The Last Good Year
Although not quite the same fully centring and healing experience as AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was still another triumph for Kershner and Lucas. Indeed, the film and its music delighted fans, topping APOCALYPSE NOW in the Star Director Wars and reinstating Lucas via Kershner as the Godfather of American film and Williams and his equally stirring and memorable score as the maestro of the soundtrack. However, despite besting Coppola again, Coppola worked with Lucas to provide financing and world distribution for the allegorical and implicitly Kubrick roasting Kurosawa docufeature film KAGEMUSHA (1980), implying that the continued allegorical heroics of Solo in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK may have helped to appease Coppola. STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK also struck far into the accounting black, costing $32 million to make and earning approximately $300 million in worldwide box office receipts in its initial run. The sight of the evil Empire striking back clearly struck a dark chord with viewers at a time when the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian revolution had suddenly emerged to threaten world peace and security. Particularly with this viewer, as STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was the first film I ever saw on my own. Indeed, I celebrated turning thirteen that summer by bussing into Vancouver from North Delta on the 316 and seeing the film at the legendary Stanley Theatre with a friend also on his first film outing without a parent chaperone.
In addition, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’s story, its gritty realism, its stellar f/x and sound, and its continuing commitment to a world where education, discipline, freedom, religion, science and technology worked together re-ignited youthful J.D. Jedi geek interest in fantastic films and fiction, and also in religion and science. Indeed, the film’s stellar success helped make Carl Sagan’s COSMOS the most popular science book and tv series of all time in the fall and winter of 1980, encouraging a whole generation of cosmocenti to sway in tune with the cosmic symphony. STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK also helped send home video game sales through the roof, fuelling the success first of Atari, then Intellivision, and then Coleco. Arcade play also increased, including one new video game released on May 22, 1980 a day after the release of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRES STRIKES BACK that implicitly featured memories of the future. For the ghostbusting and insatiable Pac-Man of Namco’s PAC-MAN (1980) anticipated the frantic attempts of the Hollywood studios to fight off Landis and the three ghosts of the TZ disaster with CGI enhanced blockbuster beasts after the twilit and disastrous year of 1982.
The one sour note was the continued success of its movie tie-in merchandise, which convinced toymakers that film art and telefilm art could be turned into filmmercials and telefilmmercials to promote their Cabbage Patch Kids and Smurfs. Perhaps it was this continued movie tie-in merchandise success that also caused the august Academy to treat this stellar sequel with such disinterest. For this spectacular film was only nominated for three Academy Awards, for Best Art Direction, Original Score and Sound. And in the end, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK only took home one nominated Oscar for Sound at the Academy Award ceremony the following spring, as well as a Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects. Despite this failure to impress the august Academy, the global film public was clearly hungry for more adventures of its favourite Ozian heroes. And hungry for answers to the questions raised by the film: who was the Other? Was Darth Vader really Luke’s father? Did Tinny Luke become a full fledged J.D. Jedi on Dagobah? Would the Tin Han survive carbon freezing? Would Leia, Luke and the Rebellion finally triumph over Vader, the Emperor and the Empire? Would Lucas triumph over his incestuous Dark Side and finally end the acrimonious Star Director Wars in healing harmony? Would Han and Leia ever marry?-left an eager public forcefully demanding more (Pollock 242-4 and 308).
However, not all audience members were impressed with STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. For the film’s emphasis on the commercial side of film art combined with its spectacular special and visual effects eye and mind candy to again enrage serious film artists and audience members, convinced that Lucas had betrayed the higher artistic goals of New Hollywood yet again and reaffirmed his status as a successor to Disney. Significantly, ominous memories of the twilit future continued that year when the allegorical and implicitly Cronenberg roasting Kubrick indie docufeature artbuster THE SHINING (1980) arrived in the Temple Theatre on June 13, 1980. For Kubrick changed the number of the ghost haunted room of the Overlook Hotel to Room 237 from the Room 217 of the inspirational and allegorical King indie docufiction novel The Shining (January 1977). Another eerily prescient anticipation of the TZ disaster that made it all too ominously fitting that one week after the release of THE SHINING Landis also returned to theatres that year with Belushi, Folsey jr., Nadoolman and Henry Gibson-who had played himself in the United Appeal For The Dead sketch in KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE-on June 20, 1980 with the equally eerily and presciently twilit, allegorical, wild and erratic docufeature film THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980).
Curiously, the film implicitly continued the tradition of equally raucous, riotous, irreverent and implicit roasts of cinematic odd couples like Coppal and Lucas in FREEBIE AND THE BEAN, and De Palma and King in ROCKY by featuring the tragicomic misadventures of Elwood and Jacob “Jake” Blues-implicitly linked to David Lynch and Mel Brooks, who were collaborating on the eerily twilit and allegorical indie moving painting THE ELEPHANT MAN  at the time, and played by Akroyd and Belushi, respectively-and their film long quest to rustle up enough money to save their childhood orphanage, a raucous and riotous sight and sound that evoked the equally tragicomic friendship of Folsey jr. and Landis and their equally quixotic quest to make and succeed with films like SCHLOCK and ANIMAL HOUSE. Indeed, the sight of Jake being released from Joliet Prison in Chicago at the beginning of the film reminded us that the success of ANIMAL HOUSE had freed Landis from a lifetime of failure as well, implicitly linking Joliet Jake to Landis. At any rate, the mayhem and car crash filled film brought Lucas closer to his fateful date with the Twilight Zone, for Oz reappeared in person as a prison guard supervising the release of Jake from Joliet Prison in Chicago at the beginning of the film, thus linking Landis and THE BLUES BROTHERS to Yoda.
A fateful and rapidly approaching disastrous date with the Twilight Zone ominously affirmed by the $23.07 returned to Jake by Oz’s character, as the amount of money yet again correctly and eerily anticipated the 237 date of the TZ disaster. Eerily linking Jake to Landis all too well, and even imply ing that he was being set free from Joliet to unleash the TZ disaster on the world. An impending disaster affirmed by the fact that sixty of 120 stunt cars were destroyed over the course of the film [LaBrecque 4]. Curiously, the appearance of Fisher as the mysterious ex-girlfriend of Jake reaffirmed the link of Landis and THE BLUES BROTHERS to Lucas. As for Jim Abrahams, and David and Jerry Zucker, the writers and co-stars of KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN implicitly likened Spielberg’s failure to succeed with the erratically flying 1941 to the difficulty that the implicitly Spielberg linked ex-fighter pilot Theodore “Ted” Striker-played by Robert Hays-had in landing a passenger plane after its pilots-including Captain Clarence Oveur and co-pilot Roger Murdock, played by Peter Graves and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, respectively-became ill in the allegorical docufeature film AIRPLANE! , a film released on July 2, 1980 whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by allusions to JAWS and 1941. Then the link of Lucas to Uncle Walt was implicitly anticipated and satirized by executive producers Milius and Spielberg in the prescient and allegorical Robert Zemeckis indie docufeature film USED CARS (1980), released on July 11, 1980. For the film saw the implicitly Lucas linked Rudy Russo-played by Kurt Russell-triumph over the implicitly Disney linked and rival used car dealer Roy L. Fuchs-played by Jack Warden-the latter’s implicit link to Disney affirmed by the fact that the name and appearance of Roy L. Fuchs evoked Roy L. Disney jr., the last of the Disney clan to still be working at Disney at the time. Alas, this implicit satirical roast of Disney and Lucas was overshadowed by the fact that the location of Russo’s used car lot at 3217 New Valley Road in yet another ominous memory of the twilit and disastrous future.
