6. EMI ELSTREE STUDIOS, ENGLAND
6.1 IMAM'S HOUSE
Marshall (Producer): We'd heard that the english crews
are slower because they take tea breaks. Wrong. They don't
stop for tea any more than an American crew stops for
Kathy Kennedy (Associate to Steven Spielberg):
La Rochelle was scheduled for five days. Starting a
film on location, with a new crew and all, you usually
have to work all the bugs out. I think most everyone
assumed that we'd get off to a rocky start and that
we would probably go a little bit over and could make
it up once we got to the stages. Instead we came in
right on schedule. If you start out like that, the crew
is pretty hyped up, and you come back to the studio
ready to go right into shooting again. The momentum
kept up. We had scheduled two days to do the first set,
Iman's house, and we completed it in one day. That got
things off to a nice start.
6.2 THE TEMPLE
Frank Marshall (Producer): It's funny how everyone
thinks tarantulas are so dangerous, when in fact they're
very fragile creatures. If they fall or you drop them
they die. You have to be very careful with them. We
did lose one of them one day when two got in a fight
a battle to the death.
Steven Spielberg (Director): A director,
essentially, is a collaborator: taking the best people
around and trying to get them all to help make the movie
the best that can be made. I troll for the best are
ideas; I'm an audition man. I sit there and say, "Okay,
who has the best idea? Let's see a show of hands"
Frank Marshall (Producer): Often with
mechanical effects you just don't know what's going
to happen. Most of them are tested, but until you have
somebody run through it, you don't really know what
it's going to look like, or if it's going to work.
Kathy Kennedy (Associate to Steven Spielberg):
As Indy runs through the hall outside the sanctuary,
after he's picked up the idol, he triggers arrows that
come flying out of the walls. The first time we did
this, the arrows went so fast that Steven was worried
we wouldn't see them on film. But to our surprise, in
dailies it looked great.
Frank Marshall (Producer): Sometimes things
just look much better on the screen than they do to
the naked eye. Somehow the camera changes things. Remember,
when you're seeing a movie, you're really seeing only
half of what happens: the shutter's closed the same
amount of time that it's open. Maybe that has something
to do with it.
A huge boulder comes crashing down through
a chute and chases after Indy. We had to make it look
like it rolled free, but we also had to be able to control
it. The boulder was on this contraption like an arm;
it was free-spinning and the arm was hidden. The boulder
tumbled down the chute, then it had to be taken back
if we wanted to do another take. But we couldn't do
it again very quickly because we had to put in the stalactites
that got broken off as it rolled out.
6.3 THE MAP ROOM
Frank Marshall (Producer): Norman Reynolds (Production
Designer) has to jump around and have the sets ready
when we get there. And if we get ahead at all, then
he doesn't have time to finish things. And we were a
little ahead. The Well of the Souls wasn't finished
yet, but the map room set was. So we went to the map
6.4 THE WELL OF SOULS
Kathy Kennedy (Associate to Steven Spielberg): The
Well of the Souls set was the most impressive set. It
was really amazing to walk in there to see these huge
jackals, with hands up. The tallest stage at Elstree
is around 40 feet; so the jackals rose around 37 feet
in the air. From above, looking down into the Well of
the Souls, they were truly terrifying.
Norman Reynolds (Production Designer):
Indy's actually on the jackal statue when it falls.
We spoke to the stunt arranger and went through the
routine that Indy would follow, and provided hand- holds
to make it work, and safety pads and so on. And the
same for the stunt of Marion hanging on the lower jaw
of the jackal, and its teeth breaking away.
As far as the art department models were
concerned, my way of working is to determine what the
set should look like, then do a drawing or sketch and
talk again to the director and confirm that that's what
we both want to do; and then put it in three dimensions,
making a model so that we can finally get the wheels
turning. The moment the model is approved, then it's
a matter of working with the draftsmen to prepare the
working drawings. And the working drawings are then
issued to the various departments and the set finally
Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay): George [Lucas]
has said that a big stunt is meaning- less if you don't
care about the people. That's something that I've based
all my work on you must care about the people or everything's
meaningless. And that a good joke's worth a good stunt
equal to and a lot cheaper and a lot easier.
