Who I Think Will Play The Next James Bond…

So, the new Bond film, No Time To Die has finally been released after multiple and an almost two-year delay. It’s been well publicised that this is Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond. Craig has often cited the fact that he’s getting too old to play the character now, that’s why he’s decided to hang up the Walther PPK after fifteen years and five films.

007 JAMES BOND

Fairplay to the man, he doesn’t want to do a Roger Moore and be pushing 60 while trying to play the character, I actually doff my cap to Craig for knowing when to pull the plug. However, what always happens when the current James Bond steps down is, the rumour mill starts turning and news outlets begin the long-standing tradition of bringing up suitable replacements to take on the James Bond role. So far, we’ve had names like Henry Cavill, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hiddleston and more that have all been namechecked as the next James Bond.

However, after watching No Time to Die, I think I know what’s coming and who’ll play Bond next. Now, before I get into this, I have to pop up a very gargantuan SPOILER warning. Seriously, I’m about to reveal a few major plot points from No Time to Die that are huge and will ruin your enjoyment of the film if you’ve not yet seen it. So, please don’t read this article if you’ve not seen the film yet. Or read it if you don’t care about SPOILERS. Last chance coming up to click away from this one massive SPOILERS coming.

007 JAMES BOND 2

SPOILERS

So there are two major events in No Time to Die that change the entire landscape of the franchise from this point on. First, Bond has a daughter, Mathilde. Played by Lisa-Dorah Sonnet, Mathilde is the daughter of James Bond and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) returning from Spectre. The second aspect is pretty ground-breaking (even if more than a little expected, to be honest), James Bond dies at the end. Now, this is not some subtle, off-screen death where you could possibly argue that Bond could come back. Oh no, Bond is dead for sure. He dies right there on-screen after being hit by a barrage of missiles that are launched at the villain’s hideout. Seriously, James Bond gets decimated. There is no possible way he survived, he’s deader than Felix Leiter. Oh yeah, Felix Leiter dies too. Hey, I did pre-warn about spoilers.

This changes things massively for the franchise. Producer, Barbara Broccoli, has recently been talking about the Bond character amidst suggestions that James Bond could become female. Broccoli has said that James Bond will always be male:

“James Bond is a male character. I hope that there will be many, many films made with women, for women, by women, about women. I don’t think we have to take a male character and have a woman portray him. So yes, I see him as male.”

JAMES BOND

So there you have it from the horse’s mouth, Bond is male and there is no intention to turn the character female. Of course, they could reboot the franchise and bring in a new male actor to play James Bond… but I don’t think that is what they have planned at all. I think the idea is to carry on in the Daniel Craig universe, even though James Bond is dead. See, Craig himself said something interesting recently on the very same subject of Bond becoming female:

“The answer to that is very simple. There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”

In No Time to Die, James Bond isn’t 007 anymore. 007 is just a codename and anyone can be an agent with the famed 007 title. In the film, 007 is now Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch… who is both female and an actor of colour (as Craig suggested). Then you also have Barbara Broccoli suggesting that you don’t need to take the character and make him female too. Coincidence? I think not.

007 NOMI

For me, I think they will carry on in the Daniel Craig universe (all of his Bond films have been connected in some way). Nomi as 007 will be the next ‘James Bond’, so to speak. She will carry on the series as the main character, but still being connected to all the previous events. I fail to see, from a storytelling point of view, why the producers would set all of this up, a new 007 agent and Bond having a daughter, to do nothing with it.

The very final scene of No Time to Die, before the credits roll (my favourite scene by the way) has Madeleine Swann driving away with Mathilde and telling her about ‘a great man’ called Bond, James Bond, her father. Not only does that scene reference one of the most heartbreaking scenes in a Bond film ever (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), it’s also setting up for the future. They could have Nomi as the new 007 for the next 15 – 20 years, then have a now-grown Mathilde work for MI6 as a new agent, Mathilde Bond and follow in her dad’s footsteps. The films between could also show Mathilde growing up and working towards becoming a 00 agent. There’s a lot of scope to be had here.

COUPLE

The great thing about this idea is that, if it fails, the producers always have the reboot idea to fall back on. Say, the next (not) Bond film is released with Lashana Lynch playing Nomi as 007 and it flops, they could just bring James Bond back and restart the whole thing… again.

So yeah, I don’t think there will be a next James Bond, none of the names continually being brought up will work out as there is no Bond anymore, he’s dead and I think the plan is to leave him dead.

The Great Movie Misquotes Article

Who doesn’t love a good quotable movie? Lines of dialogue that pass in seconds, but last for decades. Lines we all say on a regular basis, sometimes without even thinking about it, almost as if they become some kind of muscle memory. Uttered words that can spark off a memory and put a smile on your face. As memorable as some movie quotes are, quite a few are remembered and quoted wrong. Well, let’s take a look at some of the more famous (and not so famous) quotes that people often seem to get wrong.

“Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?”

DIRTY HARRY

Easily one of the most classic scenes in cinema history. There’s Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan in a diner trying to enjoy his morning coffee… when a bank robbery kicks off across the street. Harry does his thing, whips out his Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver loaded with .44 Magnum bullets and takes out three of the robbers and holds a fourth at gunpoint where he delivers one of the most awesome movie speeches and ends with: “Do you feel lucky, punk?”. You can hear Clint saying it in your head right now, can’t you.

Except he doesn’t. It is close, but Harry Callahan never asked the punk if he felt lucky like that. The full quote is:

“I know what you’re thinking, ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’. Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?”

