Ever wonder how George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan came up with the screenplay of the masterpiece Raiders of the Lost Ark? Below you’ll find a transcript of their enter story session where they all just brainstormed. It’s a fascinating read. You see how ideas come and go until the Indiana Jones we know comes to life before our eyes. A must for any screenwriter, filmmaker or film buff. Enjoy!
“RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK”
Story Conference Transcript
January 23, 1978 thru January 27, 1978
George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Larry Kasdan
“RAIDERS” — TAPE ONE
G — We’ll just talk general ideas, what the concept of it was. Then I’ll get down to going specifically through the story. Then we will actually get to where we can start talking down scenes, in the end I want to end up with a list of scenes. And the way I work generally is I figure a code, a general measuring stick parameter. I can either come up with thirty scenes or sixty scenes depending on which scale you want to work on. A thirty scene thing means that each scene is going to be around four pages long. A sixty one means that every scene is going to run twenty pages long. (?) It depends on, part of it is the… (short gap in the tape) knock some of these out, and this doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. You can move things around, but it generally gives you an idea, assuming that what we really want at the end of all this is a hundred and twenty page script, or less. But that’s where we really want to go. Then we figure out vaguely what the pace of, how fast it’s going to move and how we’re going to do it. I have a tendency to work rather mathematically about all this stuff. I found it easier and it does lay things out. Especially a thing like this. The basic premise is that it’s sort of a serialesque kind of movie. Meaning that there are certain things that have to continue to happen. It’s also basically an action piece, for the most part. We want to keep things interspaced and at the same time build it. As I build this up, you’ll see it’s done vaguely by the numbers. Generally, the concept is a serial idea. Done like the Republic serials. As a thirties serial. Which is where a lot of stuff comes from anyway. One of the main ideas was to have, depending on whether it would be every ten minutes or every twenty minutes, a sort of a cliffhanger situation that we get our hero into. If it’s every ten minutes we do it twelve times. I think that may be a little much. Six times is plenty.
S — And each cliffhanger is better than the one before.
G — That is the progression we have to do. It’s hard to come up with. The trouble with cliff hangers is, you get somebody into something, you sort have to get them out in a plausible way. A believable way, anyway. That’s another important concept of the movie — that it be totally believable. It’s a spaghetti western, only it takes place in the thirties. Or it’s James Bond and it takes place in the thirties. Except James Bond tends to get a little outrageous at times. We’re going to take the unrealistic side of it off, and make it more like the Clint Eastwood westerns. The thing with this is, we want to make a very
believable character. We want him to be extremely good at what he does, as is the Clint Eastwood character or the James Bond character. James Bond and the man with no name were very good at what they did. They were very, fast with a gun, they were very slick, they were very professional. They were Supermen.
S — Like Mifune.
G — Yes, like Mifune. He’s a real professional. He’s really good. And that is the key to the whole thing. That’s something you don’t see that much anymore.
S — And one of the things that really helped Mifune in all the Kurosawa movies is that he was always surrounded by really inept characters, real silly buffoons, which made him so much more majestic. If there are occasions where he comes up against, not the arch- villain, but the people around him shouldn’t be the smartest…
G — Well, they shouldn’t be buffoons. The one thing we’re going to do is make a very good period piece, that is realistic and believable. A thirties movie in the, even in the Sam Spade genre. Even in the Maltese Falcon there were some pretty goofy characters, but they were all pretty real in their own bizarre way.
S — Elijah Cook.
G – Elijah Cook might not have been the brightest person in the world. In a way he was the buffoon of the piece, but at the same time he was very dangerous and he was very… They were strong characters. If we keep it that mode of believability…
S — It’s just like you don’t put Lee Van Cleef as an accomplice to… (garbled)
G — No, you put Eli Wallach. Did you see “The Good, The Bad And the Ugly”? The Eli Wallach character is a goofy character, but at the same time he’s very dangerous and he’s very funny and he’s … We can have that kind of thing. The main thing is for him to be a super hero in the best sense of the word, which is John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery tradition of a man who we can all look up to and say, “Now there’s somebody who really knows his job. He’s really good at what he does and he’s a very dangerous person. But at the same time we’re putting him in the kind of Bogart mold, like “Treasure of Sierra Madre” or…
S — Or even the Clark Gable thing we talked about.
G — Yeah, the Clark Gable mold. The fact that he is slightly scruffy. You don’t know it until it happens. Now, several aspects that we’ve discussed before: The image of him which is the strongest image is the “Treasure Of Sierra Madre” outfit, which is the khaki pants, he’s got the leather jacket, that sort of felt hat, and the pistol and holster with a World War One sort of flap over it. He’s going into the jungle carrying his gun. The other thing we’ve added to him, which may be fun, is a bull whip. That’s really his trade mark. That’s really what he’s good at. He has a pistol, and he’s probably very good at that, but at the same time he happens to be very good with a bull whip. It’s really more of a hobby than anything else. Maybe he came from Montana, someplace, and he… There are freaks who love bull whips. They just do it all the time. It’s a device that hasn’t been used in a long time.
S — You can knock somebody’ s belt off and the guys pants fall down.
G — You can swing over things, you can…there are so many things you can do with it. I thought he carried it rolled up. It’s like a Samurai sword. He carries it back there and you don’t even notice it. That way it’s not in the way or anything. It’s just there whenever he wants it.
S — At some point in the movie he must use it to get a girl back who’s walking out of the room. Wrap her up and she twirls as he pulls her back. She spins into his arms. You have to use it for more things than just saving himself.
G — We’ll have to work that part out. In a way it’s important that it be a dangerous weapon. It looks sort of like a snake that’s coiled up behind him, and any time it strikes it’s a real threat.
L — Except there has to be that moment when he’s alone with a can of beer and he just whips it to him.
G — That’s the sort of gung-ho side of the character, which is, if we make him sort of Super Samurai Warrior, meaning that he is Just incredibly good with a bull whip and incredibly good with a gun. He’s a dead-eye shot. He’s got the wrong kind of holster for a quick draw, but we can always have him be a semi… we’re not going to use the quick draw aspects of it, but he should be very fast and very quick. Maybe even, this has to do with the other part of this character, but I was thinking of Kung-Fu, Karate. But I don’t want to load him up too much. The reason I was doing this “is that his character is international. He’s the guy who’s been all around the world. He’s a soldier of fortune. He is also… Well, this gets into that other side of his character, which is totally alien to that side we just talked about. Essentially, I think he is a, and this was the original character and it’s an interesting juxtaposition. He is an archeologist and an anthropologist. A Ph.D. He’s a doctor, he’s a college professor. What happened is, he’s also a sort of rough and tumble guy. But he got involved in going in and getting antiquities. Sort of searching out antiquities. And it became a very lucrative profession so he, rather than be an archeologist, he became sort of an outlaw archeologist. He really started being a grave robber, for hire, is what it really came down to. And the museums would hire him to steal things out of tombs and stuff. Or, locate them. In the archeology circles he knows everybody, so he’s sort of like a private detective grave robber. A museum will give him an assignment… A bounty hunter.
S — If there were these Arabs who just discovered some great king’s tomb, and you see the tomb being taken out. And there are about twenty or thirty Arabs heavily armed, and like five trucks and you realize…there’s this one guy who’s all painted, and he’s one of the pall bearers who slips a thing into the back of the truck, gets behind the wheel and as the caravan is going to turn right, this one thing goes left. And the rest chase him, but he gets away.
G — The thing is, if there is an object of antiquity, that a museum knows about that may be missing, or they know it’s somewhere. He can go like an archeologist, but it’s like rather than doing research, he goes in to get the gold. He doesn’t really go to find cheap artifacts, he goes to gather stuff. And the other thing is, if something was taken from a tomb, stolen and sort of in the underground, sometimes they may send him out to get it. Essentially he’s a bounty hunter. He’s a bounty hunter of antiquities is what it comes down to. If a museum says that there is this famous vase that we know exists, it was in this tomb at this time. It may still be there, but we doubt it. We think maybe it’s on the underground market, or in a private collection. We’d like to have it. Actually it belongs to us. We’re the National Museum of Cairo or something. He says okay and he tracks it down. If it’s not in the thing, he finds it, finds out who’s got it. And he swipes it back.
A lot of times it’s sort of legal. All he has to do is get it. It’s not like he steals things from collectors, and then gives them to other collectors. What he does is steal things from private collectors who have them illegally, and gives them back to the national museums and stuff. Or, being that his morality isn’t all that good, he will go into the actual grave and steal it out of the country and give it to the museum. It’s a sort of quasi-ethical side of that whole thing. The museum does commission somebody to go into the pyramids and you know, whatever they find, sort of get out without the Egyptian government knowing, because they were in the process of turmoil and nobody’s going to know anyway and there’s not going to be any official protest, so just do it. Anything that’s
quasi-legal, or amorphous, he’ll do. He’s not a totally corrupt person, where he’ll steal. But if it’s sort of fair game, then he comes in. As a result he’s essentially an anthropologist and an archeologist. He is a professor. He knows antiquities. So nobody can pawn off a fake on him. He understands all that stuff. But he really got the adventure bug and and he just kept doing it. And it was good money. He gets a big commission on the stuff, a big bounty. So he just got into this crazy business. Now, on top of that, I have added, I thought it would be interesting to have him be a sort of expert in the occult, as an offshoot of the anthropological side of this thing. He has a tendency to get into situations where there are taboos, voodoos, things, especially when you start dealing with pyramids you get into all that. So he sort of studies it because he’s gotten mixed up with it. A study of ancient religions and voodoo and all that kind of stuff. He’s a guy who sort of checks out ghosts and psychic phenomenon in connection with the kind of things he does. He’s a sort of archeological exorcist. When somebody has a haunted house, or a haunted temple, and nobody will go near it, he is the one who will go in there and do it, and he has dealt with… Assuming that he believes in the supernatural because he deals with it, he is the one they send into the haunted house. Like one of these haunted house professors who try and figure out why a house is haunted. He does that. He gets involved with sacred temples and curses and all that stuff. And actually some were real, he came across some real curses and stuff. He said hey, this is really interesting. A lot of the times they are hoaxes. And he can figure it out. This is just a general history of where he comes from. People will use the pharaohs or a curse, and something will happen. People will walk through this particular temple and they will die twenty-four hours later. Nobody knows why. The curse of Mabutu is on that place. Well, he looks at it and sees that there’s a fissure in the thing and there’s a deadly gas that’s coming out of the ground. Because he’s an intelligent professor, he knows his science and he can sort of deduce a hoax. There was a comic book a long time ago about a guy who did nothing but show up hoaxes. It was like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. They would send things to this guy. They would send him eight-legged dogs and stuff. It was like a TV show. If you couldn’t figure out how the hoax was done then it would be on the show. It was all him trying to show these complicated ways that people come up with hoaxes. That was just a side light. When he confronts his antiquities and stuff, half the time he’s dealing with hoaxes. Not only hoaxes in terms of taboos and things, but also hoaxes in terms of the antiquities. They send him out to get them, but they also send him out to deal with the supernatural.
L — Some of the hoaxes may have been set up by the natives.
G — Yeah. They may be an original native thing, or it might be some shyster in town who thinks he’s going to pull a fast one on somebody, for various reasons. It’s a millieu I’ve created for this guy that I think is interesting because it also makes him somewhat of a ghost chaser in his own way. I don’t know actually how much of that aspect of it will fit into the script. It’s something I’ve added to the character.
L — He’s bound to run into those kind of things.
G — Yes. The thing is, if he is an intelligent sort of professor who has experience with the occult and that kind of thing, then he not only is not afraid to stand up against any man, but he’s also not afraid to stand up against the unknown.
L — If he walks into a cave and he adds a yellow slash to a symbol, you don’t have to say too much about how he found that out, you know.
G — We’ve established that he’s a college professor. It doesn’t have to be done in a strong way. It starts out in a museum. They just call him doctor this and doctor that. We can very easily make that transition, and very quickly establish that whole side of his character. In the story the ramifications of him as a ghost hunter have not been dealt with yet. But I put it in his character for use in some other way.
L — (I can’t understand what he is saying here, something about a sword and a basket.) It seems like it would be nice if, once stripped of his bullwhip, left him weak, if we had to worry. Just a little worried about him being too…
G — That was what I thought. That’s why I was sort of iffy about throwing it in. If we don’t make him vulnerable…
S — What’s he afraid of? He’s got to be afraid of something.
G — If we don’t make him vulnerable, he’s got no problems. We’ll shut that idea for now. The other thing, which is like the Kung-Fu and the ghost thing, which given the plot and the way it’s working, there’s not really time to cope with it in an interesting way. It’s a nice aspect of this thing, might be able to deal with it, might not. It’s not really that important. It’s the same thing with the Kung-Fu. We might be stacking too much into his character that is not necessary. Just the fact that he’s good with a bullwhip is going to be fun enough. You could fill a script. In one way it’s better to keep it clean.
S — As long as he has brains. He should be able to talk his way out of things. L — I think that would be his first choice.
G — Right.
S — The guy should be a great gambler, too.
G — The thing of it is, I think it’s good if we delineate a fairly clean personality so that it doesn’t become too confused.
L — Assume there’s an archeologist who’s spent years studying this, he might have some kind of awe and respect for virgin tombs. This guy has obviously gone past that into, “I can make a good living out of this.” what’s his stance on this? Does it bother him to go in and…
G — I think basically he’s very cynical about the whole thing. Maybe he thinks that most archeologists are just full of shit, and that somebody’s going to rip this stuff off anyway. Better that he rips it off and gets it to a museum where people, can study it, and rip it off right. That’s the key also. He knows how to enter a tomb without destroying it. He knows what’s important. He knows not to go in there like a bull in a china shop, and destroy half the stuff that’s valuable.
S — He should have a mentor in this. Somebody you never see, but he refers to from time to time, somebody you want to see. The man who taught him everything. The man who gave him whatever power he has now. Maybe some supreme archeologist who’s maybe ninety years old like Max Von Sydow, and is dying now. So you know it didn’t start with this guy. There are other greater predecessors around of this sort.
L — Is it necessary that he really be trained?
G — It’s not absolutely necessary. I just thought it would be amusing if people could call him a doctor.
S — I like that. The doctor with the bullwhip.
G — It’s such an odd juxtaposition, especially going around. The first sequence is in the jungle and you see him in action. You see him going through the whole thing. And the next sequence after that you see him back in Washington or New York, back in the museum. Where he’s in a totally academic thing, turning over this thing that he’s got. Then in the rest of the movie you see him back in his bullwhip mode. You understand
that there’s more to him. Plus, it justifies later things that he… the fact that he’s sort of an intelligent guy. Peter Falk is one way of looking at him, a Humphrey Bogart character. The fact that he’s sort of scruffy and, not the right image, but…
S — Peter’s too scruffy.
G — Yes. We’ll figure a way of laying that out in his personality so it’s easily identifiable.
S — Remember the movie “Soldier Of Fortune” with Clark Gable? There was a good deal of Rhett Butler in that character. The devil-may-care kind of guy who can handle situations. He’s so damn glib he bluffs everybody around. People think that he’s a push- over. He’s challenged, and he always appears like a push-over. But in fact he’s not. He likes to set himself up in these subordinate roles from time to time to get his way.
G — What I’m saying is, that character just would not fit in a college classroom or even as an archeologist. He’s too much of a scruffy character to settle down. A playboy, or however you want to do it. He’s too much of a wise-guy, maybe that’s a better way to say it, to actually be a college professor. He really loves the stuff, but he became too cynical, he’s too much of a wise guy to fit into an academic situation, or even an archeological situation. He’s really too much of an adventurer at heart. He just loves it. So he obviously took this whole bent that was different because it’s just more fun. He just can’t settle down. It’s a nice contrast. It’s like the James Bond thing. Instead of being a martini drinking cultured kind of sophisticate, he’s the sort of intellectual college professor James Bond. He’s a superagent.
S — Clark Kent.
G — Yeah. It’s that thing, which is fun. It’s the same idea, only twisted around a little bit. A soldier of fortune in the thirties. And also, when you think of the thirties, you think of colleges as real institutions. That whole genre was much different than it is now. And also, soldier of fortune was a real genre.
S — His main adversaries will be the Germans?
G — Yeah, I think they should be. I’ve been trying to move him around the world a little bit to see if we can’t get a little Oriental influence into it just for the fun of it. I may have fit it in. The fun thing is, he’s a soldier of fortune, so we can move him into any sort of exotic thirties environment we want to.
S — Keep him out of the States. We don’t want to do one shot in this country.
G — I have the second scene taking place in Washington. It’s just interior museum. But at the same time we also want to keep it, budget-wise, and everything else. We don’t want to have eight thousand screaming Chinese coming over the hill being strafed by Japanese zeroes, unless we can find some stock footage somewhere. We want to keep it on a fairly… I think generally, over all, I’ve tried to keep it on a very modest scale. A la the first James Bond. A la the first “Hang ’em High” thing. Where it is essentially a conflict between people and things. Obviously there is a lot of stuff going on, but there are certain big set pieces that are fun to play with. And if we can divide these set pieces so we can shot them sort of second unit, then we can have all that fun stuff in the period, and essentially it’s a set piece. We’ll just send a stock footage crew out to get certain things that we might be able to come up with without too much money just by sending a camera and crew and getting a shot here and there of various things that we want. The concept is that somehow we have to figure out a way of making this cheap, meaning six or seven million dollars.
S — One thing, there aren’t any opticals, so right away that saves a lot of money.
G — And we want to spend our money on stunts. We want to have “Wind and the Lion” action. Spend it all on stunt guys falling off horses, rather than one crowd scene scene with sixteen thousand extras for one shot.
S — You can also steal that anywhere in the mideast.
G — Maybe we’ll work something like that out. Even then, for production value and entertainment value, it’s much better to have a terrific stunt than to have a scene with eight thousand extras. I don’t think we need lots of crowds.
S — (garbled) You can always get that in some other countries. It’s no problem. G — It’s all period. That’s the problem.
S —In places like Bombay it doesn’t make any difference.
G — Again, that’s one of those stock footage things. You want to send an “A” camera man and a production manager over there, tell them to make a deal with some New Delhi film company to supply fifteen old cars and eight thousand extras and we’ll pay them seven thousand dollars. You photograph the stuff and bring it back here. Or like Hong Kong, go to Run Run Shaw, say we want three shots like this. You gaff the whole thing and we’ll pay you X number of dollars send. Send your cameraman, or a good second unit camera man whom you trust, and a production manager to handle it financially, and they do it, and you come back with dailies of an establishing shot with ten thousand extras.
S — You have a small smoke-filled room in Rome with your two actors.
G — I think we can hopefully sort that out. Part of it is the energy of making it reasonably low budget. It’s also a test of the idea. If it’s good, then we’ll be okay. I think I will go down and describe, roughly, the plot. After we do that, we can go through scene by scene. Then we can start the long arduous process of saying, well this is what the first scene should be and we really want this scene, but how can we fit it in. and really get down to specifics. The film starts in the jungle. South America, someplace. We get one of these great scenes with the pack animals going up the mist-covered hills. Very exotic mist-filled jungles and mountains. There’s a… We actually talked about it a little different from this, but you can correct me if I have gone off what we had talked about the last time. I’m going back, I think, to the original.
S — Where he goes into the cave?
G — This is where he goes into the cave. We had it where there’s a couple native bearers, whatever, and sort of a couple of Mexican, well not Mexican… Let’s put it…
S — They’re like Mayan.
G — They’re the third world local sleazos. Whether, they’re Mexicans or Arabs or whatever.
S — They carry the boxes over their heads. They fall off cliffs.
