My Photo

Welcome to Mannionville

  • Politics, art, movies, television, books, parenting, home repair, caffeine addiction---you name it, we blog it. Since 2004. Call for free estimate.

The Tip Jar

  • Please help keep this blog running strong with your donation

Help Save the Post Office: My snail mail address

  • Lance Mannion
    109 Third St.
    Wallkill, NY 12589

Save a Blogger From Begging...Buy Stuff

The one, the only

Sister Site

« A friendly reminder about the future of the Supreme Court | Main | Wev, Wev »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


They are nasty, racist movies, the first one against Arabs and the second one against all of Asia. Couldn't bring myself to see the third one. The Disneyland amusement park ride version, in fact, is one of the weirder racist experiences around. I couldn't quite believe it when I saw all the darkies coming at us in attack as we tore around on our white-man's animatronic jeep.

Lucas was reviving the serials of his youth, and those pieces at least had the excuse that the entire commercial entertainment world in America was matter-of-factly and imperialistically racist, but in the 1970s, when Spielberg and Lucas were coming up with this crap, it was already way out-of-date and now it's aging really terribly.

And what would Hollywood have done for villains, at least since I was born in 1954, without Nazis? "Melting" Nazis, porno Nazis, sadistic Nazis, archfiend Nazis. No wonder there is Holocaust denial, with so many stock-character Nazi villains feeling so completely false. (And no, I am emphatically not a Holocaust denier. There is historic truth and artistic mendacity/crap.)

In other words, I am very much NOT looking forward to the new Indiana Jones movie.

Mike Schilling

The ending made the entire movie nonsense. Indy had spent the whole thing trying to keep the Ark away from the Nazis, when he should have sent it to Berchtesgaden special delivery.


This seems pretty thin after sfmike's take on the whole Lucas/Speilberg enterprise, but:

Just a reminder that without Williams' music Harrison Ford might not have had much of a career because George Lucas might not have had one.

Not just Harrison Ford.

I remember two things from when I first saw the trailer for "Star Wars" in early 1975 [a trailer in which John Williams music was conspicuous by its absence]:

First, the theater audience laughed [and not in a nice way] when Princess Leia kissed Luke and said "For luck." And second, they laughed at the shot of R2D2 falling over face-first.

Otherwise, they just sat there, benumbed, mumbling, "Whuh?"

Seriously--look at the trailer. Would you have thought this would be a movie that would re-write the short-hand for all sci-fi movies to come, as well as make Kenner a fortune on toy figurines? From "George Lucas--the man who brought you 'American Grafitti"'?

And have you seen a TV promo in the last 20 years for any of the Star Wars movies that don't include some of the signature John Williams themes?



I see SFMike's point, but it's a period piece, and while the racism is regrettable, it is also part of the story being told. I realize some would hold a populist piece of art like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" more accountable since it was extremely successful and influential, but that's hindsight. That's also just one reading of the film; another might be that the tone of the movie was tongue-in-cheek and that Indiana Jones as the Great White Hope of Western Civilization is the biggest joke of all.


We thought about showing Raiders to our son, but same thing - melting Nazis seemed a bit to graphic/violent for his age.


Dylan, I warned the guys to look away just before the Nazis began to melt. The teenager left the room. The 12 year old ducked under a blanket. Both still disliked the ending. I think they intuited Mike Schilling's point. Indy should have gift wrapped the ark and sent it to Hitler with a nice card.


I had qualms about showing them the movies and we've put them off for years. Raiders doesn't bother me as much because it's a question, who represents the Arabs? Sallah and his family or the goons chasing Indy and Marian through the marketplace? I think most people see the goons as just the usual hired thugs movie villains always have on hand as cannon fodder, and it doesn't matter what they're wearing, they're the same sort of generic bad guys as mugs in pinstriped suits and gunslingers in black hats and Bond villains in jumpsuits and Stormtroopers and Nazis.

But Temple of Doom really is a horror show, and not just because of its Terry and the Pirates portrayal of the Japanese, which is shocking. It's violent and cruel and misogynist and misanthropic. I think we'll give that one a skip. I don't remember anything too bad in Last Crusade, except for the melting Nazi at the end.

Steven Hart

Actually, it was a melting Claymation Nazi at the end of Last Crusade. Even worse than just a melting Nazi.

Karen Allen . . . sigh. When I finally came to my senses about Amy Irving, there was Karen. If I go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Centrum Silver,it'll be for her sake.

Uncle Merlin

"Kingdom of Centrum Silver" OMG RMAOLOTF!

You know I was so caught up in the first few viewings of Indy & Marion that it never has occurred to me how out of sync the melting Nazi's really are with the story, but you are right, looking at it in the daylight of many years hence the ending as it is is nonsense.

I hated "T of Doom" in the first 15 minutes, what was this blonde doing here? This was Marion's spot, I was insensed!