He tells the punk that he needs to ask himself one question: “Do I feel lucky?”. Which he then answers for him with: “Well, do you, punk?”. He never says “Do you feel lucky, punk?” as often quoted.

“Greed Is Good.”

WALL STREET

Wall Street is a film about eighties excess and suave but slimy stockbrokers. There’s a part in the film where Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) delivers a rather rousing speech about greed to a very hungry audience who lap up his every word. It is this speech where the famous line: “Greed is good” is uttered. Like the previous Dirty Harry misquote, this is close but not exactly right. Gordon Gekko’s speech goes on for a minute or so, so I won’t quote all of it. But the main part is actually:

“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”

So he does kind of say: “Greed is good”… there’s just a few words in between that people seem to forget about.

“Mrs Robinson, Are You Trying To Seduce Me?”

THE GRADUATE

In The Graduate, a young Dustin Hoffman plays Benjamin Braddock who begins a love affair with the older Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft). The two have several meetings and the film ends with one of the most iconic and questionable finales ever. All with a pretty awesome Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack. Dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee. Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. Dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee. In one of the earlier scenes of the film, it appears that Mrs Robinson (possibly) has an ulterior motive when Benjamin Braddock gives her a ride home. It is this scene where Dustin Hoffman delivers the immortal line as quoted above… doesn’t he? No, of course he doesn’t, that’s why it is in the article. What he actually says is: 

“Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me… aren’t you?”

The real quote makes the character sound far more unsure of exactly what Mrs Robinson’s intentions are. In fact, Mrs Robinson even lets out a little laugh before Benjamin Braddock asks: “Aren’t you?”. It is that laugh that casts a cloud of uncertainty over the young man who was, just before, pretty confident of exactly what Mrs Robinson wanted. The correct quote adds a layer to the scene this is missed with the misquote.

“Luke, I Am Your Father.”

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

This is very easily one of the most famous movie misquotes of all time… EVER. It has been covered so many times by so many people already that I almost didn’t bother to include it. Still, as it is so (in)famous, I just felt that I had to pop it in here. It’ll be rude not too wouldn’t it? Anyway, we all know the scene from the climax of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he is his father in one of the biggest movie plot twists ever. So him saying: “Luke, I Am Your Father” makes perfect sense as he is literally telling Luke that he is his father. Simple enough. But we all know that is not what he says, despite the fact that is how so many people quote the line. The actual line is:

“No. I am your father.”

It is only a one-word change, but when you watch the whole scene, Darth Vader saying “Luke, I am your father” doesn’t make full contextual sense. Why would he need to address Luke as Luke, as if to clarify who he is talking to, when Luke is the only other person there? Especially after Luke’s little speech that precedes the quote. Despite some YouTube edits to try to fool people into thinking that the misquote is right, it’s not.

“Hello, Clarice.”

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

Speaking of YouTube edits, Dr Hannibal Lecter never said “Hello Clarice” in The Silence of the Lambs. What a film and what a first meeting of two characters played perfectly by both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Still, many people are convinced that Hannibal’s first words to Clarice were “Hello Clarice”. Just going back to the YouTube clip I linked to there, the description for the video reads: “The footage has been edited with visual effects by Romthirty VFX”, yes, the clip has been edited as the uploader openly admits. Not only does Lecter not say “Hello, Clarice” when they first meet… he never says the line at all in the film. Even so, if we forget about that edited clip, Hannibal Lecter saying “Hello, Clarice” makes zero contextual sense when you take into consideration that Clarice Starling’s first line to the good doctor is: 

“Dr Lecter, my name is Clarice Starling. May I speak with you?”

So why would Lecter say “Hello, Clarice” for Clarice to reply with her name as an introduction? Doesn’t make sense, does it? Now, he does say something, but just what does Lecter actually say to Starling when they first meet? Something far more simple and actually more chilling too:

“Morning.”

The calmness of how that simple word is delivered and with Dr Lecter standing in the middle of his cell, ready and waiting for Clarice Starling is far more effective than he magically knowing her name. Oh and just for the record, in the script Lecter was not supposed to be standing there seemingly waiting for Starling to arrive. It was Anthony Hopkins’ idea to do that. When the director asked how could Lecter know someone was coming to visit him, Hopkins said “he can smell her”.

“Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Who Is The Fairest Of Them All?”

SNOW WHITE

The Evil Queen and her Snow White killing ways eh? Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a classic fairytale and one of Disney’s most endearing films. The Evil Queen talking to her magic mirror and asking who is the fairest of them all is one of those lines that has gone down in cinematic history as one of the most quotable. Yet a great many people get it wrong… twice in the same line. See the Queen never said “Mirror, mirror” or asked “who is the fairest of them all?” either, I know you think she did. If you ask someone to quote the line, they will probably say it too… but she didn’t. What the Evil Queen actually asks is:

“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

I admit, it is close, but still a misquote nonetheless. From what I gather, the misquote seems to come from the original Snow White fairytale from The Brothers Grimm and not from the Disney film that people like to quote… wrongly.

“We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat!”

