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June 16, 2011

           This past Sunday, 6-12-11 was the 30th anniversary of one of the best action adventure movies made; Raiders of the Lost Ark. I wasn’t even aware of its anniversary until I was online and saw an article on Moviefone that informed me to that fact. This was the first collaboration of many between George Lucas (writer) and Steven Spielberg (director). For the people who haven’t seen the movie, The movie follows Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and  Marian Ravenwood (Karen Allen), as Indiana races against Nazis and his archrival Belloq in an attempt to find the lost Ark of the Covenant, where the Hebrews carried the ten commandments through the desert. That’s pretty much the whole plot. (Trust me, the actual movie is more exciting than how I’m describing it. you should watch!)

            Any who, reading the article made me want to watch it again. I have to say, even though the movie is 30 years old, it’s still holding up pretty damn well. Maybe it’s because it’s a period piece set in the 30s or it was just really well crafted, but the movie still managed to keep my attention, and was still engaging. One of the things that really stood out, was the script. The dialogue, the pacing of the story and the story itself, still felt fresh and original. Unlike other early 80s movies, the dialogue didn’t feel cheesy and it didn’t have the “groan, eye roll” moments like many other aging classics.

            The special effects and props are another part of the movie that are still holding up…with the possible exception of the climactic “face melt” scene when the Ark is opened. Those fx are pure 80s vintage. When I bought my DVD a couple of years ago, it was the first time I had seen the movie all the way through. There were two scenes that made me exclaim that there was no damn way this movie was rated PG (the fight scene between Indy and the muscle bound Nazi by the plane is one of them). [Which on a side note is very funny because the movie was rated ‘Restricted’ before it first hit theaters. Equivalent to a modern R rating I guess.] But after having seen it recently, it’s totally PG. I mean, assuming you don’t mind kids watching random blood spurts.

            I don’t really have much to say that hasn’t already been said about this movie. all I can say is watch it! More posts coming soon. BONUS* Thanks to the Moviefone post below, I found out about the hidden Star Wars easter eggs George Lucas put into this movie. (number 26 on the list in particular), and here’s photo evidence!

Lookit! there it is! This is in the scene where Indy and Sallah are going to pick up the Ark in the Well of Souls. You need to pay  reeeeally close attention to this pole in order to see the glyphs in shadow while they get into position to lift it. You need to freeze frame right before Sallah comes back in to focus in order to get this clearer image. the time code for the scene starts 01:08:06. 68 minutes into the movie. (I mean, if you want to see it for yourself. Not that anyone is forcing you to freeze frame.) Here is the Moviefone list of the:

  30 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

By Sharon Knolle

In honor of the 30th anniversary of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ we’ve unearthed 30 little-known facts about the beloved action-adventure movie.

Diehard ‘Raiders’ fans already know that Tom Selleck, not Harrison Ford, was the first choice to play Indy, but some other big names were in the running too, including a recent Oscar winner who turned down the role of a lifetime.

And you probably know that Indiana Jones got his name from George Lucas’s dog, a malamute who also inspired him to create Chewbacca, but did you know Steven Spielberg also had a hand in creating the iconic name?

Read on for more ‘Raiders’ trivia.

1. Although it sounds like movie legend, ‘Raiders’ was born as Lucas and Spielberg built sandcastles on the beach in Hawaii, where both were vacationing as ‘Star Wars’ opened. Spielberg wanted to make a James Bond film, but Lucas told him he had a better idea: something called ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’

2. Our hero’s original name? Indiana Smith. It was changed on the first day of production when Steven Spielberg told Lucas it just didn’t sound right and suggested “Jones” instead.

3. Lucas first dreamed up Indy in 1973 with a treatment called ‘The Adventures of Indiana Smith,’ inspired by ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Flash Gordon’ serials.

4. Lucas asked Philip Kaufman, director of the 1978 ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers,’ to develop a script. “Phil Kaufman had provided the [plot device] of the Lost Ark of the Covenant, which his orthodontist had told him about when he was 11 years old,” ‘Raiders’ screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan said in 1993. Kaufman was originally set to direct, as well.

5. Besides Selleck, actors considered for the lead included Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Tim Matheson, Nick Mancuso, Peter Coyote, and Jack Nicholson, all of whom would have made for a very different film. The actor who turned it down, by the way: Jeff Bridges.

6. Harrison Ford was cast less than three weeks before principal photography began.

7. Amy Irving (who would marry Spielberg in 1985) and Debra Winger were considered for the role of Marion. Sean Young played Marion in the screen test for all the Indy auditions, as seen in the DVD extras. The next year, Young would star opposite Ford in ‘Blade Runner.’

8. Sallah’s name means “sprout,” which is probably due to the much shorter Danny DeVito being offered the role first instead of John Rhys-Davies. (Perhaps this helped him get the part of Gimli?)

9. The role of Nazi interrogator Toht was offered to Klaus Kinski, who instead chose to appear in the horror film ‘Venom’ because the salary was better. Spielberg then picked Ronald Lacey because he reminded him of Peter Lorre.

