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Raiders of the Lost Ark
 
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Raiders of the Lost Ark

1. INTRODUCTION


 

In May 1977, George Lucas and his friend Steven Spielberg were discussing movies they would enjoy directing. Spielberg named serials and James Bond adventures, and Lucas responded by telling his story of Indiana Jones, an archaeologist- adventurer whose search for a sacred treasure leads him around the world.

Three years later, on June 23rd 1980, Spielberg began directing that film at La Rochelle, France. Over the next 14 weeks, the adventure story took Spielberg, the actors and crew to four countries for location and studio filming - and, in the elaborate and painstakingly accurate sets for the

film, through several other exotic locations as well. This Making Of follows the order in which the movie was put together, from its inception in Hawaii through pre-production, then covers the production set by set, from the first day of filming to the last. Quotes from the director, producer, cast and crew are illustrated with exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs, Spielberg's original sketches of his conceptions for scenes, letters, telexes, storyboards, production paintings, and the final movie stills.


2. SYNOPSIS


 
 
 

It's the mid-30's and Adolph Hitler is searching frantically for an ancient and sacred artifact, said to give invincible power to its possessor. The American government must locate the legendary relic and recover it before Hitler's agents seize it.

Dr. Indiana Jones (HARRISON FORD), a professor of archaeology at a small New England college, is better known to Army Intelligence as a cunning and steel-nerved adventurer. Indy Jones is the only man with the ability-and recklessness -to undertake the task demanded by his country on the eve of World War II. Jones has just returned from a recent expedition in the dense jungles of South America, which ended with the unwelcome intrusion of Rene Belloq, a ruthless French treasurehunter.

Indy leaves for Patan, Nepal to find one of his old professors who has information vital to his search. He finds the professor's beautiful and bold daughter Marion (KAREN ALLEN) instead. Marion's father has died, leaving her to survive alone and penniless in the unfriendly foreign city, and making her the only one who can give Indy the help he needs. Reluctantly, she agrees to cooperate with the persuasive charmer, putting aside bitter memories of their past love affair for the right price (which is a chance to start a new life).

However, their reunion is cut short only days later in a crowded bazaar in Cairo, when Marion becomes the innocent victim of an attempt by German agents to dispose of Jones. Relentlessly pursued by Nazi henchmen, Indy soon learns that his old rival, Belloq, has been hired by the German archaeological team.

Indy's only chance now of keeping the object out of Nazi hands is to infiltrate their operation deep in the vast Egyptian desert before the Frenchman leads them to the site of the buried relic. The ancient ruins are teeming with life as Arabs work feverishly in the brutal sun, under the impatient supervision of Nazi officers. Once inside the encampment, Indy makes a more amazing discovery-Marion is still alive and being held prisoner. Time is quickly running out as the Nazis press forward at a frantic pace, growing ever closer to their final goal. Indy must risk going into the excavated ruins himself, aided by a small band of loyal Arabs and protected only by the darkness of the desert night. Finally, just as day begins to dawn, they find the awe-inspiring relic. But even Indiana Jones, a man of few fears, is not prepared for the terror that accompanies his brief triumph.

Seizing the treasure for their Fuehrer in Berlin, the Nazis leave the foolhardy American and his girlfriend to face a torturous death, while they hastily abandon the desecrated ruins. The defeated pair manage a harrowing escape in time for Indy to pursue the retreated convoy along a treacherous and winding road to Cairo and, in a heroically daring ambush, rescue the cargo from the enraged Germans.

Attempting to get the relic safely out of Cairo on a tramp steamer, Indy and Marion again find themselves trapped when their vessel reaches open sea. Triumphantly, the menacing Germans remove the relic to an awaiting submarine and, at Belloq's sinister prompting, abduct Marion as well.

Challenging his ingenuity and endurance to the limit, Indy follows them to their secret supply base, hidden deep within a remote tropical island. Here, in a tense climax, Indy confronts Belloq and the Nazis to a lightening-paced dramatic conclusion.


3. THE IDEA


George Lucas (Executive Producer): This whole project started about ten years ago when I had an idea to do an action-adventure kind of serial film. It was actually about the same time that I came up with the idea for Star Wars. But I got more interested in Star Wars so I put this one on the shelf, figured I'd get to it some day.

Steven Spielberg (Director): George told me the story in Hawaii in May 1977, a week before Star Wars opened. He'd gone to Hawaii to get away from what he thought would be a monumental disaster, and he and Marcia were there with their heads in the sand when I showed up. At dinner one night, George got the news that the film was a hit the first week and he was suddenly laughing again, he told me the story of this movie.

 


 
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