JAWS

Shortly after this scene in Jaws where Roy Scheider’s Chief Martin Brody is throwing chum into the water to attract Bruce the shark. He backs away into the cabin of the boat and declares “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” after seeing first-hand just how big the shark is. This misquote can certainly be seen as very, very pedantic, but that is not quite what Brody says. What he actually says is: 

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

As I said, very pedantic sure. But it’s also another one of those contextual things too. When Chief Brody backs into the cabin and says the line, he’s addressing Quint (Robert Shaw) and the boat belongs to him. So Brody saying “You’re” makes more sense than “We’re”, as he is talking to the boat’s captain and owner. He is telling Quint that he’s gonna need a bigger boat.

“Play It Again, Sam!”

CASSABLANCA

When it comes to classic cinema, they don’t come much more classic than Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and of course, Dooley Wilson as the often-quoted Sam. The scene in question basically has Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) ask Sam to play his and Ilsa Lund’s (Ingrid Bergman) song. This is when Blaine utters the immortal four words of the misquote that he never actually said. Some misquotes on this list are pedantic and are only a word or two wrong but this quote? It’s not even close to be fair. What Rick Blaine says is:

“You played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can stand it, I can. Play it!”

Aside from the words ‘play’ and ‘it’, the real quote is nothing like the misquote. Sam is not even mentioned, yet “Play it again, Sam!” is one of the most quoted movie lines ever. Woody Allen named a film after the misquote, whenever this scene from Casablanca is referenced, “Play it again, Sam!” is always used despite that line not being in the film at all. The closest the misquote comes to being in the film is perhaps from Ilsa Lund when she says:

“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’.”

Yet, when the misquote is used, it is always done so with Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine very much in mind.

“Me, Tarzan. You, Jane.”

TARZAN

1932’s Tarzan the Ape Man is credited with introducing the line “Me, Tarzan. You, Jane.”, it’s from a scene where Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan) is trying to teach Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) to communicate. However, that line is never said in the film. During that scene (after saving Jane from a leopard), Tarzan learns to say Jane after encouragement from her. He also says Tarzan, he then just keep repeating their two names over and over to the annoyance of Jane. Now, while that line is not in Tarzan the Ape Man or any of the Tarzan films that Johnny Weissmuller starred in (including eleven sequels), Weissmuller himself did say it… at least twice. First, he said it during an interview with Photoplay magazine in 1932:

“I didn’t have to act in Tarzan The Ape Man, I just said, ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’.”

Johnny Weissmuller reportedly also said it again in another interview After Weissmuller died in 1984, Associated Press obituary posted a quote from him after being quizzed on his (limited) acting talent where Johnny Weissmuller replied:

“How can a guy climb trees, say ‘Me, Tarzan, you, Jane,’ and make a million? The public forgives my acting because they know I was an athlete. They know I wasn’t make-believe.”

“Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates.”

FORREST GUMP

Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favourite films, it is also highly quotable. One of the most famous quotes is Forrest Gump saying “life is like a box of chocolates”. But what if I told you that he never says that line? You’d call me out for lying and being wrong, I assume. But here’s the thing, he never did say “life is like a box of chocolates”. Admittedly, this is one of those pedantic ones for a couple of reasons. The line is in the film, it’s just that Forrest himself never said it. mama Gump says it on her deathbed. What Forrest does is, he then quotes his mama saying it:

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.”

Forrest quotes his mom, he doesn’t say the line himself. Also, the quote is “life was like a box of chocolates” and not “life is like a box of chocolates” because Forrest is quoting from the past after his mama died. He says “was” and not “is”.

“I Love The Smell Of Napalm In The Morning. It Smells Like Victory!”

APOCALYPSE NOW

Apocalypse Now is often seen as the quintessential ‘Nam movie. With an all-star cast and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This really is the Godfather of war flicks. It also features one of the most misquoted lines ever when
Robert Duvall’s Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore says: 

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory!”

Now technically, he does kind of say that… this is just a case of the actual quote being longer and some of the wording is a tad different:

“Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell? The whole hill. Smelled like… victory. Someday this war’s gonna end.”

Yup, the shorter version is a bit snappier, but it also misses out on a lot of the meaning and vitriol behind the quote. As snappier as the misquote is, it really lacks the punch of the complete quote. Still, if/when you do say the misquote… people know what film you are quoting.


Well, I think that will do for movie misquotes for now. There are more… a lot more. Maybe I’ll take a look at some of those further down the road. But until then:

“Beam me up, Scotty.”

My Raiders At 40 Celebration… All Of It

In case you missed it, I spent June of this year celebrating Raiders of the Lost Ark turning 40-years-old. I put together a rather large collection of articles covering various Raiders and Indiana Jones subjects. Four decades of Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr. which took a lot of research, writing and editing to get it all done. As there were so many articles, I thought that I could put them all together in one place so they were easier to find.

So here they are, all ten articles all in one place. Just give each link a click and the articles will open up in their own window for your convenience and reading pleasure.

Raiders At 40: An Indiana Jones Games Retrospective

A look at every Indiana Jones video game ever released.

Raiders At 40: Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Plot Hole

Was Indy irrelevant in his own film?

Raiders At 40: Indy Rip-Offs

Several films that jumped on the Raiders bandwagon.

Raiders At 40: Movie Sequels We Never Got: The ‘Other’ Third Indiana Jones Film… And More

An interesting look at several Indiana Jones films that were never made.

Raiders At 40: The Future Of Indiana Jones?

I ponder what the future holds for the Indy franchise after Indy 5.

Raiders At 40: Behind The Boulder

I explore the famed opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark and discover and interesting inspiration.

Raiders At 40: Is Indiana Jones A Paedophile?

There’s a fan theory floating around the internet that Indy and Marion’s relationship may not have been ‘legal’. 

