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10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Indiana Jones Movies You May Not Know

10 Obscure Behind The Scenes Facts About The Indiana Jones Movies

With the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny hitting the big screens this week there are a lot of Indiana Jones articles flying around out there and in particular a number of "fun facts about Indiana Jones" so we thought it would be good to do the same but choose a few that a bit more obscure. 

1 - Steven Spielberg's First Gunfight
Did you know the gunfight at The Raven (Marion Ravenwood's bar) was Steven Spielberg first gunfight he shot?  Steven Spielberg on that scene:

"My first real-good-guy-versus-bad-guy shoot-'em-up.  And it was just a lot of fun.  I found the slower we played the gunfight for the camera the faster and more directed the shots seemed to come out."
The raven
2- The Raven Almost Ended In Disaster
Sticking with that scene in The Raven and Frank Marshall remembers the fire getting out of control. 

"the firemen had to come in, I looked up and the flames were licking the top of the stage.  The rafters had caught on fire.  The problem was that if it caught on to the fake snow outside, Styrofoam, then it would've been a disaster."
the raven fire scene
3 - Tarantulas Chasing After The Crew
We all remember that scene with the tarantulas in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  You may know Steven Spielberg wanted the spiders to be more lively so they introduced a female to the spiders.  This resulted in them running, dropping and fighting.  Exactly what the director wanted.  But once they dropped off the actors back they were "too lethargic" so they brought in fans and trained them on the spiders.  This woke them up and were off and running.

"nobody realised they could hop and climb Plexiglas until then" Spielberg explains.  "A lot of them took off after the crew.  I'm talking about people running for their lives..."
spiders raiders of the lost ark
4 - Lucas And His Guitar Lessons
If George Lucas had learned one thing from the stresses of making the Star Wars movies was to enjoy life a little more.  In fact, that is exactly what he seemed to be doing during the making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  Frank Marshall recalls:

"We had some second-unit shooting about to go to Mammoth Mountain and Sonora so it was a large meeting, all production people, going over storyboards.  Steven and George were there, and we were deep in discussion, but about midway through the meeting George got up and walked over to the door and said "Well, I'll see you later."  Steven asked "where are you going?" and George says "I've got a guitar lesson."
Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford relaxing
5 - Is that an insect in my egg?
Ben Burtt is a legend when it comes to sound design and the use of a hand in a cheese casserole to mimic the organic sound of insects is well known but did you know he also used the sound of a shell being pulled off a hard-boiled egg?  Think of that the next time you prepare your egg salad.
ben burtt
6 - George Lucas Liked Flops
Michael Kahn recalls a funny thing with George Lucas while they were making Temple of Doom:

"Almost every other couple of cuts, George would say 'I wanna flop this [reverse the direction of the shot]; I want it the other way.'  He made a lot of flop shots.  So my assistant and I got him a cap that said Professor of Flopology.  And we put the letters backwards, too, so you could read it in the mirror.  He laughed when I gave it to him."
professor of flopology
7 - You Can't Train A Seagull
It turns out seagulls aren't trainable so for the iconic scene with Sean Connery on the beach scaring the birds with his umbrella in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade they used fake birds and when Connery finally scares them they used white doves.
doves in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
8 - Steven Spielberg's Trip to the Houses of Parliament
Elstree Studios had become "their lucky studio" according to Frank Marshall and when they returned for the third Indy movie, the economy in the UK and in particular the movie industry was in dire straights.  Not wanting to risk losing the craftspeople and the experience from previous filming, Steven Spielberg went to parliament and made a plea for them to subsidize the studios and keep it alive.
george lucas stage - Elstree Studios
9 - Cate Blanchett and her Black Wig
Cate Blanchett was really hands-on with her character.  Steven Spielberg recalls:

"Her enthusiasm was childlike when she sat with me and talked for first time playing the Russian villain.  She had thousands of ideas, right down to her costume and haircut."

Cate Blanchett came up with the idea of the black wig for her character.  

"I researched yearbooks of people...I found a couple of pictures, one of a Russian girl and one of an American girl with an incredibly short fringe; I thought that really emphasized the eyes, so that's what we went with."
cate blanchett crystal skull
10 - Retirement is just too much fun
During the making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a press release was circulated at Lucasfilm on June 7th 2007.  The cast was revealed but Karen Allen was missing from that list having it revealed later.  Speculation grew whether Sean Connery would return.  The actor said in the same press release:

"I thought long and hard about it, and if anything could have pulled me out retirement it would have been an Indiana Jones film.  I love working with Steven and George, and it goes without saying it is an honour to have Harrison as my son.  But, in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun.  

I do, however, have one bit of advice for Junior: Demand that the critters be digital, the cliffs be low, and, for goodness sake keep that whip by your side at all times in case you need to escape from the stunt coordinator!  This is a remarkable cast, and I can only say, 'Break a leg, everyone.'  I'll see you on May 22, 2008, at the theatre!"
We hope you enjoyed these more obscure fun-facts about the Indiana Jones movies.  We hope it won't be long before we can post some from Indiana Jones and Dial of Destiny.  So, James Mangold if you're reading this feel free to send some across and we'll add them in.

All these facts came from the amazing book "The Complete Making of Indiana Jones" by the legend that was J. W. Rinzler.  An essential book for any Indiana Jones fan or indeed any fan of movie-making.

Rob Wainfur

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.


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