G — The sleazos with the thin moustaches. Those are the peon laborers. And you have the two guys who are the local gaffers. Foremen, or whatever. The guys he hired. They speak English. The interpreters, or whatever. We’re assuming at this point that when we come into it, the talk is like they’re all sort of partners. He’s a partner with these other two guys. He said, “Look, I’ll cut you in on the stake. I’ll pay you X number of dollars when I do this, if you do it.” We’ll they’re not very trustworthy, Eli Wallach types. They’re going up this hill and they come into a clearing and you see the temple across
the way. All the natives get restless and start to split. One of the guys goes to him and says, “The natives are leaving. They’re not going to go any further.” It’s the curse of that Buddha, or whatever. He says they can probably get there from here without them. So the three of us can do it. See if you can get a couple of them to carry on, to come along. They get about two or three guys to go with them. Our guy, the other two guys, and about three other guys, three other natives who are a little braver, they get. So they continue on into the jungle with the snakes and the spiders and the bugs and all that stuff, and they walk forward and all the natives are looking around. It’s all sort of misty and primeval. King Kongish. The pressure builds and one of the natives cracks, throws down his thing and scurries off. He splits, and the other guys realize he’s gone and they split. Pretty soon, when they get right to the clearing, right in front of the temple, it’s just three guys. Along the way they lost the three natives. Also in the process of this, you understand that the two guys are plotting against the other guy. Not only is there the spooky danger of the curse, but you get a hint that these two guys are plotting against our hero. He gets up to the temples. They’re nervous about the whole thing. And they sort of sit outside the clearing and they talk about the curse and about how dangerous it is, and how nobody had ever survived. We set up the whole thing, the parameters of going into that temple. They have a map, not a map but sort of a crude drawing. It has the interior-of the temple on it, that somebody else made. He brings it out at this time, they’re saying that nobody has ever survived. He says that with this information we’ve got here, I think we’ll be able to manage it. He says not to worry guys, it’s gonna be okay. I think we can get in there. We have enough information here where I think I can deduce my way through it. They focus on the map as he’s surveying the thing. One of the guys tries to kill him and take the map, shoot him in the back or whatever it was. That’s when you first see him with the bullwhip. That’s where the plot comes alive. When he says with this information, he thinks they can get in, they don’t realize that you have to know how to interpret that information. He kills this one guy and the other guy sort of backs off and says he didn’t have anything to do with it, he’s crazy, and I knew he was a crook. And you knew they were in on it together, but the guy says, “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t me.” So he and the other one guy go into the temple. You know the guy’s going to shoot him in the back eventually. As they get into the temple you get into all these things, like there’s this giant spider in there.
S — The thing is, they’re walking and our hero goes into a shadow. When he comes out of the shadow there’s two tarantulas on him. He doesn’t notice them right away. He goes into another shadow, and he comes out with four tarantulas on him.
G — The other process of the thing is that the guy who is with him is beginning to freak out. He can’t take it, so he gets to a point where he can’t do it any more. He runs out and that’s the last we ever see of him. We can use him as a foil to establish the pressure. It’s getting crazy with the tarantulas and it’s all very spooky. We get to a point in the tomb and we do this thing where there’s like this light shaft coming down from inside the temple. It’s sort of a very narrow shaft. The stone tunnel that he’s in is about this wide and right in the middle is a very thin shaft of light coming down through a hole, a little beam. You see him look at it. We had him go through the wall. Actually we had it happen first…
S — What happen?
G — We had it first where he sees the light and he tosses a thing in it, a stick, and these giant spikes come out, and go…
S — When the spikes come out and go like that, there should be remains, skeletal remains skewered on some of them, of victims that have been there before. It’s kind of like one of those rides at Disneyland.
G — So he tests it first, and we know…
L — Why are we letting the second sleazo get away? Why can’t we sacrifice him to the temple.
G — We can. I just did it as building the pressure, but we can keep him in. We’ll follow it through, and then we’ll see where you want to dispose of him.
L — If the hero tells him to stick with him, and the guy in his panic makes that fatal one step sideways, you can build the terror.
G — The idea of having him in there in the first place was to use him as a foil for things like where he starts to walk into that light and the guy tells him to wait, don’t go through there. Then he throws the stick and it all goes clang. Anyway, they have to go through this beam of light, they have to go up against the wall and sort of get around it. If anything brushes up against that light… It’s great because you can use it like this, across your… It’s all dark and you can see the light just just creeping right along the edge of the thing there. You don’t how much it would take to actually set it off. (demonstrates)
L — And you’ve got to do the cliche where they’re walking along this ledge just this wide and it just goes into blackness. And he takes a rock and he drops it, and you don’t hear anything. So they keep going, and about twenty seconds later you hear it hit.
G — The idea was there would be around three things, real neat-o things, like these giant stones that jump together, spikes that fly out, the precipice thing. Another one would be a sort of giant stone trap door, I don’t know quite how to describe it.
S — There could be like wall mashers, stones could mash…
G — We had the one with the spikes, another one was the trap door. It really isn’t the better of the things. The best one is the shaft of light.
S — I would just love to see the guys walking in and there’s a whole pile of skeletons, but they’re like cardboard, completely flattened, really completely flat. They know that something around here is going to squish them. They don’t know what’s causing it, but something if they walk the wrong way is going to come out and make them pancakes. The piece should be like a real, horror ride, like a Disneyland ride. Once you’re committed to going into that cave, there’s seismic rumblings all the time and there’s stalagmites and things going drip, drip. It’s going to really be a sound experience going through that cave. There’s nothing more terrifying than skeletons.
G — There’s also things like spiders, snakes. It’s very dark, and all you have to do is cut to a snake slithering across the ground, and he’s walking through. You never know when a snake’s going to be curled up on his leg. As he walks through the dark there’s tarantulas all around him. That kind of stuff. You don’t know what’s going to happen.
S — This is the first scene in the movie. This scene should get at least four major screams. The audience won’t trust anyone after that. They won’t trust the film.
G — There’s also the thing you can do which is your famous “Jaws”, or what I call the hand on the shoulder trick, which is not only skeletons, but we can have skeletons that aren’t that old, they just have drawn skin all over them, that are lurking in the shadows.
S — Falling into their arms. A skeleton comes out of the cobwebs, and just embraces the guy. The guy eases him to the ground.
G — At the more tense moments in that whole thing. We’ll work on that more specifically. Anyway, he goes through a series of really spooky scary things.
S — What we’re just doing here, really, is designing a ride at Disneyland.
G — They get into the main throne room and this guy can either be with him or not. Or we’ve killed him off. There’s a temple figure, idol, whatever. I thought at one time it would be just a little teeny idol, rather than this giant thing. Voodoo, whatever. If the idol is really small, it’s spookier. Like one of those voodoo dolls where you’re saying this must have some sort of very strange… So you can almost believe the curse on the thing. We’d had a thing where there was an eye and he tried to pry the eye out and it set off… He had to get the eye out without doing… It’s the same thing with the little figure. There’s this little figure sitting on a pedestal, or in a niche. First of all, when he gets in the room, it’s semi-lit from above. It’s got sort of a sky light. The center of the thing is this sort of shaft that runs all the way down so there’s sunlight.
S — We’ll get (garbled) to photograph this movie.
G — So you can sort of see what’s going on. At that time we’re afraid of sunlight and those kind of things. It’s also the kind of thing where he moves in there very carefully. He moves in and he studies it. It’s almost like a karate or a tai-chi exercise. It’s very… You see him in a very strange, if the guy is still with him, he says to him, “You wait here. Only I can get through this. He studies the whole thing. You see him go through this very elaborate thing, one of it may be the thing where he holds out a little feathery thing and it floats down and gets caught in an air shaft. So he knows there’s an air shaft and he goes under it.
S — He knows it’s a trap.
G — All these sort of silent things that are in there. I know what one of those things was, it was poison sticks that were put into the walls. If you spring something, it shoots out. They’re all over the place. He sees one, he does one — twing. Then he looks around and the whole room is a sort of honeycomb.
S — That’s a great idea.
G — There’s just holes everywhere. Each one is attached to a… They don’t have to be big spears, they’re like arrows.
S — More like little projectiles.
G — Yeah, little darts. It has to be big enough to be something. The idea is that one goes out and he looks at the hole, then he looks up and realizes that the whole place is perforated with them. It goes off with air currents, like if an air current is broken, or some kind of thing. We don’t have to fully understand, all the mystery of light shafts, air shafts, little things that are sort of there that he could trip…
S — Maybe he brings his bandanna up over his nose so his breath doesn’t get out.
G — The idea is he does an elaborate thing to lift this thing off. Obviously there’s some sort of weighted trap thing there, too. Then he turns and trips something. Whether he steps into a light thing, or however we do it… Or whether it was the weight of the thing, a sort of delayed thing. Take one step and turn, then all of a sudden you hear the… Then we cut to a little insert of sand going… starting to fill up something. He hears it and, I have one of two choices. One, he just runs like hell to try and get out of the room before the whatever it is… Or, but then I’ve got all these things. I want it to be action. He hears the stuff and runs and as he runs out of the thing, that’s when the big stone goes… But we can work that out, make it a little more specific about what exactly the trap is. But whatever it is, he tips the thing off. You think he’s got it, and right when you think he’s got it and he’s starting his way back, he’s tripped something. Some kind of a delayed thing. And you hear some giant mechanism at work inside the thing that’s going
to have this awesome thing that will crush the entire temple or something. In the process of this, one way or another, we will have to kill the other guy off or send him fleeing, screaming into the night. We can do anything to him. It will be easy to get rid of him if you want. In the end he gets it and comes out of the temple into sunlight and looks and he’s got the thing, and we cut to Washington, D.C.
S — You know what it could be. I have a great idea. He hears the sand… When he goes into the cave, it’s not straight. The whole thing is on an incline on the way in. He hears this, grabs the thing, comes to a corridor. There is a sixty-five foot boulder that’s form- fitted to only roll down the corridor coming right at him. And it’s a race. He gets to outrun the boulder. It then comes to rest and blocks the entrance of the cave. Nobody will ever come in again. This boulder is the size of a house.
G — It mashes the partner.
S — Right. The guy can’t run fast enough.
G — It’s all that kind of thing, stone. Ancient gyrations of things that are so fun. It’s really sort of “Land of the Pharaohs” stuff. Giant crazy traps that were set so long ago to keep people from getting in there. The idea is to keep it as a fast… ‘Cause in the end all it is is a teaser. The next scene is in Washington. He’s delivering the idol to the museum. It’s your basic exposition scene, where the guy says thanks and we sort of understand what this guy does for a living. He gets his money from the museum. You understand a little more about him as a professor and all that other bullshit. It also really sets up the fact that he’s a bounty hunter and he works for museums. In that scene they set up, “Somebody here wants to see you.” “Who is it?” The curator of the museum is also a good friend of his, maybe not the mentor, but he’s like an old museum curator. He says, “This is important. I’ve got a big job for you now. Well, I don’t have a big job for you, but this man wants to talk to you about something. You should take it.” So they go down into this office in the museum, and there’s this intelligence guy. Army Intelligence. A couple of them are waiting for him. This is where we get the big assignment scene, with the blackboard. This is where they explain about the ark. I’m not sure what’s it’s called, the Ark of the Covenant or something. It’s the Ark that carried the…
END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE A
TAPE ONE, SIDE B
This Ark, in front of the Armies of Israel, made them invincible. Everything in front of them was destroyed. It was the most powerful thing.
S — You know what would be interesting to do, George? (can’t understand, something about great murals of the Ark)
G — We have one of these. “In Search of the Lost Ark” things. I think also, you’ve been describing this to people as a science fiction film, which is good.
S — I have not.
G — It’s in Rolling Stone. Anyway, the idea is you explain the Ark and the power it held, and the fact that they have been searching. There’s a history of it. This is, again, where the research comes in. Phil knew more about this than I did, and his notes are very sketchy. This is the part that he laid out. I didn’t quite understand it all, but I do have information on it. It’s very easy to follow it. What it is, there’s this Ark, a famous Ark with a legend that the Israeli armies would carry it in front of them and they were invincible. The other thing is, which I have more research on, is that Adolph Hitler, 1936 or whatever, was a fanatic for this kind of stuff, occult craziness. We have another book where he was looking for the spear that killed Jesus, which was in a museum in
Czechoslovakia. Well, he was a fanatic for finding this sort of occult stuff. He really was, and he searched the museums all over the world. He had his agents go in to get these things to make him all powerful. So we can tie that in. The idea is that he was looking for this spear, which was a very famous thing. He stole it from the Czechs and took it to a museum in Berlin and right now it’s… It’s supposed to have occult powers. We’ll Just say that Hitler has been trying to find this, which is history, and he’s also trying to find this Ark. Obviously, what he wants to do is… He thinks that if he gets this Ark, his Armies will be invincible, and he will declare war on the world.
S — Which we know he does anyway.
G — Right. But that isn’t the thing. He thinks once he gets this Ark he will be invincible, although he may do it anyway. But that’s why our hero comes in. He’s going to do it anyway, but if he gets this Ark there will be no stopping him. So they’re doing it semi to prevent the war, which is sort of helpless. They’re not really going after the Ark for its supernatural powers. The Army isn’t. The Army just wants to keep it away from Hitler. They’re afraid if Hitler gets it, he’ll just declare war that much faster, and that will give him sort of a… There can be some interesting discussion here about the kind of stuff that Hitler does, and about the history of the Ark. We set up that our agents have intercepted information that the Nazis have found the Ark, or that they know something about the ark. It has been located, or something. What they want him to do is get it before the Nazis do.
L — What does he know about it so far?
G — He doesn’t know anything about it. He can know a little bit. “Yeah, I’ve heard of it.” We make it so he’s not completely ignorant of the situation. He knows more about the Ark than he does about the Hitler aspects of it. We can play that scene rather then one guy just explaining the situation. We can play it where he’s sort of explaining some of it to the Army officer or something. Or maybe he knows more about it than the Army guy does. Maybe the Army officer is misinformed about some things. We can set it up so it works as a good scene. Because essentially the scene is “This is your mission.”
L — Maybe the fact that he knows more about it than they do is the turning point of the scene. He sort of talks himself into the job.
G — One of the things of his character is that he is very skeptical, very cynical. In the beginning he is reluctant. “The Germans haven’t found it, for Christ’s sake. Those guys are running all over the world being crazy. That’s a real myth.” He sort of doesn’t believe it. It’s like a wild goose chase. He isn’t even sure it exists. The thing of it is that in the end they convince him to do it because they say this Professor Erich Von Daniken, or whatever, this German version of himself is the one who found it. Or the other possibility is they sent a message to get that guy to come. We want to get a German arch-rival involved in it. We thought at one point he would be the Donald Pleasence character, or whatever. The other idea was maybe making him something like Chinese, not German. Make him an ally of the Germans. So we can readily identify him. When you have all these Germans, you know which one he is immediately. So he would be different from all the other bad guys. Also, it wouldn’t be so much of a coincidence that his arch-rival is a German, and happens to be a Nazi like all the others. His arch-rival is really a top smuggler, diamond dealer, antiquity… He’s the corrupt version of our guy. He’s the one who really goes in and rapes the temples and steals all that stuff and sends it off to private collectors, and takes antiquities and breaks them into small pieces and sells each piece for the price of the original. He’s a real corrupt guy. Maybe he’s the head of his own museum or something. He’s sort of legitimate, only he’s a real corrupt person, and our guys knows that. That guy is also very intelligent, he’s like Moriarity. If he thinks the Ark is there, then there must be something to it. “I don’t care shit about the Germans, buy by God. I’ll stop him from getting it.” So it becomes a personal grudge thing.
S — It has to be, because there’s nothing in it for our hero. They’re not going to give him any more money, and they’re certainly not going to give him the house he’s always wanted to build. He might be very cynical about it until they tell him who might have it. When that name comes up, his ears perk, and a whole change comes over him. You realize that this thing goes way back with this grudge.
G — They offer him money in the first place, but he’s still skeptical. They offer him a lot of money. “That’s only if I get it, and I’m not going to get it. It’s just a wild goose chase. There’s not enough in it for me.” Maybe they add a little bit more money, or they give him a guarantee, whether he finds it or not. Or something just to find out what the Germans know. “Then I’m just a spy. I’m not a spy. I’m an archeologist. Why don’t you just send one of your guys over there to do that?” They say their guys don’t know an Ark from a bathtub. Then they tell him about the other guy. If he sent the message, then it must be true. Or better yet, there was a German archeologist who he doesn’t know who sent the message to bring in the other guy. Then he says, “Okay, I’ll do it. I’m not going to let him get involved.”
L — It seems like they have a very personal grudge between them.
G — Right. That’s the whole thing. It’s a very old grudge. That’s his main competition, when he goes into a temple or something, either that guy has been there first and ravaged it, or that guy and his sleazy henchmen try and kill him. We can assume that those henchmen in the beginning may have been working for the other guy. If those guys had successfully murdered our guy in the first scene, and gotten what they were looking for, they probably would have sold it to the other guy because he’s probably the largest fence in the world for that kind of junk.
L — Rather than Just a professional animosity—
G — Obviously he’s stolen stuff from this guy, and the guy has tried to have him killed a couple of times.
L — That would be part of the game. You know that as soon as you get hold of something, that’s only half of it. Getting it back is the other part. I don’t know, a girl, a family, a child, something in the past that would make it a step over the line from being a professional rivalry. Some sorrow in our guy, who is very cool and you never see it.
G — I don’t want to get it too much on a vengeance thing, but at the same time, I think we can tighten it. I don’t want it to stand out that the only reason he’s doing this is because he really hates this guy. The nice about it being a more professional grudge is that then you can have a great confrontation later. If one guy wins fair and square, they respect each other as archeologists and as opponents. So it doesn’t become that if he ever gets that guy he’s going to kill him. If it’s a real personal thing like he killed his wife and raped his sister, then as soon as they meet up, he’d just kill the guy. And it would have been an all-consuming thing thing. This way they hate each other, they have tried to kill each other and all that stuff, so it’s sort of a friendly animosity. They respect each other and sooner or later one of them is going to kill the other. It’s Moriarity and Sherlock Holmes. One of those things where they’re constantly going back and forth with each other.
S — I think he should be German because there’s something nonviolent about the Oriental villain. Certainly he can use kindo (?) and be good with swords and everything, but there’s something a little more ominous about a real German. I mean an older German, not a young Aryan. Like the way Max Von Sydow was in “Three Days of the Condor.” That sort of danger lurking about him. A brilliant murderer.
G — He could be French or Italian… No. Italians are too crazy. He could be an Arab. One
of those weasel-faced, thin-moustached Arab professors.
S — Like Omar Shariff. I can’t thing of many Arabs who are actors.
G — It’s the Sidney Greenstreet character. I just think if he’s not German, then it makes it less of a coincidence.
S — Sidney Greenstreet is the type of villain who, if you pulled a gun on him says, “You disappoint me.”
G — Well, he could be Chinese, or whatever. He’s not a real killer or anything. He’s just the one who’s behind everything. He wouldn’t shoot anybody, but he wouldn’t hesitate for a second to say, “Shoot him.”
S — If that’s the case, then he has to have a real rotten… G — He has to be a real slimy villain, a great villain.
S — Charlie Chan, a villainous Charlie Chan.
G — One of those real great characters.
S — A six foot three inch Oriental.
G — It has to be very realistic, a sort of urbane, very exotic guy, who would run the Shang Hai Museum. He would also be an international dope smuggler and have connections all over the world. He could be selling off Ming treasures. He’s a real pirate. He’s not a Nazi, he’s a mercenary. He’s for hire.