Not surprisingly, a more implicitly critical response to STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK soon arrived in the Temple Theatre on August 10, 1989 in the form of the allegorical Jimmy T. Murakami indie film BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980). For the film featured a desperate Seven Space Samurai battle against the Evil and implicitly Lucas linked intergalactic tyrant Sador-pronounced “Sader” to implicitly evoke Vader, and played by Saxon-his Death Star evoking stellar converter and his space thugs in a determined but futile attempt to implicitly stop the all conquering advance of Lucas and Kershner in 1980. Significantly, while implicitly roasting Lucas, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS was better remembered today as the low budget Corman quickie that saw the first appearance of James Francis Cameron in the Temple Theatre as Art Director as on the film, making Cameron another neo-Old Hollywood film artist who learned his trade on a Corman set and in the school of life rather than from a film school like Bartel, Coppola, Dante, Nicholson and Scorsese before him. How fitting that 1980 featured heroes named Jim-even if Jim was implicitly linked to Coppola in the Canada-phobic MONSTER/HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP and Cameron-played by Steve Railsback-in the eerily and presciently twilit, allegorical and implicitly Hal Needham addressing Rush indie docufeature film THE STUNTMAN (1980)-preparing audiences for Cameron to soon return to the Temple Theatre as a full feature film artist in his own right.
Fittingly, given that THE SHINING was packing the theatres, King also reappeared in late September of 1980 with the allegorical indie docufiction novel Firestarter (1980), a novel that implicitly linked King and his literary art to the mentally Forcefull Andrew “Andy” McGee and his pyrokinetic daughter Charlene “Charlie” McGee and implied that their victories over Captain “Cap” Hollister, John “J.R.” Rainbird, Albert Steinowitz and Dr. Joe Wanless were victories over Coppola, Lucas jr., Spielberg, Landis and the rest of the New Hollywood brat pack that dared to defile his literary art with lesser cinematic facsimiles. The fact that Charlie survived her saga unlike Carrie was also significant, suggesting that the spectacular success King had experienced since Carrie had made him more confident about the survival of himself and his literary art in a cruel, cruel world.
Curiously, more twilit and eerie memories of the future appeared in Firestarter. For the allegorical Jerome Bixby short story “It’s A Good Life” (1956) that inspired the allegorical James Sheldon telefilm “It’s A Good Life” (1961) from the third season of TWILIGHT ZONE, and the equally allegorical albeit twilit Dante episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, was mentioned early in the novel. A government agent who was decapitated and another who was dismembered by whirling pieces of a barn that cut through them like out of control and snapped off helicopter propellors in the pyrokinetic inferno that Charlie ignited at the end of the novel anticipated the out of control and rotoring helicopter and deaths of Le and Morrow in the TZ disaster. A character named Ray Parks mentioned near the end of the novel also curiously anticipated the actor who would play simpering Sith apprentice Darth Maul in STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE.
Ominous memories of the twilit, disastrous and increasingly close future that were missed by many audience members-particularly young audience members-who now had an agonizingly long wait for the climatic conclusion to the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy, a long wait eased by the arrival in the Temple Theatre on December 5, 1980 of the allegorical, exuberantly campy, BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY evoking and implicitly Lucas supporting Mike Hodges romp FLASH GORDON (1980). Humourously, the film cheekily fused FLESH GORDON with STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and saw the implicitly Coppola linked Hawkman leader Prince Vultan, the implicitly Lucas linked Dr. Zharkov, and the implicitly Spielberg linked Prince Barin-played by Brian Blessed, Topol and Timothy Dalton, respectively-join the perhaps Hamill linked and fearless Flash Gordon-played by Sam L. Jones-in a resounding triumph over the implicitly Huston and Anjelica Huston linked Emperor Ming the Merciless and his sexy and exuberantly seductive daughter Princes Aura-played by Max von Sydow and Ornella Muti, respectively-in the pulse pounding end. Significantly, FLASH GORDON was one of the few films Kershner and Lucas could celebrate with in 1980, for most other young and passionate film artists blasted the rise of the new emphasis on beastly blockbuster profits and movie tie-in merchandise in the world of allegorical film art.
Significantly, more prescient anticipations of Cameron arrived early in 1981. For a Good, powerful, implicitly Reitman linked and omnisexual telepathic “scanner” leader with the Cameron anticipating name of Cameron Vale-played by Stephen Lack-who faced down and defeated Evil telepathic “scanners” led by the implicitly Nicholas Meyer linked Darryl Revok-played by Michael Ironside-appeared in the allegorical Cronenberg indie docufeature film SCANNERS (1981), released on January 14, 1981. In fact, not content to anticipate the name of Cameron, a Good scanner who resembled Cameron was also briefly seen in one scene in SCANNERS. Significantly, a week after the release of SCANNERS, Dante also kicked off 1981 with a horrific implicit roast of Lucas when he teamed up again with McCarthy, Miller, Belinda Balaski-who played a camp councillor in PIRANHA-and John Sayles-screenwriter of PIRANHA-and implicitly linked the Head Jedi to a persuasive werewolf in the form of Patrick Macnee’s Doctor George Waggner in the twilit and allegorical indie docufeature film THE HOWLING (1981), released on January 21, 1981.
Indeed, the surname of Dr. Waggner evoked the Richard Wagner evoking score that Maestro Williams composed for the Classic Trilogy to affirm his implicit link to Lucas. Dr. Waggner also operated a northern California based and Skywalker Ranch anticipating Colony that evoked the northern California haunts of Lucas to implicitly reaffirm his link to Lucas. Curiously, Dr. Waggner specialized in encouraging people to embrace their animal Dark Sides, an encouragement which transformed people into blockbuster and Wookie evoking werewolf beasts who howled away like Wolfman Jack. Significantly, since the good lycanthrope Doctor and most of his equally Wookcanthropic Colonists were killed, in the end, Dante implied that he had changed his mind since he had allowed the implicitly Lucas linked Grogan to survive PIRANHA and now believed that Lucas would be destroyed by the blockbuster STAR WARS Classic Trilogy beast and its movie tie-in merchandise. Only the shamelessly carnal and implicitly Marcia Lucas linked Marsha-played by Elisabeth Brooks-survived the closing carnage, anticipating the Great Divorce of ’83 that saw Marcia leave George after the disastrous release of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Curiously, soon after the release of SCANNERS, King also implicitly roasted Lucas in the allegorical Bachman indie docufiction novel Roadwork (March 1981).
