This and Spielberg's next project about a small squashy alien would be important films in my childhood diet of movies. I grew up on them and rewatched them over and over again. Indiana Jones inspired my dreams of travel, something that I have been very fortunate to do. Going through the jungles of Cambodia or visiting the Inca temples in Mexico I might have hummed the theme tune once or twice. Every year I still watch Raiders around the lazy days between the Christmas and new year holidays.
Raiders of the Lost Ark was an important film for Steven Spielberg after his movie 1941 because it represented a major comeback for him. 1941 was a box office and critical failure for Spielberg, and it marked a low point in his career. The film was a big-budget comedy set during World War II, and it was criticized for being overlong, overstuffed, and unfunny.
Raiders of the Lost Ark was an opportunity for Spielberg to prove himself as a filmmaker once again. Produced by George Lucas, the film stars Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, a rogue archaeologist searching for the Ark of the Covenant, a biblical artifact believed to hold great power.
Steven Spielberg directed Raiders of the Lost Ark because George Lucas, the film's producer, approached him with the idea for the film. Lucas had originally conceived of the Indiana Jones character and the basic plot for Raiders of the Lost Ark as a tribute to the action-adventure serials of the 1930s and 1940s that he loved as a child.
It's 1936 we follow Indiana Jones as he races against rival archaeologist Belloq and the Nazis to find the Ark before they do. Along the way, he encounters various obstacles and dangerous situations, including treacherous snakes, treacherous Nazis, and treacherous terrain. He jets off to Tibet to collect a valuable medallion that reveals the Ark's whereabouts, and teams up with the feisty Marion to outsmart the bad guys. The plot of Raiders of the Lost Ark may seem like a tangled web, but it's all just a setup for the film's iconic and thrilling action sequences. In other words, it's the perfect excuse for Indiana to whip out his trusty bullwhip and save the day.
One of the film's most memorable scenes is the opening sequence, in which Indiana Jones is tasked with recovering a valuable artifact from a booby-trapped temple in Peru. This sequence sets the tone for the rest of the film
Raiders of the Lost Ark is the cinematic equivalent of a rollercoaster. It's a film that will leave you gasping for air and feeling like you've just run a marathon. But don't worry, you'll be too busy being propelled through a series of pulse-pounding adventures to care. By the end of it, you'll be sitting there with a dopey grin on your face, feeling like you've been put through the wringer but loving every second of it.
Indiana Jones engages in the ultimate car chase scene that puts all others to shame (second place goes to "The French Connection" and third to "Bullitt"). The chase features a truck, three jeeps, a horse, a motorcycle, and an incredibly impressive stunt involving a 360-degree turn of a speeding truck. All of these spectacular moments are achieved through a combination of expert stunts, special visual effects, and pure hard work.
Despite its technical brilliance, what sets Raiders of the Lost Ark apart is its comedic flair and the playful attitudes of its characters.
The chemistry between Indiana Jones and his love interest, Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen. Their banter and flirtation adds a layer of humor and romance to the film's action and adventure.
Harrison Ford was not the first choice to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Initially, George Lucas had considered other actors for the role, including Tom Selleck, who was originally cast in the role, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with his television show, Magnum, P.I.
After Selleck dropped out, Lucas turned to Harrison Ford, who had previously worked with him on the Star Wars films
It's a good thing Tom Selleck's mustache was busy with that other gig, otherwise Harrison Ford may have missed out on his iconic role as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Can you imagine anyone else whipping their way through that film? Thank goodness George Lucas had a backup plan.
Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen, is a love interest and former partner of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. She first appears in the film as a bar owner in Nepal, where Indiana Jones goes to find her in order to obtain a valuable artifact called the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra.
It is revealed that Marion and Indiana Jones had a romantic relationship years ago (the original and very dodgy ideas were wisely left out).
Created to serve as a strong and independent female character, Marion was a refreshing change from the typical damsel-in-distress trope that was prevalent in adventure films of the era. Not only was she a skilled bar owner and a tough survivor, but she also had a sense of humor and a strong will that made her a worthy partner for Indiana Jones.
Karen Allen's portrayal of the character brought depth and nuance to the role, and her chemistry with Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones was undeniable. Her performance was praised for its ability to balance the character's strength and vulnerability, and for bringing a sense of warmth and humanity to the role. Allen's portrayal of Marion Ravenwood is often cited as one of the highlights of the film.
The look of Indiana Jones, the character played by Harrison Ford in the Raiders of the Lost Ark, was heavily influenced by a character played by Charlton Heston in the 1959 film The Secret of the Incas.
The Secret of the Incas is a film about a treasure hunter searching for a lost city in the Andes Mountains. The main character, Harry Steele, is played by Charlton Heston and his wardrobe, and his look is very similar to that of Indiana Jones. Both characters wear a fedora hat, a leather jacket, and carry a bullwhip.
In the grand finale, the big kahuna of archaeological discoveries. Belloq, the ultimate treasure hunter, finally had his hands on the Ark of the Covenant. He carefully lifted the lid, ready to bask in the glory of his achievement, but little did he know, he was in for a rude awakening. As soon as the Ark was opened, Belloq was met with a divine fury that could only be described as a smiting of biblical proportions. Let's just say, it was a real 'face-melter' and Belloq was left with a permanent 'what-have-I-done' expression.
Sometimes the ultimate treasure can also be the ultimate curse.
Raiders of the Lost Ark took the adventure genre to new heights, leaving those cheesy matinee serials in the dust. It was a masterclass in building on previous successes, taking cues from the likes of The Adventures of Robin Hood and the John Huston/Humphrey Bogart classics The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen. Its impact on popular culture was nothing short of seismic, and it's no surprise that it spawned a host of imitators, some of them actually good (Romancing the Stone) and some, well... not so much (Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold). The movie also features a great soundtrack, with John Williams' iconic score enhancing the action and emotion of the movie.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a classic action-adventure movie that has it all. From Harrison Ford's charming performance to the thrilling action scenes, this movie has something for everyone. Over 40 years later The popularity of Indiana Jones is still strong and even at the age of 80 Harrison Ford is pulling on the fedora hat one last time in this year's Indiana Jones and the dial of destiny.
This week's artwork....