S — He’s going to be surrounded by all sorts of brown shirts, Swastikas on the arm.
G — Right. He’s working for the Nazis. They hired him because they found evidence of this thing, but they don’t know how to go about it. They’re not going to hire our guy, so the other great guy in the world who does this sort of thing is this other guy. There’s the great American western guy, and then there’s the bad underworld guy. They have this problem of deciphering this sort of hieroglyphic they came up with this to help them find where the Ark is.
S — After this exposition scene, when he’s on an airplane going somewhere, the engines start missing. Right away there’s sabotage. It’s got to be the kind of movie where you expect the dull spots, but suddenly it gets very exciting when you least expect it. It’s as if the moment he gets the assignment, they already know way across the ocean. They already have forces out to get him.
G — They know that the only guy who would ever come up against them would be this guy.
S — It really goes fast.
G — Just to move along, essentially he ends up in Cairo or some exotic middle-east area, which is where most of it takes place. In the desert, Jordan, Israel, that area. He’s given the name of a man who knows about the situation, an agent. He goes into this very sleazy Casablanca type club and makes contact with this agent. The agent is a girl. This part was also sort of Phil’s. I wasn’t completely crazy about it, but I’ll continue in the way we had done it. She’s sort of a Marlene Dietrich tavern singer spy. A German lady singer. She’s really a double agent. She knows what the Nazis are doing, and where they are. He gets mixed up-with her. She wants him to make her his partner. They sort of have an affair right away. She knows everything. She wants to get cut in on his
percentage. She’s sort of a mercenary. She hates the Germans, but at the same time, this is her chance to get out of here, out of this hole. She sort of double crosses the Army. “Look, I’m not going to give you anything unless you cut me in on this. There’s a lot of money in this one. I can smell it.” He cuts her in on it. They’re sort of working together, but they don’t really. He can’t trust her very much. They’re the love story aspect of it. She’s sort of a back streets girl. She’s having an affair or something with one of the officers, that’s how she gets her information. She tells him that there’s a digging. That they’re out there in the desert and they have found the opening to a temple, and they think this ark is in there. This middle part, part of it is to develop this relationship. This is where a lot of the sabotage…
People are trying to kill him as soon as he arrives, or maybe even before he arrives, on the airplane. As soon as he gets there, there are knives coming out of walls, all these slimy characters are following him, all that stuff that happens in those places in the thirties. He’s poisoned and all kinds of things. He is trying to make contact with some other Arab guys who are going to help him. He tried to look up an old friend in the area and get some information, and he’s trying to get information from this girl. Finally she gives it to him, about where the Germans are. We had thought of giving him another piece of information, a MacGuffin, that he could take with him to try to analyze. This whole section is him sneaking around exotic stuff where he’s constantly being… He beats up German agents once in a while, and we sort of establish the German agent. That’s just for a couple scenes where we set the relationship with the girl, the tension, some fights in rooms with lots of boxes. They’re trapped in store rooms and stuff where he’s trying to make contact with his friend. He goes out in the desert and… I’m not really telling this part right. He gets this piece of information that he needs. He goes out and sees the Germans, disguised as Arabs. He realizes… He’s piecing this puzzle together, trying to find the temple. They have not found the temple, they’re just excavating around here. He realizes the temple is like a quarter of a mile east of where they are. He goes and he finds it. It’s in the desert, and he digs down and finds a little tiny bit of ruin. So he searches around until he finds something like a post or column. He digs into the sand, a couple of Arabs are with him. There’s a stone thing that he opens up, there’s a hole into the ground. He goes down in there and it’s the temple. He finds it and he finds the lost Ark. He’s recovering it. There’s a lot of tension because we have established that everybody is trying to kill him. People are following him all over the place. He knows that about a quarter mile east are about fifty Germans, with disguised tanks and guns. They have all kinds of junk over there. So he’s working right under their noses. The idea in the middle sequence was to create sort of a race, tension, who’s going to find the Ark first situation. If he pieces the puzzle together first, he gets the Ark. He starts to get the Ark out of the thing, and he comes up out of the hole, and all the Germans are there. He’s caught. They take the Ark. Then they beat the shit out of him. He does some fancy stuff, but they throw him back down the hole. We actually have the girl going off with the Germans. We don’t know what her situation is, but we don’t taint her. But when the Germans show up, she immediately goes off with the side that’s winning. He gets throws back in the hole, and they close the tomb up and leave him there to die. Then they take the thing back to their camp. Then he sort of tries to get away when she comes back and lets him out. Them we realize that she was really… She just didn’t want to get thrown in the hole with him. Didn’t think that would do any good. It’s night and they sneak off to the camp. They go into a tent and start to steal the Ark, start to take it to a truck. He’s pretending that he’s one of the Germans, although he’s wearing his regular stuff. Most of the Germans don’t know who he is. They get caught. They’re also with another Arab side kick, who also got thrown back in the thing. A little comic relief. They pretend like they’re supposed to be carrying it, then they put it on a truck. One guy says a little German, like he’s one of them. There are German civilians and German soldiers. The guys who have driven up are new guys. Their truck comes up and they get out. They meet him coming toward them. “Oh, good. You have come to meet us.” Just as they’re putting the ark on the truck, the old guard comes up. They best up some guards as they’re discovered. It’s too late and they sort of sneak off. The trucks take off into the night. He has to do something fast. Our guy goes back into camp, jumps on a horse, and starts chasing after them. “Wait here. I’ll get that damn thing back.” The truck is racing
along in the desert, and he races along with the horse. He jumps on the truck. We had him shoot the tires on the back truck, and it sort of skids and goes off the road. Then he sort of turns and goes up a hill and comes down the other side, and the other truck is there, and stopped. So we had him get rid of the back truck. Then he comes up alongside the other truck. It’s one of those canvas Warner Bros, trucks from the thirties. He races alongside the one with the Ark in it. He jumps onto the cab and has a fight.
S — We’re going to have a great fight in the truck. They’re hitting each other as the truck goes over these mountainous roads. They beat on each other until the road gets rough, and they help each other make the turns. Then they go on hitting each other. The Germans who are traveling with the Ark in the back hear the scuffle. They look through the window and they have to go along the side to get into the cab. So our hero takes the truck and just peels them off by scrapping the truck against the cliff wall. There are five Germans, and he scrapes them off and five more climb on. A couple of them are climbing over the top. They’re all trying “to get him.
G — We have our first suspense thing in the temple. Then there was another one in that craziness that happens when he gets trapped, and then there’s this one. This is one of the real action ones. He gets rid of the Germans and gets control of the truck. He has told his Arab friend to get back to town, Cairo or whatever. In the part where he’s searching around for information, we realize he has a couple of friends there. He’s sort of well-known. He’s obviously been there a lot before. He has sort of an underground there. He has told the guy to get back to town and tell Sabud that he’ll need to get out right away. He’ll need a ship or a plane. AS he’s going in to town he’s passed by a couple of German motorcycle guys. They suddenly point and yell at him. They turn around and start going after him. There’s a car chase through the village.
S — Scattering chickens.
G — Little kids running across the street, and the streets are only this wide, and the truck is that wide. That kind of stuff.
S — Clothes on clothes lines are trailing after the truck. It’s “Bullet” through the streets of Cairo, its poorer section. After being chased by two motorcycle guys with side cars, who are firing on him, they can’t do a lot because there’s no war going on in town. They’re all strangers in this country. They crash into walls and all those kinds of things.
He finally goes into a garage — zip, clang, close the doors. His friends are there. They pull it out and this is the first time we see the Ark, except we don’t really see It. It’s in a big packing crate, sort of a coffin or something. Can we see it?” “No. No. I have to get this out of here now. What arrangements have you made?” “I couldn’t get you a plane, but I got you on a boat.” The boat is a tramp steamer, a pirate ship, a Chinese tramp steamer with guns.
S — The sheet metal folds down, the canvas comes up, and there are three inch deck guns.
G — Our guy gets on the ship and then he realizes they are a bunch of Chinese Pirates. He sees the guns. “We don’t ask any questions. We’re reliable.” His friend tells him that this guy is really trustworthy. He’s a pirate and everything, but he’s really good. He’ll get them out of there and he hates Nazis as much as they do. So our guy says okay. As the ship starts to steam out of the bay, the Nazis are coming down the docks in trucks and cars. The ship just gets away from the dock. The Germans are standing there as the ship pulls out to sea. The captain tells our hero that he must have really done something to make the Nazis hate him. They talk and become friends, sort of. “we should have you in London in five hours, or whatever.” “Fine. That’s great. I’m going to get a little shut eye. It’s been a hard day. Wake me when we pass Gibraltar.” He goes to bed. Fade out. Fade in. He wakes up, and the ship has stopped. He rushes upstairs. “What’s going on?”
“We’ve stopped.” “I know we’ve stopped. What’s going on?” “Look.” He looks out and there’s a ring of Wolf Pack German U-Boats around the ship. “Shit.” They’re starting to come aboard. The Chinese refuse to fire on them. The Germans would sink the ship. The Germans come aboard and start looking around and they ask the Chinese (garbled) They take the Ark and row it out to one of the submarines, and the Germans start to depart. We see our hero swimming, catching onto one of the submarines, the one with the Ark in it. The submarine starts taking off, our guy yanks himself up, runs across and gets up into the tower. The submarine starts to sink. It never goes below periscope depth. We see him sort of hang onto the periscope. There’s a scene with the. Germans inside. “Achtung!” They go to the Greek Islands. Doors open into one island, and the ship goes, in this typical German submarine base under the island. He gets off before it goes in. They take the ark down into a thing… He has had a run in with this professor in the running around sequence in Cairo with the girl.
L — Didn’t he see him at the tomb?
G — Yes. Both times. So he is at this base and they take the Ark and take it into this… There’s a thing about the Ark, I don’t know what it is, something about where they set up sheets and stuff in a certain way. This is again Phil’s information. They had to set up various interlocking tents, according to the legend. In this giant cavern they set up these tents, a maze of nylon stuff. So he sneaks in there past the guards, past all this stuff, and goes into the thing. The bad Nazi and the professor, our nemesis… There’s this vicious Nazi General who is the sort of sidekick killer, Mr. Skull and Cross Bones. They are both in there, and he’s anxious to have the Ark opened. The professor is a little leery about the whole thing. “We have to be careful. We should deliver it to Hitler before we play around with it.” “No. No. I have to know.” They uncrate it. This is the part that’s left to interpretation. My feeling was that maybe it was a little unbelievable. Our hero gets into the room. They catch him. There’s a fight. He’s being led away. He gets away with a little trouble, and hides. The guys now open the crate up. They open it and just as they open it, this lightening bolt or electrical charge… The whole thing becomes like kinetic energy, with lightening arcs. It’s very quick. Like a lightening rod, it attracts static electricity. The two guys get fried. At this point our guy is sort of helpless. The tent bursts on fire. All the guards turn around and look. In this confusion is when he takes the opportunity and splits.
L — Who gets fried?
G – The professor and the Captain. All the Nazis are yelling about putting the fire out. They put it out. Our guy is hidden during all this, but he can see it. Now we cut to smoldering ruins. Our guy sneaks in there and gets the Ark and hustles out with it. This is more or less the end of the movie.
S — There’s no confrontation now with the arch-rival.
G — The confrontation takes place just before that. They’re starting to unpack the whole thing when he shows up. Then they have their confrontation. They get into their fight. Our hero is beaten up, subdued. “I have the last laugh on you. Send him to the sharks.” They’re leading him away and you think that in the end the bad guys have won. Our hero is being led out to be killed, and they’re going to open up the Ark. When they open it up this electric stuff happens and fries them. Our guy gets away. Now we cut to the smoldering ruins. The Ark has been pulled off to one side. We see our guy grab the ark and sneak off. Cut to Washington. Our guy is getting congratulated. The end, sort of, is that he takes the Ark… It’s crated up, no one even looks at it. They crate it up put it in an Army warehouse somewhere. That’s how it ends, very bureaucratic. The feeling is that the Ark is the real thing, that it really is a very powerful thing.
S — Supernatural.
G — It’s sitting down in the government warehouse. The bureaucracy is the big winner in the film. In the specific scenes, it works out that he gets beat and shit happens to him in the process. Obviously there has to be some kind of scene with him in Washington.
S — Headlines — “Hitler Invades Poland”… Without the Ark.
G — The problem with the girl is that we had the ending and everything, and I didn’t know how to get the girl on the submarine, and she just sort of drops out. You can’t take a girl through that kind of story. We rationalized that she was German, and maybe could go with the professor or something so she could be there in the end. The story would come back together again. She wouldn’t be on the ship, but she would be in the… The other idea was that she meets the guy when he gets back in the garage. They get on the Chinese ship together and have a relationship there, then when the Germans come, suddenly our hero is gone and they take the girl with them. She doesn’t know what’s happened to him or anything. Then he shows up again in the thing. We had worked it out where we could carry her along. It did make sense. If she’s a German, and sort of a double agent, you could take her on one side, then take her on the other side. The biggest problem was how you get her to go along on everything, apart from the relationship. Obviously you can develop the relationship between two characters. All you have to do is get them in the same room together somehow. These are tangential things. We wanted to get a clipper, one of those flying boat things when he goes across the Atlantic. And also we wanted to get a flying wing out on the desert. Should this be in the desert or in the jungle? They pull these bushes apart and there’s a landing strip there. This flying wing comes in and our hero has a fight with one of the guys around the flying wing. There are a few of those adventure scenes that get stuck under the main plot.
L — In the way you have it now, in the final confrontation with the arch-rival, the arch- rival is victorious, then he gets fried by the ark.
G — Right. The Ark is ultimately victorious. The other thing is, our guy would be really skeptical about the powers of the Ark, but the arch-rival is convinced that it’s all true, the it has power, and with it they could rule the world. They sort of trade myths and legends back and forth. In the end the bad guy was right, and our guy is there to see it. He doesn’t see the arcs and stuff, but he sees the tent go into a ball of fire. When he gets’ back to Washington, he’s telling the guys, “That Ark, it’s true. It’s the lost Ark.” The Army guy tells him they’ll take care of it. It’s all top secret stuff. He gets shut out of it, and they don’t believe him. They just put it away.
L — But you don’t want him in the tent.
G — Right. I don’t know how we get him out, and everybody else out. The thing of it is, you don’t know what’s inside the Ark through the whole thing. The audience is curious about what’s going to be in it in the end. In the Cairo sequence he has some Arab friends, a family with kids running around, but he also has a friend who’s sort of another archeologist, who doesn’t like him. They’re old friends, they went to school together, only he doesn’t like him, ’cause he doesn’t like what our guy is doing. He’s a serious archeologist and doesn’t really approve. They have discussions about the Ark. In the process of all this, they sort of explain more and more about the Ark, so we don’t have one big long scene. Everybody has different theories about what’s inside and what the power is and how it works. Throughout the script we’re establishing the mystery of this Ark and what it can do. So at the end, when they finally open it, it’s a big surprise. The idea is, when they open it up there should be something really neat inside. This was stuff that Phil was going to research, and we left it at that. The idea was that it was the head of Jesus or a scroll or whatever. We never see. All we see are these electrical charges and stuff. The real theory about the Ark is that if you take this Ark and put it in this conformation with these tents, you could talk to God in it. It’s like a radio transmitter. That’s the real legend. That’s what they used to do. The Israelis used to set up these
tents and they would talk to God and God would tell them what to do. And then they would march with it in front of their army. The other Armies would be destroyed. Our idea was that there must actually be some kind of super high-powered radio from one of Erick Von Daniken’s flying saucers. The fact that it’s electrical charges makes it vaguely believable. The idea was that if it was the right kind of trunk… We have to get descriptions of what it looks like, but supposedly it’s like a big trunk. It’s like a car generator that you crank and it goes… When they opened it up you had that sense of some kind of kinetic generator which creates a tremendous amount of static electricity. There are all these religious trappings and interesting mysteries and occult stuff, and at the same time it’s something that people can carry around. It’s a big thing. We have great scenes with these poor little Arabs trying to carry this thing to the truck. It’s easy on basic plot to lay out the good scenes, good cliffhangers. In that sort of amorphous area in Cairo, that’s where we can fit some in. In the essence it’s just bullshit stuff where he wanders around Cairo trying to uncover the mystery of his puzzle. At the same time you meet all these interesting characters and every once in a while somebody throws a knife at him, or he beats somebody up, or somebody beats him up, typical middle- eastern stuff. What he’s doing is going around getting the pieces of the puzzle. He starts with one piece and he gets another piece from his friend. The girl has one piece. He gets a piece from the Arabs who stole it from the Germans. He finally gets all the pieces.
L — The Germans have how much of it?
G — They only have like two-thirds of it.
S — But they have already done the groundwork.
G — Right. They’re working with two-thirds, and they think they can figure it out. He has his pieces, and he gets a drawing of the German’s piece, and he fits it all together. The Germans have found some ruins, but they haven’t located it yet. It’s part of a lost city.
L — Where is it when they throw him back into the tomb?
G — I had it about two-thirds of the way in. Once he gets the Ark. the whole thing is like a chase right to the end. Either he’s chasing them or they’re chasing him. It goes very fast. There’s a little respite on the boat, but all around that it’s a chase scene. Then he follows them into the cave, and you have the end of the movie.
END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE B
“RAIDERS” — TAPE TWO
S — …a double agent, maybe. And I know you don’t like the idea of somebody just tagging along for conversation, but make her someone who wouldn’t have been in this picture, and if she weren’t in this picture, a lot of this stuff wouldn’t have taken place. As the place is crashing, she’s the pilot. They’re going to crash land together. She’s really angry at him. She gets involved in the plot, and is useful. She’s not just somebody to be around for comic relief or romantic relief. Rather than being a kind of quasi… In the Dietrich mold like a double agent.
G — It’s more of a plot thing. I had her a German double agent who was stuck over there. Then we can use her in the plot. She sort of has access to information. She is useful and tied in. It has to be something where they’re sort of tied in together on this thing, where it’s conceivable. Again, she doesn’t have to be German, she could be American, she could be French or whatever. But I don think that we should come up with some reason to keep her from being just a tagalong. The only thing I can come up with is that she’s sort of a mercenary, and she’ somehow involved. Like she has a piece of the puzzle, rather than being forced into the situation. Because if she’s forced into it, you’re constantly fighting to try and keep her there. Every scene you’re going to have to
explain why she’s there and why she doesn’t leave. Half of her dialogue is going to end up being “Smokey and the Bandit” dialogue. In this we have to come up with something so we’re not constantly justifying her existence. She has to be there for a reason. I’d say greed.
S — If she’s a double agent, I think it would be interesting. He goes from Washington to where?
G — To Cairo. We can have him go anywhere. The concept is that he’s chasing a puzzle. He’s got one piece of it, and he thinks he knows who has the other pieces. So you can send him to Hong Kong. I was thinking you could do a tiny piece in Hong Kong where people are constantly trying to knife him in the back and shoot poison darts into his ears. You had mentioned that you didn’t want to spend all that time in the desert, so you can condense some of that time by taking the stuff that could happen anywhere, which is the finding pieces of the puzzle, and put it where ever you want.
S — One thing you should do — He’s on this airplane. There are about four or five passengers around him. He’s asleep and these passengers are looking at him. We don’t know why. They they all get up and put on parachutes, and they jump out the door. He wakes up when he hears the door open, and realizes he’s all alone. The door to the cockpit is locked. The airplane begins to go into a spin. He’s trapped in this airplane and it’s going down. The whole thing was a set up. That’s a great cliffhanger, to see how he gets out.
G — That’s great. Then what happens? One sentence further and it’s a great idea.