10. Indy’s well-worn leather jacket was actually brand new. The costume director “aged” each jacket (there were 10 in all) with a metal brush and Ford’s own pocket knife. Same with Indy’s trademark fedora: It came from Savile Row of London and various members of the cast (including Ford) took turns sitting on it to make it look as battered as necessary.

11. In the classic opening shot of the movie, the mountain of the Paramount logo dissolves to a real peak, which is Kalalea Mountain on Kaua’i, Hawaii, stunt man Vic Armstrong confirmed to Moviefone. Interestingly, it’s nicknamed “King Kong,” because it resembles the giant ape’s profile.

12. ‘Raiders’ was Alfred Molina’s screen debut. His first scene involved being covered with tarantulas. Unfortunately, the spiders, which were supposed to swarm in a creepy fashion, didn’t move. The reason: They were all male. A female spider was put on Molina’s chest and the male spiders immediately started to crawl towards her.

13. The giant boulder was Spielberg’s idea and was supposedly based on a Scrooge McDuck cartoon called ‘The Seven Cities of Cibola,’ in which an idol is lifted off of its pedestal, triggering a giant rock, which nearly crushes the thief.

14. In the novelization, it’s revealed that Marion was only 14 when Indy first romanced her, lending a creepy truth to her line, “I was a child. It was wrong!”

15. Also in the novelization, Marcus Brody finds Indy in his bathrobe at his house because he’s just entertained a co-ed. (Possibly the girl who writes ‘I Love You’ on her eyelids in the film.) (That’s the guy who sends Indiana Jones to search for the Ark.)

16. Burly British wrestler Pat Roach gets killed twice in this film, once as a giant Sherpa who perishes in the Nepalese bar and again as the German mechanic who’s done in by the plane’s propeller.

17. The same actor who plays Indy’s guide who tries to kill him in the jungle also plays the monkey keeper with the eye patch in Cairo.

18. When everyone else was struck with dysentery on the Tunisia set, Spielberg was the only one who didn’t get sick, thanks to the fact that he avoided the local cuisine and ate only canned Spaghetti-O’s.

19. The sound of snakes slithering was achieved by the sound designer running his fingers through a cheese casserole, and he created the sound of the heavy Ark lid being lifted with the lid of his toilet at home. He found the perfect sound effect for the rolling boulder by sending a Honda Civic coasting down a gravel hill.

20. The scene in which the monkey executes a “Heil Hitler” salute took 50 takes. A grape was attached to a fishing line and held just out of reach of the camera shot to get him to “salute.”

21. To save money, Spielberg rented stock footage: The DC-3 flying over the Himalayas is from 1973’s ‘Lost Horizon’ and a 1930s street scene was taken from 1975’s ‘The Hindenburg.’

22. The snakes in the Well of Souls sequence not only weren’t afraid of fire, they kept trying to get closer to the flames to warm themselves! At one point Spielberg picked up a snake and told it, “You’re ruining my movie.” Spielberg also admitted the sight of all those snakes (even though many weren’t real) made him nauseous.

23. The set of the Well of Souls: Also used as the hotel room set where Jack Nicholson does all his writing in ‘The Shining.’

24. Ford really was in pain in the scene aboard the freighter where Marion tries to find a place on his body that “doesn’t hurt.” He’d bruised his ribs being dragged behind the truck (he was needed for close-ups), and had torn his ACL when the plane in the fight scene with the bald German rolled over his left knee.

25. The canyon where Indy threatens to blow up the Ark is the same one where the Jawas take R2-D2 in ‘Star Wars.’

26. You probably know that R2-D2 and C-3PO appear in hieroglyphics in the Well of Souls scene. Lucas also put in these Easter Eggs: When Indy gets off the Nazi Sub, over the loudspeaker you can hear, ‘ein, ein, drei, acht.’ (German for one-one-three-eight) and his friend Jock’s airplane at the beginning of the film has the registration number ‘OB-CPO.’

27. How does Indy survive the U-boat’s plunge? A scene was filmed where he lashes himself to the periscope with his whip. Presumably it was cut for continuity since Indy had left the whip tied to the Nazi truck.
28. According to the novelization, the writing on the headpiece of the Staff of Ra included a specific warning not to look into the Ark, which is how Indy knew to avoid the same fiery fate that befell his Nazi captors.

29. The film was originally given an R-rating because of the graphic nature of Belloq’s death. To earn a PG (PG-13 didn’t exist until after ‘Temple of Doom’) Spielberg had flames superimposed over the image of Belloq’s head exploding.

30. An early draft of the script had Indy traveling to Shanghai to recover a piece of the Staff of Ra. Two sequences set in Shanghai — a mine chase and Indy using a gong to shield himself from gunfire — were used in ‘Temple of Doom.’

© 2011 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved.

all copyrights and images fully reserved to Moviefone, Sharon Knolle, AOL and its affiliates and Everett Collection.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2011 7:52 pm

    Wow I never knew there was such an Easter Egg! 😀

    • Jesus permalink*
      June 16, 2011 7:56 pm

      Yea, me neither. I saw the article on Moviefone and decided to hunt for it. 🙂

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