Hello to everyone who has been following this blog for many years - I'm still blogging, I'm just moving over to https://www.claireheffer.com/blog - please continue to follow and let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been kind enough to visit over the years. May the lists continue...

Thursday 27 December 2018


TRIVIA: The famous scene in which Indy shoots a marauding and flamboyant swordsman was not in the original script. Harrison Ford was supposed to use his whip to get the sword out of his attacker's hands, but the food poisoning he and the rest of the crew had gotten, made him too sick to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful tries, Ford suggested "shooting the sucker". Steven Spielberg immediately took him up the idea, and the scene was successfully filmed.

Most of the body blows you hear were created by hitting a pile of leather jackets with a baseball bat.

Freeze-framing during the Well of Souls scene, you can notice a golden pillar with a tiny engraving of R2-D2 and C-3PO from the Star Wars saga. They are also on the wall behind Indy when they first approach the Ark.

Indy's line to Marion when they are on the ship ("It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage") was ad-libbed by Harrison Ford.

During filming in Tunisia, nearly everyone in the cast and crew got sick, except Director Steven Spielberg. It is thought that he avoided illness by eating only the food he'd brought with him: a lot of cans of Spaghetti-O's.

During the scene where Indiana threatens the Nazis with a Panzerfaust, you can clearly see a fly creeping into the mouth of Paul Freeman. Contrary to popular belief, he did not swallow it. Freeman explained in an interview years later that the fly flew off at about the instant he uttered the word "bad," but Steven Spielberg noticed it and decided it would be funny to cut out a few frames so the fly would not be seen flying away. This made it look as though Freeman ate it, and he found the edit highly amusing. Empire Magazine chose this scene as one of the most common scenes for which people press the "Pause" button on their VCRs.

The film was originally given an R-rating because of the exploding head at the end. They didn't want the picture to be rated R, so they added layers of fire in front of his face to make it appear less graphic.

Renowned British wrestler Pat Roach gets killed twice in this film, once as a giant Sherpa left in the burning Nepalese bar, and once as the German mechanic chewed up by the plane's propeller.

The spirit effects at the climax were achieved by shooting mannequins underwater in slow motion through a fuzzy lens to achieve an ethereal quality.

Indiana Jones's hat came from the famous Herbert Johnson hat shop in Saville Row, London. The hat was the shop's "Poet "model. On the Bonus Features DVD, Costume Designer Deborah Nadoolman said that in order to properly age the hat, she grabbed and twisted the hat, then she and Harrison Ford both sat on it, and it eventually looked like "a very lived-in, and well-loved" hat.

Despite having the dream team of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg behind the film, it was initially turned down by every studio in Hollywood. Only after much persuasion did Paramount agree to do it.

George Lucas made what was at the time an unusual deal for this film. The studio financed the film's entire eighteen million dollar budget. In exchange, Lucas would own over forty percent of the film, and collect almost half of the profits after the studio grossed a certain amount. It turned out to be a very lucrative deal for Lucas. Paramount Executive Michael Eisner said that he felt the script for this film was the best he had ever read.

Harrison Ford actually outran the boulder in the opening sequence. Because the scene was shot twice from five different angles, he had to outrun it ten times. Ford's stumble in the scene was deemed to look authentic and was left in.

To create the sound of the heavy lid of the Ark being slid open, Sound Designer Ben Burttsimply recorded him moving the lid of his toilet cistern at home.

The Well of Souls sequence was filmed on the set of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining(1980).

Alfred Molina's first credited screen role. His first scene on his first day of filming involved being covered with tarantulas.

The models used for the German U-boat were rented from the production company that was making Das Boot (1981) in the same area at the time. The company, however, had forgotten to tell this to the crew of Das Boot, who were surprised to find the model suddenly missing.