S — Well, he’s never flown an airplane before, but he kicks in the pilot’s door. That would be interesting, he’s never flown before, but he brings it down. The other thing would be if he knows how to fly, but he’s too late. It’s one of those jungle scenes, you’ve seen where the plane crashes into this dinosaur infested jungle, only now without dinosaurs. He has to bring it down over the tree tops. Either that or he crashes into the Mediterranean, into the water.
G — Part of it is stylistic, but one of the things that works in movies is when the guy gets out of that situation in a unique very bravado sort of way. He has to do something so audacious that you have to say, “I’d never think of anything like that.” And he gets away with it.
S — One of the things he could try, although it takes away from the suspense… If I were him, I’d jump at the last minute with a parachute.
G — The way to do it is to have him… You have seat covers or something. He starts ripping off the seat covers and tying them together. Then he jumps out holding all these seat covers. That’s sort of unbelievable. If you could make something like that believable. He’s over the water. It’s James Bond. Not only do you have to get him out of it, you have to do it in a very colorful way. I’m not saying that you actually have to be clever, just make it believable. Sometimes he does it in a totally outrageous way, but it works and it’s truly great.
S — One thing he can do is wait until it’s almost crashed into the ground and then jump out and land in a tree, or on a roof top.
G — If we take him from Washington, why don’t we take him to Hong Kong or Shang Hai. That’s a great place. It’s more exotic than Hong Kong. So he’s crash in the water, with islands and Chinese junks.
S — He does this. Under his seat is a life vest or a life raft. He takes the life vest out from all the seats and he blows them all up and he gets inside, and is completely
insulated. Then her jumps out of the airplane. He just surrounds himself with these huge cushioned items.
G — Did they have those things in ’36?
S — They had them in all airplanes.
G — That’s a little research item. They might just have had life preservers. If they had life preservers, you could more or less do the same thing. If he’s over water, the plane could be going down at a steep angle.
S — The other thing he can do that’s more in keeping with the heroic side is, rather than abandon the plane, he could kick down the door and we see the ocean just coming up at him. He’d pull the plane up at just the last moment. That’s the old cliche shot. The plane is bellying on the water. The water bursts through the cockpit. The plane begins to sink, and that would be interesting. He gets out of this sinking airplane and finds a vacuum. He takes a big breath of air. He can’t climb out until the pressure is equal. That means the whole plane has to be under water before he can climb out the window. Then he just climbs out the window and swims to the surface.
G — I like the part where he jumps out. That’s a clever idea.
L — What if he makes himself into a ball with the life preservers and just goes skipping into the water.
G — If he like he ties himself into a ball with these preservers and he jumps out at the last minute.
L — If there were a life raft he could enclose himself in it.
G — That’s a good idea. I’m just worried they didn’t have life rafts then.
S — They had life rafts all through the second world war that were inflatable. I wanted him to be on a clipper. It’s a big plane.
G — Is there one we could use for take off and landing, and use a miniature for the crash.
S — I heard that there’s one left in South America someplace.
G — I just want to send a second unit to shoot it taking off and maybe get some extra stuff. If we send him to Shang Hai we could have him going to see his enemy and we could connect it rather than having it unconnected. The only reason we’re talking about the Orient is that it’s exotic. He’s going to leave Washington and go to three exotic places. He’ll go to the Orient with the crowded streets and dragon ladies. Then we send him to the Himalayas, with the snow. And then we send him to Cairo. Going from the Himalayas to Cairo he would be going over water.
L — He could land in the snow. One thing about landing in the water that bothers me is that we end up in the water on the sub.
G — Actually, he could land in the snow.
S — When he hits, the raft comes open and he has a toboggan ride.
G — It’s even better, because when he thinks of the raft over, well that’s why he thought of it. But if he thinks of it over snow, that’s even more clever. And snow is soft.
S — If the plane gets to crash in the mountains, there would be a huge explosion that we wouldn’t have in the water. The plane is going into a box canyon and the guy has to jump. On top of a mountain he jumps out. The plane hits the mountain and there’s a big fire ball. The pieces go everywhere. He’s on the raft holding onto the ropes, coming down the mountain. And for comic relief he should go right through some sort of village, with a fiesta or something happening, with llamas. He knocks a llama over.
L — There could be a ceremony with monks… (garbled) They’re all looking up.
G — It can be amusing, but at the same time it has to be very realistic. It has to be what would really happen. You have to believe that someone could live through it like that. We have to concentrate on keeping it clean and not go through unnecessary explanations. The fun part of that flight is that it comes out of nowhere. You just don’t expect it. It’s great if it’s the second flight in the movie. We’ll cut to him flying various places. We want to get all that great period stuff. We have all these flights, and then suddenly you cut inside to all this craziness going on. I think he should go to Shang Hai to find this guy, his enemy. We get a little more information about the enemy. Also, maybe he gets a piece of the puzzle that sends him to the Himalayas.
L — (garbled, something about a museum)
G — Right. Sort of the Shang Hai Museum of Modern Art.
L — He knows his enemy is in Paris, so he’s on his own protecting the museum, his henchmen are. Is there anything our guy can do to pick up whatever information his enemy already has? Somehow see the information that has already passed through that room?
G — Right. He’s trying to find out what that guy knows.
L — It takes him right to the heart of the other guy’s strength.
G — I like that. We can do that easy. Before I had the girl providing that. We can decide which way. I had the girl get a copy of the drawing. If that guy had it, it would have to be in a safe or something. (not clear, something about an indentation)
L — Exactly how do you see this puzzle?
G — I see it as a tablet, a piece of stone with a map. It’s not really a map. It’s a description of the site. It’s like a plan of the city. It was drawn at that time. And it has hieroglyphics on it telling the legend. It’s an architects drawing that was done in stone, and it shows the placement of various temples, and of the Ark. The tablet was found out in the desert where the Germans are. it has to be the lost city of something.
L — Does it lead you to the Ark?
G — It shouldn’t be something that shows you where the Ark is. It shows you where a certain temple is. If you find this city, and you have the map that shows you where this temple is, then you can find the Ark. Otherwise you have to dig up the whole city. The Germans have found the lost city. And they have two-thirds of the map, which maybe they found when they were digging. Other portions of this map have been found before, antiquities in various museums and other places
L — Let’s say her father is there. Her father may have been his mentor. He has been working on some unrelated project. But it was her father who discovered the first fragment of the map. She has it. Her father dies. That’s why he’s going to Nepal, to get it from her. That’s why they know each other. That’s why she’s reluctant to part with it. Does any of this sound possible?
G — Sounds possible.
L — So they have a previous relationship through her father.
G — The other thing we can do, twisting what you’ve just done with what we’ve already got… My immediate reaction is to shy away from the professor’s daughter goes along. But what if we do it, and since her father dies, he left her broke. He was an archeologist and left her so broke she didn’t have any money to get back. So she’s stuck there. She runs the bar. She’s the local Rick. Sort of the American Rick. She’s sort of goofy…
S — Earning money to get back to the states.
G — Yeah. She wants to get back. She’s sort of made it her hone. She started out maybe singing or being a call girl or whatever. Eventually she bought out the guy who ran the place, or he died. Now she’s got this little tavern, and she’s doing sort of well. She could only sell the place for as much money as it would take to get her back to the states, and then she would be stuck there with nothing, no job. What she’d like to do is really strike it rich. But she doesn’t see any way of doing that. She’s sort of a goofy tough, willing to take care of herself, mercenary type lady who’s really out for herself. She has this piece and he wants it, so what she does is cut herself in on it. “Look, you’re going to have to take me along with you.” “What do you mean?” “Partners. I have one piece. You have the other.” That old story. It’s kind of the thing where she wants to go back to the states in style or something. She doesn’t want to get on a tramp steamer and make her way back, which she could have done a while ago. She really wants to go back as a lady. This is her chance. She says she’ll sell it to him.
L — This is in Cairo.
G — No. This is in Nepal. She’s stuck there.
L — Who are her customers at this Rick’s Place in Nepal?
G — There is actually a Rick’s Place in Nepal. Bill and Gloria know about it. They stayed there. It’s some expatriot American who lives there at the foot of the Himalayas. It’s got this hotel/bar.
S — I like the idea that she’s a heavy drinker and our hero doesn’t drink at all. She gets drunk a lot. She’s beautiful and she gets really sexy when she’s drunk, and silly. And he doesn’t touch the stuff.
L — I don’t want to soften her. I like the fact that it’s greed. I like all the hard stuff, but you’re going to love here.
G — This is good, but she obviously gets into something that’s way over her head as the whole thing goes along.
L — I wonder if someone hasn’t approached her already. The map has heated up considerably in three weeks. They’ve found the town. Does she have some tip off that this is worth while? When he comes to her, “That’s funny. I’ve had this ten years since my father died. Now in this week two people want it.”
G — If the Germans got there, first, they probably would have offered her a lot of money. And she probably would have sold it to them. Maybe no one knew where she is and he finds her through Washington or something. Some way where he would know, but no one else. Or government would know and he gets it from them. Maybe the enemy doesn’t know yet where this professor died. And that would make it interesting, because supposedly she’s secure, and he gets sabotaged on the way there. You know that they
know more or less where he’s going. The immediate danger is that they’re racing to get there. She tells him that if he wants this thing so bad it’ll cost him $20,000. “I don’t have that kind of money. I don’t get anything until I get the whole thing, when we get the Ark. Then I get the money.” She says, “Okay, We’re partners.” It forces her to stay with him. If the Germans came and offered her the money right away, she’d take it. And they would give it to her. I think it’s better, at this point, to keep the Germans one step behind them. They’re one step ahead in sabotaging him, but they don’t know where he’s going. They begin to figure it out, and they decide to kill him and go get it. They’re on their way too. There’s another plane that’s flying alongside his that has the bad guys in it. They’re trying to get there first. They just don’t have as specific information as he does. They just know he’s in Nepal someplace. So we slow them down once they get there.
S — She gives him this map right away? G — It has to be fairly quick.
S — He has to win her confidence.
G — Right.
L — Let’s say the Germans are a half hour behind them, and they’re haggling. She is in immediate jeopardy and he represents some security to her.
G — Since he got there first, it’s too late for them to try and buy it. All they can do is kill them both and take it.
S — How would they know where it is unless they torture her first to find out? G — They won’t know.
S — They wouldn’t want to kill them until they have their hands on the map. G — Maybe they’d just want to kill him.
S — She has a rooming house above the cafe. He hears this sound. In the middle of the night he gets up and looks over the banister. There are Germans everywhere. They have her and they’re interrogating her, in the middle of this empty cafe in the middle of the night.
G — He comes in and saves her. You sort of introduce her as a damsel in distress. In the other way she’s sort of a tough girl. Or you could do both. You could have him come and haggle with her, and have her say no way. “No money. No deal.” He gets sort of pissed off and goes out. He comes back later and the place is empty and they’re in there torturing her.
L — The thing hasn’t been worth anything up until now. So she wears it around her neck, or it’s on the mantle. It’s like a joke.
G — Obviously it could be something semi-precious to her because her father gave it to her. We’ll assume that she did love the old coot.
L — He goes off to his room for the night. He gets up; he’s going to steal it. In the interim the Germans have arrived. When he goes down to steal it, he winds up rescuing her. He stumbles into this heroic role. She could doubt his motivation from then on. “You didn’t come down there to save me.”
G — We have to get them cemented into a very strong relationship. A bond.
L — I like it if they already had a relationship at one point. Because then you don’t have to build it.
G — I was thinking that this old guy could have been his mentor. He could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven.
L — And he was forty-two.
G — He hasn’t seen her in twelve years. Now she’s twenty-two. It’s a real strange relationship.
S — She had better be older than twenty-two.
G — He’s thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she was only twelve.
G — It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time. S — And promiscuous. She came onto him.
G — Fifteen is right on the edge. I know it’s an outrageous idea, but it is interesting. Once she’s sixteen or seventeen it’s not interesting anymore. But if she was fifteen and he was twenty-five and they actually had an affair the last time they met. And she was madly in love with him and he…
S — She has pictures of him.
G — There would be a picture on the mantle of her, her father, and him. She was madly in love with him at the time and he left her because obviously it wouldn’t work out. Now she’s twenty-five and she’s been living in Nepal since she was eighteen. It’s not only that they like each other, it’s a very bizarre thing, it puts a whole new perspective on this whole thing. It gives you lots of stuff to play off of between them. Maybe she still likes him. It’s something he’d rather forget about and not have come up again. This gives her a lot of ammunition to fight with.
S — In a way, she could say, “You’ve made me this hard.”
G — This is a resource that you can either mine or not. It’s not as blatant as we’re talking about. You don’t think about it that much. You don’t immediately realize how old she was at the time. It would be subtle. She could talk about it. “I was jail bait the last time we were together.” She can flaunt it at him, but at the same time she never says, “I was fifteen years old.” Even if we don’t mention it, when we go to cast the part we’re going to end up with a woman who’s about twenty-three and a hero who’s about thirty- five.
S — She is the daughter of the professor who our hero was under the tutelage of. She has this little fragment of the map.
G — He doesn’t have to have the fragment in hand. All he has to do is get a copy of it, make a rubbing of it.
L — (this section is not clear, something about the fragments and how he gets them)
G — His first job is to go to Shang Hai, into the lion’s den to get this, which is usually at the end, so this is a twist. In Washington we have the advantage of being able to set up anything we want, in terms of information, what is going on. Say the Germans sent him the tablet to decipher.
L — They wouldn’t do that. They would send him the rubbing.
G — Suppose the rubbing wasn’t articulate enough. They could send a photograph, I guess.
L – Let’s say the arch-enemy is gone now, but it had been there in his lab. Maybe the arch-villain has had a piece or two all along. But it was useless to him. Our guy knows that it’s been kept there. The actual piece is no longer there. But it’s been sitting on felt or in glass, and there’s an impression of it.
G — Well, I like the idea of a sun spot, but then it would be the shape of the broken piece rather than what’s on it. Again, we can design this however we want. It doesn’t have to be a tablet. It could have been a painting on a vase. It can be any antiquity that we come up with. It could be a scroll. Or some kind of a statue or some sort of tall thing with a very strange design that is actually a design of the city. People have various pieces of it, something that’s stacked. It could be a thing with lots of little gizmos in it, very intricately carved. It was the top of a stack that the mayor of the city carried around. This would be the sun, and this would be tie city. The city reached the sun, a symbol. It’s been broken into a lot of pieces. There’s a piece at this museum, which is one of the reasons they would call this guy in. Not only is he a shyster and all that stuff, but he already has a major piece of. Say the Nazis only have half of it, or a third of it. This guy has a third. So with their third and his third, they have two-thirds of it. This other professor has a little piece. Make it quarters, so the Nazis now have half of it.
S — Can they decipher every piece?
L — The design has the sun at the top of it. What if the way to the Ark is when the light hits a certain point on this sculpture it shows the entrance. So if you had the top half it would do you no good because the sun would be hitting nothing.
G — If you have enough pieces you can deduce the exact size. But if the Chinese and the Nazis have two sections, why doesn’t he just go right there and get both of them at once rather than go to where just one piece is?
L — Unless he thinks it’s going to be very difficult, as it turns out to be, to walk into the Nazi camp and get it.
G — Unless he thinks the Chinese guy is still there with both of them. He goes there to see if he can get it, and finds out the guy is gone. He knows exactly where it is because he’s been there before. But now it’s gone. Then he looks at the shadow. He doesn’t know he’s going to be able to get the Nazi piece. Right now he’s going to get all the pieces he can. So he copies the silhouette. Then he goes to get the part the girl has. From that he figures it out.
S — How does the audience…
END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE A
TAPE TWO, SIDE B
G — He says okay, I’ll get you a ticket to Cairo, and you can leave tonight. He tells him he doesn’t want to go to Cairo, he wants to go to Shang Hai, cause we’ll have to have this piece that’s there. If the scriptures are true or whatever, then you have to have this piece to make it work. I have to get it, or at least a copy of it. He goes to Shang Hai and it’s been stolen. If he can make an outline of it, then I assume somebody has a still of it, and whatever information you can get off the real thing, you could get off a still. I’m just being the devil’s advocate here.
S — If it’s an important piece, certainly there are photographs of it. There is a coalition of museums where you have to register everything.
G — Assume at this point that no one ever thought twice about it. All it gives us is his clever way of taking the shadow.
S — Bow much film time is this going to take?
G — I’m also trying to get something that’s very simple. We don’t have to go into endless explanations about how… This has to be something that’s extremely simplistic, in terms of the pieces. That is sort of foolproof in its own way. It has to be something very obvious. We know that whatever it is, we have to have pieces of a puzzle. It would be nice if the puzzle were some sort of great key thing with the sun hitting… That’s always a lot of fun. And the girl has to have an important piece that makes her a vital link in the whole chain. We want to send the guy to Shang Hai first just for the environment. Have a little bit of adventure there before he goes to Nepal, before he ends up in Cairo. Between the point where he leaves Washington, and he’s up there on the hill looking down at the Nazis part of it is in the Orient, part is in Nepal, part in the mud streets of some Arabian city. Then a lot of it takes place in the desert. What we have to do is figure how we’re going to put the puzzle together, in terms of what can be missing that can be a key to this thing. The original was a plan of the city of this piece.
? — They do that to make more money. They’ll take an object and break it up and sell the pieces.
? — We know that each person has a piece. That’s the easiest thing. But having a staff… ? — A staff. That solves the problem.
? — I like the staff, and the sunlight thing.
? — we have to figure out is where she carries it.
G — Or what he’s going to Shang Hai for. That can either be the stronghold of our guy, or not. He can be based in Shang Hai, or in Paris.
S — I thought he would meet his arch-rival in Shang Hai.
G — Only because of the fact that the arch-rival is oriental. We don’t have to make him Oriental. We can make him black. The only other thing that gets “complex is if the bad guy is Oriental and he goes on the Oriental pirate ship, it doesn’t have to be an Oriental pirate ship. Assuming that we don’t make the arch-rival Chinese, make him French. When he goes to Shang Hai to get the piece that it is a surprise that it’s missing.
L – It could be in a private collection. You wouldn’t have to worry about stills of it. The private collection it’s in could be…
G — Some very rich Chinese war lord. In those days they had war lords. They didn’t get rid of them until the Japanese came in. A swordsman.
S — That’s what happens in Shang Hai.
G — That would be great. The war lords were actually like banditos. S — I’d like to see him taking on a whole bunch of Samurai.
G — It would be Chinese swordsmen, which is different.
S — Maybe we should move it to Tokyo.
G — Shang Hai is good. We could still have swords and stuff. It’s just a different kind of sword and it works in different ways.
L — This could be a Japanese swordsman who was so bad they kicked him out of Japan. Now he’s in China.
G — We have to do some research, but actually the war with Japan was going on then in ’36. When you send him to Shang Hai, we’ll have to check this, but I think the war was going on there then.
S — It’s perfect. You have explosions and Zeros.
G — The war lords were sort of corrupt guys. If this guy is in league with the Japanese, we just touch on a whole other story. This guy is a war lord by virtue of the fact that he’s sold out to the Japanese and the Japanese are using his influence and his thing as a base for their operation. They wouldn’t be Samurai, but they would be your Rising Sun guys. Some of those guys carry Samurai swords. His personal body guards could have Samurai swords. We bring the Japanese into it, and Chinese war lords. This guy is helping the Japanese to kill and maim his country, so he’s really a despicable person.
S — We have to have a beheading. We have to start this scene with a mass beheading. We don’t have to show it. If you were really bad, it took three minutes to cut your head off. Then the Japanese Zeros strafe. They’re cutting off the heads of Flying Tigers, American mercenaries.
