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Million Dollar Movie


Via Kottke, here’s something juicy: a 1978 “Raiders of the Lost Ark” story conference transcript with George Lucas, Steven Speilberg and Lawrence Kasdan.


1 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 28, 2013 9:20 am

I went to a screening of Raiders at the IFC Center a couple of weeks ago, it never ever ever gets old. Ever.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 28, 2013 10:10 am

Unlike "Star Wars"...

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 28, 2013 10:16 am

Now now, there's no need for that.

4 Matt Blankman   ~  Mar 28, 2013 11:27 am

[2] I think STAR WARS itself holds up fine as fun space-fantasy-adventure movie, its just the whole surrounding "Star Wars" mythos and culture that I find so damn tiresome. RAIDERS doesn't have any of that nonsense to weigh it down - it's all face-value, just a super-entertaining Saturday morning serial with better production values.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 28, 2013 12:49 pm

4) Well put.

6 Jon DeRosa   ~  Mar 28, 2013 1:05 pm

Raiders of the Lost Ark doesn't have a surrounding ongoing culture to the same extent as Star Wars because Raiders lacks the popular support to engender one.

7 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 28, 2013 1:21 pm

[6] sure, but I think that's just true of Sci-Fi/Fantasy in general. The Indiana Jones mythology doesn't naturally lend itself to a thousand spinoffs.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 28, 2013 1:33 pm

I never saw the fourth Indy movie. Was it any good?

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 28, 2013 1:42 pm

Yeah, good and terrible

10 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 28, 2013 1:50 pm

I remember seeing Raiders twice in the theater. Once at the Westchester Mall near Peekskill, once on 86th Street off Lexington Ave. Man, still recall how exciting is was. Major crush on Karen Allen.

11 Jon DeRosa   ~  Mar 28, 2013 2:04 pm

[7] Indiana Jones was serialized in comic book / graphic novel form. It was sequeled, triogied and then they made a 4th one. It was made into a TV show (also serving as a prequel).

I'd say that it lent itself quite well to being spun.

12 Jon DeRosa   ~  Mar 28, 2013 2:07 pm

In the Tom Shone book Blockbuster, he said something to effect that after he saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, he couldn't see why anyone would bother making any other kinds of movies anymore since they had just made the perfect one. The thrilling pace, the blend of action, comedy and romance. He was just like, it's over spike the ball.

13 garydsimms   ~  Mar 28, 2013 2:09 pm

Alex, I shared your crush on Karen, heightened by the fact that I worked with her sister (not an actress) and once, just once, got to meet her in person. Shame her career didn't go very far.

14 Matt Blankman   ~  Mar 28, 2013 2:30 pm

[6] I think that's sort of a false equivalency though - the type of story Raiders is doesn't lend itself to that. It's set in *our* universe, within events from actual history. STAR WARS engages viewers in a different way partially because there is a whole universe and its customs, history, culture, et al, that was created for it. RAIDERS was a massive hit, clearly and still looms pretty large in pop culture, but it's a horse of a different color.

15 Matt Blankman   ~  Mar 28, 2013 2:32 pm

[12] Yeah, unless maybe you go to the movies for other reasons. I love RAIDERS and I love a good action flick, but movies can do other things. I mean, I love THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, too.

16 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 28, 2013 2:33 pm

[11] all those things are true, and are a drop in the bucket when compared to what Star Wars or Star Trek were turned into. Indiana Jones, the character, is central to the universe of the movies. So without that character, there's really no ancillary material.

Meanwhile, with something like Star Wars you have basically endless possibilities of what you can create in terms of novels or comics. You can do a three novel arc where Luke or Anakin are never even mentioned. You can't do that with Indy.

Also, I needed to get out more as a child.

17 Matt Blankman   ~  Mar 28, 2013 2:36 pm

[16] Excellent point, and kind of dove-tails with what I was saying (although I think your point is better and made more clearly).

18 Jon DeRosa   ~  Mar 28, 2013 3:47 pm

[15] Obviously you are correct. I didn't mean to suggest that the author meant that to be taken literally.

19 Jon DeRosa   ~  Mar 28, 2013 3:53 pm

[14] & [16] It seems that we all agree the ongoing culture surrounding Star Wars is quite justified due the staggering popularity and depth of its universe.

20 Matt Blankman   ~  Mar 28, 2013 4:46 pm

[19] Sure, and maybe we misinterpreted what you said in [6], but it seemed to me you were implying that RAIDERS doesn't have a comparable fan base because of some lack of quality or popularity. It's the difference between fantasy and a reality-based action-adventure yarn.

21 BobbyB   ~  Mar 29, 2013 9:19 am

I love both Raiders and Star Wars but for different reasons. Raiders didn't need to become a serial. I think the original would have been just fine. The third and fourth installments were both horrible, IMHO. Indiana Jones reminds me of Allen Quartermain in "King Soloman's Mine". Now Star Wars was pure Sci-fi fantasy brought to the Big Screen. A comic book written large.
Alex, you had that article on Kubrick and "The Shining" earlier. I came down to our basement last night and my 21 year old was watching "Dr. Strangelove". He's become a Kubrick fanantic. There is hope for the younger generation after all.............

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