Movie-A-Day #422: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Chaplin

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I hate for this to die in only it's third week. Not sure why BIM has decided not to do it. If anybody is on the list but can't do it, please let us know.

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Cast:
Harrison Ford - Indiana Jones
Kate Capshaw - Willie Scott
Amrish Puri - Mola Ram
Roshan Seth - Chattar Lal
Ke Huy Quan - Short Round

Critics Review:
Bigger, busier, louder, and far less satisfying than Raiders of the Lost Ark, this first sequel (or, chronologically speaking, prequel) starts with a bang but then indulges in some serious miscalculations. After saddling Harrison Ford with a whiny love interest (Kate Capshaw) and a cloying young sidekick, the film then plunges them all into a grim, subterranean adventure with few of the globe-trotting thrills of the original. The movie, somewhat understandably, stirred controversy at the time of its release for its violence, gross-out gags, and general darkness. While the furor was exaggerated, all those grim deaths and enslaved children do kind of put a damper on the fun. Even so, a Spielberg-directed adventure can only plunge so far, and the director delivers the goods in numerous set pieces, though the series itself did not recover until 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. ~ Keith Phipps, Rovi

My Review:
Let's face it - this sequel is nowhere near as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark, and you'll likely never find someone who thinks otherwise. But if you avoid comparing to the original film, this movie is as good a roller-coaster ride as you'll see.

Today, the movie is relatively tame, but back in 1984, it was a little over-the-top with it's violence and gore. And it famously led to the institution of the notorious PG-13 rating, which today means next to nothing.

But the adventure is still engrossing and Harrison Ford is his usual spectacular self. Sure, Kate Capshaw (later Mrs. Speilberg) is annoying as all hell, but Ke Huy Quan more than makes up for it as Short Round. Set piece after set piece are a total blast, from the opening Shanghai nightclub fracas to the Thuggee ceremony to the infamous mine cart chase, there are only a few areas where you can actually catch your breath. Also, a bit of trivia, in the beginning when they get on the plane to leave Shanghai, there is a white man with a clipboard that recognizes Willie and asks if she actually is Willie. That man is Dan Ackroyd.

It's no Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it certainly is entertaining, and isn't that what you want an Indiana Jones movie to be? Heck, now that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been made, Temple of Doom thankfully is no longer the "worst" of the Indy movies. :D

Trivia:
Sharon Stone was one of the top choices for the role of Willie Scott before Kate Capshaw auditioned.

Shots of mining-car roller-coaster ride were done with models and a 35mm camera modified to hold extra film.

The rope bridge used during the final fight scene was actually suspended up a couple of hundred feet across a gorge on location in Sri Lanka. Acrophobic Steven Spielberg would never walk over it, and had to drive a mile and a half to reach the other side. Harrison Ford on the other hand had no such fear, and would run across it at full speed.

Cameo: [George Lucas] a missionary in the background in the airport scene at the beginning.

Cameo: [Frank Marshall] a tourist in the background in the airport scene at the beginning.

An early draft of the script for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) had Indy traveling to Shanghai to recover a piece of the Staff of Ra. During his escape from the museum where it was housed, he sheltered from machine gun fire behind a giant rolling gong. The same script also featured Indy and Marion fleeing destruction in a mine-cart chase. Both of these scenes were cut from that script, but resurface in this movie.

The first film to use THX's Theatre Alignment Program, which ensures that cinemas showing the film meet stringent technical and presentation standards.

For the DVD release, over 970,000 frames were cleaned up by Lowry Digital Images, the same company that cleaned up Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), North by Northwest (1959) and Sunset Blvd. (1950) for DVD.

Lawrence Kasdan was unavailable as he was working on The Big Chill (1983), so George Lucas drafted in Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz who had previously penned American Graffiti (1973) for him. Lucas deliberately wanted to go with something with a darker tone as this had served him well with Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

The film's original title was "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death" which was changed because it sounded too foreboding. It was retained as the film's German title ("Indiana Jones und der Tempel des Todes").

Although it's never mentioned in the film, Willie's full name is Wilhelmina.

This was Kate Capshaw's second theatrical film.