G — He gets on his clipper and he flies from Washington to Shang Hai. At the end of the temple scene, probably some transitional device there. We may have some kind of…
L — The thing we’ve been avoiding is that he could pick up his piece there.
G — We were thinking that they had already got to it. Maybe he actually gets the piece there before the other guys get there. He’s one step ahead of them at this point. An interesting there is how close the Germans are to getting it. You can have the Germans get it while he’s there, and have him sabotage the Germans just before they get it on their airplane. I think it would be good if he got in and got out. When he gets on the plane you think he’s escaping. So the whole thing, where he’s going and everything becomes a real surprise.
S — This is where we can do our fist fight with the flying wing. We can do that sequence in the Shang Hai area.
L — And then he hops on a DC-3, which is their plane. It’s the sabotaged plane.
G — One of the reasons I had the flying wing in the desert, landing on a secret desert base, was the fact that I assume that when we get it we’re going to have to get it out of a museum somewhere around here, and we might be able to take it out to a desert around here. The Mojave or one of these Air Force bases out there. It’s clean, they can just fly it in and fly it out. It’s sort of second unit. Fly the plane in, stage the fight, and fly it out again without having to get into a big deal about getting it to a difficult location. Those flying wings are so dangerous that you can’t fly them any more. But they’re still around some where.
L — How many engines do they have? G — Four. It depends on how big it is.
S — Is it the B-36 with eight engines backwards?
G — Yes. The wing has four engines backwards. If he gets into Shang Hai and he pulls off this thing, we have to figure out… Obviously it moves fast enough that we don’t have to rationalize a lot of what we’re doing. If the expert landed in Cairo, he would think the same thing our hero would think, and he would have had the Nazis wife to Shang Hai and have the Nazi agent there contact this guy.
L — At the same time the fight is going on with the Samurai the Germans can be going through the formality with the Japanese and the Chinese war lords about coming down and getting it. When they open the door, he’s going out over the roofs.
G — Another way to do it would be to give our guy a jump a little bit. In Washington they tell him he has to get on it right away because the Germans have found the lost city or whatever two days ago. A lot of activity going on out in the desert. They’ve contacted his old friend. They’re talking about the Ark. Somehow they say that he hasn’t left Paris yet. They think he’s scheduled to leave tomorrow for Cairo. We know that his rival hasn’t left Paris yet. That’s when our guy says it must be true. “I need a ticket to Shang Hai.” Assume that the French guy wouldn’t figure it out until he actually got there.
L — That’s a question. How hip is the arch-rival? At this point our guy apparently knows that he needs the staff. He doesn’t know if they’ve found the map. The arch-rival must know about the staff.
G — You assume he knows this stuff if his mentor found the top of the staff.
L — Now why would the arch-rival, upon hearing the news that they found the lost city, immediately say “I’ve got to get that staff put together.”? Why do we have to have such a big lead
G — What happens if we don’t?
L — It makes more sense if the arch-rival hasn’t gotten all this stuff before. So it becomes a race all the way. What is the advantage of the lead he’s got?
G — That’s what it comes down to. It becomes slightly coincidence, and we have to avoid that, that his mentor knew all about this and that’s how come he knows all about it. Of course it’s not really a coincidence because he’s going for the thing. If he knows the professor, and if he knows about this particular Ark, he is the one who is really the expert on it, but he’s very skeptical about it. He’s sort of researched it and his mentor has researched it, and he thinks it’s sort of horse-shit. If they call him in and say, “It seems the Germans have found the lost city. The lost city is the part that was the myth. “They probably just stumbled into a big hole and think they discovered something.” “Well, we’re sending for this guy.” So then our guy thinks maybe it is the lost city. If it is the lost city, they’re going to need the staff. They’re not going to figure that one out for a while. “If they have found the lost city and they’re looking for the Ark, they’re going to need the staff with the sun. I know where to get it, and I’ve got to get it right away, before they get it, and before my arch-rival gets it.”
S — Then we’d better cut to the arch-rival away from our hero, make him a separate character and let him give the same orders.
G — I think it’s better not to. I don’t want to set it up as a race. I think it’s important that we set up the fact that our guy is getting to the thing before they do, or is trying to. And he does get to it before they do, and then he goes to the girl and gets the other part.
L — It seems like he could be just a step ahead all along. It could be a half hour or it could be ten minutes, (garbled, something about guns and Samurai) Do you have any problem with the fact that they bail out over the Himalayas when they had all the way from Shang Hai to…
S — No. That’s the kind of stuff I like. I wouldn’t question it.
G — It’s the crazy Oriental mind. How do we know how it works. They always wait until the last minute or something.
[BLANK SPACE ON PAGE 43]
G — forced into the situation. So he gets in there. The Nazis are closing in. He has a fight with the Samurai body-guards and maybe some of the Nazis. He steals the thing. The great thing we have to set up on this flight to Nepal is that our Chinese guys are the ones who booked this great plane and-all that stuff. So you just assume that it’s safe.
S — They would have done this even if he got the thing safely.
G — Right. We won’t explain how they have all this figured out. The ideal thing is to set it up as safe a flight as possible. You think when he gets on the plane and sits down, everything is okay. “Well, we got out of that one.” Suddenly there’s no one there. Just as you think he’s safe and there’s going to be a little quiet period, he goes on to the next thing and crashes.
S — Are we going to do the fist fight with the flying wing here at the Shang Hai airport?
G — No. I don’t think we should do that. The fight should be at the war lord’s temple. Then they jump in the car and race out to the airport. The Army Intelligence’ guys and the Chinese underground guys say goodbye and good luck. They put him on the plane and they send him off, and he’s safe.
S — What about the Nazis? Are there any close brushes with them?
G — In the temple he gets caught and has a fight. They sort of arrive together. When he arrives at the front of the temple, the Germans are arriving at the back.
L — And the Chinese war lord insists on a sort of ritual welcome.
G — Yeah. The Germans aren’t in any hurry because they don’t know what’s going on yet, we assume at this point. “Well, close, but not close enough.” They almost beat them, but they didn’t. Once he crashes into the snow we don’t need to spend any time there. We just cut to him hobbling into the village. Or we can have some people bring him down.
S — After the toboggan ride.
G — The other thing we have to do, he has to hide this thing somewhere or they’d take it. The one he picked up in Shang Hai We assume at this point they know that this is the guy and they want to kill him, what they also have to do is get this thing back. He hides it on his person. We can make it as big or as small as we want. If it’s a big stone thing, then it’s going to be a little difficult. We hide it, and he carries on the airplane a little box about the right size that he’s very protective of. He sets it on the seat next to him. When all the people are getting out very quietly, somebody comes over and picks up the box. “Where did everybody go? Some bastard stole my lunch.”
S — Where does he meet the girl then, Nepal?
G — Yes. She is running this American hostel and bar. Rick’s Place, in the middle of Nepal in some little village.
L — Do you have a name for this person?
G — I do for our leader.
S — I hate this, but go ahead.
G — Indiana Smith. It has to be unique. It’s a character. Very Americana square. He was born in Indiana.
L — What does she call him, Indy?
G — That’s what I was thinking. Or Jones. Then people can call him Jones. He crashes into the snow, then dissolve to him with his crutch or something making his way down into a village. There is a little scene where he gets transportation. Where he lands is not next door to the village. We might have a lot of suspicious looking Himalayans standing around that you might think are spies. One guy rushes to a telegraph office. Create a little bit of tension. It’s really a scene where we have him rent a car or something and drive to the next village. I don’t think the trek is good getting out of the mountains, ’cause they have a tendency to be boring. It should be getting to where the girl is. Again we’re just talking about a few shots because we don’t want to spend a lot of time in between things. We go to him trying to get a car, then dissolve to him driving into the town, getting out, looking around. We have established the fact that he’s going to Nepal or someplace. It’s not like he was going to Cairo and ended up in Nepal.
(long gap in tape)
END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE B
“RAIDERS” — TAPE TWO-A
G — I have the answer. I had thought that on the scepter, on the part that he stole, is information about how tall the staff was. This thing sits on top of the staff and it says exactly how tall it was, how many hands high. No one has ever put it together before because nobody knew where the lost city was. They had fragments of information about how this was the staff that the mayor held, that the sun was the key to where the sun temple was, or had a relation to the sun temple. But it isn’t important if you don’t know where the city is or anything. I thought it would be possible to develop the idea that he’s discovering a lot of this stuff as he goes along. He’s interpreting stuff and the puzzle sort of clicks together. Unless they get all the pieces, they can’t really figure it out.
S — Also, the interior of the hole has to be beveled in such a way that the sun only pierces it at a certain time.
G — I was thinking that the Germans would be doing it mathematically and building models more or less reproducing what our guy has. They don’t have some of the key information, so they’re doing it in sort of rough. They figure it out and it points to a building on the map. When he comes they’re in the process of digging at that building. In the process of the film we get the information that they’ve found it. But they haven’t.
S — They’re digging the wrong building.
G — The reason is that the sun has changed so drastically in the three thousand years or whatever, that they didn’t take that calculation into… If they were all bright people they would have thought of it. But they’re dumb. The Nazis and his partner weren’t that well- versed in astronomy and he was. He knew that the azimuth was wrong, and he moves
the thing over. You see him digging in one spot while they’re digging in another. Sort of one-upsmanship, where our guy is brighter than they are.
L — Wouldn’t the Germans know that too?
G — Maybe we can cover that by saying that the Germans thought it was from one period, say two thousand years ago, and he finds out on the scepter information that… One advantage we have is that the whole thing has never been put together before, and that reveals a new thing. They had read the two things separately before, but when they put it together. I was thinking it either gave you a new reading on the height of the stick, or it gave you a new reading on the date that it happened, so they may be five hundred years off, which would add four degrees to the computation.
S — Any way you look at it, the whole inside of the staff has to be cut in such a way that only at a certain time of day, and only for the distance of the hole, would the sun show the exact spot where the Ark is hidden. Yes, if they had a spotlight they could shine it, and that would the most expedient way to do it. Otherwise they would have to wait for the sun. It’s more dramatic to see the sun rising, and he’s waiting around looking at this little figure, and the sun hits it and he marks- the spot. We could rationalize it by saying that in that day they didn’t have spotlight units, which they didn’t unless you went to Hollywood.
G — The thing about sunrise and sunset that I like is that it gives you such a precise thing. When you say noon, it’s very hard to tell when noon unless you have a clock. But sunrise and sunset is when the sun is halfway over the horizon and it will always line up that way, for eternity, except for the earth shifting, and you fix that with precise calculations. Also, the time of the year has a big effect. That would be another part of the calculation they would all have to go into. I thought we would relate the date to the summer solstice or the rites of spring or some particular date, the Ides of March or however you want to do it. What they would do is not be there on the particular date, but they know where the sun would be, so they move it sixteen degrees east and that’s where it is.
S — This can’t take much time or the audience will go right to sleep. It has to be quickly explained and accomplished.
G — We have to decide what we want to do in terms of… We can have common knowledge, if we want the Nazis to have figured it out. Do it in general conversation, the height of the staff was four hands, three hoves high. One point should be the bugaboo, the date, I think that’s a little complex too, or the fact that the earth has shifted slightly.
L — It has to be information contained on the missing sculpture.
G — The other way to do it is when you put the two parts together. The general information says that the staff is four hands high, that’s in the textbooks. So the Germans use that. When he puts it together, right in the crack it’s fourteen hands high and nobody ever knew that before. That part was on her thing, and when it’s fit together you can just see the outline of a one there. It’s not four it’s fourteen.
L — And that’s real easy to grasp.
G — So when he goes in there the Germans are using this short staff. He puts it on a real tall staff and he gets the right information.
S — They could be a mile away from where he is.
G — They’re all doing it right, but they have misinformation because nobody ever put the two pieces together before. That makes it all different.
S — It’s especially good if it’s a whole maze where the digs are that you could very easily get lost in. When he begins digging on his side, you can always hear the Germans working on the other side of the city, the echos of their equipment.
G — My whole idea, although it does complicate the way the sun comes through, was that it was all underground. The main dig where they found the city was a hole about the size of a house. When he goes and digs for his thing, he just measures off into the desert and starts digging down, and finally he hits something. He opens it up, a stone or something. So it’s just a little hole about that big. The it leads into a big underground temple. When he gets caught and they close him in down there, they just roll this thing on the hole and the desert’s like the way it was, except he’s trapped down there. Although he could hear some of those people, strange sounds. He could also hear them in the desert, they’re yelling at each other.
L — When he’s trapped in that tomb, he should get out himself.
G — There are several things of interest that might work there in terms of the serial aspect of the movie. It’s difficult in the desert, but it is conceivable. (garbled) …having the room fill with water. Not only do they get trapped in there, the thing starts filling up with water.
L — Wouldn’t it make more sense for it to be sand? That would be a more logical kind of mechanism.
G — That might be nice. It’s not nearly as dramatic.
S — The problem is, you can’t shoot the guy under the sand. The camera is always restricted to just one level.
G — The thing about water that’s more dramatic is that when it comes crashing in, it goes splashing all over the place. One way of doing it, I thought maybe the city was built on a river. You assume it would be on a river or an oasis. It wouldn’t be built out in .the middle of nowhere. It’s possible that whatever it was dried up over the years. He would go down and there would be a river or a stream that he would be working on the edge of. Maybe a flat thing, and then a cliff and a river bed.
S — Now to get him out of it, which isn’t easy. We should have a hidden granite rock or something. Something, when forced by the pressure of the water, loosens a rock, that begins to come out. It would be terrific if he were forced into another chamber, the water like a big wave rushing behind him, tumbling him from one passageway to another, really getting hurt. It knocks him against walls. He could wash into the German’s camp. Does he have the ark right now?
G — No. They’ve taken it away from him at that point. S — How big is the ark?
G — Big, I think.
S — Does it float?
G — The ark would be gone by then. They took the ark out and threw him back. I think the ark is about as big as that fire place, a big box. If he’s down in there, there would be… again, this is a little funny. There are little beams and stuff, little trees maybe. Which obviously wouldn’t be down there for two thousand years. The idea was, he could take one big huge beam, as the water is coming in, and he takes a little rock. He ties the rock to the beam, to the end of the beam. And then he takes a couple of other flotsam
and jetsam sort of whatever he can find that floats, and ties it about halfway up the beam. So he’s got a beam like this and it has a weight on one end and then he’s got a bunch of junk here. As the water takes it up, it rights the beam up like that, and the beam is sort of floating there, suddenly the weight isn’t heavy enough for the things, so it sort of lifts off and it’s floating like this and he pushes it around until it gets in the right position, as the water lifts it up, just the hydraulic pressure of the water lifting it up, because the water can’t sink the…
S — The beam would stop at some point.
G — It would stop, but the water would keep rising, and it would push it down. There would be a tremendous amount of pressure, depending on how much junk he had tied to it, to push through something.
S — It’s a good idea, but I think that at some point the equalization inside the… If it’s that big of a limb that it’s going to push something out, it’s not going to stay upright, it’s going to be floating this way or that way.
G — If it’s floating, he’d put a weight on one end and he could right it. Then he would just keep tying flotsam onto it. The more flotsam he has here, the more pressure would build up. My original idea was that he just took a beam, and if he shoved it up, eventually the pressure would make it poke through. I thought it would be some kind of big log. But I don’t know why a log would be down there.
S — I wish there was a way for him to get out of it with no resources.
L — How’s the water coming in? Maybe that’s the way to go. Maybe there’s a way out at the top of an unreachable ceiling.
G — But then you know if he’s getting up toward the door, he can get out. L — Let’s talk about the Washington scene.
G — It’s obviously going to be an expository scene no matter how you do it. We want to do something to make it better than just a regular scene.
S — It’s better if there are some mummies around.
G — Our guy should be the one who’s sort of explaining it.
L — I like that. They’re telling him, but he knows more about it than they do.
S — Another way to do the scene is, “You think you’re so smart.” Because he knows more than they thought he knew. So they give him test questions. And our guy knows all the answers.
G — Or it’s possible that they know he knows a lot about this. He knows about it because of his mentor, who has a piece of it. Which is also why they want him to do it. This is a unique way — he comes in with the Colonel and the Colonel says, “What we have here is the legend of the lost Ark. You know all about that, don’t you?” “Yeah, I know every thing about it.” “Here’s a ticket to Cairo.”
S — Do it as blatantly as possible. They’ll appreciate it.
G — The other way to do it is let him know about the ark, and not them. Have the Army guy say that they found the lost city. Hitler is going after all these artifacts. He’s believes in all the supernatural stuff and everything. We don’t know what they found out there, but it must be awfully important because they’re sending for this professor. Our guy is
the one who puts two and two together. Then he sort of explains it. They have all the pieces of the puzzle, and they want him to get whatever the Germans are after. He says, “I’ll tell you what they’re after. They’re after the lost Ark.”
L — Is there some way to bring in the mural? They’re completely unaware of it, and it’s right there.
G — Yes, They could have the mural. Maybe they’ve intercepted some photographs of the mural that were found in the city. They snuck off some copies of the German correspondence, drugged one of the couriers or something.
L — You’re talking about the map of the city?
G — Yeah.
L — I’m talking about the frescoes that show the ark being carried before the Army.
S —The Army crumbling in the path, and the Hebrews valiant and racing behind the Ark, and thousands of Romans clutching their stomachs and light coming out, and they’re covering their ears, they’re shouting, a real mayhem scene. And our guy turns and says. “And that’s what Hitler wants.”
G — You can do that one of two ways. You can either move the location or you can have it in the room. If you have it in the room it’s going to be, “There’s the lost Ark, right there.” It’s a little convenient. The person we’re really taking on a tour is this Army clown. He’s the ignorant one. So they say they’re looking for the lost ark, and that guy asks them what the lost ark is. Then cut to them in the antiquities part of the museum. You go into that room and say, “This is the lost Ark.” It shouldn’t be right in the office.
S — Don’t even cut to the actors. We’ll do the whole story on the mural, with their voices over it.
G — It would be simply that the curator and our hero took this Army guy, or the two Army guys, to show them the lost Ark, and say “This is what the Germans are after.” Instead of being an exposition scene it’s also a puzzle scene. He walks in and solves the puzzle.
S — At the end the Army guy should be completely in awe of it. “My God, if General Patton only knew.” “I’m not going to tell George. He’d go down there with you.”
G — I like the idea of him putting all the pieces together. The fact that the Nazis have found this lost city is interesting to them. The Army guys can give a little bit of exposition and information about Hitler, and the fact that he’s going all over the world trying to find Jesus sword and all these other things.
S — They can give little anecdotes about mystical things he’s been into all this time.
L — The problem is, this Army guy believed that if Hitler got this, he would be invincible. We can imply that.
S — He didn’t even need the Ark to attack. Why wait for that?
G — One Army guy says, “That’s nuts.” The other Army guy says it’s only nuts if you don’t believe in it. But if you believe in it, think of what you might do.
L — And on the basis of that he has to beat the Germans.
G — In the end, the basis could be, “It’s not that important to us. But if it’s important to
them, then we want it.”
S — The Army guy should be the opposite of Patton. He should think it’s all a bunch of bullshit.
G — And why doesn’t the Army go get it themselves? It’s too overt an operation for us to get into with the world on the brink of war. And if we tried to take this operation and get it through the normal channels, they would laugh us crazy. It’s more of a personal thing for this colonel or whoever is doing it. “If the Germans want that so bad, I want it. I want to keep them from having it.” This is a semiofficial thing. The situation is too sensitive to waste the energy on something that’s so nebulous. But it’s important, so they want to at least send this guy off to do it. They just can’t do it as an official Army thing. But if that’s what they find, then the museum will pay him a commission, because they want it. Of course that fouls up the end. Of course in the end if he tells them it is a secret weapon and it destroyed them all, then they decide not to give it to the museum. They stamp “Top Secret” on it and shove it away into a vault somewhere.