Raiders At 40: Creating A Legend, Part One

The first part looking at the making of Raiders concentrates on the conception and pre-production.

Raiders At 40: Creating A Legend, Part Two

Part two of the making of Raiders explores the shooting of the film.

Raiders At 40: Creating A Legend, Part Three

The final part looking at the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark covers post-production and the film’s release.

Raiders At 40: Creating A Legend, Part Three

At last, after an entire month of Raiders at 40 articles, it is the grand finale of my grand finale.

So, the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark took seventy-three days, post-production took a couple of more months. This is where all the special effects, music, sound and smaller shots that didn’t require the main cast (for the most part) could be done. It was George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) studio that took care of all the special effects. Long before CGI was common use in film. The first effects work done was for the big finale, the opening of the Ark. Just how the opening of the Ark would kill all the Nazis was unknown, even the script rather vaguely described the scene as ‘they open the Ark and all hell breaks loose’, that was it. While George Lucas and Steven Spielberg knew they wanted it to be a spectacular finale, neither of them knew exactly how that finale should look or even what should be in the Ark when it was opened.

OPEN ARK

For the task of creating that spectacular and very vague finale, Lucas and Spielberg approached several storyboard artists and gave them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted and display ‘the power of God’ their own way. One came up with the idea to have the Ark spit out a mass firestorm, another drew up a series of storyboards featuring terrifying ghosts, the another suggested that lighting should be what kills the Nazis. All three ideas looked great when storyboarded, so Lucas and Spielberg decided to use all three. It was artist, Joe Johnston who was tasked with making all three ideas work as one. Quick aside, Raiders of the Lost Ark won an Oscar (it actually won five) for its effects work in 1982, with Johnston being one of the Oscar-winning team. ILM were actually doing effects work on two films at the same time. Raiders and Dragonslayer, so the team were doing double duty.

The first thing to tackle was how to make a ghost look convincing on screen. The original idea was to have them be animated with hand-drawn art. Early tests proved to be a bit of a disaster and the animation idea was pretty much thrown out… Pretty much. Instead, puppets were used, and they were filmed underwater in a big tank… Well, a cloud tank to be precise. Steven Spielberg had already used cloud tanks in Close Encounters, so he already knew how to use them well. Most of the ghosts in the finale are just man-made clouds, but puppets filmed underwater were also used to create that floating element for the more detailed ghosts. Plus there was some use of an actor in a classic white sheet. Oh, and there are a few frames of hand-drawn animation in there too. All of those elements were brought together to make those ghostly apparitions that you see flying around the Nazis in the flick.

GHOST

Then there was the infamous face-melting. It was Steven Spielberg who came up with the idea that the Nazis should suffer a truly horrific and gruesome end… Spielberg coming from a very Orthodox Jewish family. Moulds were made of the three actor’s faces that were to be destroyed. Each of the three all had a different demise. Makeup artist, Chris Walas, was the man who had to rebuild the actor’s faces using the moulds. Colonel Dietrich’s (Wolf Kahler) head was hollow, but had inflatable bladders filled with air. When shooting the scene, the air was sucked out of the bladders and this gave the effect that his head was being deflated, as if all life was being drained from his body. Major Toht’s (Ronald Lacey) head was made up of several layers of a specially created gelatin compound. The head was then melted via an off-screen, high powered dryer. Finally, there was René Belloq’s (Paul Freeman) head, which was made of plaster. It then had a large air cannon pointed in front of it, a couple of shotguns placed behind it and even explosive charges. Inside the head itself was a thinly made ‘skull’ which contained things like (fake) blood bags, bits of dried latex and the like. The head was then blown up, the blood and bits flew everywhere… And it had to be filmed three times to get it right too. Only there was a problem, it was way, way too gory to go into the film. So the idea to superimpose a fire effect to cover most of the gore was added. Seriously, go and watch that whole face-melting, head-exploding scene in slow motion, it is truly horrific.

RAIDERS HEAD EFFECTSTHOT HEADBELOQUE HEAD

While that iconic finale was being finished with effects work, another unit was busy working on another iconic part of the flick. The way that Lawrence Kasdan had written it in the script, he wanted to use montages of Indy travelling the world in order to reach the numerous locations in the film. This would prove to be too costly, what with filming so many locations. So to save some money, and to pay tribute to the classic films and serials that inspired Raiders, Spielberg suggested that they use a map and a line to show the route taken. A lot of 1930s/40s pictures used the same idea, The Humphrey Bogart flick Casablanca as an example.

The very last thing to be shot was the (almost) very end of the film. Originally, the flick concluded with Indy arguing with the government when they keep the Ark for themselves as ‘top men’ look after it. Cut to the shot of the Ark being put into storage, and the credits rolled. But there was no resolve between Indy and Marion, there was no idea of how Indy felt about being screwed over. It was George Lucas’ wife, Marcia who pointed out that the film needed a bit more of an impact. So Steven Spielberg got Harrison Ford and Karen Allen together for one final shot. The scene filmed on the stairs of the government building was added. It was filmed in San Francisco and it added that final bite the film really did need. It showed how annoyed Indy was with the government and it showed that Marion stood by her man until the end.

