Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
|Indiana Jones and
the Temple of Doom
Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
|Directed by||Steven Spielberg|
|Produced by||Robert Watts|
|Screenplay by||Willard Huyck
|Story by||George Lucas|
Jonathan Ke Quan
|Music by||John Williams|
|Edited by||Michael Kahn|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||118 minutes|
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. After arriving in North India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, stumbling upon a Thuggee cult practicing child slavery, black magic, and ritual human sacrifice in honor of their god Kali.
Producer and co-writer George Lucas decided to make the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the villains again. After three rejected plot devices, Lucas wrote a film treatment that resembled the film's final storyline. Lawrence Kasdan, Lucas's collaborator on Raiders of the Lost Ark, turned down the offer to write the script, and Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz were hired as his replacement, with the resultant screenplay partly based upon the 1939 film Gunga Din.
The film was released to financial success but mixed reviews, which criticized its violence, later contributing to the creation of the PG-13 rating. However, critical opinion has improved since 1984, citing the film's intensity and imagination. Some of the film's cast and crew, including Spielberg, retrospectively view the film in a negative light. The film has also been the subject of controversy due to its portrayal of India and Hinduism.
In 1935, Indiana Jones (Indy) narrowly escapes the clutches of Lao Che, a crime boss in Shanghai. With his 11-year-old Chinese sidekick, Short Round (or Shorty), and the nightclub singer Willie Scott in tow, Indy flees Shanghai on an airplane that, unknown to them, is owned by Lao. While the three of them sleep on the plane, the pilots parachute out, and they leave the plane to crash over the Himalayas. Indy, Shorty, and Willie narrowly manage to escape on an inflatable raft and ride down the slopes into a raging river. They come to Mayapore, a desolate village in northern India, where the poor villagers believe them to have been sent by the Hindu god Shiva and enlist their help to retrieve the sacred Sivalinga stone stolen from their shrine, as well as the community's children, from evil forces in the nearby Pankot Palace. During the journey to Pankot, Indy hypothesizes that the stone may be one of the five fabled Sankara stones that promise fortune and glory.
The trio receive a warm welcome from the Prime Minister of Pankot Palace, Chattar Lal. The visitors are allowed to stay the night as guests, during which they attend a lavish but grotesque banquet given by the young Maharajah, Zalim Singh. The palace rebuffs Indy's questions about the villagers' claims and his theory that the ancient Thuggee cult is responsible for their troubles. Later that night, Indy is attacked by an assassin, leading Indy, Willie, and Shorty to believe that something is amiss. They discover a series of tunnels hidden behind a statue in Willie's room and set out to explore them, overcoming a number of booby-traps along the way.
The trio eventually reach an underground temple where the Thuggee worship the Hindu goddess Kali with human sacrifice. They discover that the Thuggee, led by their evil, bloodthirsty high priest Mola Ram, are in possession of three of the five Sankara stones, and have enslaved the children to mine for the final two stones, which they hope will allow them to rule the world. As Indy tries to retrieve the stones, he, Willie, and Shorty are captured and separated. Indy is whipped and forced to drink a potion called the "Blood of Kali", which places him in a trance-like state where he begins to mindlessly serve Mola Ram. Willie, meanwhile, is kept as a human sacrifice, while Shorty is put to work in the mines alongside the enslaved children. Shorty breaks free and escapes back into the temple where he burns Indy with a torch, shocking him out of the trance. The Maharajah, who was also forcibly entranced by the "Blood of Kali," attempts to sabotage Indy with a voodoo doll. Shorty spars with the Maharajah, ultimately burning him to snap him out of the trance. The Maharajah then tells Short Round how to get out of the mines. While Mola Ram escapes, Indy and Shorty rescue Willie, retrieve the three Sankara stones, and free the village children.
After a mine cart chase to escape the temple, the trio emerge above ground and are again cornered by Mola Ram and his henchmen on a rope bridge high above a crocodile-infested river. Using a sword, Indy cuts the rope bridge in half, leaving everyone to hang on for their lives. Indy utters an incantation which causes the stones to glow red hot. Two of the stones fall into the river, while the last falls into Mola Ram's hand, burning him. Indy catches the now-cool stone, while Mola Ram falls into the river below, where he is devoured by crocodiles. The Thuggee then attempt to shoot Indy with arrows, until a company of British Indian Army riflemen from Pankot arrive, having been summoned by the palace Maharajah. In the ensuing firefight, many of the Thuggee archers are killed and the remainder are surrounded and captured. Indy, Willie, and Shorty return victoriously to the village with the children and give the missing stone to the villagers.
- Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones: An archaeologist adventurer who is asked by a desperate Indian village to retrieve a mysterious stone. Ford undertook a strict physical exercise regimen headed by Jake Steinfeld to gain more muscular tone for the part.
- Kate Capshaw as Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott: An American nightclub singer working in Shanghai. Willie is unprepared for her adventure with Indy and Short Round, and appears to be a damsel in distress. She also forms a romantic relationship with Indy. Over 120 actresses auditioned for the role, including Sharon Stone. To prepare for the role, Capshaw watched The African Queen and A Guy Named Joe. Spielberg wanted Willie to be a complete contrast to Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, so Capshaw dyed her brown hair blonde for the part. Costume designer Anthony Powell wanted the character to have red hair.
- Jonathan Ke Quan as Short Round: Indy's eleven-year old Chinese sidekick, who drives the 1936 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster which allows Indy to escape during the opening sequence. Quan was chosen as part of a casting call in Los Angeles. Around 6000 actors auditioned worldwide for the part: Quan was cast after his brother auditioned for the role. Spielberg liked his personality, so he and Ford improvised the scene where Short Round accuses Indy of cheating during a card game. He was credited by his birthname, Ke Huy Quan.
- Amrish Puri as Mola Ram: A demonic Thuggee priest who performs rituals of human sacrifices. The character is named after a 17th-century Indian painter. Lucas wanted Mola Ram to be terrifying, so the screenwriters added elements of Aztec and Hawaiian human sacrificers, and European devil worship to the character. To create his headdress, make-up artist Tom Smith based the skull on a cow (as this would be sacrilegious), and used a latex shrunken head.
- Roshan Seth as Chattar Lal: The Prime Minister of the Maharaja of Pankot. Chattar, also a Thuggee worshiper, is enchanted by Indy, Willie and Short Round's arrival, but is offended by Indy's questioning of the palace's history and the archaeologist's own dubious past.
- Philip Stone as Captain Philip Blumburtt: A British Indian Army Captain called to Pankot Palace for "exercises". Alongside a unit of his riflemen, Blumburtt assists Indy towards the end in fighting off Thuggee reinforcements. David Niven was attached to the role but died before filming began.
- Raj Singh as Zalim Singh: The adolescent Maharajá of Pankot, who appears as an innocent puppet of the Thuggee faithful. In the end, he helps to defeat them.
- D. R. Nanayakkara as Shaman: The leader of a small village that recruits Indy to retrieve their stolen sacred Shiva lingam stone
- Roy Chiao as Lao Che: A Shanghai crime boss who hires Indy to recover the cremated ashes of one of his ancestors, only to attempt to cheat him out of his fee, a large diamond.
- David Yip as Wu Han: A friend of Indy. He is killed by one of Lao Che's sons while posing as a waiter at Club Obi Wan.
When George Lucas first approached Steven Spielberg for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg recalled, "George said if I directed the first one then I would have to direct a trilogy. He had three stories in mind. It turned out George did not have three stories in mind and we had to make up subsequent stories." Spielberg and Lucas attributed the film's tone, which was darker than Raiders of the Lost Ark, to their personal moods following the breakups of their relationships (Spielberg with Amy Irving, Lucas with Marcia). In addition, Lucas felt "it had to have been a dark film. The way Empire Strikes Back was the dark second act of the Star Wars trilogy."
Lucas made the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the villains once more. Spielberg originally wanted to bring Marion Ravenwood back, with Abner Ravenwood being considered as a possible character. Lucas created an opening chase scene that had Indiana Jones on a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China. In addition, Indiana discovered a "Lost World pastiche with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs". Chinese authorities refused to allow filming, and Lucas considered the Monkey King as the plot device. Lucas wrote a film treatment that included a haunted castle in Scotland, but Spielberg felt it was too similar to Poltergeist. The haunted castle in Scotland slowly transformed into a demonic temple in India.
Lucas came up with ideas that involved a religious cult devoted to child slavery, black magic and ritual human sacrifice. Lawrence Kasdan of Raiders of the Lost Ark was asked to write the script. "I didn't want to be associated with Temple of Doom," he reflected. "I just thought it was horrible. It's so mean. There's nothing pleasant about it. I think Temple of Doom represents a chaotic period in both their [Lucas and Spielberg] lives, and the movie is very ugly and mean-spirited." Lucas hired Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz to write the script because of their knowledge of Indian culture. Gunga Din served as an influence for the film.