S — It must be explained somewhere in this scene that this will not decide the outcome of the war or when the war will begin. It has nothing to do with that. It will give Hitler a certain kind of comfort that we don’t want him to have.
G — If he gets it, then he will believe that he’s invincible.
S — Otherwise the audience will say that this is not very important. That’s what worries me about this part.
G — They say, “Here’s two tickets to Cairo.” He tells them he needs to go to Shang Hai to pick up something first. He’s going to buy this thing from the Chinese War Lord and he needs X number of dollars to buy it. Immediately he starts spending money. Or we were going to have his guys go get it. We have to set up a thing where he tells the general he’s going to Shang Hai. He doesn’t go to steal it. He will have wired that information to Shang Hai so his agents are doing it.
L — That bothers me a little bit because it takes away the awesome power of this Chinese War Lord, if you can send just any operatives who happen to be there. He says, “You guys pick it up. I’ll pick it up at the airport.” What it should be is the War Lord, who is pretty frightening himself, doesn’t faze our guy. “I’ll get it from him.”
G — It could be that he says, “I’m going to Shang Hai. Have two of your best agents meet me there.” And I also want fifty thousand dollars. “What for?” “I have to buy this little artifact. It’s a key to this.”
L — What happens to that money?
G — He spends it through the rest of the movie.
S — What about a vendetta with this War Lord. The War Lord gave him a big scar.
G — You don’t want to make the whole too ingrown.
S — So there’s some familiarity there. Would he think of this strange War Lord, someone he’s never seen before?
G — Obviously he can be aware of where it is, just as we’re aware of a lot of things in the film business. It’s possible that he knows the guy.
L — He might not know him, but he has to know that it’s there.
G — He has to know of him and he has to know it’s there. Obviously this guy is one of the big art collectors of the east.
S — “I worked for him one time. He didn’t pay me.”
G — Obviously the villain knows he’s there.
S — This War Lord should be a completely outrageous character, with all the armor and costumes. He should be a barbarian. He only becomes a gentleman around great works of art.
G — He collects it for some bizarre reason. He collects it because he heard that’s what gentlemen do, and that will make him a gentleman. But lie hasn’t the vaguest idea what it is.
S — That’s a good angle on his character. Here’s a man who’s desperately trying to become civilized, and he fails at every turn.
G — Now we cut to the airplane flying across the ocean. Cut to the airplane landing on the ocean, a long shot of him walking out of the airplane and down the dock. Cut to him in airport or whatever met by one or two, maybe one American and one Chinese, agents. He could have sent them a telegram so we could zip by a lot of the exposition. “I’ve made an appointment to meet with General Fu Man Chu.” Somehow they know the Germans are on their way there. So they immediately tell him. What we want to do is very quickly get rid of all that exposition where he explains what he has to do
L — Somewhere in here we have to mention the staff.
G — The thing is, do we do it in Washington or do we do it in Shang Hai? Why would he bother to explain it to these guys?
S — One of the things is to demonstrate, not talk about it.
G — The demonstration thing would be with the girl when they put it together.
S — Another kind of demonstration. Like a beautiful vase on a table, that is worth a complete fortune, and they’re all looking at this, and a man carefully puts his glasses on, looks at the vase, takes a hammer and breaks the thing. He divides all the pieces up to be shipped all over the world, and sold. “I hate doing this. I hate destroying great art, but it’s a living.” Bam. Crash. You realize this is what happens to all great works of art to make more money for the greedy bastards. And the audience realizes that is why the staff is in several pieces.
L — There could be a demonstration of what the staff does before he gets to Nepal. Show why it’s so important without just telling them, without adding to the exposition in Washington.
G — That was the perfect place for it. In Nepal is when ha talks about, the height of the pole and he puts it together and realizes it’s fourteen, not four.
L — We have to know what he’s doing in Shang Hai. If you don’t know about that staff, you don’t understand what he’s getting from that War Lord. He can say, “We’re never going to find the lost Ark until I get the Staff of the Sun.” “The what?”
G — The other way to do it, as I was saying before, is if they intercepted photographs, which they were sending to his rival, that have pictures of the floor of the map. And he knows instantly what it is. It would be good for him to have that information. Instantly he knows they are going to go after the staff. It has been totally unimportant up to now.
Once you have the map, then you need the staff. All of a sudden it’s very important. This is a map of the lost city. The mayor had a staff with the sun on top, and when you stood there, the sun would shine through it and point to the temple where the Ark is. You could actually explain it backwards, you start with the lost city and you end with the Ark. They have these pictures, they found the lost city, this guy is going, what does it mean? Well, this is the map of the city. The mayor used to stand in this big circle with his staff, and the sun would hit the staff and the sun would then burn into the secret temple of the Ark. Which no one knew except at that time of year, or whatever. The guy says, “What’s the Ark?” “The Ark is what they’re after.” That would work. Then we know everything. They say they’ll send him to Cairo. He says he’s going to Shang Hai because that’s where the top of the statue is. You don’t have to know any more than that.
L — When he gets the part from Shang Hai, and he gets the girl’s part, how much would he have?
G — I think he would have the whole staff then.
L — I was thinking back to where they had part of it.
G — They have the map and they have the research information.
L — So it’s in two parts, and she is wearing the sun, and at the bottom of the sun is the number one.
G — Right, at the point where they were broken apart.
L — In Sanskrit.
G — Whatever, it’s in Cairo, but it doesn’t have to be. I only use that because it’s one of those thirties cities. In the research it will probably be an Israeli city. In the middle east somewhere we will be able to find a plausible city. We can say we heard about it in Cairo. We can say whatever we want.
L — I was seeing it that they had lost it and their fortunes changed.
G — In the end it will have to be modified to fit the legend. We should try to remain as consistent with the real legend as we can. Whatever holes there are, we can fill. We shouldn’t deny what the legend of the Ark is. The whole concept was that you could talk to God with it. The whole thing has to be believable. When people leave the movie they should think that the Army has this thing in one of their thousand giant warehouses, and that’s where the lost Ark is.
S — Is it in Washington?
G — Wherever the Army keeps that top secret stuff. It could probably stay there for eternity, because it’s lost in the bureaucratic shuffle. Now, the thing in the Himalayas we haven’t really hashed out.
L — How does he get from where he ends the toboggan ride to her?
G — Oxen. Some local picturesque travel mode. That’s just a couple of second unit shots. He’s within three hundred miles. We are getting into a lot of travel and problems. All you really have to do is dissolve it. One wipe and he’s sitting with her, talking. “Boy, you look in bad shape. What happened to you?” “Well, I’ve had a bad trip.”
L — Should we have a confrontation between the War Lord and Indiana?
G — We can have a direct confrontation by having Indy get caught in the act. He’s
standing there with the thing as the War Lord leads the Nazis into the room. That’s really the way it should work.
END OF TAPE TWO-A, SIDE A
TAPE TWO-A, SIDE B
G — She’s a rough and tumble girl. She says, “It belonged to my father. It’s mine.” We have to have a good scene there. How we get into that scene is the most important part of it. He jumps out of the plane, he lands, he’s all snowy, he looks around, wipe and he’s walking into the thing or he’s sitting there with the girl. Cut to her saying, “Long time no see.” “Yeah, I guess it has been a long time.” Or do you cut to him walking into the bar, and he sort of walks up and sits down and she comes up and says…
L — I don’t want to throw away their first sight of each other.
S — I would like very much if she didn’t see him at first, but he witnessed her dealing with a bunch of rowdies. He’s on the other side and he watches her in action. He really gets a lot of respect for her. She’s really grown up. Then he deals with her.
L — What if we lose him, see her dealing with the rowdies. She clears the place out and then sees him sitting there.
S — She says, “I’m sick of all this.” And she almost has a nervous break down in front of everybody. She breaks up a fight and tells them to get out. Everybody leaves except for our guy. She doesn’t know who he is because his back is turned. She tries to get rid of him.
G — You have to be careful, no matter what you do, when he turns around it’s gonna be “Indy.”
S — He turns around smiling. He planned it for the dramatic effect.
G — It has to be careful. I like the idea of cutting to her and seeing her in action, tough. She should be Rick, in control of the situation. This is the normal thing for her. She shouldn’t be hectic or frantic.
L — And I like him to witness this. And she doesn’t know he’s observing.
G — When they meet there should be some kind of a good scene between them. He should say, “Where’s your father?” “He died five years ago. I sent you a note. We had to bury him up here.” It’s like she’s really rubbing it in. Maybe she didn’t send him a note. Her feeling when he walks in is here is a guy she loved. He left her. She’s stuck up here in the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden out of the blue. he shows up, in the middle of Nepal. Her first reaction would be, “My God, what are you doing here?” Or it could be total sullen… She could still be burning over the thing and the fact that he… Maybe she did send him a note when her father died and he never got it.
S — I like the idea that she greets him with disdain when he first walks in.
G — The fact that she sent him a note when her father died five years ago, and she was hoping that he would come and comfort her… He didn’t even acknowledge the note.
S — She says, “You’re too late.”
G — He says he’s been traveling around.
L — I wonder if her first reaction isn’t to hit him. Something unusual, not just a slap.
First sight, register who it is, wham.
S — “Still with that right cross I taught you.” G — “Hey, Junie, long time no see.” Wham. S — And she says, “Get out.”
G — They should refer to the death of the father. The idea is that he’s there to find her father, his old mentor. He’s not there to find her at all. The father had the other part and he thinks he might be able to help him.
S — She should have hair like Veronica Lake. You only see one eye at a time.
G — When he asks her for it she could be all pissed off about that stuff, because that’s what got her there. She loved her father, but she puts on this act. It would be interesting if she were putting on an act, “I threw all that junk out when he died. It ruined his life and it ruined my life. I never kept any of that junk. He was a fool.” He says he wanted to buy it. She starts pumping him for money or something, telling him she sold it to an agent and I can tell you who the agent is if you cut me in. That may be later. She says no. Or maybe she says she sold all the junk to an antiquity dealer. She tells him where the junk is. He says thanks. “Was that all you wanted?” “That’s all I wanted.” She says, “Well, why don’t you come back and see me later.” Some kind of thing where he has to come back. Maybe it should be on a personal level. Maybe they become friends. He leaves and then we cut to… She reveals that she’s got it. Instantly you say she’s got it, but she’s not going to give it to him.
L — The first tender moment is they kiss, embrace, then part. His hand draws away whatever was covering it, and he sees she’s wearing it.
G — Maybe she could be very tender about it. She’s keeping it because it does remind her of her father and she didn’t want to give it up to him.
L — He doesn’t have to tell her exactly what he wants, just that it’s one of the artifacts her father had. She tells him she threw it all away. This is the one thing she kept. You can play it either way, she’s holding out on him or she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He almost walks out. We know she has it, but he doesn’t.
G — Essentially, he tells her he wants it, and she tells him she wants to get out of here, and how much is he willing to pay for it. But if he went to buy the other thing…
L — That’s why I was bothered by the money.
G —Or he could be a nice guy. “Look, I’ll give you fifty thousand dollars for it. I’m just trying to be nice.” “Jesus, fifty thousand dollars. This must be some little trinket.” In the middle of their negotiations the Nazis come in. Maybe by this time they’re out of the bar, gone to the bedroom. Then the Nazis burst in and he protects her. He kills a couple Nazis. She says, “What was that all about?” He tells her they’re after her pendant. “This must be some pendant. What is it, anyway?” He tells her a little about it. “This must be worth more than fifty thousand dollars if the Nazis are willing to kill for it. I want in for half.” He makes the mistake of offering her the money.
L — I like what you said yesterday, which is that she wants to go back a lady. The fifty grand would do it. That’s what bothers me about his having the money to give her. She’s going to go through a lot of hell now to increase that fifty grand.
G — But she doesn’t know what kind of hell she is going to go through.
L — You mean she’s been stuck in this hell hole and she’s going to turn down fifty grand?
S — Maybe he offers her five hundred dollars and she turns that down, them he offers her six thousand dollars. I know what you’re saying, if she got that money, she’d take it and run.
G — Let’s not give him the money then. All we have to do is…
L — We have a million places for him to lose it. On that toboggan ride there could be a shower of money, “To hell with that. I’m lucky to be alive.”
G — Or he could lose it with the emperor. He doesn’t have to have it. The only reason he has it is so we know he’s not going to steal it from him.
L — I like him having it and I like him losing it. They’re racing to the airport and the money belt comes off and flies into a junk. Anywhere along the line.
G — When the Germans burst in, I like the idea that they can’t come to a deal and he leaves. As he walks outside on the street, there’s all these nefarious shadows converging on this one place. On her place. It’s not just a staff car pulling up.
G — We have to assume that these guys are agents and not just SS officers. Trench- coated.
S — Like the guys in “The Great Escape.” He hides in the shadows and watches all this take place, and he has to get back to the cafe to save her, rather than just being there and get caught with his pants down. It’s better if he comes to the rescue.
L — I like the image you conjured yesterday of him being on the balcony and looking down from above. Maybe he could do something neat from up there.
(short gap in tape)
G — This is the first time he’s come into a direct confrontation your standard… S — With Nazis you have to use your fists, because they’re despicable people.
G — That won’t be too much of a problem. It’s just a matter of twisting the situations. I think the first two are unique enough in their own way not to conflict with this. After this we don’t really have that much more before we really get him into the real mess. This could be a big fight.
L — And I like the fact that he’s somewhere else, either upstairs or coming back in from outside.
G — It would be nice if they left in a huff, they fought or something. He left rather pissed. I don’t think he would leave without the pendant. That’s the only thing that bothers me about that.
S — So he goes upstairs and stays up, plotting how he’s going to take it off her.
G — That makes him into a real rat.
L — That’s all right. He never does it. What he does is just the opposite, save her life. G — No matter how you do it, the fact that he thought about it is the rat part.
S — Rhett Butler was a rat. G — He wasn’t a real rat.
S — He proved himself by raising her family. Before that he was a gambler, dealt with cheap ladies.
G — There’s a difference between being a rat and somebody who’s having fun. He never hurt anybody.
L — I’m a little confused about Indiana at this point. I thought he’d do anything for this pendant.
G — But he still has to have some moral scruples. He has to be a person we can look up to. We’re doing a role model for little kids, so we have to be careful. We need someone who’s honest, trusting and true. But at the same time he’s confronted with this difficult problem. We have a great thing when she won’t give it to him. She doesn’t like him.
L — What if you see them separate, and you see them both thinking about it, and it’s clear that she’s going to give it to him. Then he saves her and she doubts his motivation, was he coming to steal it? Or was he coming to rekindle the romance? It doesn’t have to be crystal clear to her.
G — You could have it where he finds the pendant, they have some kind of a thing and she hides it.
L — Although in the fight it would be great if she were wearing it.
G — Maybe she was writing a note to give it to him, when they attack. She takes it off. L —”I’m enclosing the pendant.”
G — If she took it off and it’s sitting right there on the desk, it more or less has the same effect. The Germans come in and start punching her around and asking where the pendant is. And it’s sitting right there.
S — What’s it made of?
G — It’s stone.
L — I thought it was metal.
G — It could be metal. It can’t be wood because it’s too old. If it’s right there on the desk, the pendant is in jeopardy.
S — During the fight show feet almost stepping on it.
G — All you have to do is have her have a little wooden box. She takes the pendant off and puts it in. She starts writing the note and the Germans come in. One of the Germans puts his hand on the box and asks where the pendant is. He comes in and they have a fight. In the middle of the fight they knock over the table and the little box breaks open. The pendant goes rolling across the floor.
Immediately you think somebody is going to see it. It’s sitting out there. You’re afraid one of the Germans is going to notice it. He finally gets rid of the Germans and he picks it up.
L — I love the idea of fire. When it rolls across the floor could it roll into the fire. You don’t think it’s going to burn up, but he has to retrieve it. Maybe at the same moment he
uses the fire as a weapon. I’d love it if he burns down her only stake in the world, which is the inn.
S — That’s a good idea.
L — The pendant might lead him to the fire. He uses the fire.
G — The Nazis would do that. Let’s have the Nazis cause the fire. He’s the one who brought the Nazis there, so it’s all his fault anyway. I like the idea of doing the old branding iron scene before bursts in.
S — I love branding iron stuff. It’s a red hot poker.
G — That’s what starts the poker. It starts immediately on the fight. When he comes in he knocks the poker out of their hands. The poker goes into the curtains and immediately starts the fire. They fight. The box gets knocked off the table. One of the Nazis sees the pendant as it falls, and starts to go floor it. He gets hit in the head by a falling beam or something. When it’s all over they end up with the pendant and a pile of rubble. She says, “You’re going to be a long time paying for this.” The he feels sort of obligated to bring her along, since he does feel sort of guilty. She has to sort of insist. That’s why it’s important in the first scene that we understand she’s a tough broad. She doesn’t give a shit about going out and roughing it up a bit. But she has no idea what they’re in for. She wants to get out of there, and she still loves that guy.
S — She can say. “Charlie, you’re my ticket home.” Wouldn’t the Germans pull guns and start shooting?
G — Yes, but he comes in and uses his whip. He also maybe has a gun. You have to decide how many Nazis you want. You don’t have to have twenty Nazis, just a couple of agents.
S — There should be one big Nazi, the torture guy, 6′ 6″ weighing 290 pounds, wearing this huge overcoat. He’s the guy if our guy hits him in the jaw it doesn’t even, he only hurts his hand.
G — And you have the local yokels, the two guys with the tommy guns and the furry over coats, yak coats, just off the border war, or whatever. Sort of local interpreters they picked up. Right now we’ve got about five — two local yocals, one big Nazi, and two other Nazis.
S — This Nazi is struggling with our hero, and they’re kind of rolling on the ground, and one of these henchmen is standing at the door trying to get a clear shot because they keep moving. Two of the other Germans who are struggling with the girl say, “Shoot both of them.” The German who’s rolling around with our hero panics, pulls out his own gun and shoots the guy with the Tommy gun, kills them both to save himself.
L — All the bad guys in this movie are so vile, they turn on themselves. Now they’re standing on the rubble.
G — Cut to Cairo.
L — Let me ask you one thing about this fight, how gory do you guys see this movie? S — Not very.
G — Not very. It should be Saturday matinee violence.
L — How about death by fire?
G — That’s okay. Now we have two people in Cairo. We have his old friend, who’s an archeologist who’s digging out there. And we have his old friend, the Arab digger. He is like a workman/foreman. He’s like his old sidekick. He’s got the Arab kid. That’s where they stay. Obviously he was doing some digs there at one time, and they go back a long way.
S — He’s a Walter Huston Arab type.
G — And he has a young son who’s our tag-along. S — Never stops talking.
G — The crazy little Arab kid that’s really a pickpocket. The old man is poor but very well connected. He’s the one who gets him the boat and the tools and the information. Plus, he probably knows a lot about what the Germans are doing. He’s like the chief digger in the area. Obviously the Germans have hired all these diggers, so he knows what’s going on out there, because they keep telling him every day. He gets updates on the situation.
L — How do you guys feel about subtitles?
S — I don’t like them.
G — I don’t either. I think it is better if we don’t understand what they’re saying. S — I like hearing English with a German accent.
G — It depends on how you work it, but I like hearing people speak in their native tongue, except for people who have a right to speak in a different tongue. You don’t have to talk to the people who speak in a funny tongue. Only the lead characters speak broken English, everybody else speaks what they speak.
