When it comes to musicals (or just movies in general), The
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom gets a bad rep. People say it is too dark, racist, and not in the tradition of the film series. However, the darkness and the unique story are what I love about the film, and it is what sets it apart from the rest.
Here are 17 things to know about Steven Spielberg’s first sequel in the Indiana Jones franchise.
1. George Lucas claimed the darker mood and wicked tone of the film was due in part to the fact that he was going through a divorce at the time, so he wasn’t in the best of moods. Spielberg agreed with the darker film, but still injected some humor to lighten the mood at certain points.
2. Temple of Doom is actually a prequel to Raiders of The Lost Ark, as indicated by the title card at the beginning giving the date of 1935. Raiders took place in 1936.
3. This is the only Indiana Jones movie not to have any scenes that take place in North America, nor have even a passing mention of the Marcus Brody character.
4. The python that Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) mistakes for an elephant’s trunk was brought to Sri Lanka for shooting by animal handler Michael Culling, but since the snake and its companion weren’t very welcome in the country, he had to book them their hotel rooms under fake names: Mr. and Mrs. Longfellow.
5. Harrison Ford herniated his back in the scene where he is attacked in his bedroom by a Thug assassin. Production had to shut down for Ford to be flown to Los Angeles to have an operation. A huge majority of Ford’s work in the fights and chases in the Temple of Doom are actually stuntman Vic Armstrong.
6. In the original draft, there was supposed to be a motorcycle chase scene across the Great Wall of China. However, the Chinese government refused to grant the permission of filming thus it was replaced with a stowaway on the plane scene.
7. Kate Capshaw incurred a black eye in the runaway mine cart sequence. The next day when she reported to work, everybody else on the set was wearing a black smudge under their eye.
8. The “chilled monkey-brains” were made from custard and raspberry sauce.
9. While filming the whipping scene, the crew played a practical joke on Harrison Ford. While he was chained to a large stone, Barbra Streisand appeared, dressed in a leather dominatrix outfit. She proceeded to whip him, saying “That’s for Hanover Street, the worst movie I ever saw.” She continued whipping him for Star Wars, and making all of that money. Carrie Fisher then threw herself in front of Ford to protect him, and Irvin Kershner chided director Steven Spielberg. “Is this how you run your movies?” This entire sequence was filmed.
10. The huge mineshaft was a circular construction around the largest soundstage. To make it look different, they just altered the lighting every time the carts completed a loop.
11. Some translations: Mola Ram’s chantings of “Maaro maaro sooar ko, chamdi nocho pee lo khoon” literally translated from Hindi is “Kill, Kill the pig, flay his skin, drink his blood.” During the sacrifice, Mola Ram chants in Hindi, imploring “Kali Ma Shakti de,” asking for the “Spiritual power of Mother Kali.”
12. When Indy, Shortround and Willy get to the airfield just after being chased by Lau, the officer that leads them out of the car and takes them to the plane is none other then Dan Aykroyd. You cant make out his face but pay careful attention to the voice.
13. This is the Indian Jones movie with the least amount of travel shown in a “red line” sequence. The only red line travel sequence shown in the film is when Indy and his party travel from Shanghai to the Himalaya Mountains.
14. The production was highly fortunate in their main location in the town of Kandy in Sri Lanka as nearby a British engineering company was building a dam. When it came time for the film crew to shoot on a suspension bridge over a gorge, the British engineers were able to design and build one for them very quickly.
15. The rope bridge used during the final fight scene was actually suspended up a couple of hundred feet across a gorge on location in Sri Lanka. Acrophobic Steven Spielberg would never walk over it, and had to drive a mile and a half to reach the other side. Harrison Ford on the other hand had no such fear, and would run across it at full speed.
16. 14 dummies fall off the bridge when it is cut. Batteries inside them operate their leg and arm movements to make it look like they’re really kicking and flailing.
17. The rope bridge was coated in sand to make it briefly leave an afterimage of itself in mid-air when it collapsed.