Indeed, the righteously furious battle of Barton George Dawes against callous corporate control was implicitly linked to the equally righteously furious battle of George Walton Lucas against the corporate controlled Hollywood studios throughout the novel, an implicit allegorical intent affirmed by the novel’s allusions to AMERICAN GRAFFITI and MARIO PUZO’S THE GODFATHER. The fact that most of the novel’s other characters referred to Dawes as Bart reaffirmed his implicit link to Lucas, for it reminded us that BART was not just the acronym for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco, but also the location for some of the subway scenes shot for THX 1138. Intriguingly, the blockbuster explosion that killed Dawes and ended his anti-corporate crusade, in the end, also anticipated the blockbuster bomb that ended the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy and killed the reputation of Lucas. Last but not least, the explosive death of Dawes and the deaths of a female and male character over the course of Roadwork eerily anticipated the two males and one female killed in the explosive TZ disaster in another ominous memory of the twilit future. Soon after the release of Roadwork, Boorman also implicitly addressed Lucas in the twilit and allegorical indie docufeature film EXCALIBUR (1981), a film released on April 10, 1981 which saw the arrival of another Merlin luving Arthur in a Boorman film and was another film that eerily and presciently anticipated the twilit and divorced future of Lucas.
“In the name of God,
Saint Michael and Saint George,
I give you the right to bear arms
and the power to meet justice.”
Indeed, the implicitly Lucas linked King Arthur-played by Nigel Terry-did indeed luv his wyrd but shrewd, insightful, powerful, sorcerous and implicitly Lynch linked Merlin-played by Nicol Williamson-particularly when Merlin helped Arthur succeed in establishing a healthy, harmonious, successful and implicitly New Hollywood linked New Hollywood. But alas for King Arthur, even the power of Merlin was not enough to stop the adulterous betrayal of Arthur by the implicitly Hamill linked Lancelot and the implicitly Marcia linked Queen Guenevere-played by Nicholas Clay and Cherie Lunghi, respectively-an adulterous betrayal that again eerily anticipated Marcia’s adulterous affair with Skywalker Ranch stain glass artisan Tom Rodriguez that ended the Lucas marriage in 1983. The sad despair and ill health that Arthur descended into after the divorce that destroyed the harmony of Camelot and sent its New Hollywood film artist resembling and implicitly linked Knights of the Round Table-including Paul Geoffrey’s implicitly Murch linked, Gardevil anticipating and perseverant Perceval-searching far and wide for the Holy Grail in order to bring harmony back to Arthur and Camelot also ominously anticipated the twilit and disharmonious future soon to arrive for the divorced Lucas and the rest of New Hollywood and the desperate and Lucas led attempt to use CGI to return harmony back to audiences, film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre after the TZ disaster.
Significantly, the sight and sound of Perceval reviving Arthur with a healing drink from the Holy Grail and leading his loyal Knights of the Round Table to battle against the tall, young and blonde Mordred-played by Charley Boorman as a boy and Robert Addie as a young man, respectively-in the end, also presciently anticipated the sight and sound of Lucas rousing himself to lead Lucasfilm and ILM to battle with the equally tall, young and blonde Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment film production company with the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy in the new millenium. Thus, it was fitting that John Lucas worked on the film as an Associate Art Director and that Liam Neeson played Sir Gawain in EXCALIBUR. The sight of Knights of the Round Table implicitly linked to New Hollywood film artists desperately searching for an Oscar linked Holy Grail of film art also implicitly confirmed that MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL had indeed been an allegorical roast of New Hollywood. Curiously, in May, Robert R. McCammon implicitly likened the fact that Lucas was working with Spielberg and their cast and crew on a new film soon to be revealed as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to Vulkan, a powerful Dark Lord of Vampires, working with his grovelling and implicitly Spielberg linked lackey Benefield to take over Hollywood and L.A. with a vampire army in the eerily prescient, twilit and allegorical indie docufeature novel They Thirst (May 1981). That same month on May 22nd, Lucas and Spielberg were also implicity roasted in the equally eerily twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Peter Hyams indie docufeature film OUTLAND (1981).
Twilit, indeed, for the 2273 mile diameter of Io, the moon of Jupiter that was home to Con-Almalgamated (ConAm) mining operation 27 and the murderous and drug dealing machinations of its implitly Lucas linked head General Manager Mark B. Sheppard-played by Peter Boyle-and his implicitly Spielberg linked deputy Montone-played by James B. Sikking-reaffirmed that a whole new galaxy and world of twilit terror was fast approaching for the film artists of New Hollywood in 1982. Indeed, the fact that one of the first lines of dialogue in the film mentioned the number 23 and that a twilit trio of assassins had to be tracked down and killed in the end-evoking the equally combative end of the allegorical Fred Zinneman film HIGH NOON (1952)-by Connery’s implicitly Kubrick linked Federal District Marshall Bill O’Niel were two more eerie memories of the future to haunt OUTLAND. With its many allusions to ALIEN and SCANNERS, Hyams also implied that he was blasting Cronenberg and Sir Scott as much as Lucas and Spielberg in OUTLAND.
Indeed, the sight of the implicitly Cronenberg and Sir Scott linked Nicholas P. Spota and Russel B. Yario-played by Marc Boyle and Richard Hammat, respectively-being tracked down and defeated on Con-Am 27 by Federal District Marshall O’Neil for dealing the insidious, energy boosting, psychosis inducing and PKD anticipating amphetamine, polydichloric euthimal (PDE), for Sheppard implicitly affirmed that Hyams was also roasting Cronenberg and Sir Scott as well as Lucas and Spielberg in the film, implicitly due to the fact that all four film artists had created and hooked audiences on to addictive and violent special and visual effects enhanced films like ALIEN, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, SCANNERS and the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy-and, ironically, OUTLAND. A timely concern, for another highly addictive and violent special and visual f/x filled film created by Lucas and Spielberg arrived in the Temple Theatre on June 12, 1981 shortly after the release of OUTLAND when Lucas strangely disregarded his better convictions and the massive Star Director War that he had launched against Spielberg in the Classic Trilogy and collaborated with the insidious Emperor Palpaberg in an odd cinematic couple, indeed, and implicitly reached out to Joliet John to boot, when he took on co-executive producer duties with Kazanjian and teamed up again with Burtt, Ford, Hootkins, McQuarrie, Sheard, Williams, Lawrence Kasdan-who co-wrote the screenplay for STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK with Leigh Brackett-while Spielberg teamed up again with Kahn, Kennedy, Nadoolman and Douglas Slocombe-director of photography of the India sequence in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND-on the eerily and presciently twilit, allegorical, Ozian themed and implicitly Friedkin addressing indie docufeature film RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, a film which brought the Lucas hand picked producer Frank Wilton Marshall on the scene for the first time, thus ominously bringing together most of the major players in the TZ disaster.
“Men will kill for it. Men like you and me.”
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK began with a lone mountain rising above a steamy South American jungle in 1936-actually a jungle in Hawaii-that evoked the mysterious and forbidding jungle island of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. The lone and towering sight evoked the shark fin of JAWS as much as the equally lone and towering Devil’s Mountain in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, immediately implying that this Lucas and Spielberg collaboration would also be about confronting, vanquishing and releasing the blockbuster beast without-and within. Indeed, the opening image was literally in perfect yin/yang harmony between the Dark shadowy bulk of the mountain and the Light blue of the sky, underlining that an arduous and equally matched battle between the Dark and Light Sides was going to take place in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. The lone mountain was also a visual pun, reminding us that the surname of Spielberg meant “play mountain”.