Kate Capshaw's dress in the Shanghai club was completely made of 1920's and 1930's original beads. This meant that there was only enough to make one dress. The opening dance number was actually the last scene to be shot, but the dress did feature in some earlier location shots in Sri Lanka, in particular, a night-time one with Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw sitting by a campfire, with the dress drying on a nearby tree. Unfortunately an elephant had started to eat the entire back of the dress, which was saved just in time. Consequently, some emergency repair work had to be done with what remained of the original beads, and it was costume designer Anthony Powell who had to fill in the insurance forms. As to the reason for damage, he had no option but to put "dress eaten by elephant".

The "giant vampire bats" that are shown in the movie were actually fruit bats; vampire bats are a lot smaller.

For the bug chamber sequence, Kate Capshaw was covered with over 2,000 bugs.

Most of the cavernous mine where the mine cart chase takes place is miniature, with the walls made of painted aluminium foil.

Kate Capshaw was thrilled at the opportunity of singing and dancing in the opening musical number, but the reality was her dress was so tight, there was very little movement she could attempt without ripping it.

Kate Capshaw had to be taught how to scream.

An open casting call was put out to all the elementary schools to find a young Asian actor to play Short Round. Jonathan Ke Quan arrived with his brother, not to audition, but merely to provide moral support. He caught the casting director's attention because he spent the entire time of his brother's audition telling him what to do and what not to do.

Harrison Ford herniated his back in the scene where he is attacked in his bedroom by a Thuggee assassin. Production had to shut down for Ford to be flown to Los Angeles to have an operation. A huge majority of Ford's work in the fights and chases in the Temple of Doom are actually stuntman Vic Armstrong.

Kate Capshaw incurred a black eye in the runaway mine cart sequence. The next day when she reported to work, everybody else on the set was wearing a black smudge under their eye.

The huge mineshaft was a circular construction around the largest soundstage. To make it look different, they just altered the lighting every time the carts completed a loop.

The production was highly fortunate in their main location in the town of Kandy in Sri Lanka as nearby a British engineering company was building a dam. When it came time for the film crew to shoot on a suspension bridge over a gorge, the British engineers were able to design and build one for them very quickly.

14 dummies fall off the bridge when it is cut. Batteries inside them operate their leg and arm movements to make it look like they're really kicking and flailing.

All of the scenes involving the long rope bridge were filmed on three different continents. The entire bridge itself was built on location in Sri Lanka, and the scenes where Indy cuts the bridge were filmed there also. The scenes where the bridge is hanging along the side of the cliff with everyone hanging on were filmed at Elstree Studios in London. And finally, the alligators at the end were shot by Frank Marshall in Florida.

The village shaman refers to the Sankara stone as "Shiva linga". In traditional Hinduism, the linga is a tall, cylindrical stone representative of a phallus, often set inside a circle representing the yoni, or female organ. Together, the two symbols stand for the dualistic sexual energy of the god Shiva.

During the sacrifice, Mola Ram chants in Hindi, imploring "Kali Ma Shakti de," asking for the "Spiritual power of Mother Kali."

The rotating tabletop used to exchange items in the opening Club Obi Wan sequence is still common in Shanghai restaurants. It's normally used for easy access to the multiple dishes served at meals.

The film came under fire when it was released for being racist.

Short Round's car is a 1936 Auburn Boat-tail Speedster, a highly popular car in the 1930s.

The "chilled monkey-brains" were made from custard and raspberry sauce.

The rope bridge was coated in sand to make it briefly leave an afterimage of itself in mid-air when it collapsed.

The sound effect we hear in the opening sequence on the plane is the same failing-engine sound effect used when Han Solo's Millennium Falcon fails to crank up in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

In military parlance a "short round" is an artillery shell that falls short of the target.

The main villain, Mola Ram, doesn't make his first appearance until after an hour into the movie.

The plane belonging to "Lao Che Air Freight" that Indy, Short Round, and Willie use to escape from Shanghai is a Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B, first built in 1929. The Trimotors were Ford's first (and only) attempt at making airliners. Since the first mass-produced Ford car (the Model T) was known as the "Tin Lizzie", many pilots affectionately nicknamed the Trimotor the "Tin Goose".