It has been said that Steven Spielberg’s first cut of the film came in at slightly over three hours (I’d actually like to see that version). Raiders of the Lost Ark was an epic film sure, but it wasn’t a ‘film epic’ and Spielberg knew it needed to be trimmed, no one would sit through a three hour, glorified and stylised B-movie. Enter editor, Michael Kahn. Spielberg and Kahn worked at getting the film edited down to a slightly more suitable two hour and some change film. With his cut of the film done, Spielberg handed it over to George Lucas and Lucas held a private screening with an audience to gain some feedback. The next morning and Lucas called Spielberg and told him that he thought the film was great, but it just needed a bit more trimming. George Lucas got into the editing room with Michael Kahn and they cut out a further seven minutes from the first half of the film to tighten up the pacing. Editing that Steven Spielberg was actually pretty happy about.

“I would trust George with any movie I ever direct to edit in any way he sees fit. He knows the secret of what an editor can do to a movie, how he can enhance the film.”

– Steven Spielberg

SPIELBERG AND LUCAS

After the final bit of editing (which would go on to win an Oscar), Raiders of the Lost Ark had a runtime of one hour and fifty-five minutes (with credits). And with the film now fully edited and ready, it needed to be scored. There was really only ever one man who could provide the music to this George Lucas and Steven Spielberg collaboration, the mighty John Williams. Of course, Williams also did the scores for Star Wars, Jaws and so many other Lucas and Spielberg flicks. Williams gave each of the main characters in the film their own music with their own themes and ideas. Even the Ark itself had its own music. The Ark was this deeply religious artefact, so Williams gave it an orchestral, foreboding like tune. Marion as the romantic lead was given a softer and more gentle piece of music. The Nazis had a very nefarious and darker piece. Then, of course, there was the theme of Indiana Jones himself, the main Raiders tune that is one of the most iconic and recognisable pieces of cinematic music ever created. A tune you can whistle anywhere in the world and everyone will know exactly what it is. Of course, there were variants of those four main themes in the film too.

Filming done, special effects done, editing done and music done. Raiders of the Lost Ark was finished and ready to be released. It was a Friday, the 12th of June 1981 and Raiders hit cinemas across America. A few weeks later in July, Raiders of the Lost Ark saw its international release and it soon became the highest-grossing film of 1981 and the number one flick around the world. Harrison Ford was catapulted into the limelight and he became a huge Hollywood star. Yeah sure, Ford was known because of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, but it was Raiders that made him a real star. The cast and crew of the film even embarked on a worldwide promotional tour, appearing at as many premieres as they could around the globe.

RAIDERS UK PREMIER

That opening fifteen or so minutes of the flick where Indy is introduced was always meant to feel like you just walked into a film already playing at the cinema. In the ‘good old days’, that is how cinemas worked, you paid for a ticket and just walked in to watch a film, start, middle or end. It’s where the phrase ‘this is where we came in‘ originates from. Anyway, Spielberg wanted to recreate that feeling of watching a film that had already started and that beginning was supposed to feel like the end to a film that you just missed.

“It’s not part of Raiders at all. It belongs to the film that comes before it, Raiders of the Lost Fertility Idol, if you like.”

– Steven Spielberg

Of course, that opening of Indy on a seemingly unconnected mission is also a call back to those James Bond openings. And the way Steven Spielberg got involved in this whole thing, back on that beach in Hawaii, was because he told George Lucas that he wanted to make a James Bond flick.

RAIDERS PAPER

Aside from making Harrison Ford a worldwide star, you can’t talk about the making of Raiders and not give Karen Allen a special mention. I mean, while she did play the damsel in distress, she played the character with balls. From the moment we are introduced to the Marion character and her socking Indy in the chops with a right hook, you just know this damsel was fierce. Also, she was the only main female in the whole flick too.

Raiders of the Lost Ark got a second wind of success after the 1982 Oscars where it was nominated for nine Academy Awards. It would go on to win five. Just for the record, Raiders won the Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley and Michael Ford), Best Sound (Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Gregg Landake and Roy Charman), Best Film Editing (Michael Kahn), Best Effects, Visual Effects (Richard Edlund, Kit West, Bruce Nicholson and Joe Johnston) and Special Achievement Award For Sound Effects Editing (Ben Burtt and Richard L. Anderson) Oscars. Not too shabby for a B-movie flick that no studio even wanted to make.

RAIDERS OSCARS

Theatrically, Raiders earned $384 million worldwide. Then in 1983, it was released on VHS, where it became the first-ever film to sell a million tapes. Paramount were very happy as they made $49 million from the video rentals alone, seeing as they put in $22 million for the production, that’s a decent profit. Spielberg ended up pocketing more than $22 million, which was more he earned from all of his previous films combined. Lucasfilm as a company made $21 million, but Lucas himself only got £2.5 million as the film’s producer. The cast and crew all shared $7 million in profit percentages as a bonus after being paid their normal fee.