Significantly, this lofty vista and its lush surrounding jungle also immediately evoked the lush and fecund landscape of Dagobah and Siberia in DERSU UZALA, as well as the jungle moon of Yavin, the Phillipine jungle of APOCALYPSE NOW-and anticipated the equally lush forest moon of Endor in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI-and, above all, the Central American jungle of SORCERER. The lush junglescape also evoked the fantastic garden of Munchkinland, underlining the Ozian structure of the film and preparing us for the arrival of the Hovitos, the indigenous Munchkins of this steamy Munchkinland, and a Nikko evoking emissary linked to the film’s Wicked Witch of the West figure. Indeed, the name of one of the guides of the jungle expedition we soon saw toiling beneath that lone blockbuster berg Barranca-played by Vic Tablian-began with a Nikko-like “Barra”, preparing us for the imminent arrival of another Nikko linked figure.
Significantly, “barranca” may have also been a feminine play on “barranco”, the masculine Spanish noun for precipice, preparing us for the vertiginous fall of the film’s male protagonist down the heady heights of love. The name of Barranca also evoked Coppola, an ironically appropriate link as Barranca would soon try to shoot the leader of this jungle expedition, the ragged, hat wearing and implicitly Scarecrow linked Doctor Henry “Indiana” Jones jr.-played by Ford-in the back. An ironically fitting link, indeed, for the battered leather jacket and fedora worn by Jones evoked the similar leather jacket and fedora worn by the desperate and Coppola linked driver Manzon in SORCERER, initially implying that Jones symbolized Coppola or Friedkin. The fedora of Jones and his quick draw work with the whip that snapped the gun out of the right hand of Barranca also affirmed that the Western had returned to a Lucas film.
The lush jungle of South America 1936, a fitting three years before the outbreak of World War II, given that the film was also released a year before the outbreak of the dread allegorical Zone Wars, also recalled the legendary Valley of the Vanished of a mysterious and little changed tribe of Maya in the mythical Latin American country of Hildago in the allegorical Kenneth Robeson pulp classic The Man Of Bronze (1933), the first of the super sagas about Dr. Clark Savage jr.-better known as Doc Savage-the all American, Euro-Indigenous and Protestant Superman destined to take on and thrash the German “ubermenschen”, an indomitable destiny underlined by the fact that The Man Of Bronze appeared the year the Nazis were elected to power in Germany, and inspire the creation of mild mannered extraterrestrial DAILY PLANET reporter Clark “Superman” Kent. This link to the noble Savage implied the hope of Lucas and Spielberg that Jones was an Euro-Indigenous hero, an implication further strengthened by his nickname “Indiana”-Latin for “land of the Indian”, usually shortened to “Indy”. The link to Doc Savage also prepared us for further allusions to the first Savage super saga in the Indy films. Unfortunately for the hopeful Lucas and Spielberg, however, the name of Jones ominously reaffirmed that they were still on a collision course with the Twilight Zone. For Henry Jones was an actor who played an angel named J. Hardy Hempstead who helped Orson Bean’s lovable and implicitly Serling linked eccentric James B. W. Bevis in the allegorical William Asher telefilm “Mr. Bevis” (1960) from season one of the original TWILIGHT ZONE.
Curiously, Jones was initially only seen from behind, like the masterless and wandering samurai Sanjuro at the beginning of YOJIMBO. This also linked Jones to Sanjuro from the outset, underlining that Lucas and Spielberg were out to cut down and free themselves from their favourite pet peeves in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, as Kurosawa had done when he had implicitly roasted corporate and political corruption in post-war Japan in YOJIMBO. The beginning of the film also evoked RASHOMON, a RASHOMON-like quality that quickly led us back into the troubled subconscious of Lucas, evoking the four subterranean descents of Skywalker in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Indeed, we soon found ourselves exploring a mysterious inner labyrinth that evoked the cavern home of the blockbuster manbeasts of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU in an hidden temple with Jones and his other South American guide, Satipo-a name that meant “little toad” in Spanish, evoking Toto, and played by Alfred Molina-a guide who resembled a young Landis.
Significantly, this hidden underground temple was also noticeably linked to film by a spike trap set off by a film projector evoking beam of sunlight, turning the subterranean labyrinth into a deadly underground Temple Theatre. Here Jones and Satipo encountered Forrestal, an ex- colleague of Jones who had already been mentioned by Jones before entering the hidden underground Temple Theatre, hanging dead and decomposed from the spikes. This was an important discovery, for the corpse of Forrestal reminded us that J. Forrest Ackerman, a world famous fantastic fiction and film fan in those days and editor/publisher of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine, had a cameo role as an audience member in a cinema in SCHLOCK, implicitly affirming the link of Satipo to Landis. Forrestal was also the dead Wicked Witch of the East figure whose death opened wide the gates of the healing Ozian spiritworld dream, implying that it was Jones who had to face down a wicked inner Dark Side like Skywalker and Dorothy and heal himself in this latest healing Ozian dream.
Indeed, Jones soon gave into his blockbuster lusting fortune and glory Dark Side when he stole a gold maternity idol that was the same colour as the Oscar and that finicky walking and talking Oscar, Threepio, and glowed with the same rich gold light as the magic leprechaun bowl in FINIAN’S RAINBOW from the main dais of the womb-like hidden Temple Theatre. Not surprisingly, and in another omen of the impending TZ disaster, taking the idol destroyed the harmony in the subterranean Temple Theatre, causing it to collapse in fury on Jones and Satipo, a raucous collapse that reminded us that harmony in the Temple Theatre had been destroyed by the equally raucous mayhem of THE EXORCIST, SCHLOCK, SORCERER, ANIMAL HOUSE, CRUISING and THE BLUES BROTHERS. Significantly, as the idol was a maternity idol, the theft of the female idol was on one level a symbolic rape of the Temple Theatre, preparing us for Indy’s unsavoury history with an old flame and the outraged female Forces that exploded in full throttle fury at the end of the film.
Of course, this furious collapse also evoked the furious rejection of 1941 by audiences two years earlier, a rejection that destroyed the magical and healing nature of the hidden away from the world Temple Theatre for Spielberg. Indeed, the collapse of this Temple Theatre so soon after the audacious actions of Jones implicitly affirmed that Spielberg was all too aware that the audacious and frenetic action of 1941 caused viewer faith in him to collapse. And that maternal women had been most offended by 1941, as mothers and wives often chose films for families and significant others. Thus, the destruction of this hidden Temple Theatre not only destroyed the brash and calculating confidence of Jones and sent his universe into disharmony, but also implicitly symbolized the destruction of Spielberg’s confidence and the disharmony in his own life after the failure of 1941, implying that on one level, the film was also coming to grips with the Dark Side of Spielberg. As such, Jones’ determined efforts to defeat Dark Sides and wicked baddies and return harmony and virility to his life over the course of the film implicitly symbolized Spielberg’s own efforts to defeat the Dark Side that created 1941, and return harmony and virility to his own life with another successful film.