Huyck and Katz spent four days at Skywalker Ranch for story discussions with Lucas and Spielberg in early-1982. Lucas's initial idea for Indiana's sidekick was a virginal young princess, but Huyck, Katz and Spielberg disliked the idea. Just as Indiana Jones was named after Lucas's Alaskan Malamute, Willie was named after Spielberg's Cocker Spaniel, and Short Round was named after Huyck's dog, whose name was derived from The Steel Helmet. Lucas handed Huyck and Katz a 20-page treatment in May 1982 titled Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death to adapt into a screenplay. Scenes such as the fight scene in Shanghai, escape from the airplane and the mine cart chase came from original scripts of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Lucas, Huyck and Katz had been developing Radioland Murders (1994) since the early 1970s. The opening music was taken from that script and applied to Temple of Doom. Spielberg reflected, "George's idea was to start the movie with a musical number. He wanted to do a Busby Berkeley dance number. At all our story meetings he would say, 'Hey, Steven, you always said you wanted to shoot musicals.' I thought, 'Yeah, that could be fun.'" The first draft was delivered in early-August 1982 with a second draft in September. Captain Blumburtt, Chattar Lal and the boy Maharaja originally had more crucial roles. A dogfight was deleted, as well as those who drank the Kali blood turned into zombies with physical superhuman abilities. During pre-production, the Temple of Death title was replaced with Temple of Doom. From March—April 1983, Huyck and Katz simultaneously performed rewrites for a final shooting script.
The filmmakers were denied permission to film in North India and Amer Fort due to the government finding the script racist and offensive. The government demanded many script changes, rewritings and final cut privilege. As a result, location work went to Kandy, Sri Lanka, with matte paintings and scale models applied for the village, temple, and Pankot Palace. Budgetary inflation also caused Temple of Doom to cost $28.17 million, $8 million more than Raiders of the Lost Ark. Filming began on April 18, 1983 in Kandy, and moved to Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England on May 5. Producer Frank Marshall recalled, "when filming the bug scenes, crew members would go home and find bugs in their hair, clothes and shoes." Eight out of the nine sound stages at Elstree housed the filming of Temple of Doom. Lucas biographer Marcus Hearn observed, "Douglas Slocombe's skillful lighting helped disguise the fact that about 80 percent of the film was shot with sound stages."
Danny Daniels choreographed the opening music number "Anything Goes". Capshaw learned to sing in Mandarin and took tap dance lessons. However, when wearing her dress, which was too tight, Capshaw was not able to tap dance. Made of the 1920s and 1930s original beads, the dress was one of a kind. 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, drying on a nearby tree. Unfortunately an elephant had started to eat it, but some was salvaged. 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".
Norman Reynolds could not return for Temple of Doom because of his commitment to Return of the Jedi. Elliot Scott (Labyrinth, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Reynolds' mentor, was hired. To build the rope bridge the filmmakers found a group of British engineers working on the nearby Balfour Beatty dam. Harrison Ford suffered a severe spinal disc herniation while riding elephants. A hospital bed was brought on set for Ford to rest between takes. Lucas stated, "He could barely stand up, yet he was there every day so shooting would not stop. He was in incomprehensible pain, but he was still trying to make it happen." With no alternatives, Lucas shut down production while Ford was flown to Centinela Hospital on June 21 for recovery. Stunt double Vic Armstrong spent five weeks as a stand-in for various shots. Wendy Leach, Armstrong's wife, served as Capshaw's stunt double.
Macau was substituted for Shanghai, while cinematographer Douglas Slocombe caught fever from June 24 to July 7 and could not work. Ford returned on August 8. Despite the problems during filming, Spielberg was able to complete Temple of Doom on schedule and on budget, finishing principal photography on August 26. Various pick-ups took place afterwards. This included Snake River Canyon in Idaho, Mammoth Mountain, Tuolumne and American River, Yosemite National Park, San Joaquin Valley, Hamilton Air Force Base and Arizona. Producer Frank Marshall directed a second unit in Florida in January 1984, using alligators to double as crocodiles. The mine chase was a combination of a roller coaster and scale models with dolls doubling for the actors. Minor stop motion was also used for the sequence. Visual effects supervisors Dennis Muren, Joe Johnston and a crew at Industrial Light & Magic provided the visual effects work, while Skywalker Sound, headed by Ben Burtt, commissioned the sound design. Burtt recorded Willie Scott's scream and roller coasters at Disneyland Park in Anaheim for the mine cart scene.
"After I showed the film to George [Lucas], at an hour and 55 minutes, we looked at each other," Spielberg remembered. "The first thing that we said was, 'Too fast'. We needed to decelerate the action. I did a few more matte shots to slow it down. We made it a little bit slower, by putting breathing room back in so there'd be a two-hour oxygen supply for the audience."
