Prowse, David

Prowse, David
(b. 1934 or 1935)
   At 6 feet, 7 inches tall, with a chest measurement of 50 inches, David Prowse brings an imposing presence to his character, Julian (the bodybuilding companion of Mr. Alexander [PATRICK MAGEE]), in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971). The relationship between Julian and Frank Alexander never really is explained in the film, but Julian’s introduction subtly hints at homoeroticism. This second sequence in the Alexander home stylistically mirrors the first, as the camera tracks past Frank, while the doorbell rings and Frank asks,“Who on earth could that be?”The second time around, however, instead of Mrs. Alexander on the other side of the room, we find Julian, wearing skin-tight short-shorts and an undershirt, leaving little of his musculature to the imagination. Prowse has sparse dialogue, so his contribution to the film is almost entirely visual, as a marked counterpoint to the frail, crippled Frank. The mere presence of Julian implies a bodily threat to anyone who would harm Frank, and it finally enables Frank to subdue Alex (MALCOLM MCDOWELL) and enact revenge upon him.
   Prowse retired as the undefeated British heavyweight weightlifting champion in 1964, after winning the distinction three years running. He went on to become one of the most ubiquitous British film “heavies” of the late 20th century, having appeared in numerous motion pictures and dozens of television productions. His most famous role is arch-villain Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars films (a character for which JAMES EARL JONES provided the voice). When Starlog asked if he enjoyed doing SCIENCE FICTION films, Prowse responded, “Yes, I do, though I’m not a great lover of science fiction, to be honest. I can’t seem to get into written SF. But I quite like the SF films and television. ”
   Prowse also has portrayed the rampaging Frankenstein’s monster in at least seven films, including the Hammer productions Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974).
   ■ Dingilian, Bob, “Biography: David Prowse,” press book for Star Wars, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1977;
   ■ Hirsch, David, “David Prowse: Darth Vader Forever,” Starlog (June 1979): 53–5;
   ■ Prowse, David, interview, Cinefantastique (spring 1978): 31;
   ■ Summer, Anita, “The Villain Nobody Knows,” Sunday News (May 18, 1980), Leisure section, p. 5.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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