Sunday, June 1, 2014

AMC Classic Series: Raiders of the Lost Ark

OK, I don't have a lot to say about this today. Someday I will do an Indiana Jones Festival and invite anyone interested in participating. For now I will say I saw three movies in theaters this weekend, and if I had to choose only one to have gone to,this would have been it. Raiders is a fantastic adventure movie that continues to show how much better off we were creatively and as an audience, before Computers replaced everything we see with pixels.

There is a lot of humor in Raiders and Harrison Ford never gets as much credit for these physical performances as he deserves. A slack jawed expression here, a scowl there and a smirk laughing at his own situation fill this character with more personality than most action stars get through a whole series of movies. I haven't seen all of his recent performances, but I will be there on opening day to see Harrison Ford as part of the cast in "The Expendables III". I think he will fit in fine if they give him some funny business to go along with the action stuff.

If you haven't seen my post on "Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom", you don't need to see Raiders first but it could not hurt. Anytime I encounter it, Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen it going to pull me back to 1936 for 115 minutes. That's right my friends, this movie is less than two hours long and still packs more into it's contents than films that add another hour to their running time. There is always something new in the background, foreground or dialogue that I haven't focused on before but makes each experience unique. Today I was absorbed by all the little pieces of business that Ford does with his hands and face.

AMC has done one thing with this current series that it failed to do with the last, lower the prices. These are movies that people will come out to see but $12 for a thirty-five year old movie on a Sunday afternoon was a little steep. They've dropped the price to $6, less than the cost of an early morning screening. Today, there were a dozen people in our showing. I may go again on Wednesday if the schedule works out for me. Two years ago with the release of the Indiana Jones films on blu ray, there were some Raiders IMAX screenings. Today's presentation was a standard viewing but still worth the time and energy.


SJHoneywell said...

One of the greatest in-theater experiences I've ever had was seeing Raiders for the first time. In the summer of 1981, I was 13. I sat and watched the film and was so knocked out by everything in it--all the action, all of the twists and turns.

I was also convinced that the end was the shot when Marion hits Indy under the chin with the mirror while they are on the pirate boat. I knew enough about film at that age to realize that the shot of the boat with him yelling would be perfect to roll credits over. I didn't know enough to realize that too much had been left unresolved.

The other thing is this--this is a really efficient film. If you haven't seen it in awhile, it's easy to remember that chase scene as being 15-20 minutes long. It's not. It's about 5. It's just that it packs 15 minutes worth of stuff into that 5 minutes.

Hell of a great film. Still one of my favorites.

Richard Kirkham said...

Great memory. I would have been bummed if that had been the last shot, but I can see how you might think that. They seem to have escaped, there is a romantic clinch, and then a comic payoff. Fade to black, roll credits. Lucky for us, Spielberg was in charge and there are melting Nazis to come.