Filmmakers were unable to get permission to shoot scenes in India. The Indian government requested that a copy of the script to be read and also demanded that the word "Maharajah" to be removed fearing that the content does not reflect their culture. As a result, production was moved to Sri Lanka where some locations were also used for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).

The python that Willie Scott mistakes for an elephant's trunk was brought to Sri Lanka for shooting by animal handler Michael Culling, but since the snake and its companion weren't very welcome in the country, he had to book them their hotel rooms under fake names: Mr. and Mrs. Longfellow.

The sounds of the mine car running along the tracks during the chase scene were recorded on the rollercoasters at Disneyland, with the music and sound effects etc turned off.

D.R. Nanayakkara, cast as the Indian village Shaman, did not speak a word of English. He delivered his lines phonetically by mimicking Steven Spielberg who was prompting him off camera. The pauses in his dialogue were therefore not for dramatic effect, but rather waiting for his next line.

In the original draft, there was supposed to be a motorcycle chase scene across the Great Wall of China. However, the Chinese government refused to grant the permission of filming thus it was replaced with a stowaway on the plane scene.

Victor Banerjee refused a role in this project

During the human sacrifice sequence, the sacrificial victim repeatedly and rapidly chants the Shiva Mantra: "Aum Namah Shivaya."

Steven Spielberg wanted Karen Allen to reprise her role as Marion Ravenwood but he and George Lucas had already decided that every movie should include a different woman for Indy. This would change however, when she eventually returned in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Spielberg and Lucas felt that enough time had passed that an old flame was more appropriate for the fourth film.

When the two swordsmen attack Indy on the cliff and Indy attempts to reprise his response from the "basket scene" Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) by reaching for his gun, a bit of music from the basket scene is heard.

Amrish Puri shaved his head for the role of Mola Ram, creating such an impression that he kept it shaved and became one of India's most popular film villains.

Steven Spielberg's first sequel, though technically a prequel, as 'Temple of Doom' takes place in 1935, before Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) taking place in 1936, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) in 1938, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) in 1957.

Jonathan Ke Quan's film debut.

All the people in the Indian village speak "Sinhalese" the language of Sri Lankans, as oppose to Hindi the language of India. They are all Sri Lankans.

While filming the whipping scene, the crew played a practical joke on Harrison Ford. While he was chained to a large stone, Barbra Streisand appeared, dressed in a leather ********** outfit. She proceeded to whip him, saying "That's for Hanover Street (1979), the worst movie I ever saw." She continued whipping him for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), and making all of that money. Carrie Fisher then threw herself in front of Ford to protect him, and Irvin Kershner chided director Steven Spielberg. "Is this how you run your movies?" This entire sequence was filmed.

Steven Spielberg said that he did not enjoy this film as much as the rest of the Indy films, but said that it was a great experience for him because he met his future wife, Kate Capshaw, during the production of this movie.

Generally credited (along with Gremlins (1984)) with the creation of the PG-13 rating, as many felt the scenes of violence in both movies were too much for a PG rating, but not enough for an R rating. It is widely believed that had Steven Spielberg's name not been on both movies, both may have received an R rating. (The Flamingo Kid (1984) was the first film to be *given* a PG-13 rating, but sat on the shelves for five months before being released.) Red Dawn (1984) was the first motion picture released with the PG-13 rating.

Director Cameo: [Steven Spielberg] a missionary in the background in the airport scene at the beginning.

Director Trademark: [Steven Spielberg] [stars] when Indy is talking to Short Round on the hill above the village.

Director Trademark: [Steven Spielberg] [fathers] Short Round looks on Indiana Jones as a father-figure. Indiana seems reluctant at times to return the feeling.

The three main characters are named after dogs. Short Round was named after screenwriter Willard Huyck's dog, which was named after the orphan in The Steel Helmet (1951), Willie is named after Steven Spielberg's dog and Indiana is named after George Lucas's dog.

There was a scene involving Kate Capshaw and a rather large snake which had to be cut out as Capshaw was having panic attacks at the very prospect of it. Director Steven Spielberg jokingly says that the only reason Kate married him later was because he allowed the scene to be cut.