Maybe genious only happens in spurts?
I was watching Revenge of the Sith during Mannion Family Movie night this week and was horrified at the slaughter of children in the Jedi temple. WHAT were they thinking with that scene too?
Funny how adrenaline can cloud your judgement in the theater during a first release, I am surprised at myself, at how much I overlooked things that really make my blood boil when I am sentient and have my wits about me. And now down the road reviewing these films I wonder where my head was at the time.


"superimposed cartoon aliens"? Sigh. If you've never actually watched an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you've missed out. Seriously. If you can track one down, give it a try.


Those weren't children killed in the Jedi Temple, they were younglings


Karen Allen plays a bad girl in the Wanderers. Cult classic.


When watching Temple of Doom, about the only thing I liked was the opening (the cleverness, mostly) - it had me expecting a better movie than I got. The rest was like watching a sociopathic kid's take on Gunga Din, and it didn't strike me as fun. Capshaw was really hard to take - her performance kept getting more irritating and had no wit. Temple Of Doom certainly had more racist caricatures than other Indiana Jones movies, but I never cared much for any of them, anyway. Like Star Wars, it was popcorn fluff that didn't really do much for me.


Jeez, am I the only one who LOVED Raiders from start to finish? (ToD I don't need, and Crusade at least had Connery.) I didn't think the Ark scenes at the end were over-the-top -- not even the melting Nazi. My inner twelve-year-old just went, "Kewwwwwwl...."

This reminds me of Peter David's review of Raiders -- essentially, Indy is ineffective in the movie. He's thwarted at every turn, captured at the end, and only "wins" because the bad guys overreach themselves. So the hero is the last one standing because he's the only one left to tell the tale. Very pomo.


No Brad, you're not, and your 12-year old's reaction to the melting Nazis is pretty much what I'd expect. I saw the film when I was 10, and I that was my reaction too. It wasn't scary or traumatic; it was gross, but it was the kind of grossness that pre-teen boys revel in. And yes, it was shocking, but I also knew it was pure fantasy, and I'm willing to bet most other 10 year-old kids would get that too (I also somehow managed to make it through these films without turning into a racist too). I mean, this isn't Resevoir Dogs we're talking about here. Same thing with Temple of Doom, which I also liked back then and still like over 20 years later, even though I know it's a flawed movie. I mean, doesn't anyone here remember what they were like when they were 13 years old?

Oh, and also, the thing about "why didn't he just mail it to the Nazis" is ridiculous; it's pretty obvious from the film that he didn't realize something bad was going to happen until right before it does (you can easily read the realization in his expression). Granted, the movie doesn't really explain how he would come to this realization, but I remember that when I first saw the movie, I didn't question it; it just made sense to me. Maybe it's just that you have to be a kid to get it.


Brad, David,

Everybody's entitled to their opinion, including my sons, who are 12 and 14, and they didn't like the melting Nazis a bit, and not because it was gross, because they didn't even watch them melt. They just thought the ending was boring. But remember, they've grown up watching a whole different order of special effects wizardry and in an era when action-adventure movies and movies based on comic books are a dime a dozen. The Angel of Death and the melting Nazis didn't impress them so they were watching the scene as just a scene and as movie climaxes go, it didn't rank with any of their favorites. Think about what you'd have seen by the time Raiders was released and then what kids their age have been able to see in the last four or five years.

But they liked Raiders a lot overall and can't wait for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (although I'll bet they'll like Dark Knight and Price Caspian better, and they were blown away by Iron Man yesterday), so Indy's legacy is secure in this house, melting Nazis or no melting Nazisl

As for mailing the ark to Hitler, besides that being a joke, nobody thinks Indy should have done it from Cairo! He should have done it from Greece after he saw how good a job it did melting Nazis. Instead he carted it back to the US expecting to put it in the museum so he could study it.


The special effects thing is a fair point: to me, they still look good, but I realize I'm coming from a different perspective. I suspect that, were I 12 now, I probably wouldn't be impressed either. However, from the tone of your post, I inferred that you thought it was too scary/gross/inappropriate for them, which just didn't jibe with my memories of being that age. And besides, you never actually said why the melting nazis were a bad idea.

Interesting take on the ending in that I always interpreted it differently (inasmuch as I really thought about it). I think I just assumed that Indy radioed for help, and the government came and took it away, and that he didn't really have any say in it. At least, that's the impression I got from the conversation with the intelligence guys at the end. But again, I think the ending was just one of those things that, at that age, just made sense to me.


the whole point of the ending was to show that the ark was indeed magical and an object of supernatural powers, which is kinda what you'd expect in a fantasy/adventure flick. i mean, if he'd just boxed the thing up and taken it back to a museum, the climax would've been what, him lecturing his class about it?? it is the it-could-be-true nature of this ending that gave it its kick, especially back in wide-eyed 1981.

and i've got to further defend the melting nazis because it's truly one of the most famous fx sequences of all time and was very well done, imo. seriously, are people so dulled by the cg fx of today that they shit on the masterful work of the past just because it falls short of perfection? sorry, the melting nazi was teh AWESOME!!