Interestingly, the frantic escape of Jones and Satipo from the hidden Temple Theatre also recalled the frantic escape of Skywalker from the Kid Wampa’s lair at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, implying that Lucas was also still trying to exorcise his Dark Side in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Indeed, a monstrous grey boulder that evoked Gor and the Death Moon and prepared us for the Deathly Moon soon chased Jones out of the Temple Theatre after Satipo foolishly fell prey to the film spike trap, returning insidious sexual Evil to the films of Lucas and preparing us for their sniggering return in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. A fitting reminder of Gor, as the subterranean passages of the Temple Theatre evoked the cave and tunnel created in Mystery Mountain by Gor’s crashed spaceship in THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS. This link to evil and alienated aroused brains and Dr. March also set us up for Jones to be revealed not as a tomb robber but as a Doctor of Archaeology.
This link also affirmed that Dr. Jones had symbolically raped the hidden Temple Theatre when he stole the maternity idol, for it evoked Dr. March’s brutish manhandling of Sally when under the mind control of Gor in THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS-and set us up for the revelation that Dr. Jones had also brutishly manhandled a soon to be met young woman in their past. The link to THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS also reminded us that March was saved by George the luving and Vol controlled dog in the end, a link to luving dogs heard in the nickname Indiana, the name of a favourite dog of Lucas at the time. Clearly, there was hope that luv would triumph in the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, as luv had triumphed at the end of THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS-with a little dogged determination!
This sexually diseased nature was confirmed when Jones escaped from the Gor boulder and the collapsing Temple Theatre of Doom, only to be captured by the pesky French archaeologist Rene Belloq-played by Paul Freeman-a vainglorious and Evil archeaological nemesis with a Nikko cadenced and evoking surname and an undisguised lust for blockbuster fortune and glory. Significantly, while Rene Belloq resembled the murderous Ken Franklin in COLUMBO: “Murder By The Book”, his names evoked Keith Carradine’s perhaps Lucas linked E.J. Bellocq, the impotent portrait photographer of New Orleans prostitutes in PRETTY BABY, implying not only that Belloq also suffered from impotence, but was linked to Malle. Curiously, the implicit link of Belloq to Malle also linked Lucas to incest again, for the allegorical Malle docufeature film MURMURS OF THE HEART (1971), climaxed with an incestuous encounter between a drunken mother and her son.
The allusion to Bellocq also evoked the impotence problems suffered by Lando, Skywalker, Solo and Vader in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, implying that Lucas was still uncertain whether he would succeed as a J.D. Jedi film artist. A fitting evocation, as Jones was soon rendered as impotent as Belloq, Murakami, Skywalker, Slide and Solo when he was forced to hand over both his gun and the gold Oscar idol of blockbuster fortune and glory to Belloq. This stripped him of success and potency, underlining that Jones, Lucas, Malle and Spielberg needed to work hard over the course of the film to defeat their Dark Sides, please viewers, and bring harmony, success and virility back to their lives.
Significantly, when Jones fled Belloq like a Cowardly Lion and ran frantically through the jungle like Braddock frantically ran through the jungle of that mysterious isle from the blockbuster manbeasts of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, a pilot named Jock-played by Fred Sorenson-saved the leonine hero from being killed by the pursuing indigenous Hovitokins by flying Jones to safety in his float plane. Unfortunately, the plane also linked Jones to the rotoring propellors of flying machines for the twilit first, but not the last time, in the film. Jock also reaffirmed the impotence problem of Jones-or was that just the problem Jones had with snake people?-when his pet boa constrictor with the Nikko cadenced name, Reggie, appeared in the passenger seat of the plane and terrified Jones. Curiously, this plane rescue evoked Henderson’s Magic Carpet Airline ride to that Eastern college and adventure at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI. A fitting link to that Magic Carpet ride, for Jock’s plane rescue did lead to Henderson’s mysterious Eastern college after the James Bond-like prologue adventure, where we discovered that the raggedy and Cowardly Scarecrow Jones was indeed actually a dapper and esteemed doctor like March and Great Oz professor of Archaeology, continuing the transformation from one Ozian character to another and the Journey of Self Discovery in a Lucas film.
The scholarly transformation of Jones reinforced his link to Dr. March, and evoked university trained shark expert Matt Hooper in JAWS, preparing us for more Kid monsters and alienated brains rising up from the depths. Indeed, pretty young girls in the classroom of Dr. Jones were seen stirring up those depths by flirting with him, recalling the knowing Mr. Wolfe and Wolfman Jack in AMERICAN GRAFFITI. While amusing and vaguely sinister, this was actually a significant moment, for it was the first time in a Lucas film that a cinematic alter ego was openly linked to post-secondary school success. This implicitly affirmed that Lucas had indeed reassessed his USC years, and was now firmly committed to post-secondary education after the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Indeed, gone forever were the uncertain Curt Hendersons, lonely Dagobah Lukes and dismissive Uncle Owens who doubted the value of post-secondary education in his film art. From now on Lucas was imbued with full throttle support for post-secondary education in his major film art, preparing us for the arrival of Luke as a fully trained J.D. Jedi in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, and for the Jedi Temple and its indomitable twelve member council of Jedi in the Tragic Trilogy.
Significantly, the possibility that Jones was actually linked to Friedkin rather than Coppola was increased by the arrival of Doctor Marcus Brody-played by Denholm Elliot-an older colleague of Jones whose name evoked the implicitly Friedkin linked Amity Island police chief Martin Brody in JAWS in another link to that film that reiterated that the blockbuster beast within and without would also be faced down in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Dr. Brody soon introduced Dr. Jones and the audience to two tragicomic and Laurel and Hardy and Pinto and Flounder evoking US government agents Major Eaton and Colonel Musgrave-played by Hootkins and Don Fellows, respectively-who returned the Comedy narrative to a Lucas film. The humourous conversation with Eaton and Musgrove also reiterated the implication that Indy symbolized Friedkin, for at one point Eaton mentioned that Indy had studied under Abner Ravenwood at the University of Chicago, a revelation that reminded us that Friedkin was born and initially raised in Chicago.
Of course, the two tragicomic agents also evoked Artoo and Threepio, and confirmed the link by sending Jones off on a quest to Egypt to discover the lost Ark of the Covenant, just like Artoo and Threepio sent Luke on a quest to find Ben and his Ark of the Covenant linked axe-saber in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. As the meeting with Ben led to a desperate quest to rescue Leia, it was fitting that the first stop on the Ark quest was a trip by Jones on another ominously twilit and propeller rotoring flying machine to get the headpiece of the staff of Ra from an old flame and new Dorothy named Marion Ravenwood-played by Karen Allen-in her boisterous and raucous cantina in Nepal. Here we found her winning a bet by drinking a male patron under the table who evoked one of the more gleefully and unabashedly insidious and salacious male patrons of the New Orleans brothel in PRETTY BABY.