In the Obi Wan club sequence, the artifact Indiana Jones is told to hand over is the remains of Nurhaci. Nurhaci was in fact an actual emperor of China (1616-1626). He was the founder of the Manchu Qing dynasty; the last imperial dynasty of China (1616-1911).

Willie says she's from Missouri, native state of actress Kate Capshaw.

The only Indy movie to ever display its title on-screen using the famous Indiana Jones typeface; and perhaps the only movie to ever show its title largely obscured by an object (in this case, Kate Capshaw) in the foreground.

The only installment of the Indiana Jones franchise in which Indy does not make physical contact with a snake. There is however a nod to his fear of them, and to a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): After he retrieves the Sankara stones from the Kali shrine, he looks up at a statue of a cobra poised to strike (like the one he famously faced in the Well of Souls scene in "Raiders") and straightens his hat...

This is the only Indiana Jones movie not to have any scenes that take place in North America, nor have even a passing mention of the Marcus Brody character.

The only film of the Indiana Jones series where George Lucas does not share story credit.

Several scenes were cut from the final cut of the film for pacing reasons, the first being a scene where Willie starts singing "Anything Goes" from the main credits after pouring the perfume over the elephant's head before being interrupted by the elephant spraying water on her. The second one shows Willie escaping the thugs back into the palace and asking Chattar Lal for help where he reveals himself to be one of the thugs. The third cut scene has Shorty witnessing a thuggee guard catching fire by lava the spurts through a fissure and awakening from the dark sleep. This explains how Shorty knew to torch Indy to wake him up. The fourth and probably longest cut scene has Indy construct a bridge across the lava pit for the children to cross and go outside through the palace, but before Indy, Shorty and Willie can cross the bridge burns down. They then decide to make their way through the mine. This explains why they did not accompany the children into the palace and selected a different route.

Short Round's actual name is Su Wa Mu. Shorty reveals this during the scene when the Shaman first tells Indy about the "evil that started at Pankot", as he taps Indy on the shoulder and whispers "See? Bad news. You listen to Su Wa Mu, you live longer."

Originally the Amber Palace in Jaipur was going to be used for all the exterior shots of Pankot Palace when the movie was originally going to be filmed in India, but after negotiations between producer Robert Watts and the Indian Government for permission to film in India broke down and filming was moved to Sri Lanka, matte paintings were used for the exterior shots of the palace, with the interior shots filmed at Elstree Studios in London.

For the scene where Willie stirs up the soup and several eyeballs rise to the surface, Steven Spielberg said that this particular scene was notoriously difficult to shoot and it took many takes to get the result seen in the final film. The eyeballs were attached to the bottom of the soup bowl with stick-ups and Kate Capshaw was supposed to give the soup a good stir in order to un-stick the eyes so they could rise to the surface, but the stick-ups help pretty tight and for many takes, only one or two of the eyes would un-stick and rise to the surface.

In the "Making Of" Documentary for this movie, George Lucas said that although he originally intended for Temple of Doom to have a darker tone compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (much like Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was darker than Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)), Lucas admitted that he made it much more darker than he intended to do so, and that part of the reason was that he was going through a divorce at the time and was "not in a good mood". Steven Spielberg also admitted that although he agreed with Lucas' idea for a darker-toned film, that he felt uncomfortable with certain scenes when filming them, and while doing so, he would attempt to inject some humorous elements into those scenes to try and lighten them up some. The scene where Indy is fighting the Thuggee chief guard with a hammer, and the guard take the hammer away and toss it aside, only to have it land on a bystander's head, knocking him out with a comical thud, is a prime example of this scene "lightening up".

For the human sacrifice scene, an animatronic dummy of the sacrificial victim was made so that the "victim" would realistically writhe in agony upon catching fire. However, Steven Spielberg deemed the writhing "too gruesome" and added a sheet of flame in post-production to obscure the dummy's movements the moment it caught fire.

The only Indiana Jones movie that does not show or make any references to the Ark of the Covenant in any way, shape, or form throughout the entire movie. The Ark of the Covenant was the main object sought after in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), an ancient drawing of the Ark appears inside the catacombs in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and the Ark makes a brief cameo appearance in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). The lack of appearance or mention of the Ark in this movie was very likely due to the fact that this movie takes place in 1935, while Raiders takes place in 1936, making this a prequel to Raiders, and thus being the case, Indy has yet to discovered the Ark.