L — What about when Indiana assumes German, should we know what he’s saying? S — When does he assume German?
G — When he’s carrying the Ark to the truck. I don’t know that it’s important we know what he’s saying. There’s more tension if you don’t know what’s going on.
L — Let’s say the arch-villain is French. When he’s speaking to this German… G — Maybe they could speak English.
S — Maybe the arch-villain is smart enough to speak German, but they’re not smart enough to speak French.
L — What about the Arab kid. He’s just talking endlessly and you never understand what he’s saying.
G — But if he’s going to be the buffoon character, you’re going to want to understand him.
S — Maybe he slows down once in a while to say something stupid. When he talks fast you just don’t care.
G — We might be able to play on that. It’s conceivable that he and his father could speak English because they work with English archeologists all the time.
L — I’ll write the entire movie in English.
G — I think he should go to his friend first, because then we can get a reevaluation of what’s going on. We have a scene around the dinner table with eighteen kids. We find out that the Germans have made a make-shift staff. The French professor has made it and used it to pin-point the temple. They are now digging for the temple. It’s great, the Germans have already found the temple and they’re trying to dig it up. ‘The old man says, “Don’t worry. I’m making it slow. It will take them forever to find it. We had a cave-in yesterday.” Or maybe he says they will make a cave-in to slow them down. That’s the exposition that goes on in that scene. I wonder if his friend should be the one who helps find the number. We don’t have time to do that in the Himalayas. Then he goes to his friend who is digging on another project. He’s working on the thing he’s been working on for years. He’s sort of an east coast Yalie. He’s his old roommate. Same age. But he’s gone the straight route. He goes to him at his digs, or maybe a cafe scene. Maybe he meets him at the digs and they go to one of these cafes to talk. The guy doesn’t like him too much. You can tell they’re close friends, but the guy disapproves of what Indy is doing. He doesn’t hate him for it, but at the same time he wonders why he didn’t go straight. I thought that could be a place where the friend helps him put it together. You get rid of a piece of exposition there about the thing.
L — That would have to be in the privacy of someone’s quarters, not in a cafe. Let’s say she’s wearing the pendant, it’s metal, and the part below it might be flat. It could be of some size so that he could strap it to his body. But we don’t want it to be too small, because then they’d have two small pieces.
G — If it was about that tall and that wide he could either tape it under his arm or on his ankle, but it would be flat sort of like a metal knife.
L — I like that his friend and he are there when he first puts it together.
G — And his friend helps him. His friend is really more of a scholarly archeologist than he is. It’s old college buddies. It’s “The Turning Point.” Originally it was a puzzle that everyone was puzzling over. And it was his buddy that found the key. I don’t know if the scene with his buddy should be the next scene. It might be good to have the Arab scene, then have an action/danger scene, and then have the scene with the friend. Then the next place we’re going is when he’s on the dune overlooking the camp and he sees all these tanks and stuff.
L — An action scene could be a Cairo street scene, tents and big sword.
G — They also have daggers. It’s the kind of scene where he’s maybe getting followed. A bunch of Arabs try to jump him in the street and there’s a Nazi with them. They know that he’s there.
L — Now she…
G — Tags along. Before, this is where I had her go off with the Germans and come back with all the information. But I think we can get the information from the digger.
S — I don’t know what we do with her.
G — How about if we have her kidnapped?
S — Who would kidnap her, and for what reason?
G — The Arabs. Maybe they’re going to rape her. White slavery.
S — I would rather have a plot kidnapping than just a carnal kidnapping.
G — If he gets jumped on the street and they take her, it’s obviously the Nazis, maybe they’re taking her to find out what she knows. He fights them off, but they get her in the process. They take her alive rather than kill her so they can find out what they know and what he’s after. Maybe these are semi-agents of the Nazis, but more agents of the Frenchman. It’s something he is more interested in. Or they’re Nazi agents. One Nazi and a bunch of Arabs. Maybe there’s some writing on the thing that he can’t decipher. In the scene at the home in Cairo he’s putting the thing together and he’s trying to read some of the stuff and he can’t. He shows it to the Arab and he can’t read it. It’s much older than anything he knows. Then he says, “Is Phil still around?” Yes. Maybe Phil can read it. He takes the thing to him to try and find out what it says. It’s on the way there that they get Shang Haied. There is where you can have a great street fight. Maybe use his bullwhip. In the process she gets captured.
S — Whisked away to a waiting staff car.
L — How does he react to that? Does he go on to see Phil? Or does he go right after her?
G — Yes. It seems pretty mundane that he would go on to Phil after that.
L — Is there some way to really convince him she has died?
G — That’s fun.
L — But you have to do it really well, and I don’t know how. And then he could feel bad about it until he sees her again.
S — It could be the “Obsession” trick. The car she’s in goes offhand disappears, then appears again, goes off again and appears again, then it goes off a cliff and burns. In fact, on one of those dog-legs to the left they jumped out with her and the driver went off alone and he actually crashed. We and Indy feel that she’s dead when we see the car burning at the bottom of a cliff.
G — That would work. You can sort of cheat. It’s all images of a girl in the back seat just before the thing goes over. You don’t really see her, but you think you do. You are convinced that it actually happened. Or, you see the cars switch, another comes in and takes over. But Indy knows and isn’t fooled by it. You sort of think that he’s going to go after the wrong car, but he doesn’t, he goes after the right car. And that’s the car that crashes. What we don’t know is also in the process of that, there’s another switch that happens that we don’t see. There are two switches. We see the first one happen. The second one is set up the same way.
S — That’s good.
G — What can he chase them with? What if he jumps on a camel?
S — I love it. It’s a great idea. There’s never been a camel chase before. L — Is this camel going to chase a car?
S — You know how fast a camel can run? Not only that, he can jump over vegetable carts and things. It could be a funny chase that ends in tragedy. You’re laughing your head off and suddenly. “My God, she’s dead.”
G — We have to have another way of getting them off the cliff. They start getting on the outskirts of town, going along this mountain road. He doesn’t follow them down the road, he goes over the hill. You have shots of him racing along and shots of them racing along. He sort of comes down right in front of them, with a gun. They’re riding along and
he’s pointing a gun at them, and they go off the thing. That’s a way for him to get them to crash.
S — And he thinks he killed her.
G — “This isn’t working out at all.” It’s a cheat, but we could have a piece of her clothing or something. Or her purse.
S — When do we have the big fight with the flying wing?
G — That’s once he gets into the camp. It’s a secret landing strip, too. It’s what they were going to use to fly the ark back to Germany.
S — We still have the big fight in the moving truck to do. And now we have a camel chase.
G — We’ve added another million dollars.
S — Not really. How much trouble can a camel be.
G — It will be funny. It’s also great because the camel is so outmatched with the car. Once he gets out of town you realize the car is going to outrun him, so he veers off. It has a whole lot of twists in it.
S — And when you cut to a close shot of the hero, it’s really erratic and bumpy. He can go through clotheslines. The car goes under the clothes and half the clothes on the line are wrapped around the camel for about a block.
G — Then we have the scene with the old friend. It will be better because he feels terrible. They can talk about old times, his wife and his mother and the dorm, whatever. “This thing has cost me more than I…” And it will be a great moment when he goes in the tent and she’s there all tied up, ropes all around her and a gag. She’s over in a corner somewhere.
L — You mean she’s not going to be in a rolled-up rug? And he rolls out the rug. So we get rid of her for a while.
G — It’s only for a couple scenes. He sees his old friend and his old friend puts the thing together and gives him the clue about the change in the exposition. He’s mourning the girl, and that’s where we find out it’s fourteen feet instead of four feet.
L — Maybe the friend helps him build the staff. He would have a lot of stuff, especially at a dig. How are they going to carry it around?
G — It doesn’t have to be fourteen feet. It could be inches. It has to be in hands anyway. It’s some ancient Hebrew measuring system that’s translated into whatever you want.
END OF TAPE TWO-A, SIDE B
“RAIDERS” — TAPE THREE
G — He goes out with Sabu, the Arab clown, and the girl. No, the girl is gone. L — And the number one son of the digger.
G — Well, number twenty-three son. The girl has been kidnapped already…
S — And he’s sad and remorseful.
G — Kidnapped and killed. He killed her, then talked to his old friend. In the scene with the old friend it might be interesting to zap it with something. Meaning a shadow on the wall… We don’t want the bad guys to find out about the trick, the discrepancy. At the same time, if one of the waiters started to pull out a knife… Some kind of thing to hype that scene in terms of action and suspense and terror. Maybe somebody plants a bomb while they’re talking. An Arab walks by and leaves something, then walks off. At the last minute he figures it out or something and they duck and the thing blows up.
S — An Arab sent by the Germans?
G — Somebody who was following him.
S — What if the guy who’s bringing the tray of food in is pouring powder in the drinks all through the food and the soup. He’s laced everything with poison, for both of them. He brings it in and sets it down, and they’re wrapped up in conversation, but the food is always there with this implied threat. At one point our hero would take the chicken and just start gesturing with it. He’s too caught up to eat it. He’s not paying attention and this cat jumps up on the table and nibbles on the food. The cat freaks, just goes crazy and jumps up, climbs up the walls. He says. “I’m not going to eat this.” What if it’s an animal we hate, an animal the audience can’t stand. It’s always after our hero and doesn’t like him very much, like a mongoose.
G — A monkey is a perfect thing.
S — What animal don’t people like?
G — A rat.
S — A pet rat.
G — It doesn’t have to be a pet.
L — He’s looking the other way, the rat comes up. S — That’s a pretty brave rat.
G — It wouldn’t come on the table.
G — Let’s say we make two scenes with this old friend, or maybe even three. After the girl dies maybe we can cut back to him and the Arab family, a very short remorse scene. We say where he’s going. An expression of grief from the family. Then we go to the old friend.
L — They were on their way there when the whole thing started.
G — Rather than she dies and he just continues on his way, he goes back and we have a short scene with the family, consoling. Maybe the old man gives him another piece of information about what the Nazis are doing, so we move the plot along just a bit. It’s very short. Half a page or a page. Mainly it’s just a little respite. Now we know he’s going back on his mission again. That way it makes her getting killed into a little more of a thing.
L — The minute they hit Cairo we can assume they’re being followed. Maybe this Arab operative is the one who has the monkey. It’s a villain monkey. The Arab can make him do things, and he sends him in there to steal the piece.
G — They arrive at the airport or whatever.
L — We don’t see them at the airport.
G — So we cut from the Himalayas to Cairo, busy streets. We see them walking down the street. We realize they’re being followed. The guy is carrying a cage or a little box. And this can be like two or three shots. They stop for a second. She stops to look at something. He’s irritated and wants to keep moving. The guy opens up the little cage and he pets the little monkey and sends him off. The little monkey goes to the girl or to the guy and makes friends, and tags along. They get to the house and the monkey comes in. They can’t get rid of this monkey. The girl says she loves the monkey. The guy says to get rid of it. The monkey is making faces and doing cute things. You establish the monkey. Oh the street they’re going to the friends house and the monkey is riding on the guys shoulder or something. It goes on the camel chase and everything. Then you go back to the friend’s house for this little respite scene and they write something down. Or they do it in the first scene. The monkey looks around as they write something down. The monkey picks up the piece of paper and goes out and gives it to a guy outside and then comes back. He’s like a little spy. It has to happen real quick because it’s very short until the time we want to kill him. He kill the monkey spy.
S — Can it wear a turban? It should be dressed up.
G — Yes. In these three scenes, because the fourth scene is where he dies, we have to establish that he’s spying on them.
S — What is the monkey trying to get?
G — Information, pieces of paper and things.
L — Before we kill this monkey, I want to really make him a villain. What if he is along when they’re headed out to the friends. The ambush takes place and as Indy is fighting them off, the girl jumps into a basket to hide and the monkey leads the Arabs to the girl. That’s how they get her.
G — That’s good.
S — Also, there’s this sleeping cat that the monkey knocks in the face. Something you really hate the monkey for.
G — That can be over the dinner table. I like the cat coming up and starting to eat the food and the monkey whacks it and takes the food away from it.
L — He charms his way into their confidence.
S — The monkey should be dressed up as a little Arab.
G — I like the idea of not only having a turban, but also a little backpack. When he’s in the thing, he’s sort of picking up letters, any mail, scraps of paper, wads it up and puts it in his pack. We give him a chance in one of these scenes… He follows them down the street.
L — He doesn’t have to follow them, they take him with them. He climbs on and they can’t get him off. When she’s taken away, he could just go back to his master. Then when Indy is with the friend, he could appear again. Indy is not going to suspect the monkey.
G — When they get ambushed on the way to the house, we have to have that short scene when the monkey takes all the stuff out of his pack and gives it to the guy. What
if we do that before. I don’t want to have a big scene where they say they’re going to leave. We should do these in cuts. They’re walking down the street, the monkey is on his shoulder. Suddenly the monkey jumps off and runs away. She yells for him to come back. He says good riddance. Then you follow him and takes all his stuff out and gives it to some guy.
L — The same guy who dropped him off.
G — And then you follow that guy and he sort of signals to somebody and then they attack. In the middle of the fight the monkey sort of appears again. When she hides the monkey runs over to the thing and points her out. He gets on the camel. You cut back to the home and he’s back there lamenting, and the monkey comes back in.
S — (garbled, something about the monkey going “Heil Hitler.”)
G — That’s up to you and the trainer, and the monkey.
L — The monkey could come back in the quiet scene and put his arm around him.
G — You might even want to play it where he thinks the monkey ran when the bad guys came. Back at the house when the monkey comes in the window. “At least you came back.” At the next scene with the old friend the monkey is there. The monkey beats up the cat. We break this into three parts — the first scene is with the family, the second is at the digs wherever this old friend is working, or the house. You go into one of these nice Arabian houses, with servants and everything. I like the idea of them catching this servant. The servant brings in the food, then goes out. There’s a scuffle outside, a fight, and our guy goes out. They think he’s there to spy or something. You don’t know there’s poison. It should happen before they put the thing together and discover the mistake. It’s important that it be very clear that whoever the spy is, the poisoner, has no idea that they are making that discovery. The other thing is, possibly when they’re writing stuff down we could still have the monkey taking something, being a thief in that scene too. It would be interesting if Indy caught the guy or the other servants caught the guy. Something where he’s sort of found out afterwards. I don’t know how important that is. We have to see him do the poison. We cut from the digs when he says, “Come on over and have some dinner.” Cut to the servant putting the powder on the stuff and bringing it into them.
L — I don’t know why it concerns you that he get caught. Let’s say he puts in the poison and then take off. He wouldn’t hang around there. He’s not a listening spy, he’s a poisoning spy. He takes off, they continue their conversation, the monkey eats the food and drops dead.
G — It would be more plausible if the guy… You cut to them going into the house, and they’re being followed. When they go in the house you follow the bad guy. He goes into the back, into the kitchen. He poisons the food without the servants knowing it. The regular servant brings the food in. If it’s a strange servant, the guy would know. Nobody would know there’s poison. Even the monkey wouldn’t know.
L — The monkey comes with Indy?
G — Right. You’re going to have the monkey in four or five scenes. S — Monkeys bite.
L — The monkey drops dead and then they get to the staff.
S — What does this scene accomplish between the two of them?
G — Plotwise, they’re discovering the major difference between the new and the old. We get a little bit of old friendship, a little bit of character stuff about them. Plus we have the tension of the poison going on through the whole thing.
L — Where do you see the digs?
G — I see them sort of in the city. There are city digs and distant digs. One of the reasons I was worried about them catching the guy was I was worried about the guy hearing. What would be interesting, this might be too complex, they’re sitting there talking with a plate of poison food. There has to be one thing that they would eat around the dip or bread, something you might not eat, like the olives or something. It would be off to the side, not something that’s on their plates.
L — The real servant brought in the food, and they’re engrossed and they just don’t get to it yet. Then when they get really close to the puzzle, behind their back the monkey is eating. So they say, “This puts us way up on the Germans. Let’s have a bite to eat.”
G — I was thinking they bring in the couscous and stuff, and they put a plate of olives there.
L — Would the guy put the poison just on the olives?
G — That’s all he could get to. That’s the only thing he could find in the kitchen. Maybe it’s an oil he pours on the olives. The olives are sitting there, and they’re eating, and maybe a guy reaches for an olive and drops it. He throws one up and he misses it, it bounces off his forehead. This is is while they’re carrying on their exposition conversation, and just beginning to talk about the thing. They haven’t really mentioned the fact that he has the thing. As he grabs for another olive, he sees a shadow on the wall, or something behind the window. He maybe grabs his bullwhip and gets the guy. That’s the guy who poisoned the food and is also listening in on them. He has to do away with him. The guy has to be run off or killed. The guy asks what he was after. He was after this thing that I got. We know the guy is nowhere around when they talk about it. That gives them a break to get away from their meal. While they’re doing that, the monkey is eating the food. I don’t know if he even needs the staff. The guy just takes a string and says this is eighty-nine inches. Then he takes it and puts it in his picket, so when he gets down there he can just take the string off and measure off a stick somewhere, break it off and use it. When they say that’s the answer to the thing they realize the Germans must be digging in the wrong place. They turn around and the monkey is dying.
S — I think it would be funny if, as they’re talking about this and the olives are between them, you see a hairy little paw is pulling olives off the plate, coming in and out of frame. Finally the paw comes up to grab an olive and begins slipping, like palsy. You use a little mechanical paw. And then you hear a thump.
G — The monkey eats the olives during the exposition. It would be great if the monkey keeled over with the olive in his hand. “I wouldn’t eat those olives.”
S — As our hero looks over and sees this dead monkey with pits all around him, his friend is tossing one up, and he finally catches one in his mouth. “Hey, I got got one.” Our guy hits him on the back and makes him spit it out, saves him at the last minute.
G — Either one can save the other. He flips it up, and as it’s going into his mouth, the other guy grabs it. The guy asks him why in the hell he did that. He points to the monkey sprawled out with pits all over him. “Bad olives.”
L — One thing that bothers me, the monkey eats just the olives? He can eat other stuff, too.
G — Rather than olives, it could be dates. They would stick to his head instead of bounce off. It’s better with olives, an olive would bounce around the room. The good thing about dates is that’s something monkeys would be crazy about.
L — How does he put the poison on them?
G — He could do it with an oil. You assume it would dry up. Maybe it’s just a liquid that he pours on. They look like they’ve just been washed. You see a guy washing the dates and putting them in a bowl, then the other guy comes in and pours this stuff on them.
S — Is this a daytime scene.
G — I always envisioned it as a nighttime scene.
S — When the Arab is outside listening, can they be in kind of a tent thing? The only time you see the Arab is when some headlights go by and make the wall translucent.
G — They had a lot of french doors over there.
S — When it’s backlit you see the shadow of a man that’s not there without the lighting.
G — Or you can have a giant shade that’s pulled down.
S — Does he go outside and kill him?
G — That’s what we have to decide.
L — What could he do with a date that would start a sort of Rube Goldberg kind of thing? Very simple, but it would spook this guy.
G — That’s hard with a date. I want to get rid of him so we know they didn’t learn about the thing.
S — What if he does hear. Just as they’re talking about the fourteen inches, the headlights sweep by and our hero sees him. We know the guy knows. Now we have to stop him from taking this information back. When the second pair of headlights sweep buy there’s nobody there anymore. So our guy quickly gets up, runs outside, and hears footsteps. Then we can justify his wiping this guy out. Either that, or he’s run over by a car in his haste to escape.
L — I don’t understand why you want to keep him around.
G — I just want to establish without a doubt…
L — He barely gets the poison on the dates, then he runs off.