Significantly, the appearance of Allen as Ravenwood reminded us that Allen had just played Nancy, the girlfriend of undercover NYPD Officer Burns in CRUISING only the year before, reaffirming the implication that Jones was linked to Friedkin. Curiously, however, seeing Maid Marion in her Western evoking cantina also reminded us that Allen’s Katy was first met tending bar at Delta House in ANIMAL HOUSE, implicitly linking the film again to Landis. Indeed, Marion’s Christian name evoked Verna Bloom’s Mrs. Marion Wormer, wife of Dean Vernon Wormer in ANIMAL HOUSE, reaffirming the film’s link to Landis. Marion’s name also reminded us that the name of Deborah Nadoolman, the wife of Landis and the Costume Designer of the film, had the same syllable cadence as Marion Ravenwood. Thus, given the implicit link of Jones to Friedkin and the implicit link of Ravenwood to Landis, Lucas and Spielberg implied that Friedkin and Landis were made for each other, perhaps due to the fact that both film artists were notorious for dangerous film sets. For not surprisingly, this visit to an old flame in a cantina in Nepal also brought both the Western and the passionate Romance back to a Lucas film. Indeed, the visit to Marion’s cantina also recalled Solo’s trip to Cloud City to enlist the aid of Calrissian in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, preparing us for more swelling Han and Leia evoking luv between Indy and Maid Marion and embattled tumult amidst the Atlanta evoking flames here in Nepal, and in the trimax of the Classic Trilogy to come.
Significantly, the fact that Maid Marion was the daughter of the Anakin Skywalker evoking deceased archaeological mentor Abner Ravenwood confirmed that Lucas was continuing his Classic Trilogy themes in this new full throttle film. Marion even had a major domo named Mohan-played by Anthony Chinn-whose name evoked Han, Lando and Lobot, confirming the film’s link to STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, her links to Leia and Dorothy, and her cantina’s link to Cloud City. Mohan also recalled An Loc in MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI, evoking the film long quarrel between Steve and Laurie in that film, and setting us up for another film long battle between Henry and Marion here. Indeed, the sight of Jones dangling from the side of a pit in the South American hidden Temple Theatre at the beginning of the film had evoked the police officer-perhaps played by Fred Graham-hanging from the roof of a building at the end of the rooftop chase at the beginning of VERTIGO, preparing us for Jones being afraid to fall down the vertiginous heights of love here in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
The sight of the Gor boulder chasing Jones out of the Temple Theatre after its implicit rape and its evocation of Dr. March and Sally had also set us up for these uneasy relations between Henry and Marion. Jock’s pet boa constrictor, a snake with the Nikko-cadenced name of Reggie, that terrified Jones on the magic carpet ride back to that Eastern college, had also confirmed a fear of the vertiginous heights of love on the part of the good doctor. Indeed, this fear of a phallic snake in the South American Garden of Eden reaffirmed that Jones suffered from the same impotence problem implicitly suffered by Belloq-and Lando, Skywalker, the Tin Han and Vader in film and Friedkin, Lucas, Malle and Spielberg in life. Clearly, sexual disease troubled another Lucas film, reminding us that after years of marriage, Lucas curiously did not have any children.
Indeed, Marion quickly revealed that, like Sally of THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS, she had been sexually used by the brutish Doctor Jones in a more naïve past, and as a result she refused to confirm whether she still had the headpiece to the staff of Ra when questioned by Jones. The headpiece turned out to again be as solid gold as an Oscar statuette, Threepio or the maternity idol in the hidden Temple Theatre, confirming that a symbolic rape had in fact occurred in that hidden Temple Theatre. This symbolic rape turned the scene at Ben’s desert sanctuary on its head, preventing Indiana Skywalker from acquiring the Light of the Covenant saber linked headpiece. However, this refusal did turn Marion into another Kenobi guardian of the Judea-Christian Force, preparing us again for the explosion of righteously furious female Force at the end of the film.
Some of the bitterness in the past of Jones and Ravenwood was assuaged by a Western brawl in the cantina with some brutish thugs led by Ronald Lacey’s black clad, Schlondorff resembling and implicitly linked and Wicked Hitler serving Nikko, Major Arnold Toht-a first name that evoked the first name of the father of Spielberg, and a surname that evoked Hoth, Toto and tot, the German word for death-a tension relieving brawl that united the two ex-lovers. Indeed, the boisterous brawl led to the torching of Marion’s Cantina, evoking the torching of Atlanta in GONE WITH THE WIND again, as well as the saber swinging and blasterslinging dustups in Mel’s Cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and the brawl in a Western bar in MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI. The sight of Toht menacing Marion with a flaming fire poker prior to her rescue by Jones and the beginning of the brawl also recalled a similar scene in RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE, a nice nod to Kershner that definitely linked the film to STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in classic Lucas fashion.
Luckily for maid Marion, her grave robbing hood had by the time of the eruption of the brawl been linked to all four of the personified and healing Ozian elements, from ragged, hat wearing and Earth linked Scarecrow, cowardly and Fiery leonine escaper of hidden underground Temple Theatres, Airy and garrulous Great Oz scholar and impotent, inner Water frozen, and headpiece of staff of Ra-less Tin Man. This healing and harmonizing conjunction allowed him to rise to the challenge and defeat the baddies like a human Fifth Element. And to help transport Maid Marion to another world, for the fiery inferno that destroyed her tavern was the Kansas twister that encouraged this new Dorothy to leave Kansas and let herself be carried away by magic carpet airplane with Jones for a healing, harmonizing and romantic adventure in Cairo in the fantastic Ozian land of Egypt, a city that evoked the Middle Eastern prologue of THE EXORCIST to reaffirm the implicit link of Jones to Friedkin.
Here in the labyrinthine new Emerald City of Cairo-noticeably lacking in Cairo landmarks as the Cairo scenes were actually filmed in Sidi Bouhlel in Tozeur, Tunisia-the two reluctant lovers met the burly, bearded and Kubrick resembling and implicitly linked Sallah-played by John Rhys-Davies-the genial and true implicit Cowardly Lion of the piece, whose Fiery presence confirmed that the healing Ozian dream continued on touchdown in Egypt. Curiously, Sallah also looked like Grot, the head foreman of the underground workers in METROPOLIS, a link that reiterated that RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was about defeating the Dark Rotwang Side of directors. Last but not least, Sallah’s children evoked not only the children saved by Freder and Josaphat from the rising waters at the end of METROPOLIS, but were the new Munchkins of the film, reiterating that elemental and healing Ozian Force was flowing in Egypt. However, Sallah’s comment to Jones that the Nazi Tanis dig supervised by Belloq made it seem “…as if the Pharoahs had returned” also evoked the Pharaohs of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, warning of adolescent perils and gangsta directos in the labyrinthine streets of bright lights, big Emerald Cairo City that had to be avoided if Jones and Marion hoped to escape the healing dream as whole and healthy adults like Curt and Laurie at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
Significantly Sallah affirmed his commitment to the healing Ozian dream by bringing Jones to Imam-played by “King” Tutte Lemkow-a genial and Kenobi and Yoda evoking scholar who was the male Glinda of the film and the obligatory wise and knowing Old Man of all good Westerns. In true Glinda the Good fashion, Imam successfully translated the inscriptions on the gold headpiece of the staff of Ra, allowing Jones and Sallah to discover the true resting place of the Lost Ark rather than Belloq, Toht and the rest of the Germans. Sallah also saved the life of Jones at the house of Imam by catching in mid-air a poisoned date that Indy was about to eat in celebration, after noticing that another poisoned date had killed the film’s surrogate and real life flying monkey, a rhesus monkey that had grown fond of Jones. This rescue confirmed Sallah’s good and healing Ozian nature, a goodness that reminded us that Sallah’s name evoked Allah.
