RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

In 1981, director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas gave adventure a name: Indiana Jones. For this tale of an intrepid archaeologist trying to keep the biblical Ark of the Covenant out of Nazi hands, they put together all the best parts of the serials they loved, including chases, fights and the daredevil stunts that the heroes performed without ever losing their hats. The hat in the film was an Australian model found on Savile Row and aged by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman and star Harrison Ford. It did more than add to Ford’s character, it also helped disguise the stuntmen (including Terry Leonard) who stood in for Ford. One stunt, in which Jones is dragged under a moving truck, was performed by Leonard as a tribute to a similar stunt done by Yakima Canutt in Stagecoach (1939). He also played the driver Jones punches in the face. Having stunt doubles didn’t save Ford from injury. During filming a plane ran over his knee in Tunisia, he bruised his ribs while being dragged behind the truck and, like most of the cast and crew, he got sick from the food in Tunisia. His sickness produced one great scene: instead of removing a swordsman’s weapon with his whip, which he was too sick to do, he simply shot his opponent.

(d. Steven Spielberg, 115m, Digital) 

In attendance: Terry Leonard