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RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

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Discussion before

In 1981, the adventure genre got a boost of something different with Indiana Jones. Drawing on his memories of serials from the 1930s and 1940s, producer George Lucas came up with the character of Indiana Smith, an archaeology professor whose field work leads to outlandish quests and new dangers. When his friend, Steven Spielberg, mentioned that he wanted to do a James Bond type of film, Lucas enlisted him as director. Spielberg suggested a name change for the main character, along with creating numerous stunts inspired by old Scrooge McDuck comics, and Indiana Jones was born. When Tom Selleck couldn’t get out of his Magnum, P.I. schedule to star, Harrison Ford, who was enjoying a big hit in Lucas’ STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE – SPECIAL EDITION (1977), inherited the role and made it his own. Writer-director Philip Kaufman came up with the idea of having Jones fight the Nazis for the biblical Ark of the Covenant (the sacred chest holding the original ten commandments). Kaufman had to leave for another film, so Lawrence Kasdan wrote the script based on four days of meetings with Lucas and Spielberg. The result was the top-grossing film of its year, a blockbuster hit that led to three more films, a TV series and several video games. (d. Steven Spielberg, 115m, DCP)

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