Unfortunately, however, a helicopter rotor evoking ceiling fan in Imam’s hermetic abode constantly rotored above this scene and gave it an eerily and ominously twilit cadence that darkened its celebratory nature. Indeed, the shadow of the ceiling fan rotoring over the lifeless body of the monkey, and even worse the sight of the motionless body of the monkey seen through the rotoring blades from above, eerily anticipated the deaths of Chen and Le in the upcoming disaster. This was the second time in the film that a ceiling fan had rotored ominously over the Landis linked Indy, for one had also rotored above Jones and Belloq only moments before during a tense conversation the two had had about the Ark in the Marhala Bar. This eerily and ominously twilit ambience overshadowed Jones and Sallah and their success in using the correct translation on the headpiece of the staff of Ra in another underground Temple Theatre called the map room in Tanis, the second Skywalker-like descent into the subconscious for Indy in the film.
Significantly, the theatrical nature of the film’s underground Temple Theatres was reaffirmed here, for as in the first underground Temple Theatre that kicked off the film, film projector evoking sunlight yet again shone into this new subterranean Temple Theatre. Soon it burst out of the celluloid frame evoking Light of the Covenant headpiece on top of the staff of Ra in a seering beam that pointed the way to the location of the Ark of the Covenant at the Well of Souls, and to the power of the Judea-Christian Force, on a movie-like miniature of Tanis on the floor of this second hidden Temple Theatre. This was a mystic and spiritual scene that confirmed the sanctity of the Temple Theatre to Lucas and Spielberg, and their commitment to the healing and spiritual nature of film art. With the emphasis on film art, as the scene evoked a similar scene involving a headpiece owned by the adamant Commander Adama in an underground room of an ancient temple in the allegorical Nyby II telefilm “The Lost Planet of the Gods” (1978) in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.
However, and ominously, the seering projector beam also reminded us of the destructive beams that blazed out of the Gor controlled Steve March and the Death Moon, preparing us for the awesome and deadly cinematic power of the Ark and the outrage released by the TZ disaster. A link to death that already haunted Jones before Imam translated the head piece, for he was led to believe earlier by Belloq and the duplicitous Germans-including Wolf Kahler’s perhaps Herzog linked “Marlene” Dietrich-that Maid Marion was killed in an explosive truck crash, the latest life changing crash in the film art of Lucas. Thus, it was no wonder Jones looked so grim when he and Sallah led a hidden in broad daylight dig at the real location of the Well of Souls, fittingly taking place above the massive Ark excavation headed by the blockbuster fortune and glory lusting Belloq. Luckily, however with the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion empowering the diggers with their healing elemental energy, the two elemental Ozian companions and their exuberant Egyptian crew soon broke into the Well of Souls, the third subconscious descent into an underground Temple Theatre for Jones, and discovered the legendary Ark of the Covenant in a scene that evoked a similar scene involving Commander Adama and Captain Apollo in that subterranean room of the ancient temple in “The Lost Planet of the Gods.”
Significantly, the Ark was in a chest that was as gold as Threepio and the Oscar statuette. This linked the Ark not to the humble space seafaring chest Ben kept Anakin Skywalker’s axesaber in for Luke in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, but to the gold idol and headpiece of the staff of Ra that we had already seen in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. This implied that another rapacious assault occurred when the Ark was taken from the Well of Souls, a rapacious assault that was implicitly affirmed by the fact that the scenes showing Indy and Sallah discovering the Ark and encasing it for transportation in a crate were intercut with scenes of Belloq trying to seduce Maid Marion, with Toht arriving to implicitly threaten them both with physical and sexual torture. Luckily for Belloq and Marion, however, Marion was instead soon thrown down into the Well of Souls and into the strong arms of Jones by the wicked and black clad Toht after Sallah and the Ark were hoisted out of this third hidden Temple Theatre. Significantly, this scene underlined that Spielberg used RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to atone for 1941, for it reminded us that the latter film’s implicitly Dorothy linked heroine, Betty Douglas, was unceremoniously dropped into a hole with no one to catch her by that implicitly Spielberg and Nikko linked cad Sitarski at the beginning of 1941. Clearly, that previously caddish drop was being annulled by Spielberg with Indiana’s careful catch of Maid Marion in this more healing Ozian adventure. As Toht was doing the dropping this time, the drop also implicitly affirmed that the black clad Toht was the subservient Nikko to the Wicked Hitler in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, for Sitarski was the implicit Nikko of 1941. Of course, Toht’s link to Sitarski and his capture of the Ark for the Wicked Hitler also linked the Ark to the wild and adolescent mayhem of 1941, preparing us for the equally wild and adolescent mayhem that exploded out of the Ark at the end the film.
The rapacious nature of this latest hidden Temple Theatre assault was also underlined by the phallic snakes that menaced the trapped Adam and Eve pair of Jones and Ravenwood down in the Temple Theatre of Souls. Similar poisonous snakes menaced Doc Savage’s archaeologist aide Johnny when he was almost thrown down a sacrificial well in the Valley of the Vanished in first Savage super saga, reiterating the link of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to The Man Of Bronze. However, the snakes also recalled the dianoga of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, suggesting that Jones was being rejuvenated with their phallic energy like Skywalker in the garbage compactor. Indeed, the Good Doctor quickly broke Marion and himself free from the Well of Souls, and then resolved to prevent Belloq and the impious Nazis from flying the Ark to Berlin, reiterating that phallic mojo was imparted to him by the snakes of the Well of Souls as it had been imparted to Skywalker by the dianoga in the garbage compactor of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
However, the liberation of the Ark did not come easy. For it necessitated a bitter fist fight on the tarmac of a small airfield with a huge and belligerent bald Nazi-played by Pat Roach, back again for another fist fight with another character as in BARRY LYNDON-while dodging the parked but out of control and slowly revolving plane that was being readied to fly the Ark to Berlin as the airfield tarmac was being just as slowly flooded with gasoline from leaking gas drums. Ominously, the out of control prop plane eventually sliced the huge bald German to death with one of its propellers, again eerily foreshadowing the TZ disaster. This airplane sequence also underlined the differences between the two film artists, with the Magic Carpet airplane leading to adventurous new lands of Lucas morphing into the impersonal instrument of Hitchcock evoking death and terro of Spielberg. Indeed, the gushing gasoline evoked the gushing gasoline that led to gas stations blowing up in 1941 and THE BIRDS. Thus, it was no surprise that the airfield soon blew up, taking the plane with it.
Unfortunately for Indy, Marion and Sallah, the nasty Nutzis still managed to retain control of the Ark, leading to an embattled, full throttle and stunt filled sequence involving a large and indomitable German army supply truck transporting the Ark to Cairo that evoked the equally unstoppable and implicitly Warner Brothers linked truck that barred the way of Lucas in DUEL, and also recalled the two supply trucks carrying explosives that were driven by the four desperate and implicitly Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg and Szigmund linked drivers in SORCERER even more, implying that this segment of the film was a righteously furious, two fisted and pedal to the metal reply by Lucas and Spielberg to that film and affirming that RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was, most of all, a reply to SORCERER. Ominously, with a front license plate of WB 1204, the supply truck also anticipated the desperate battle to leave behind the Warner Brothers linked TZ disaster and blast film art free from the number 23 in the dread and allegorical Zone Wars after 1982.
