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Raiders of the Lost Ark
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Opening of the Ark


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Raiders of the Lost Ark


Marion Kisses Indy

Marion Kisses Indy
Marion Kisses Indy

In the uncut conversation between Indy and Marion at the Raven Bar, Marion explains the cause of Abner's death and tells Indy about the difficult last two years of her life. After having arranged the following day's appointment for the delivery of the medallion, Indy turns to leave, only to return under Marion's urge; she grabs his jacket and pulls him close for a kiss. The whole Raven Bar scene was cut because it was considered too long. The kissing part can be seen in The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark documentary. The scene appears in a script draft, the novelization and the Marvel Comics movie adaptation.

The Cairo Swordfight

The Cairo swordfight
The Cairo swordfight
The Cairo swordfight

The action scene set in Cairo in which Indy simply shoots the Arab swordsman was originally planned to become a long attack with Indy's whip versus the Arab his sword. The crew started filming that long attack scene as it was storyboarded but were unable to finish it because actor Harrison Ford couldn't stay on set for long. He was suffering from fatigue and intestinal illness, so Spielberg took a decision that would eventually become the biggest laugh in the Indy Trilogy: he ordered Ford to simply pull the gun from his holster and shoot the swordsman down, and that's how we saw it. We will never be able to see the original attack scene because it never got finished but they did record some shots.

The Dangers of the Ark

A plot element involving the Ark of the Covenant was cut from the film and is only hinted at during the finale when the Ark is opened. Basically, there were two rules about the Ark not mentioned in the final cut of the film:

1. If you touch the Ark, you die.
2. If you look at the Ark when it is opened, you die.

This is first explained in additional dialogue for the scene when Indy and Sallah visit Imam. Before translating the writings on the headpiece that give the height of the Staff of Ra, Imam warns Indy not to touch the Ark or look at it when it is opened.

The next scene involving this Ark subplot is when Sallah and Indy remove the Ark from the Well of the Souls. When Sallah first sees it he reaches out to touch it. Indy stops him before he does and reminds him of Imam's warning. Then they insert long poles through each side of the Ark to lift it out of its crypt.

Notice that nobody ever touches the Ark throughout the rest of the film until the finale.

Sallah in a State of Panic

Sallah in a state of panic
Sallah in a state of panic
Sallah in a state of panic

While Indiana Jones is in the Map Room trying to find the exact location of the Well of the Souls, two German soldiers approach Sallah and order him to help them remove their truck that had been stuck in the sand. In the process Sallah looses the rope with which he was supposed to help Indy get out of the Map Room. In a continuing scene we see Sallah entering a German tent looking for something to substitute his missing rope and awhile later he comes up with a "rope" made of bed sheets and a German flag. What we don't see is Sallah in a state of panic wandering in the Nazi camp at breakfast time. A group of German soldiers ask him to serve them water from a marmite. Sallah spills the content of the marmite on the German officers' uniforms and leaves promising to return with fresh water. The scene called for smoke in the background but unfortunately the tires used to produce the smoke were too many, thus making the scene too dark. Spielberg opted to cut this scene instead of spending half a day shooting it again.

Sallah's Execution

Sallah's execution
Sallah's execution

With Indy and Marion left to suffocate in the Well of the Souls the Germans decide that Sallah should be executed. A young German soldier was supposed to carry out the dirty job but things changed when the later started having second thoughts. A German youth vacationing in Tunisia had been hired for the part of the young soldier. The funny thing is that this inexperienced young man managed to express brilliantly the moral dilemma of a young soldier forced to decide whether or not to kill a harmless stranger; this is the business of foreign wars, and this unknown German boy was able to convey it as well as any actor. The result was beyond description, with this German student playing an intensely moving and emotional scene, making David Wisniewitz and Karen Allen call it the greatest moment since the film began. Spielberg said the bitter truth was that brilliant and memorable though the scene was, it would probably end up on the cutting-room floor because it was just too long. So it did.

