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Review: 'The Complete Making of Indiana Jones'

Arriving just in time for the latest installment of the long-running movie series dealing with the noted archaeologist, "The Complete Making of Indiana Jones" by J.W. Rinzler and Laurent Bouzereau is a behind-the-scenes extensive look at all four movies.

The bulk of the book is devoted to an in-depth study of the first film "Raiders of the Lost Ark," with smaller chapters on "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," and the new film, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" which arrives on May 22.

The character of Indiana Jones started with the daydream musings of George Lucas. In 1973, as he struggled to write the plot for "Star Wars." Lucas would sit at his typewriter and "whenever I sit at a desk for eight hours a day, I can't help but think about things other than what I'm supposed to be thinking about," Lucas explains in the book. "I began thinking it'd be a good idea to have an archaeologist in a 1930s-style serial — the big shift would be that he was a grave robber who actually finds supernatural artifacts. ... That's how I came up with the idea of Indiana Smith" (later renamed Jones.)

Rinzler, an expert researcher in the archives of Lucasfilm, dug through a "great clipping archive — never-ending resource" to provide a vast amount of detail from contemporary documents, and interviews. "With `Raiders,' it was mostly archival research" says Rinzler. "`Temple' is fairly mixed and `Last Crusade' was not in the archives, so it's mostly Laurent (Bouzereau), and (the chapters on) "Crystal Skull" is all Laurent." Extensive unseen-until-now photographs were also unearthed in the Image Archives.

The "Complete Making" provides illuminating tidbits for young filmmakers, movie historians and fans. Anyone who thinks a grand idea springs fully formed and out of a writer's head should read the early drafts and see what was used, discarded or stored somewhere to reappear in another film.

There were struggles in the making of all three movies. Filming "Raiders" in Tunisia physically debilitated Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones), and director Steven Spielberg to the point where Spielberg "just wanted to go home." Kate Capshaw (chanteuse Willie Scott in "Temple of Doom") had a very basic problem - "I didn't know how to scream. So Steven taught me how to scream. Screaming is not as easy as it looks." Alison Doody who plays the German archaeologist in "Last Crusade" still has a scar on one hand "from dripping wax" from a torch in a catacombs scene.

Rinzler comments that "this (book) in a way was the toughest. It was also the shortest time" to complete. But "it was amazing to go to the set and see Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and all the other cast members and watch Steven Spielberg direct. It was an incredible experience."

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