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released on May 23, 1984 in America, accumulating a record-breaking $US45.7 million in its first week. The film went on to gross $333.11 million worldwide, with $180 million in North America and the equivalent of $153.11 million in other markets. Temple of Doom had the highest opening weekend of 1984, and was that year's third highest grossing film in North America, behind Beverly Hills Cop and Ghostbusters. It was also the tenth highest grossing film of all time during its release.
Marvel Comics published a comic book adaptation of the film by writer David Michelinie and artists Jackson Guice, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey, and Bob Camp. It was published as Marvel Super Special #30 and as a three-issue limited series.
The film received mixed reviews upon its release, but over the years the films reception has shifted to a more positive tone. American Movie Classics considers Temple of Doom to be one of 1984's best films. Based on 60 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 85% wrote positive reviews of the film, with an average score of 7.2/10. Roger Ebert gave the film a perfect four star rating, calling it "the most cheerfully exciting, bizarre, goofy, romantic adventure movie since Raiders, and it is high praise to say that it's not so much a sequel as an equal. It's quite an experience." Vincent Canby felt the film was "too shapeless to be the fun that Raiders is, but shape may be beside the point. Old-time, 15-part movie serials didn't have shape. They just went on and on and on, which is what Temple of Doom does with humor and technical invention." Neal Gabler commented that "I think in some ways, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was better than Raiders of the Lost Ark. In some ways it was less. In sum total, I'd have to say I enjoyed it more. That doesn't mean it's better necessarily, but I got more enjoyment out of it." Colin Covert of the Star Tribune called the film "sillier, darkly violent and a bit dumbed down, but still great fun." Pauline Kael, writing in The New Yorker, claimed it was "one of the most sheerly pleasurable physical comedies ever made." Halliwell's Film Guide described the film as a "slow-starting adventure romp with much ingenuity and too much brutality and horror."
Dave Kehr gave a largely negative review; "The film betrays no human impulse higher than that of a ten-year-old boy trying to gross out his baby sister by dangling a dead worm in her face." Ralph Novak of People complained "The ads that say 'this film may be too intense for younger children' are fraudulent. No parent should allow a young child to see this traumatizing movie; it would be a cinematic form of child abuse. Even Harrison Ford is required to slap Quan and abuse Capshaw. There are no heroes connected with the film, only two villains; their names are Steven Spielberg and George Lucas." The Observer described it as "a thin, arch, graceless affair." The Guardian summarized it as "a two-hour series of none too carefully linked chase sequences ... sitting on the edge of your seat gives you a sore bum but also a numb brain." Leonard Maltin gave the movie only 2 out of 4 stars, saying that the film "never gives us a chance to breathe" and chiding the "'gross-out' gags."
Kate Capshaw called her character "not much more than a dumb screaming blonde." Steven Spielberg said in 1989, "I wasn't happy with Temple of Doom at all. It was too dark, too subterranean, and much too horrific. I thought it out-poltered Poltergeist. There's not an ounce of my own personal feeling in Temple of Doom." He later added during the Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom documentary, "Temple of Doom is my least favorite of the trilogy. I look back and I say, 'Well the greatest thing that I got out of that was I met Kate Capshaw. We married years later and that to me was the reason I was fated to make Temple of Doom."
The film's depiction of Hindus caused controversy in India, and brought it to the attention of the country's censors, who placed a temporary ban on it. The inaccurate depiction of Goddess Kali as a representative of the underworld and evil met with much criticism as she is instead the Goddess of Energy (Shakti). The depiction of Indian cuisine was also condemned as it has no relation whatsoever with "baby snakes, eyeball soup, beetles and chilled monkey brains." Shashi Tharoor has condemned the film and pointed to numerous offensive and factually inaccurate portrayals. Yvette Rosser has criticized the film for contributing to racist stereotypes of Indians in Western society, writing "[it] seems to have been taken as a valid portrayal of India by many teachers, since a large number of students surveyed complained that teachers referred to the eating of monkey brains."
Dennis Muren and Industrial Light & Magic's visual effects department won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 57th Academy Awards. Soundtrack composer John Williams was, as he had been for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, again nominated for Original Music Score. The visual effects crew won the same category at the 38th British Academy Film Awards. Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, editor Michael Kahn, Ben Burtt and other sound designers at Skywalker Sound received nominations. Spielberg, the writers, Harrison Ford, Jonathan Ke Quan, Anthony Powell and makeup designer Tom Smith were nominated for their work at the Saturn Awards. Temple of Doom was nominated for Best Fantasy Film but lost to Ghostbusters.
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- Official website
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at LucasFilm.com
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at AllMovie
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at the Internet Movie Database
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at Rotten Tomatoes
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at Box Office Mojo