All in all, Raiders of the Lost Ark was a gargantuan success. It took many old-timey cinematic methods and brought them into the eighties. It modernised action cinema by going back to its roots. It made Harrison Ford a household name. Steven Spielberg became one of the most revered and popular filmmakers on the planet. George Lucas and the Lucasfilm company became one of the most powerful studios working in film (okay, so Star Wars helped too). And a true film hero was born. Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark is the epitome of action films, a 40-year legacy that spans a multitude of mediums. Films, video games, comic books, novels, TV shows, theme park attractions and so much more. Everything Indiana Jones related can all be traced back to this flick, a film that no studio in Hollywood initially wanted to make at the time. One which most probably never would’ve happened the way it did if not for George Lucas’ love of 1930s serials and taking a trip to Hawaii after the release of Star Wars

RAIDERS POSTER

 

Raiders At 40: Creating A Legend, Part Two

Okay, so let’s crack on with this next part covering the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was the 23rd of June 1980 when shooting finally began on the film. Even though the production was set in the legendary Elstree Studios in London, that’s not where the first day of shooting was. The crew were around a hundred miles north of Bordeaux, in the French resort of La Rochelle, where they met a German film crew making their own movie. So we have an American production based in England, filming in France, crossing paths with a German film crew. Anyway, that flick the Germans were making was Wolfgang Petersen’s war epic, Das Boot. The production crew of Raiders struck a deal with the crew of Das Boot to use their submarine. Yes, that sub in Raiders was the very same vessel from Das Boot. When not in use, the sub rested in a submarine pen, that pen was also used as the Nazi base sequence in Raiders. Not only that, it was a genuine World War II Nazi submarine pen, complete with German writing on the walls from the war. An actual German sub and a real Nazi WW II structure too, can’t get much more authentic than that.

RAIDERS NAZI BASE

All of the water/boat scenes of Raiders were the first things shot, all in France too. Before filming began, the production team sought out a 1930s tramp steamer to be used as the ship seen in the flick, the Bantu Wind. You know the one that was supposed to take Indy, Marion and the Ark to London before they were boarded by Nazis. But they could not find a ship that looked right for the era they wanted. So a replica was built instead… Only it wasn’t seaworthy and couldn’t be used. This was just a few weeks before shooting began and they didn’t have a ship they could use. Fortunately, an almost perfect old-timey ship was found in an Irish port. The production crew commissioned the ship for a month and had it retroactively ‘downdated’ to look like a typical 1930s tramp steamer by the art department. It was then sailed to France  to be used for the film.

BANTU WIND

While everything was in place for filming to commence, the weather was not on the crew’s side. On the first planned day of the shoot, there was a rainstorm and the North Atlantic Ocean was too unstable to be used. The second day wasn’t much better either. Bearing in mind that the pressure was on to get this film made on time, or George Lucas would have to pay Paramount some hefty fines. Day three was far better and they got out on the sea to film what they needed. It took about a week to get everything required before the production moved on to Elstree Studios for interior shots.

It was the 30th of June when the first studio build sets were filmed. It was the home of Imam that was the first to be filmed. Imam was the guy from Cairo who translates the inscription of the head-piece medallion. You know, the whole ‘bad dates’ scene. It all just goes to show how amazing the art department were, because that scene looks very authentic and Cairo based… When it was actually filmed on a stage in London. But that’s nothing compared to what was next. Quite easily the most famous scene in the entire film, the South American temple. Yup, that spectacular booby-trap laden, golden idol stealing, giant boulder escaping scene was filmed on a stage in London too. A truly amazing set that looked like something directly out of one of those classic matinee serials that Lucas was influenced by. I don’t really need to cover this scene, as I already did that in another article.

On the 14th of July, filming began on the Well of Souls scenes where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and yup, all filmed on those Elstree Studios sets. The set build was huge, in fact, it was too big and the two thousand snakes that Steven Spielberg originally arranged for the shoot just were not enough to cover the floor. At the last minute, another four and a half thousand snakes had to be brought in from Denmark to make the scene a lot more snakey. Three thirty-five-foot jackal statues dominated the set as Indy is lowered and then falls onto the snake covered floor. They were real, venomous snakes too. To ensure the actors were safe, Frank Marshall found and secured a ‘serum-man’ (as Marshall called him. However, serum-man couldn’t deliver on the serum, and he was the only serum-man in the country too. It really was a very dangerous set with real venom packed snakes and as the crew didn’t have a serum, the film shoot could not continue. After a few phone calls, the production crew found a hospital that had some serum they could use. Only when at the hospital, it was discovered that the serum was out of date and couldn’t be used. Finally, a useable serum was tracked down in France and flown into London. Even with a serum, the set was safeguarded as much as possible. The main doors of the set were left open with an ambulance just out of shot. Two medical experts in white coats stood on either side of the ambulance, with a syringe in each hand ready to act if someone was bitten. Everyone on set had to wear protective clothing, thigh-high rubber boots, extra-thick trousers and jackets, gloves and more. Everything was fine… Until the king cobra was brought onto the set.

RAIDERS BEHIND THE SCENES COBRA

Now, for those not in the know, the king cobra is one of the most dangerous and venomous snakes on the planet. A bite from a cobra can kill a human in fifteen minutes, they’re pretty effective killing machines really. And yes, that was a real king cobra on the set too. And yes, Harrison Ford was that close to it, inches away. Now, if you’ve seen the older print of Raiders of the Lost Ark, then you’ll know there was a sheet of glass placed between Ford and the snake. You can even see reflections in the glass of the older prints, which have since been removed digitally. Still, even with the glass between them, that must’ve been a pretty daunting thing to film. Here’s a little titbit for you. The cobra did actually kill while on set. There was another snake, a python, that was getting a bit rowdy and it bit the first assistant director, David Tomblin (he was fine). The cobra then bit and killed that same python, as if it was protecting the humans.

But there were even more snake shenanigans to follow. Vivian Kubrick (daughter of Stanley Kubrick who was filming The Shining at the studios at the time) visited Elstree Studios while the whole Well of Souls scene was being shot. Anyway, Kubrick complained that the snakes were being mistreated. Steven Spielberg assured her that they were not, and that the crew would take care of the snakes. She was not happy and called the RSPCA to file a complaint. The production was shut down for a day and extra measures were put in place to make the snakes more comfortable.

