Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 35mm)
Thursday, November 15th
6:00 Doors || 7:30pm Screening
Director: Steven Spielberg
Collectively written by Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay), George Lucas (story) and Philip Kaufman (story).
Raiders was Spielberg's movie homage to adventure serials of the 30s and 40s. What started as a passion project went on to make nearly $400 million, winning 4 Oscars, and ushered in a new era for the summer blockbuster. The film also announced Harrison Ford as a superstar actor whilst simultaneously introducing pop culture references that still thrive today.
Why is Raiders so adored? The answer is it gets everything right, it transcends its basic source to reveal one of the most exhilarating action/adventure movies ever made. It's packed with outstanding action set-pieces, the special effects stunning, the cinematography gorgeous and Williams' score stirs the blood. The narrative is smooth and appealing in its good versus bad race against time simplicity, yet the pace is frenetic. From the establishment of the kinetic pleasures with its iconic opening section, to the gloriously gruesome finale, it's breakneck stuff that is by turns intense but played with considerable wit and playfulness.
Casting is also spot on, with Ford leading the way. Ford's performance as Indiana Jones - part time teacher, part time lovable rogue who lurches from one perilous situation to another - is note perfect. The supporting performances are also outstanding, with Karen Allen's spunky hard drinking Marion and Freeman's weasel Nazi stooge Belloq particularly hitting the heights. While on the other side of the camera and at the writing table, the trio of Spielberg, Kasdan and Lucas prove to be a meeting of classical adventure loving heart and minds, for the film is crafted with humor, energy and skill.
This is top line genre film making, where true love is proved to always last a lifetime, because, quite simply, Raiders of the Lost Ark is still the modern day template for action/adventure movies.