(One of the most iconic shots of the movie that came out in 1981 starring Harrison Ford as the adventurous, not the ordinary archaeologist. Image source: Empire)
It must have been in the early ’80s when this happened.
I was back from school early and after finishing off my homework, I went for my usual evening naps, waiting for my dad to come back home. When I woke up, I noticed my younger brother was not in the house. I asked my mom and she told me that both my dad and my brother had left to somewhere in the car.
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I regretted sleeping – if I had stayed awake, I would have joined them. She was under the impression that they have gone to the shop for shopping but after 9 pm, even she started to get worried.
Where these 2 guys went? Back then, we did not have mobile phones so it was not easy to call and ask “Where are you?” All we could do is to wait and see. Just after 10 pm, we saw the Austin Minor strolling in front of the house. My mom was the first to start “shooting” at my dad – where you all went?
My dad smiling sheepishly said that they had gone to see the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The original plan was to do some shopping but when he heard about the movie, he decided to make a small detour.
Some interesting trivia of the said movie:-
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 on the idea, and the scene was successfully filmed.
Traditionally when one of his films is about to open, George Lucas goes on vacation to get away from all the hoopla. As Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) was just about to open, Lucas went to Hawaii where he was joined by Steven Spielberg. When the grosses for Lucas’s film came in and it was clear it was going to be a hit, Lucas relaxed and was able to discuss other topics with his friend.
It was at this point that Spielberg confessed he always wanted to direct a James Bond film, to which Lucas replied he had a much better idea, an adventure movie called “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The conversation happened while the two were making a sand castle. After their trip, they got together and developed the script with Lawrence Kasdan.
While filming the snakes scenes inside the Well of the Souls, a python bit first assistant director David Tomblin’s hand and wouldn’t let go. Tomblin calmly asked someone to grab the python (still attached to Tomblin’s hand) by the tail and whip it, so that the snap would send a wave up the snake’s body and force it to let go. A stage hand did just that, the python released its bite from Tomblin’s hand, and Tomblin got medical attention. The python itself was not injured.
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.
The giant boulder that chases after Indiana Jones at the start of the film was made of fiberglass. On the Bonus Features DVD, sound designer Ben Burtt said that in order to get the proper sound effects for the giant boulder, he and the sound crew tried pushing boulders down a hill, but the sounds they were getting weren’t what they were looking for.
Later that day, as they were leaving in a Honda Civic and coasting down a gravel embankment, Burtt noticed that the sound was just what they were looking for, so he grabbed a microphone and held it near one of the Civic’s rear tires to record the effect.
To create the sound of the heavy lid of the Ark being slid open, sound designer Ben Burtt simply recorded him moving the lid of his toilet cistern at home.
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.
I know I have been to the cinemas when I was still young (too young to remember the details) but at the time, it has been some time since my parents took us for movies. The Raider of the Lost Ark was to be the starting point for us – we will be going for more movies now onwards.
Not happy with my dad, my mom insisted that he take the entire family to see the movie again. I guess my father’s bragging about the movie was the main cause of her insistence. So, we did go to see the movie the very next day. When we are at the cinemas back then, we did not have a luxury of having popcorns and soft drinks for each of us.
All we had was a “box” of Tic-Tac and 1 can of Coke to be shared between me and my siblings (we did take care and made sure we took our Tic Tacs slowly). On “good days”, we might have an apple or a small packet of nuts for each of us.
The next movie to follow suit was ET…
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