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Friday, January 28, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

#2 - 1989 Box Office: Gross $197,171,806
Have the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses
The third and final installment of Spielberg's Indiana Jones trilogy (trust me) opens as a thirteen-year-old Indiana (River Phoenix) stumbles across some grave robbers in the Utah desert.  He rushes home with their booty, where we meet young Indy's strict and distant father Henry (Sean Connery), who's meticulously filling a diary with notes about the legendary Holy Grail.  Nearly thirty years later, Henry goes missing while searching for the Grail and a grown-up Indy (Harrison Ford) is asked to pick up where his father left off to find both pop and cup.  Indy is joined by old friends Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) along with a new lady Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) as they travel from Venice to Berlin to a canyon outside Alexandretta, piecing together clues, running into Hitler and finally confronting the three trials of God.

Trivia (mostly courtesy of the IMDb)
  • The film's opening day gross of $11,181,429 was the first time a film had made over $10 million on its first day
  • Sean Connery and Harrison Ford wore no trousers during the shooting of the entire zeppelin sequence (mainly because it was filmed in a very hot studio and Connery didn't want to sweat too much)
  • Harrison Ford cut his chin in a car accident in Northern California when he was about 20 leaving a permanent scar. In the movie, this scar is explained by young Indiana cutting his chin with a whip
  • Watching Indiana wrestle with a Nazi, the soldier at the periscope tells his tankmates, in German, "The Americans! They fight like girls!"
  • Two thousand rats were bred for the production (they had to be bred specially as ordinary rats would have been riddled with disease)
  • Spielberg used doves for the seagulls that Henry scares into striking the German plane because the real gulls used in the first take did not fly
  • For the scene at the Nazi rally in Berlin, Steven Spielberg had all the extras who did the Sieg Heil salute also put their other arms behind their backs and cross their fingers
  • Due to his commitment to Last Crusade, Spielberg had to drop out of directing Big and Rain Man
  • Indiana taking his nickname from his pet Alaskan Malamute is a reference to the character being named after George Lucas's dog
No ticket...

This is probably the IJ film I've seen the most—my mom loved both Ford and Connery so there were plenty of times we watched it while I was younger.  And so, it has a nostalgic feeling that is hard to shake.  Is Raiders a better film?  Maybe... but that doesn't mean I love this film any less.  It has a ton of great moments, from simply explaining how Indy got his fear of snakes & his trademark fedora to Elsa and Indy finding a drawing of the Ark of the Covenant on the Venetian catacombs walls (complete with John Willaims' theme from Raiders); from "X" marking the spot to Henry accidentally shooting his own plane down!  I seriously think I've seen this movie 20 or 30 times and could watch it 20 or 30 more (if I didn't have all these other MLiF films to watch that is).

Ponch's Rating:

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