Mola Ram's chantings of "Maaro maaro sooar ko, chamdi nocho pee lo khoon" literally translated from Hindi is "Kill, Kill the pig, flay his skin, drink his blood".

WILHELM SCREAM: 1. When a food cart in Club Obi Wan crashes into the orchestra stand. 2. When the tommy-gun man is shot by Indy during the car chase at Shanghai. 3. When Mola Ram is eaten by the alligators at the movie's finale.
 

Shane

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BIM just sucks Chap! :)

By the way GOOD movie!
 

NJCardFan

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Until Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, this was the weakest of the franchise but looking back, it really wasn't a bad story and movie.
 

Brian in Mesa

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Thanks for posting this, Chap. It was going to be one of mine for this week. :thumbup:

I really liked this sequel (although it is more of a stand on its own adventure really). Nothing was going to top Raiders, but this was a decent follow-up.
 

UncleChris

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Great review, Chap!!!

I'd gone to the movies for many, many years without knowing what a Wilhelm scream was. Now that I know, I find myself listening for it in every action movie I see. Ai-EEEEEEEE!!!
 

cheesebeef

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for some reason, this movie always stuck out in my head as the "kiddie" version of Indiana Jones, probably just because he had short round as a side-kick and capshaw screaming the entire time, but after watching it for the first time in a decade a couple years ago, i was pretty blown away by a) how dark it actually was and b) how much i loved it.

this series didn't have a weak link in the bunch up until the crystal skull, which unfortunately is one of the worst movies i've ever seen.
 

Bert

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It's funny because this movie is one of the earliest childhood memories I have. I was 4 years old. We lived in a small town and in order to see a new release movie we had to make the 2 hour drive to "the big city!" (AKA Phoenix) When you are 4 years old and your parents load up 7 kids in the car and drive 2 hours just to see a movie it makes an impression, as does hudreds of people lined up outside to see it. I dont think I had ever even seen that many people before. The feeling is as memorable as when my dad took me to my first Cardinals game in '88. I remember standing in line with my parents and siblings and I kept asking why all these people were standing in line outside the theater instead of just going in. Movies were such a different experience back then. I remember closing my eyes when he was pulling out the guys heart and during the bug scene.

So, with that in mind, this will always be one of my favorite films of all time, I still love it to this day!
 

Dback Jon

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Thanks for posting this, Chap. It was going to be one of mine for this week. :thumbup:

I really liked this sequel (although it is more of a stand on its own adventure really). Nothing was going to top Raiders, but this was a decent follow-up.



*Prequel
 

cheesebeef

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for some reason, this movie always stuck out in my head as the "kiddie" version of Indiana Jones, probably just because he had short round as a side-kick and capshaw screaming the entire time, but after watching it for the first time in a decade a couple years ago, i was pretty blown away by a) how dark it actually was and b) how much i loved it.

this series didn't have a weak link in the bunch up until the crystal skull, which unfortunately is one of the worst movies i've ever seen.

and having watched this now, my lord it has a ton of really offensive stuff for the Asian and South Asian communities.
 

Brian in Mesa

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Semantics. I stand by it. They planned a trilogy to begin with and it was the second of the three. I did clarify that it was more of a "stand on its own adventure." No one is going to walk around saying it is now the FIRST Indy film because of chronology. When it takes place doesn't change the order of release or how people watch the films.
 

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Semantics. I stand by it. They planned a trilogy to begin with and it was the second of the three. I did clarify that it was more of a "stand on its own adventure." No one is going to walk around saying it is now the FIRST Indy film because of chronology. When it takes place doesn't change the order of release or how people watch the films.


It is still a prequel since the movie took place BEFORE the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark. That is exactly what a Prequel is.
 

Brian in Mesa

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It is still a prequel since the movie took place BEFORE the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark. That is exactly what a Prequel is.

So? It's both. It was the follow-up film to Raiders regardless of when the events in the film took place. If you're introducing someone to Indiana Jones are you sitting them down to watch chronologically or in order of film release? Are you showing them the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV show first? Or some of the issues of the Marvel Comics series maybe? Like I said semantics.
 

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