I used to consider myself a original trilogy Star Wars fan. I like it so much I even call it SW.
Which was why I was researching Frank Barnard’s new book, the guy who wrote Band Of Eagles and Blue Man Falling, and I chanced across The Dam Busters, an old Brit movie which I’ll call DB starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave about these bomber pilots taking out a couple of dams in Nazi Germany.
And I was shocked, nay, astonished, nay, quite surprised, to find that George Lucas actually cribbed, plagiarised, borrowed, stole, you name it, from that movie.
Okay, we already know George admitted to being “influenced” by Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress and 633 Squadron vis-a-vis the Death Star trench attack sequence. But from DB too?
Cases in point:
In DB: The bombing flights are in groups of three. In SW: The attacking flights are in groups of three.
In DB and SW, two craft give cover to the attacking craft.
Both DB and SW cut dramatically from the thick of action to seeming solace of the war room.
The trench run in SW mimics the dam approach in DB.
In SW, Red Leader, the first one to successfully release the proton torpedoes, appears to have hit the target but doesn’t. In DB: The squadron leader, the first to attack, appears to have bust the dam, but doesn’t.
But what really takes the cake is the fact that he was so “influenced” by the attack sequence in DB, that he lifted the dialogue almost word-for-word from that 1955 movie. Here are some instances of George turning DB in to SW.
DB: A pilot says, “How many guns to you think there are, Trevor?” Trevor replies: “I’d say there’s about ten guns, some in the fields and some in the towers.”
SW: Gold Leader asks, “How many guns do you think, Gold Five?” Gold Five replies: “I’d say about twenty guns. Some on the surface, some on the towers.”
DB: As the bombers fly towards the dam, one crew member exclaims, “My goodness, it’s big, isn’t it?”
SW: As the fighters fly towards the Death Star, Red Two exclaims, “Look at the size of that thing.”
DB: A pilot says, “I reckon we should be able to see it by now.” The others in the crew say, “No sign of it” and “Plenty of water, no dam yet… wait!”
SW: Red Ten says, “We should be able to see it by now.” Luke Skywalker says, “No sign of any…wait!”
DB: Squadron leader says: “I’ll fly across the dam and try to draw their flak off you.”
SW: Red Leaders says: “I’m going to cut across the axis and try and draw their fire.”
Mind you, George got an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen at the 1978 Academy Awards. Guess those Academy people didn’t watch Brit movies. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCRIsjJFRNo&feature=related