he always intended Vader to be Luke Skywalker’s father and that the name meant ‘Dark Father’.
At the time, Lucas said the name “sort of appeared in my head one day. I had lots of Darth this and Darth that, and Dark Lord of the Sith. The early name was actually Dark Water. Then I added lots of last names, Vaders and Wilsons and Smiths, and I just came up with the combination of Darth and Vader.”
I got this information from the “Force Material” website, and here is the link – terrific insight:
So, time to show you how this all came together….first, here is a shot of Vader again:
Now, look at this shot of the island house where the couple lives in “Countess Perverse”:
I mean, they show people walking up the stairs to the house over and over and over again – remember what I said about Franco’s tendency to meander a bit – but after the fifth time I saw an outline of Vader’s helmet!
In fact, even in the wide shots as a boat is moving closer to the island, you can see a Vader-esque shape in the house:
Whether Lucas ever saw this film or not, the resemblance is there in my opinion – and if not, so what? It’s just a post about my love of movies…in fact, I also posted the story of the origin of the Han Solo character – it was THIS GUY!
That’s right, George Lucas wanted to make “Flash Gordon” but couldn’t get the rights – so he created his own world instead – and that turned out pretty well for him, didn’t it?
See the whole story here:
Let me know if you agree that Lina Romay was stalked in Darth Vader’s helmet house!
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It’s your theory, John, so stick with it. Maybe Lucas saw the film, and the same image stayed in his mind?
Anyway, it’s fun, and we get to see a photo of Linda again…
Best wishes, Pete.
Interesting post, John. I get a kick out of backstories. The Darth Vader house was something I’d never heard of before.
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I came up with this wacky theory – the image is in the movie several times, and it really does resemble the shape of Darth Vader’s helmet!
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The Franco film is an acquired taste, but fans know it as one of his better films…as I was watching it, and saw the shot over and over and over again, it struck me as very similar to Vader’s helmet!
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