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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) with Harrison Ford (Arrow Recommends)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) with Harrison Ford (Arrow Recommends)
03.13.2017by: The Arrow
10 10


"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: Set in 1936, Raiders of the Lost Ark sees fearless archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in a deadly race with Nazi scum to find the sacred Ark of the Covenant; which is supposed to hold mucho power.

LOWDOWN: I wasn’t going to “recommend” RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (WATCH IT HERE) cause well, it’s f*cking RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Who the bleep doesn’t know that film?! That’s until I had an online “movie chat” via e-mail with a 15 year old fan and long story short – all he knew about Indy was Crytal Skull. TRAVESTY! I keep taking it for granted that everybody knows the classics; but I’m realizing now that many of the younger film buffs – don’t. So here I am, doing my part to expand horizons beyond Fast and Furious, Vines and YouTube stars. 

In their aim to recreate the magic of the old 1940’s Saturday matinee serials but on a larger scale, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg tag teamed to give birth to the ultimate mystical-laced action movie, easily one of my all time favorites: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. This flawless jewel had all of its edges sharpened and then some. It moved at a brisk pace with an affable hero in the guise of Harrison Ford at his smug best as Indy leading us through this roller-coaster ride of mystery, chills and thrills.

We were also treated to likeable side characters (Sallah!!!!), love to hate Nazi villains, a suave French baddie in the guise of Bellock (played by the charismatic Paul Freeman) and a strong/sexy female lead (Marion played by the hypnotizing Karen Allen). The latter also brought a smile inducing and low-key “love story” to the table that was much esteemed by this jerk. To top that off, all of them goodies were wrapped in a charming sense of humor, an engaging plot line, clever dialogue, a tantalizing supernatural aura (Hitler was fascinated with the occult in real life, they ran with it here), striking/varied locations and a beyond addictive musical score by John Williams (I dare you not hum it once the film is over).

And that’s not all! Did I mention the INSANE action set pieces? No? Well, it doesn’t get any better than this, with inventive and daring physical scenarios assaulting us from all sides and bringing us back to the awe and wonder that going to the movies is supposed to be all about.  Watching the flick today, there was something to be said about stunt work that was done for real as opposed to CGI. The truck chase found here was the prime example of that. Talk about a “stunt feat” in terms of ambition, staging and balls-out execution! All the technology in the world can’t replace the delight of seeing a real person dangling (at the end of a whip) behind a speeding truck. DAMN!

Yup! Backed by novel visual effects, energetic direction and a finale that never failed to evoke morbid fascination out of me, RAIDERS was the real deal. Any qualms? Not really. One thing always bothered me about the film though: “Indy on the top of the submarine – it sails off - CUT TO – we’re at the next location." What happened there? Did he get IN the submarine? Did the sub go underwater? Did he just rodeo on top of it? Upon some research online, I found out that I wasn’t alone in having noticed that odd bit and there’s an explanation for it. Want to hear it? You don’t have a choice.

In Lawrence Kasdan’s RAIDERS script the submarine does go beneath the water, with only the periscope sticking out. Indy hangs on to it for a bit and eventually uses his whip on said periscope. He’s then dragged behind the sub as it treks forward. The scene was shot as per this PRODUCTION STILL and you can see it roll out in the OFFICIAL COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION HERE. I guess they didn’t think it came out well enough to include in the final cut. Would kill to see the DELETED SCENE (yes I looked for it - no dice). Sub scene dissection = done! Ahhhh, I feel better now. ;)

To wrap it up; my dad made me watch this gem when I was a wee lad (on BETA of all formats) and it marked me to this day. I actually tapped it again recently with my Pops and the magic was still there. We both had a blast! If you’ve never seen this seminal film; do yourself a favor, switch off your cell phone, shut the lights, get a big tub of Popcorn and enjoy! CRYSTAL SKULL is not the Indy you should grow up to. Go backwards people! Raiders, Temple of Doom, Last Crusade – that’s the ticket! In fact you can get the Blu-Ray boxset here. These are movies to OWN as the re-watch value is way up there. Just use the CRYSTAL SKULL disk as a beer coaster. It worked for me!

Extra Tidbit: Indiana Jones 5 is slated for a July 19, 2019 release! George Lucas will not be involved and my Arrow Sense tells me that's a good thing. Although I have no proof, my gut tells me he's the reason Crystal Skull sucked nuts.

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