Indy being dragged under and then out behind a moving truck is a tribute to Yakima Canutt's famous stunt in John Ford's Stagecoach (1939). In fact, it was a stunt that stuntman Terry Leonard had failed to pull off the year before in The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981). He was thrilled at the chance of having another shot at it, but only agreed to do it if his friend and colleague Glenn Randall, Jr., was driving. The truck was specially constructed to be farther off the ground than normal to allow clearance for Indiana Jones to pass underneath safely, and the center of the road was also dug out. In Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), we see on the camera slate that the camera was set at twenty frames per second instead of the traditional twenty-four. In other words, the shots were done in "fast motion", so the truck was not really moving as fast as depicted on-screen. Harrison Ford was actually dragged behind the truck for some of the shots, badly bruising his ribs. When asked if he was worried, Ford quipped: "No. If it really was dangerous, they would have filmed more of the movie first." During the chase, Harrison Ford dispatches all three of his stunt doubles, all of whom are playing German soldiers. Terry Leonard plays the driver of the truck, who gets punched out of the cab by Ford. Vic Armstrong and Martin Grace play soldiers hanging onto the side of the truck before being knocked off.

John Williams had actually written two themes for the film. He played them both for Steven Spielberg on the piano and Spielberg loved them so much, he suggested that Williams use both of them. He did and the result was the famous "Raiders March", performed by the London Symphony Orchestra (who did not perform in any more Indiana Jones films). The March has become one of the most popular movie themes of all time.

Only Indiana Jones film in the franchise to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

The opening scene in the lost South American temple was partly based on a classic Disney Ducks adventure, written by legendary artist Carl Barks, many of whose comic books have inspired George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Exploring a lost temple, Donald Duck, his nephews and Scrooge McDuck must evade a succession of booby traps like flying darts, a decapitating blade, a huge boulder, a tunnel flooded with a torrent of gushing water, etc., in the story "The Prize of Pizarro" ("Uncle $crooge" no. 26, June-August 1959), which hit the newsstands when Lucas and Spielberg, both avowed fans of that comic book, were respectively fifteen and twelve years old. Another Barks story, "The Seven Cities of Cibola" ("Uncle $crooge" no. 7, September 1954), has a native American lost city, and a valuable idol that triggers a giant round rock to smash everything in its way.

Sam Neill was considered for the role of Indiana Jones. He would eventually play a character with an iconic hat in a Spielberg-directed movie: Alan Grant in Jurassic Park(1993).

Voted #2 on Empire magazine's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time (September 2008).

A visit to the Elstree set by Stanley Kubrick's daughter Vivian Kubrick led to an investigation by the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). She had complained that the snakes in the tomb scenes were being unfairly treated, and this led to filming being delayed by one day.

The opening scene in the Peruvian jungle was filmed on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, to where Steven Spielberg would return to film Jurassic Park (1993).

The March 2004 issue of "Vanity Fair" contained an article about three South Mississippi boys named Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb who, in the summer of 1981, started videotaping a homemade remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark staring themselves and their elementary and middle school classmates. Their movie project continued on and off for seven years and several thousands of dollars, finally resulting in a near shotforshot, lowbudget, unauthorized recreation of the original film, albeit one in which the actors age from 12 to 17 and back again between scenes. Nowprofessional filmmaker Eli Roth (who went on to direct Cabin Fever) saw a muchpassedaround copy of the remake at NYU Film School and was instrumental in having it screened at Harry Knowles' film festival in Austin, Texas, and eventually getting a copy to Steven Spielberg, who wrote Strompolos, Zala, and Lamb a complimentary letter in 2002. After the "Vanity Fair" article was published, their story was optioned as a movie by producer Scott Rudin for a rumored midsix figuresironically, under the auspices of Paramount, the studio that released Raiders of the Lost Ark in the first place.

Steven Spielberg said that he loved the melting head effect, calling it the most impressive effect he'd ever seen at the time. The effect proved to be so popular that special effects/make-up artist Chris Walas was flooded with calls, mostly from people that appreciated his work. He also got several calls from fellow special effects artists that were working on different films, asking him what was needed for the effect so they could incorporate a similar scene.

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