Temple of Doom has a splendidly fun opening (although yeah, still straight out of 1942's Asian (in)sensitivity manual). Past that, while it really didn't work and became much too dark and frightening, it all ties in with Spielberg's endlessly recycled theme of father-loss. He didn't seem to realize that no one went to a Raiders movie to see Indy castrated oopsImean turned into a zombie. Without that, the movie is bearable although if you made a drinking game out of Capshaw's endless shriek-y "OH MY GAWDs" you would find yourself on a bender of Hemingway-esque proportions. Uncle Merlin is SO right, Capshaw was the worst piece of casting since Zanuck forced John Huston to hire his French girlfriend for The Roots of Heaven.

Raiders is fantastic, though, and as a woman married to an Arab I have to say the alleged cartoon Arabs never bothered me, specifically because of Sallah, as well as the other Arabs he enlists to help out. Ludicrous and unrealistic, yes, but viciously anti-Arab, not really. For that you have to go to something like the Mummy remake. The character at the beginning of Raiders, in the South American jungle, is probably the biggest grinning-idiot stereotype in the movie.

The third one is all right, hampered by all that very weird Grail-religiosity and the fact that they gave what could have been a meaty bad-girl role to another simpering blonde. Here's a flaw in Spielberg no one discusses that much: with few exceptions, BOY does he have bad taste in actresses. Allen was a major fluke (and word has it she didn't much like him).

Grace Nearing

Karen Allen is great in every part she plays. She was totally believable as Marion, drinking the guys under the table; she was totally believable in Starman as the grief-stricken widow suddenly dealing with an extraterrestrial lookalike of her husband; she was totaly believable in Animal House sleeping with Donald Sutherland .... ah, skip that last one. And she was feisty and sexy (without being slutty) in The Wanderers. Love that strip poker scene....

Kevin Wolf

A late comment I guess: Lance, I watched the trailer for the new Indy and just kind of yawned. To say it looked like more of the same is understatement. Since I've not been a fan of either Lucas or Speilberg's work for the past 15 years or more (that which I've roused myself to see), I won't be catching Indy anytime soon.

The odd thing to me is that Pauline Kael, who I think was some kind of genius, actually raves over Temple of Doom. "Nobody has ever fused thrills and laughter in quite the way that [Speilberg] does here." She thought the whole thing was "a breeze." She didn't find it dark nor did she think Speilberg was trying to "push things to frighten us."

Given the reader comments above and my own very vague recollections of the picture (which I've not seen in decades), Kael seems weirdly out of touch. On the other hand the movie was still a huge hit. So, that same 12-year-old mentality (it's gross but in a cool way, or dark but in a fantasy way) must have prevailed with the public.

It's really not my place to say, but I'd let your kids, who seem old enough, watch ToD if they'd like. Was the final decision truly to skip it? Or will the new movie, once seen, make them want for more unseen Indy and drive them to watch it?

Steven Hart

I think Pauline Kael was great, too, but when she went wrong she went completely off the rails. It happened with the Dino Di Laurentiis remake of "King Kong" (read the review in When the Lights Go Down and know despair), it happened a lot with Robert Altman and it happened with Temple of Doom. The 1980s were a weird period for Spielberg -- he'd established himself commercially and seemed to have tired of the crowd-pleasing devices he knew so well, but his attempts at artistic growth were wobbly. Some, like The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun, were misfires; others, like Always, were deeply weird. And yet his technique was so complete and authoritative, the films seemed to be bullying you. Temple of Doom had all the crowd-pleasing tricks from Raiders, but there was no fun in the movie's soul.

Steven Hart

I think Pauline Kael was great, too, but when she went wrong she went completely off the rails. It happened with the Dino Di Laurentiis remake of "King Kong" (read the review in When the Lights Go Down and know despair), it happened a lot with Robert Altman and it happened with Temple of Doom. The 1980s were a weird period for Spielberg -- he'd established himself commercially and seemed to have tired of the crowd-pleasing devices he knew so well, but his attempts at artistic growth were wobbly. Some, like The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun, were misfires; others, like Always, were deeply weird. And yet his technique was so complete and authoritative, the films seemed to be bullying you. Temple of Doom had all the crowd-pleasing tricks from Raiders, but there was no fun in the movie's soul.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Data Analysis

  • Data Analysis


April 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Movies, Music, Books, Kindles, and more

For All Your Laundry Needs

In Case of Typepad Emergency Break Glass

Be Smart, Buy Books

Blog powered by Typepad