Evil takes its true form in female high school students.
Raiders of The Lost Ark introduced the world to one of its most celebrated movies heroes, Henry “Indiana” Jones. The Steven Spielberg film was a worldwide sensation and the birthplace of a wonderful franchise of adventure films that sent up the classic serials of the 30s and 40s.
Here are 17 interesting things to know about the film…
1. The film was originally given an R-rating because of the exploding head at the end. They didn’t want the picture to be rated R, so they added layers of fire in front of his face to make it appear less graphic.
2. Harrison Ford actually outran the boulder in the opening sequence. Because the scene was shot twice from five different angles, he had to outrun it ten times. Ford’s stumble in the scene was deemed to look authentic and was left in.
3. The out-of-control airplane actually ran over Harrison Ford’s knee, tearing his ligaments. Rather than submit to Tunisian health care, Ford had his knee wrapped in ice and carried on.
4. The famous scene where Indy shoots the swordsman was not scripted that way. Indy was supposed to break out his whip and snatch the sword away from him. However, Ford was sick from food poisoning on the day the scene was shot, too sick to perform any real action, so he suggested just shooting the guy. Spielberg agreed and they filmed it that way, creating one of the more popular moments.
5. Speaking of the food poisoning, almost all the cast and crew got sick while filming in Tunisia, except Spielberg. He ate only cans and cans of Spaghetti-Os.
6. Spielberg and the crew agreed that Indiana Jones should never lose his hat, no matter how crazy the action, mostly for iconic purposes and continuity issues. In order to make sure that was the case, Harrison Ford stapled the hat to his head sometimes.
7. During filming of the Well of Souls sequence with all of the snakes, one of the pythons died after being bitten by one of the cobras.
8. When Brody first goes to Indy’s house to discuss the mission, Jones is dressed the way he is because he was entertaining a young woman in his bedroom. The script originally planned to show her before moving to the next scene to give Indy a more worldly, James Bond-esque persona. However, her appearance was cut out as Spielberg thought that being a playboy did not fit Indy’s character.
9. Harrison Ford was the first choice for the role, but George Lucas didn’t want to use him since he was such a big part of Star Wars. Spielberg’s second choice was Tom Selleck, who almost took the part but scheduling conflicts with Mangum P.I. forced him to back out.
10. To achieve the sound of thousands of snakes slithering, sound designer Ben Burtt stuck his fingers into a cheese casserole. This was augmented by applying wet sponges to the rubber on a skateboard.
11. An early draft of the script had Indy traveling to Shanghai to recover a piece of the Staff of Ra. During his escape from the museum where it was housed, he sheltered from machine gun fire behind a giant rolling gong. Also in the same script, Indy and Marion flee the chaos caused by the opening of the Ark in a wild mine-cart chase sequence. Both of these scenes were cut from the script, but ended up in Temple of Doom.
12. The studio financed the film’s entire $20-million budget. In exchange, George Lucas would own over 40% of the film and collect almost half of the profits after the studio grossed a certain amount. It turned out to be a very lucrative deal for Lucas.
13. Indiana Jones’ kangaroo-hide bull whip was sold in December, 1999 at Christie’s auction house in London for $43,000. His jacket and hat are on display at the Smithsonian.
14. Most of the body blows you hear were created by hitting a pile of leather jackets with a baseball bat.
15. During the scene where Indiana threatens Nazis with bazooka, you can clearly see a fly creeping into the mouth of Paul Freeman. Contrary to popular belief, he does not swallow it. Freeman explained in an interview years later that the fly flew off at about the instant he uttered the word “bad,” but Spielberg noticed it and decided it would be funny to cut out a few frames so the fly would not be seen flying away. This makes it look as though Freeman eats it, and he found the edit highly amusing.
16. Indy’s battered leather jacket was actually brand new and had to be artificially aged by the costume department. There were 10 jackets for general wear and tear and stunt purposes.
17. The original name of the lead character in the script was Indiana Smith. His name was changed to Jones on the first day of production.