One of the coolest features on the old collector's edition laserdisc of John Carpenter's Halloween (and maybe its turned up on one of the bazillion Anchor Bay DVD versions and I just haven't seen it) was a piece highlighting how important music was to a finished film. In it, they showed a scene of Michael stalking Laurie without the iconic soundtrack and then with it. The difference was amazing and certainly gave me a newfound appreciation for how the score could affect a film.
Another area of cinematic sound design that's often overlooked is voice-acting. Generally speaking (pun fully intended) actors voice their character's dialogue. However, in the case of George Lucas's Star Wars, a different approach was necessary. Darth Vader is arguably the greatest and most iconic screen villain in the history of cinema -- partially because he's intimidating and awe-inspiring with his Force powers and snazzy black outfit and partially because his voice is ominous and terrifying. However, everyone knows that James Earl Jones didn't physically play Darth Vader. Instead, English actor David Prowse donned the costume. Prowse certainly had the physical stature to make a convincing Lord Vader, but as the clip below demonstrates, his voice wasn't quite as well-suited for the role.
To be fair, the actor was delivering his lines from inside an enclosed helmet, which makes him sound even more ridiculous, but it's not just the voice, it's the way he says the lines too. It's hard not to giggle while watching Prowse bark out commands with his English accent. He sounds more like Rick Moranis in Spaceballs than the Darth Vader we've all come to know and love. Lucas never intended to use Prowse's voice in the finished film, but this clip is still amusing in a "what might have been" sort of way and just as poignant a reminder as the Halloween clip when it comes to demonstrating how music and sound are as important to a film as visuals and performances.
Check out the clip below to see what Vader would have sounded like if he'd come from a galaxy far, far away -- like England!