A little piece of George Lucas's Star
Wars and The Empire Strikes Back is cleverly hidden
in the dank, snake-filled Well of the Souls. Look very
closely at the wall behind the Ark of the Covenant at
the complex hieroglyphics inscribed by "the ancients."
Right in the middle are the ever-popular droids Artoo-Detoo
and See-Threepio, shaking hands. Smaller renditions
of them also run up and down the posts of the altar
that houses the sacred Ark.
Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood): It was
an enormous challenge to me because I've never done
this type of film or this stylized type of acting. Anytime
you put someone in with snakes and skeletons, ask her
to fall down cliffs, all that sort of thing it's a whole
new ballpark I'm working in.
Steven Spielberg (Director): Karen has
never done an action picture before, so she came very
prepared to play Marion, and very unprepared to fight
the bad guys, ride the horses, beat back the snakes,
to be dragged by the hair along the ground, to be run
over by assorted vehicles, to be hanging from the jaw
of a 37-foot jackal god. When she came to the set, she
thought it was going to be acting for 10 weeks, and
discovered it was a combination of acting and physical
fitness. I said to Karen, "We're now moving you out
of the Al Pacino school of drama into the Sam Peckinpah
school of action"
Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood): I've never
really been around snakes very much. I've grown fond
of them except for the pythons, the ones that bite I'm
not fond of those. It feels a little odd being so physically
unprotected in all of those scenes. It works well for
me, and, at the same time, it makes it worse. Harrison
has his boots and gloves, and leather clothes, and I
have naked arms and nothing on my legs and bare feet.
In the beginning that was tougher than it is now because
I just couldn't stand the snakes on my feet. But I've
gotten used to them. Now I have to keep reminding myself
that they're snakes.
Robert Watts (AssociateProducer): We bought
them, and then we sold them again at the end or I hope
Howard Kazanjian (Executive Producer):
we originally ordered about 2,500 snakes, which were
hatched for the production. But it takes a lot of snakes
to fill a set wall-to-wall, so we had to order another
4,000. If they had all been poisonous, you wouldn't
have been able to put your foot on the ground without
Frank Marshall (Producer): I had to cure
myself of a common phobia about snakes. But once you
see other people, like a snake handler, not worried
about it, then you touch one. Then I got to be real
comfortable with them. Which was a good thing because
I was elected to do the second camera shots of them.
Steven would give me little drawings of the shots that
he wanted and then I would spend two or three days trying
to do it. Some of the shots were a real challenge. For
example, snakes aren't afraid of any thing: they'd even
go right into a fire. So we had to invent a way to get
them to stay away from the fire. And then we had to
get them coming in after the torch goes out. Well, the
other thing is they're not real fast. And they don't
ever go where you want them to go. So we had to devise
ways to get them to cooperate. The hardest thing was
to get them to strike. We had a lot of pythons, which
aren't poisonous but do bite. So it was a question of
getting them up into a position where they would strike
at the camera or somebody's leg. I was dancing around
with little handkerchiefs trying to get them to strike.
If you got close enough to them then they would strike
at your hand, but you had to get your hand out before
it got bitten.
6.5 THE CATACOMBS
Frank Marshall (Producer): This poor guy was holding
the snake through the back of the mummy. The snake's
head stuck out of the mouth. And we were teasing it
to get it to snap at the camera. Then you just hope
you get your hand out in time so it's not in the picture.
6.6 THE RAVEN BAR
Frank Marshall (Producer): We did have real snow. We
bought a snow-making machine, and later sold it to a
snow cone factory that sold snow cones down in Piccadilly
Circus. We also had some sort of styrofoam for snow:
when you walked in it, it felt like snow - it crunched
and everything. And it was highly flammable. But not
enough of it caught on fire to cause a problem. Actually,
I don't know how we survived that one
Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood): It's a wonderful establishing
scene, a great introduction to the character, from the
very first moment that you see Marion. She's queen of
the Raven bar. She can drink all these men under the
table, and throw out people she wants out - basically
do whatever she wants to do.
Kathy Kennedy (Associate to Steven Spielberg): Karen
really shines in the Raven scene. In terms of stunts
alone, the scene is spectacular. All the fight scenes
had to be carefully choreographed.
Howard Kazanjian (Executive Producer): Water is probably
the most difficult thing to work with. Fire is the next.