Both Harrison Ford and Karen Allen had to work with thousands of snakes on the set. While Indiana Jone suffers from ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), Ford himself loved them. In fact, he used to collect them as a teenager. Allen though, well that was a different story. She hated the things. Plus you have to remember what she was wearing for that scene too. Harrison Ford was fine in his Indy gear, leather jacket, trousers, boots, etc. But Karen Allen was wearing a white dress, her legs and arms bare, along with her feet.

KAREN ALLEN DRESS

Multiple times while filming, Allen walked off the set out of fear of the snakes. Her stunt double, Wendy Leach, had to step in a few times to finish the scene. Even the animal handler, Steve Edge, played Marion for a few shots. He had to shave his legs and put on the dress. So yeah, several times when you think you’re looking at Karen Allen’s amazing legs in the film, may not have been her at all but a male animal handler with shaved legs.

Right next to the Well of Souls set was the Catacombs one. You know where Indy and Marion escape from after crashing one of those huge jackal statues into a wall. That Catacombs set really was as tight and claustrophobic as it appeared on screen too. Only the bare minimal of crew could fit in it to film the scene, what with Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and a load of decayed bodies too. Tom Smith, who created those corpses, actually went to the London College of Surgeons and researched just what a dead body would look like after being buried for so long. He took measurements of real skulls and bones to ensure they were as accurate as possible. Smith then created multiple bodies in various states of decomposition, all in horrifically accurate detail. That escape scene took around eight days to film too, with plenty of dead bodies and dust having to fall on Karen Allen. It was not a pleasant experience at all.

“Huge amounts of dust falling into my eyes and mouth. Before, we had spent two weeks in the snake pit. At times it was challenging to figure out what I was doing, with snakes all over the place. It was difficult and unsatisfying in a way. I’ve done films like that since, such as The Perfect Storm, where sometimes you spent a whole day just drinking a lot of water, fighting for your life and screaming. But at the time (shooting of Raiders), I couldn’t figure out what it had to do with acting.”

– Karen Allen

CATACOMBS SCENE

It has been said that Kaen Allen really disliked Steven Spielberg’s methods of directing at the time. He never let her rehearse too much, or explore her character either. Plus, just going back to the Well of Souls scene for a second. Spielberg would often throw snakes and tarantulas at Allen to get her to scream more… Probably why she would walk off the set. After the whole Well of Souls and Catacombs escape was in the can, it was time for something a bit more ‘civilised’. Still at the Elstree Studios on another great set, it was time to shoot The Raven scenes.

No, not a big blackbird, The Raven was the bar that Marion Ravenwood owned in the film and the character’s introduction. Set in the Himalayas (filmed on a stage set in London), the very remote bar really looked amazing. Highly detailed and accurate for the 1936 setting, right down to the drinks. The furniture, the fireplace, everything was researched and re-created to be period-perfect. Aside from the amazing set design, the Raven scene also filled the viewer in on a lot of backstory and Indy’s history. Just a shame most of it was cut out of the film. Most of the dialogue that explored Indy, Marion and Abner’s relationship from that scene was cut, much to the disappointment of scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

“Some of the best writing I’ve ever done was in that scene, but all that’s left is its beginning and end.”

– Lawrence Kasdan

Almost all of the interior scenes for the film were done, there was just one more location that needed to be covered. It was the 14th of August 1980, production moved from Elstree Studios and went on location to the Rickmansworth Masonic School in Hertfordshire. The school served as not only Marshall College (named after producer Frank Marshall), where Indy taught his students. But it also doubled for the Washington D.C. Government office at the end of the flick where Indy is told that the Ark will be looked after by ‘top men‘. With that, all of the set and internal filming for Raiders of the Lost Ark was done. Time for some globe-trotting.

MAP TRAVEL

North Africa was the first major location of the shoot. The backdrop for the German excavation site in the lost city of Tanis, the Tunisian desert of Sedala was the location used (yes, the same place that George Lucas shot Star Wars at). It was summer in North Africa… It was hot. Perhaps that is a bit of an understatement, as it got to 130° fairly often. Around six hundred Arab extras were hired and they began to complain when there just wasn’t enough water. Steven Spielberg was working fast too, he had to, to keep Paramount happy. Spielberg would average around thirty-five setups a day. That’s not thirty-five shots, thirty-five setups. A setup, by the way, means changing all the cameras, lighting, etc to suit the shots needed. They require a lot of work as all of the equipment is moved into position each and every time. Films tend to try to use as few setups as necessary (around twenty to twenty-five is average for a big Hollywood picture) to cut down on the workload, so doing thirty-five a day is pretty demanding… in 130° heat.

Through the shoot, Harrison Ford did most of his own stunts. This was a huge risk as he was the star and the production was under massive pressure to get done on time. If anything went wrong and Ford injured himself, that could put delays on the filming, and delays would mean huge fines that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would have to pay to Paramount Studios. Ford did suffer a few cuts and scrapes, but nothing that would take him out of the picture.

“It’s true, you can do a lot of stuff yourself. And I’m glad to, if the stunt is coordinated so that there is an advantage for the film in my doing it myself. I don’t want to do it for glory. But sometimes, I begin to feel more like a football player, a battered football player than a movie actor.”