Luckily for the heroes, the truck chase ended in triumph for Jones in Cairo. Here Sallah helped Jones and Ravenwood escape with the Ark by boat from Egypt. This boat, the Bantu Wind, its black African crew, and its Captain Katanga-played by George Harris-confirmed that J.D. confidence and virility had returned to Lucas and Spielberg. For they evoked Lando, the Pharaohs, SRT and the forceful Afro mojo that all heroes must have if they were to truly succeed in the life and film art of Lucas. Unfortunately, the J.D. Jedi ship was stopped and boarded by a German submarine commanded by Belloq and his Nazi “friends”. This German submarine evoked the Japanese submarine that triumphed over Hollywood and Kelso at the end of 1941, reaffirming that Spielberg was taking on his 1941 Dark Side in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. This link to 1941 was also confirmed by the fact that Ravenwood and the Ark were captured and carried off in the submarine like Kelso, emphasizing that the film career of Spielberg had been hijacked by the wayward adolescent mayhem of 1941. This time, however, Jones escaped capture, and rode the submarine’s phallically raised and dianoga/penisaurus evoking periscope to a mysterious and Dr. Moreau evoking desert island nearby like the naked female blonde swimmer who rode the periscope at the beginning of 1941.
After arrival on that nearby and mysterious Mediterranean island not far from Egypt in a sequence that evoked the end of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, Belloq revealed himself to be a grandiose character with Dark Great Oz directorial pretensions, indeed. For he donned a Professor Marvel evoking headdress and tried to see visions in the opened Ark of the Covenant in an open air and nighttime religious ceremony that recalled the encounters with extraterrestrials at the Devil’s Tower end of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. However, and unfortunately for the grandiose and blockbuster fortune, glory and power lusting Belloq, all the opened Ark revealed was sand, sand that reiterated the meaninglessness of striving for directorial “fortune and glory.” The quasi-religious ceremony also recalled Jones’ symbolic rape of the hidden Temple Theatre at the beginning of the film, implying that we had arrived at the fourth and final Temple Theatre of the film. This link also prepared us for another furious attack on the violators of this latest Temple Theatre as at the beginning of the film, bringing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK full circle.
And this righteous fury duly arrived in the form of vengeful female ghosts that reminded us that all forms of art were seen as female-including film art-and evoked the maternal nature of the first Temple Theatre with its maternity idol at the beginning of the film, the feisty and indomitable Princess Leia and female 3D holograms of the Classic Trilogy and THX 1138, the Mother television ship at the end of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, and anticipated the arrival of equally furious and vengeful female film artists in the Temple Theatre starting in 1982 and their prominent role in the dread allegorical Zone Wars. These vengeful female art spirits fed on the Great Belloq’s delusions of cinematic grandeur and blew up his aroused and egotistically swollen directorial head like the Death Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, implicitly destroying Malle and PRETTY BABY, evoking a similar headburst in SCANNERS the year before, and anticipating the destruction of the partially rebuilt Deathly Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI.
The outraged female spirits of film art also fittingly melted the face of the black clad Toht in a way that evoked the melting Wicked Witch of the West at the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ to confirm his Wicked Hitler Witch of the West linked status-and so Schlondorff implicitly melted away, and whatever films he had made that had aroused the righteous fury of Lucas and Spielberg. The righteously furious art spirits also crushed the face of the implicitly Herzog linked Dietrich, probably due to the fact that Herzog had implicitly roasted Lucas over the course of the Seventies in such allegorical indie docufeature films as NOSFERATU (1979). These vengeful Ark Side spirits also annihilated the impious Nutzis with death ray-like beams of energy, evoking THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS and SCANNERS again, and destroying anyone who had dared to write off Spielberg after 1941. The film cameras that the impious Nazis used to record the event were also destroyed, underlining that the Dark Side of film artists and their twisted “film art” were being destroyed at the end of the film.
Clearly, the wronged, righteously furious and full Force throttle feminine fury within Ravenwood and the film’s four hidden Temple Theatres had finally emerged in this Forcefully fourth open air Temple Theatre, righting sexual wrongs and bringing harmony back to the hidden Temple Theatres and the universe of Jones and Ravenwood, at last. This point was underlined by the fact that Jones and Ravenwood were tied to a phallic wooden pole together while the Sodom and Gomorrah-like destruction of Belloq and the Nazis raged behind them. This wooden pole also implicitly affirmed the Scarecrow status of Jones and implied that virility had returned to him with the destruction of his Dark Side. Curiously, the desert location of the ceremony and the fact that the scene was also filmed, like all of the Egyptian scenes, in Tunisia also evoked the Tunisian locations for Tatooine in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, preparing us for the righteously furious destruction of the equally grandiose and insidious Jabba and his diseased entourage on Tatooine in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI.
And so, given that they were the only survivors of this artpocalypse, Jones and Ravenwood and implicitly Friedkin and Landis had faith in God and each other and this fearful and luving faith liberated them from sexually diseased directorial Dark Sides in a way that confirmed the triumphant return of the Journey of Self Discovery and the Romance in the films of Lucas, and anticipated the equally healing, transforming and luving endings of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE and STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. And so 1941, Belloq, Dietrich and Toht, and implicitly Malle, Herzog and Schlondorff and the impious flying monkey Nazi critics were wiped out by the righteous and vengeful female art spirits. And so the Ark rose up into the air on a cyclone of power after the sacred vessel annihilated its foes like the Mother television ship at the end of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and then crashed down onto the ground again like Dorothy’s house to affirm that we had just experienced another healing and Ozian themed Lucas film-an ending that yet again, unfortunately, also ominously anticipated the crashing helicopter of the TZ disaster. And so the ending healed and harmonized heroes and audiences, allowing everyone to leave the healing spiritworld dream as whole and harmonious adults as at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, THE WIZARD OF OZ and THX 1138.
And so Dorothy and her Scarecrow hunk and Sally and her Dr. March finally fell down the vertiginous heights of love and walked off hand and hand, in the end. Significantly, Marion and Henry were noticeably minus the Crate Ark, taken from them and hidden away in a government warehouse for safekeeping by the Laurel and Hardy evoking pair of Musgrove and Eaton in a way that made it gently but firmly-and ominously and presciently-clear that Lucas and Spielberg still all too presciently believed that Friedkin and Landis had not fully come to grips with their raucous adolescent Ark Sides and still needed some maturing and seasoning before they became true J. D. Jedi film artists. And so this disappointing, sobering and tragicomic but romantic ending successfully wrapped up the Comedy, Journey of Self Discovery, Romance and Western narratives of the film and anticipated the romantic triumph of the implicitly Dorothy linked Leia and the implicitly Scarecrow linked Han at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. And so Lucas and Spielberg defeated their Dark Sides and fears in a triumphant new film that proved that they could be more Hollywood than Hollywood. And lost in their healing Ozian triumph, Lucas and Spielberg missed all the ominous and prescient memories of the twilit and disastrous future in the allegorical fiction and films of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties including, ironically, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, the forlorn future memories that had acted as signposts at the side of the Yellow Lined Road and warned of a detour up ahead into a land where sweet dreams turned into bitter nightmares, a shadowy land midway between light and darkness called…the Twilight Zone.