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Raiders of the Lost Ark
 
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Raiders of the Lost Ark

8. HAWAII


8.1 THE TEMPLE EXTERIOR

 
 
 

Robert Watts (Associate Producer): We started in Kauai on Tuesday the 30th of September. Everybody had thought, "Isn't it terrific, Hawaii's going to be just wonderful!" But we didn't have one single easy place to shoot in Hawaii, not one. The first place we were shooting was down a narrow dirt track and then down what was virtually a cliff face into a hole full of mosquitoes, where we shot the exterior of the South American temple. It was a wonderful location with a pool and a waterfall, but it was a very difficult place to work. It was hard for the cameraman to light because it was so dark. And to get the equipment down you had to use a crane. Worst of all, the pool was the breeding ground for thousands of mosquitoes. We had a man there with a mosquito fogger every morning and we all covered ourselves with anti-insect-bite stuff. But we still got bitten.

On the bog planet set in The Empire Strikes Back we used a creeping vine that is called Old Man's Beard. When we were done with the bog planet we took all that creeper down and left it up on the backlot of the studio, thinking we might use it again. Well, when we built the Raiders temple set in the studio, we used a lot of that Old Man's Beard again; and not only that, we took some of that English Old Man's Beard all the way to Hawaii and hung it down the mosquito hole. The same stuff that had been on the bog planet and in the studio in England ended its life down that mosquito hole in Hawaii.

On Saturday in Kauai we did treks up what was supposed to be South American mountains. That was probably the easiest day that we had because we only walked for miles as opposed to venturing down the mosquito hole. We had two donkeys that we used for all these treks on Kauai for both the first and second units-the two donkeys went lame. All day Sunday we were trying to find donkeys on the island of Kauai, because we needed them for continuity. We didn't find any on Sunday; Monday morning we found two donkeys. They were the wrong color so we painted them brown with hair spray. We were going to shoot on the Napali coast, which you can reach only by helicopter. Not only could we get in only by helicopter, we now had two donkeys which we'd painted from grey to brown, and we had to get them in by helicopter aswell. So we bought a crate, got this helicopter a hook, blindfolded the donkeys, and one at a time they were hooked under the helicopter and flown into location.


8.2 THE RIVER



Steven Spielberg (Director): Working with the British crew on Raiders was the best experience I've had to date working on a movie. From Norman Reynolds, the production designer, and his entire bunch, to Doug Slocombe and his camera crew, to the chippies and the sparks, it was a really fulfilling experience for me. Because there was absolutely no dissension; everybody worked on the same team. The crew worked faster than any crew I've had, which is one of the main reasons we finished the film 12 days ahead of schedule. We were averaging, outside, 40 set-ups a day and inside, under difficult lighting conditions, 15 shots a day. That's the fastest I've ever shot next to my experience in television. I never shot a picture this quickly without having to compromise quality. And it proved to me that you can make a movie that should have cost $35 million for $20 million.

Robert Watts (Associate Producer): It was a very complex picture logistically because we shot in four countries in the space of 73 days-and it wasn't a story about two people and a dog, it was a big story. What was also extraordinary was that we shot it 12 days under schedule, and yet we didn't leave anything out. In fact, we had more shots than were in the script.

After an exhaustive search for Indiana Jones's South American escape plane, this l930s Waco biplane was finally located in Junction City Oregon. Owned and cherished by Henry and Alice Strauch, the plane was the only one found that fit all the requirements of the movie - single engine, open cockpit, and the original floaters which allowed for landing and taking off on water. Production designer Norman Reynolds had the plane painted to match the aircraft of the period, and added a small touch of humor as well - note the use of the two Star Wars characters OB (as in Obi-Wan Kenobi) and 3PO as the plane's identification numbers. This valuable antique plane finally returned home to Oregon and its regular routine - Henry Strauch flies it to work and back each day.


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