– Harrison Ford

One such injury occurred during the fight with the Nazi mechanic (Pat Roach). It’s the part in the flick where Indy and Marion have escaped the Well of Souls and try to get the Ark back by stealing a plane. During the fisticuffs, Indy is knocked down and does a backward roll to move out of the way of the plane’s wheels. This was rehearsed over and over to ensure it was safe, after everyone was happy and well practised, the camera rolled. As practised, Harrison Ford rolled backwards to avoid the plane’s wheels, only his foot slipped in the sand and slid out towards the wheel. Ford’s toe got caught and the tyre rolled up his tibia bone, stopping short of crushing his knee as the brakes were applied fast to stop the plane. Harrison Ford was pinned to the hot sand by the wheel. Thankfully, that 130° heat actually helped out as it made the tyre of the wheel soft, which prevented any serious injury, though he did tear the anterior cruciate ligament of his knee. Ford was checked over, bandaged up and he got right back to it. Just for the record, only thirty-four years later in 2014, Ford fractured his tibia bone on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

After that, it was onto filming one of the greatest chase sequences ever. The awesome truck chase which involved a truck, several cars and jeeps, a motorbike… And a horse. A second unit directed a lot of this scene using doubles while Steven Spielberg was busy filming elsewhere. However, for all the close-up stuff that is very clearly Harrison Ford, Spielberg directed every second of film. And yes, Ford did most of his own stunts again. That is him hanging off the front of the truck. For the bit where Indy goes under the truck, that was a stunt double, but Ford was actually being dragged along the ground behind the truck (very slowly, the footage was sped up in post-production). Also, to keep the blood down to a minimum during this scene (to avoid a stricter age rating), instead of liquid, a red powder was used instead. Only the powder was made using cayenne pepper and when the squibs exploded, they sprayed that cayenne pepper everywhere… Including into people’s eyes.

TRUCK DRAG

With the truck chase done, it was time to film Cairo. Only it wasn’t Cairo, filming was done in the city of Kairouan in Tunisia. The first thing that had to be done was the removal of more than three hundred and fifty TV aerials from the roofs of the buildings. I guess 1980s tech doesn’t belong in a film set in 1936. This is also where one of the more well known behind the scenes stories of Raiders happened. During the iconic swordsman scene, where the big Arab guy shows off his sword skills. In the script, a big fight scene between whip and sword was written and it was even rehearsed several times too. However, pretty much everyone on the crew had come down with a nasty bout of dysentery due to the food in Tunisia. Everyone except Steven Spielberg, as he had brought some canned food with him from London and just ate that. Anyway, to put it politely, Ford had to keep running off to the toilet every few minutes and wasn’t really in the mood to shoot a big fight scene. He pulled Spielberg to one side and suggested a quicker resolution to the encounter and just shoot the guy instead. It was filmed, it got a laugh and Harrison Ford (probably) ran off to the toilet shortly after. If you do watch that scene again, pay attention to Ford’s face, you can tell he was ‘uncomfortable’.

On the 29th of September, the production moved on to Kauai, Hawaii to shoot the film’s opening. All the heavy equipment had to be lugged into the jungle and up some pretty steep inclines. Steps had to be built to aid with the getting to and from the location. But what a location it was, an amazing pool of water with a waterfall where Indiana Jones is introduced to the world for the first time. As beautiful as the location was, it was still in the jungles of Hawaii. The pool attracted mosquitoes, thousands and thousands of mosquitoes. Before every shot, a guy armed with a mosquito fogger had to spray the location down. The crew and actors were covered in anti-insect-bite oil. Even so, those little insects still made a meal out of the cast and crew.

The filming of the opening also requires two donkeys. Due to all the walking, the donkeys went lame and were unable to be used anymore. It took two days for two more donkeys to be found, only they were the wrong colour. The original donkeys used for some of the shoot were brown, the new ones that were found were grey. So the production team used a temporary dye to colour them brown. Then, they had to shoot on the Nāpali Coast in the northwest of Kauai. A mountainous and very difficult place to get to. So a helicopter had to be used to transport the actors, crew and equipment… Including the two donkeys. A crate had to be used and the donkeys were blindfolded, put in the crate one at a time and then flown to the location. Then there was the memorable biplane that Indy escapes in after running away from the natives.

BIPLANE

Yup, that’s the one. Anyway, it took a while for the crew to find a suitable plane to use. Finally, they found an original 1930s Waco biplane in Oregon. The plane was owned by Henry and Alice Strauch. It was painted and it was production designer Norman Reynolds who added the Star Wars reference. Once the shoot was done, the plane was returned to Henry Strauch in Oregon where he used it to fly to and from work. Oh, and there was a bit of an accident with the plane too. Harrison Ford doing his own stunts (again) had to run away from the natives, swing into the river and swim towards the plane. Then he had to climb on board while the plane was moving. Ford climbed onto the wing as the plane was about twenty foot in the air, his leg got caught in the right flap, which made steering almost impossible. As the plane flew behind some trees, it crash-landed. Thankfully, it was only a twenty-foot drop and the pilot managed to bring the plane down without any injures. Once the plane was recovered and the shot set up again, Ford did another take.

And with that, Raiders of the Lost Ark was ‘in the can’, as they say. Filming took seventy-three-days, within the eighty-five-day timeframe Paramount wanted. Steven Spielberg just made his first major film on time, for the first time. Still, there’s just the post-production and release of Raiders of the Lost Ark to cover… Which I’ll be doing in part three.