Knocking an Arab Unconscious

Knocking an Arab unconscious
Knocking an Arab unconscious
Knocking an Arab unconscious

There was a small cut during the scene where Indy and Marion escape from the Well of Souls. When Indy pushes the large stone brick out of the room filled with mummy's, there is an Arab guard standing outside. When the Arab and Indy come face to face, Indy simply knocks him unconscious. Evidence of this scene still remains in the film. As Indy steps out of the chamber, he pauses and looks off to the left side of the screen. In the following shot, when Indy and Marion run from the building to the German plane, that Arab is visible lying on the ground by the building.

The Periscope Ride

The periscope ride
The periscope ride
The periscope ride

This is the most well-known of the Indy cut scenes, by virtue of being the one most crucial to the plot. This scene explains how Indy survived his trip at sea attached to a submerged submarine. As the sub descends, he climbs up and grabs hold of its extended periscope. He then lashes himself to it with his whip for the long trip.

In the final film, the plot hole goes largely unnoticed. Most people seem to assume either that Indy snuck inside the sub or that it stayed on the ocean surface for the duration of the trip.

This cut scene did appear in the Marvel Comics adaptation. The few pictures that we have found prove that they indeed film part of this scene.


Shanghai and the Medallion

Some sequences were dropped during the making of Raiders, but later proved to be valuable for the development of the Temple of Doom script. Originally Lawrence Kasdan had the headpiece of the staff of Ra broken up in two pieces the one obtained by Marion and the other by General Hok, an evil Chinese warlord settled in Shanghai. Leaving the United States Indy would travel to Shanghai and break into Hok's fortress. There he would face two imposing Samurais. By shooting one of them and strangling the other Indy would manage to remain undetected. With one of the fallen Samurai's sword he would break the glass cabinet containing the artifact and set off an alarm system part of which is a ten-diameter gong. General Hok would enter the place wielding a machine gun and begin firing indiscriminately. Indy would manage to unhook the gong and roll it across the hall using it as a shield. The sheer weight of the gong would crack the marble flooring offering Indy an escape. This scene, showing a more dark character of Indiana Jones, was cut from script due to cost saving. The new film begins with Indiana Jones meeting singer Willie Scott during his negotiations with the Chinese mafia in a pre-war Chinese nightclub called The Dragon.

Was re-used in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

The Flight to Nepal

Another scene that didn't make it from the Raiders script was Indy's flight to Nepal. On leaving Shanghai Indy would take a DC-3 to Nepal to find Marion. On board there would be the usual complement of passengers: a few tourists, a little old lady, and some Asians en route home. But it would be all an elaborate trap and while Indy sleeps everyone onboard would grab every available parachute and jump out of the airplane. Indy would wake and discover the cockpit locked and the plane on a collision course with a mountain. Pulling out a rubber life raft, he would wrap it around his body, leap from the plane, pull the inflate cord in midair and land safely on the snowy Himalayan peaks. Using the raft as a sled Indy would ride down the slopes all the way to Marion's bar.

Was re-used in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Get Away - The Mine Car Chase

A third scene cut from Raiders was in the film's climax. After Belloq's death Indy and Marion load the Ark on a mine car and try to find a way out, as the whole place is set ablaze. What follows is a wild chase in the dark mine tunnels as they are pursued by a group of Nazis. The race between the cars seems unfair since our heroes' car does not work properly. In the nick of time the car's throttle works and it accelerates its speed rapidly, leaving the Nazis engulfed by flames. Reaching the rail's end the couple finds a small Nazi transport launch carefully disguised as a Greek fishing boat. In the next shot the boat is chugging out to sea as the island rumbles and shakes.

Was re-used in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


- From Star Wars To Indiana Jones - The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives

- Lucasfilm Magazine July/August 2001 - Number 30

- Raiders of the Lost Ark / A Marvel Movie Special - Numbers 1 & 3 - 1981

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