Kottke has uncovered an incredible behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The 1981 film chronicled Indy’s battle against the Nazis in a race for the Ark of the Covenant, which the armies believe will make them invincible. In the tradition of the old Saturday morning adventure serials, director Steven Spielberg and co-writer/producer George Lucas (the men look like twins in this 1981 documentary) devised an updating that has spawned three films and a television adaptation.
This PBS special takes us behind the scenes with candid interviews, footage from the set, and allows us to mingle with stars Harrison Ford and Karen Allen as they prepare to tackle what would become one of their most famous roles. “I want one person, whose job it is only to keep the pythons away from the actors,” Spielberg tells his crew while thousands of snakes squirm around him on the Well of Souls set.
It’s one of those moments in the film that feels unreal and impossible to make — especially in our age of CG everything — but, yes, 6,500 live snakes helped make movie history. Watch it all unfold in this hour-long documentary that is a real gem for Indy fans.
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