We had both.
Frank Marshall (Producer): Even when you have a controlled
fire, things burn. And if the fire goes on too long,
it gets out of hand. We had firemen there, and they
were serious about their work this time, because it
had gotten too hot up high. I looked up and the fire
was licking at the top of the stage - the rafters had
caught on fire.
Kathy Kennedy (Associate to Steven Spielberg): The
bar was one of the few sets that had to be shot in continuity.
We were going to burn all the area above the bar, and
then move the camera and burn the back door; and then
we had this curtain of fire come down and start the
top of the staircase on fire. All of those things were
carefully planned, so that when edited together, it
would look as though the whole thing went up in flames.
But the whole thing did go up in flames, and we couldn't
always have the camera on the part that was burning.
So we had to build back what had burned by mistake.
When the overall effect you want is to have the entire
thing burn down, it usually means that, at some point,
the fire's going to get out of control. And it did.
6.7 THE BANTU WIND CABIN
Steven Spielberg (Director): I always envisioned the
character of Indiana Jones as a real throwback movie
hero: a lover and a cad and a two-fisted hellion. In
the early sequences of the movie, while he's teaching
a class, he looks the picture of a well-dressed professor.
But the moment he puts on his fighting clothes-his leather
jacket and his hat-he suddenly is dressed also with
half an inch of dust, and dirt around the cheeks and
under the nails. And, unlike James Bond, he doesn't
win every fight he's in. He gets to the edge of the
cliff, and sometimes he goes over the other side. He
doesn't necessarily survive every cliffhanger unscathed.
That was one of the things I was determined to do. I
didn't want this man to get into this kind of action
and come away with white teeth and washed hands. Instead
he comes away cut and bruised and battered and wonderfully
6.8 BANTU WIND HOLD
Robert Watts (Associate Producer): We dealt with a
company called Animal Actors. We'd ring them up and
say, "I want fourteen grey rats".
Frank Marshall (Producer): The rats I hated the most.
For some reason the snakes didn't bother me after a
while. But seeing big rats-it was kind of creepy.
Kathy Kennedy (Associate to Steven Spielberg): We were
doing some pick-up shots in the hold of the Bantu Wind,
where the Ark is being carried. And the hold is full
of rats. Richard Edlund (Photographic Effects Supervisor)
had to do a special-effects shot because the swastika
on the front of the crate holding the Ark melts. As
the camera's dollying in to the Ark the rats scatter
toward the Ark, but because of the hum that's coming
from the Ark, they then turn and run away. The camera
kept running over the tails of the rats. We'd have to
stop because we'd hear "EEEEEEeeeee" Richard would yell,
"Stop! Stop !" and we'd look under the camera and there'd
be some little rat. We'd pull him out-they weren't hurt,
just had their tails stepped on-and start all over again.
We finally got the rats so they'd start to run toward
the Ark; and most of them scattered to the corners,
which were dark. And that was great. But there was this
one rat that, all of a sudden, ran toward the Ark, and
then stopped and started turning around in circles.
It just kept turning in circles, which was perfect,
because it looked like the hum from the Ark was hurting
its ears. Richard and I were dying because we didn't
know what was wrong with it-we thought it had the plague
or something. We found out from Mike Culling (Animal
Trainer) that he'd had the rat since it was a baby,
and it was deaf and also had an equilibrium problem.
6.9 THE ALTAR
The square of vivid blue in the background of the
dramatic shot of the bound Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford)
and Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) during the climax
of the movie is called a blue screen. A unique matte
photographic technique, the blue screen gives the filmmaker
a great deal of creativity in setting a scene and adding
special effects. When the blue color is removed from
the picture negative, the background disappears and
forms a frame around the figures in the foreground.
A new background, which might include special effects
or a different time of day or location, can then be
added to the scene. The result in this particular shot
is a dark starry night filled with strange and evil
creatures who have escaped from the Ark and threaten
Indy and Marion.
Steven Spielberg (Director): Harrison is a very original
leading man. There's not been anyone like him for 30
or 40 years, and he does carry the movie wonderfully.
Harrison was more than just an actor playing a role,
he was a collaborator and really was involved in a lot
of decision making about the movie. And this wasn't
be contract, it was because I sensed a very good story
mind and a real smart person and called on him time