G — The audience will think he’s hanging around somewhere. I would think that, to make sure it worked. And he would hear them.
S — You know how when somebody is watching, you begin to talk normally. The guy says, “Listen, I feel a draft. I’m going to close the window.” He walks over, to the window, reaches out, and the pulls the guy in the window. Right through all the stuff.
G — I don’t think he has to kill him. He can either knock him cut, or he can catch him. But if you catch him, you have to sort of give him to somebody. That takes a lot of time.
L — You can have his own people kill him…(garbled)
G — I think the idea of him throwing the date… If it were a peach or banana it would be easier. If there was a big stone beam, and under it was the canvas, and above the beam it’s open, with a lot of pots on the beam. He could throw the thing and hit one of the pots and the pot could fall over and hit the guy on the head, knock him out. “Who is he?” “He was trying to get to this.”
L — I don’t think it’s a problem if this guy isn’t hanging around.
S — I don’t mind if he runs away after he poisons, just cut outside and this guy is running and he jumps on a truck.
G — Okay. We’ll assume his job was to poison, not to listen.
L — The monkey is dead, we establish the fourteen, he says goodbye to his friend. Is this the last time we see this guy?
G — Yes. At one point I had him at the boat to see him off, but then I decided the family would be better. But we can use him there if we want. The girl is going to be sent back with the kid. The old digger would have all the contacts.
L — Then he goes out there for the first time, with Sabu.
G — Right. And he looks over the hill and there are all these Germans and tanks and tents. He has to figure out a way down there. What he has to do is try to get down into the diggings, set up the staff, and figure out where the temple is.
L — At the right time of day.
G — So he would be sitting up on the hill waiting for that time. We were talking about sunrise or sunset, because then it’s a fixed time.
L — What does that do for the angle?
G — I know. If it’s down in a hole it doesn’t work.
S — It has to be up high enough to get into the hole.
G — The problem is if it’s a big thing on the side of a mountain or something, then it’s a big deal. Plus the fact that why didn’t they find this city before.
L — What if they have dug it out, and the map is on the wall instead of the floor. Then you will get a spot of light.
G — You can also make it a big hole, like a hundred by a hundred feet. It’s really been dug out. The sun comes down and one wall of the hole is part of the temple, and maybe it is on the wall. The idea is that it angled down. We have to make sure that the height of the thing would make a difference.
L — It seems like it would be easier to understand if it’s on the floor. How important is it that it be at sunrise?
G — It’s not crucial. But it’s very hard to fix a time, three candles. I think you might be able to make it work at sunrise. I know how to do it. In these stills that we have, with pictures of the map and everything, we can also see pictures of the layout of the temple. Maybe it is in the ground, but when they’ve excavated it out, there’s a big hole in the top of this temple. There’s photographs of the hole and photographs of the thing. All our friend has to do is say, “When the sun hits that hole, and you stand in the center of this
symbol…” There’s a big symbol on the floor, there’s a map on the floor, and there’s a big hole in the ceiling. “When you stand on the symbol with the staff, and the sun hits the rim of the hole, it will shine through and fall on the map.” All we’ve done is raise the horizon. Instead of having it be down there, we’ve made the horizon this hole in the ceiling.
L — It’s the original hole?
G — Right. We see stills of it in Washington. And he says it he explains how the sun would come through the hole in the ceiling and the sun would come through the staff and point to the temple. All he has to do is figure out himself… He sees the photos and says, “I figure the sun is going to come through that hole at about 7:33.”
L — We don’t want this hole to be too small. G — No. It’s a big hole, like a skylight.
L — then you would see the sun… Are we creating two points already before they even get to the… As soon as we have two points, we have a line. Are we creating a second point with the hole? So they wouldn’t even have to know how high to make the staff. It would be determined. A line of light would come into the room like this, and their staff would be down here.
S — They wouldn’t know how high to make it.
G — Look at it like this. (demonstrates)
L — You’re saying that when the sun hits the hole, the entire area is flooded with light.
G — Yes.
L — I was thinking that when it hits the hole, and the light is moving across here like this, you know that’s the time, there’s like a line of light…
G — It wouldn’t work.
L — Why? You’d have a line which is the sun and this building. You would see it. There would be darkness here and light here.
G — Suppose this is what they found on the floor. One of these three places is the temple. We don’t know which one it is. If you have the staff in the thing so that it’s standing up, it doesn’t matter where the sun is.
L — The only thing that’s changed is that daylight comes later to this temple. As soon as there’s daylight in the temple, you can make your calculation.
G — What it will do is the staff will cast a shadow, and then the circle on the thing with the hole in it will… the shadow will go across this like that because on the tip, at the end of the shadow, there will be a light in the center of that shadow.
L — The shadow of the staff will get increasingly shorter as the sun rises.
G — Right. The length of the shadow is determined by the time of the day. The time of the day is fixed by when it first comes over that thing.
S — The only problem there is that it’s changed by the time of the year.
G — When the guy talks to his friend, they’re discussing it, and he’s explaining in detail.
Again, we have a rough idea in Washington. With the guy we say the staff has to be fourteen feet high. And they’re both archeologists, they know all this stuff. The ceremony of the great sun god was on the Ides of March. Your Ides of March then is equivalent to December today. So it will be off by about three feet.
S — So they compensate for it.
G — If you went out there tomorrow, it would be about three feet off from where it is.
L — One thing this takes away is that moment he sticks the staff in the floor. He can’t do that any more.
S — Why?
L — Because he’s not compensating.
G — It depends on how dramatic you want to do it. You can ignore that whole aspect of it. The idea is, he puts the staff down and you pan across, and there is that little square with the light shining in it and you say, “That’s it.” Or you do it (garbled)… and he points over three feet and that’s where it is.
L — It could be at the right time.
G — That’s quite a coincidence. The guy could just acknowledge that the sign lines up on the third Ide of March or something, which is December 13 in our time. We don’t explain anything further. We don’t even connect it. So he goes out to the desert with Sabu and looks over the thing. Do we have him do any snappiness to get down there, or do we have him tell Sabu to stay there and wait, and have shots of him sneaking down past guards and slipping down into the hole.
S — All the Germans are drunk and they have this woman dancing around the campfire.
L — It’s sunrise, everybody is sleeping.
G — He stands on the hill dressed like Lawrence of Arabia. He and the kid walk in. The kid is obviously scared to death. He goes down in the hole and the kid stays up there, being scared to death, and all the Germans are walking around.
S — He walks right into the German camp, as an Arab.
G — Right. There are Arabs in the camp, and they’re his friends.
S — He walks through the camp and one of the Germans says, “Hey you.” The guy turns and the German puts up his plate for seconds, and our hero sees all these big kettles for breakfast. So he has to take this stuff and feed the Germans.
G — That would be a good thing to happen to the kid. He’s sort of waiting there by the hole and the German yells to him, and the kid panics. He’s sort of serving the Germans, and is scared to death.
S — Both of them could start to do that.
G — You’re slowing down your action.
S — Also you have him, any minute now he could be caught. G — The point of the scene is figuring out where the temple is.
S — You want to put obstacles in his path between here and the temple.
G — Once the audience figures out the point of the scene, it’s just irritating to put obstacles in the way of getting to that point.
S — Let the kid do that, it’s a nice way to keep him busy.
G — When he’s overlooking the hill, we have to assume that some of the laborers are also his friends.
L — why can’t we have them take him right in?
G — We can. But I just like that shot of him standing on the dune overlooking the thing. The digger comes and says get in. He gets in the truck and they drive on down, and go into the camp. He breaks away and goes down into the hole, and the kid is standing around being nervous.
L — The kid’s father works there, so he wouldn’t really be so out of place.
G — He’s standing by the hole with a rope going down it, guarding. So he hopes no one will see him.
END OF TAPE THREE, SIDE A
TAPE THREE, SIDE B
G — So he’s sitting there serving food, and he keeps looking at the hole. Then you cut to Germans sort of walking around the hole, talking and gesturing down. The kid is nervous that the guy will get caught.
L — The guy should see the kid standing there with the rope and ask him to bring it to him.
G — Or maybe they need it to pull out a truck or something. In the middle of the kid being nervous about how he’s going to get another rope to get him out, the guy asks him to bring some food. Then we can have the kid get something clever. When the guy whistles, maybe he can have brought the rope back and rolled it up, and is sitting on it. Or when our guy whistles, “Sabu, I’m ready.” A whole chain of knotted Nazi shirts comes down Instead of the rope. It’s like everybody’s laundry has been tied together. You only have like three cuts. You have the rope, they use it for the truck. Then you cut back to Indy, working. Then another guy asks for food from the kid. Then you see him looking around as he’s serving the food, trying to figure out how he’s going to do. Then you cut back to Indy, and you see the dramatic moment, and then he calls for Sabu. So, it’s a real surprise. You assume at that point that the kid is trapped. When Indy calls for him, you know that he’s not going to be there. So you play it, “Sabu, Sabu…” Tension. All of a sudden a bunch of laundry comes down.
S — The first thing that comes down is a German flag.
G — Then he climbs up.
L — Now, he has spotted the temple. So go on, because (garbled)
G — I would think on the map, if the thing was shorter, and at that time of day, it would cast a shadow down further on the map. On that there would be a big red circle painted that shows where the thing is. When he does the thing and it lands on the thing, he also maybe takes out like a calibrator, so he knows where they are, where this is, and where that is. Then he goes up. My idea then was that he comes up out of the hole, some
Germans go “Why aren’t you at the digging?”, and he has to sort of sneak away at this point. He comes under suspicion, so he zips around a tent, and jumps into it to hide with the boy, and who should be tied up in the corner, but his girlfriend, “what happened to you?” She tells him about the cars being switched. “Let’s get out. I know where the temple is.” The go off together. She gets saved. If we do that, then we should have another scene back with the family.
S — Then he should ask how they’re going to dig it up with all the Germans. He says he’ll figure it out.
S — That’s a problem. They go back to step one. Once he’s at the dig shouldn’t he just solve everything and do it right then.
G — I’m worried that if he finds the girl…
S — She’s right back in the action again.
L — That’s good, because he has nothing else to do with her but take her with.
G — I thought he would leave her all tied up. “Look. I can’t take you with me, it would arouse suspicion. So I have to leave you here for a little while. I’ll get you out later.” If they find out the girl is missing, they’re going to start searching everywhere.
S — She says, “Let me out of here. Let me out of here.” He tells her to keep her voice down. She won’t, so he has to gag her again. “Look, I’m glad you’re okay. It’s a big relief to me. I’ve got a lot of things to tell you. But you’re going to ruin this whole thing unless you just sit here and be quiet. You’ve been here for forty-eight hours, another three or four hours won’t make any difference at all.” He leaves her tied and gagged. That would be heroic. I like that.
G — My only concern was that if he takes her, the Germans would be combing the countryside.
L — Are they just keeping her there? G — We assume they’re torturing her.
L — One more thing, execution at noon. Because they could be doing away with her at any time.
G — They could have her up on a rack. All these torture things going on. He should leave her. It’s different, it’s funny, and it’s also very logical.
L — As long as she’s in no danger.
G — And it brings her back into the movie. Then you know she’s trapped back there. Suddenly it’s damsel in distress. The problem we had before was why didn’t he go after her. Now we know why he doesn’t, because it’s more important that he get the ark. It works great, we do it. She is really pissed. He’s left her there. He goes about a quarter of a mile away to dig up the real temple. He should be there, the boy should be there, and maybe a couple of Arabs. The digger had Arabs waiting off in the wings. We either cut to him, cut to the girl struggling, then you cut to him running to this little group of Arabs saying that it should be right about here. He steps it off, and tells them to start digging in this area right here. So he starts digging. At this point we either dissolve and he breaks through. Or we cut to the villains. This might be an interesting place to start going to the villains. Now it’s even better because we know what’s happening to the girl. We can tell parallel stories. We cut back to the girl, and the villains come back. This will be the first time we actually see the French guy and the Nazis. This is the first time we
see the real villains. We have a scene with the villains torturing the girl a little bit, rape her, talk about the fact that they’re not finding the Ark.
S — She should be screaming his name, she’s so pissed off. He had to tie her up, otherwise they would know that he was around. At the same time, there are people raping and torturing her.
G — I was using that facetiously.
S — If they’re doing anything at all, that really makes our guy a bad guy. Maybe they can be threatening her, putting the irons back in the fire.
G — He could ask her if they’ve hurt her. She tells him not yet. “They want to know what you know.” “If they haven’t killed you, they won’t. Just don’t tell them anything and you’ll stay alive.” The villains don’t have to really torture her. We can threaten it. I think it’s good that she’s in danger.
S — There should be a real slimy German character. He’s the only gestapo involved there. Every time you see him, you know it’s going to be the worst pain, death by torture. This guy looks like a ferret. He’s got that slick black hair. His name is Himmler or something like that. He’s a stocky short guy, a master torturer.
G — We can do a threatening torture scene. If she says that they haven’t hurt her yet, he can assume she’s going to be safe. But then they come back and decide they’re going to start torturing her. “We’ve had enough of this, young girl. Now you’re really going to talk.” It’s funny on her side, too. She thought she was okay, but she’s not. It is a good time to cut to the villains and establish them. Maybe they have broken into the thing and found out the Ark isn’t there. Now they’re figuring out what they’re going to do. Saying that maybe the calculations were off. They are really angry with the Frenchman, about the fact that he didn’t pick the right temple. “It’s going to take us years to dig up this whole damn city.” He says “Maybe it’s in the other chamber. We have three chambers.” “At the rate those Arabs are digging, it’s going to take them a week to get into those other chambers.” He says, “I know it’s there. I know it’s there.” So there’s a lot of doubt cast about whether they’re going to find it. The Arabs keep slowing the production down because they’re friends of the digger. We sort of get their point of view. “The Fuhrer wants this right away.”
L — How did they figure out where to dig?
G — They built a four inch pole instead of a four foot pole. L — Because they knew what one piece was?
S — Right. But they thought it said four instead of fourteen. L — Then how did they get a spot of light.
G — They did the same thing. In this scene, at the home of the digger, it’s the first time they’ve met and they’re talking. The digger says. “The Germans have found the temple.” “What? How could they have found the temple? I’ve got the piece.” “Ah, your Chinese friend had several copies.” Because he is also a forger. They read the height of the stake off the thing.
L — They don’t have the pendant, which is very important.
G — No. But he said that they made a makeshift, a crude thing, and they made it work. L — I thought we had figured out a way that he knew… We knew why they had made a
mistake. I thought we had figured out how they chose this spot.
G — We had figured but that they had just read the textbook. I like it better that the only way you can find out is to have that piece.
S — The Gestapo comes into where the girl is, she’s lying there all tied up. They untie her and put her in a chair. They’re going to torture her. The main Gestapo guy takes out this little case, he has little wires with felt on them. Clang… Zap. He takes his coat off and hangs it on these things.
G — As long as it’s done realistically. As long as it’s not played for laughs. One, he goes to the War Lord to steal the thing. That makes sense. It makes sense that the War Lord would have made copies. How did they get the top section? What if it’s metal and flat, and in the fight it rolls across the floor. One guy sees it and he goes for it. What if it rolls across the floor and into the fire and the fire sort of burns past it. It’s sitting there smoldering. One of the guys sees it and goes over and grabs it, and then screams. That guy runs off. Back here he says they had a copy of one part, but how did they get they other. “A man had it burned into his hand.” It would just be a rough copy, it wouldn’t give them any of the information, like the false number.
S — They’d have to hold up a mirror to read his hand.
G — I like the fact that when they get to the Cairo home the digger says, and you think that he’s going to have the stuff, so it’s a big shock to Indy when he finds out they found the temple. “How could they have done it?” “The Chinese man had a copy of the thing, and one of their SS men had the top part burned into his hand.”
L — But not the number.
G — Does it solve that for you? L — I love it.
G — And at the time it’s just like a joke, this guy burning his hand. You don’t even suspect that it would be any kind of a plot point. Then we have the scene with the villains.
L — And they’re having their problems.
G — They can also be trying to get the pendant. They know that their information may be faulty, and they want the real thing. There are a lot of things they want out of her. Then we cut back to Indy.
L — How far down are they digging? About the depth of this room?
G — Yeah. With four Arabs digging, and Indy, it would take them maybe a day. We can do a time transition there anyway. We can cut to them digging toward sunset, then cut to the girl in the tent at night, then you cut and it’s the next day.
L — Maybe the action, when they throw him back in there, can take place at night.
G — It’s better to have the contrast. It’s good for her at night. The guys come back from the digs, and it’s a perfect time for them to torture her. Then you cut and it’s the next morning, the Germans are coming out. Then you cut to Indy and they’re still digging away, and they say, “We’ve got it.” They open it up and he goes down. We have a little scene where he is looking around and he sees the big box at the end of the temple. There’s that moment.
S — “There it is.”
L — And this tomb is going to be pretty good.
S — I know what it looks like. It’s not small tomb. The ceiling is about forty feet in the air. It has all sorts of hieroglyphics and things.
L — He goes into the tomb, sees the thing.
G — And they start hauling it out, hoisting it up. He’s still down in the thing. “Great. Send the thing down.” Or whatever. And a German appears.
L — So he never comes out.
G — No. He sort of supervises the moving of the Ark. So he’s down there when it goes up, and then he would go up.
L — Now the Frenchman appears.
G — Right.
L — And he goes, “Ah, Indiana.”
S — Indiana says, “Throw me down that so and so.” Someone throws it down, Indiana catches it and looks up to say thank you, and the Frenchman has thrown it to him.
G — So it’s a real surprise to us. Then maybe we have a short scene between the Frenchman and Indy. “After all these years.” “You’ve made my life so much easier.” Two villains having a conversation.
S — Indiana should be able to match him in wit and intelligence in everything they say to each other.
G — This is where we get into the trouble with the water, if we’re going to do that.
S — We might as well figure it out.
G — This is where he would say…
L — He would things like, “I’ve seen you do the impossible, but there’s one thing you can’t do, and that’s breathe under water.” Slam.
L — Do we need any explanation about how they’re getting the water in there?
G — I worry about this scene a little bit. We’re going to get in such a fix trying to explain why and how. It’s not indigenous to the situation.
L — You could explain it. They have that conversation, and the Frenchman says. “You know so much about this thing, I suppose you know about the defense system we…
S — discovered in our diggings down the street.”
L — An offshoot of the Nile.
G — Another thing… It could be a defense of the temple, like we saw in the beginning of the movie. This would really telegraph it, when he goes into the temple, they open it up, on either side it could be a hatch thing. On either side would be these giant cisterns of water that were being stored there from an oasis. They constantly filled up. When you’re
in the temple, it’s all dripping wet.
L — That would be good, he goes in a sand temple and there’s moss on the walls. That would be really strange.
G — There’s like a giant water well in the middle of the temple.
It’s like the temple where all the water was, which would be the key temple. The source of life. It’s the source of life and the source of water. It would be like an Artesian well.
L — So the water comes up.
G — From the bottom. You like it to splash, the fact that is just sort of seeps up…
L — A geyser of water. I’m not seeing what you’re talking about. What would it look like.
G — The idea would be is that there’s sort of an Artesian well or sort of cistern so that he goes past it. If there were like two levels, and he goes into one level, and there’s this giant Artesian well, water pouring out of old broken fountains. There’s a hole in the thing, so he continues to go down into the next level. It’s nice to have it be a surprise, but the surprise may be so great that it’s unbelievable. You’re never going to convince anybody that there’s water there in the desert. I think it’s better in a way to telegraph it, to explain the water before you actually use the trick.
S — One way he could get out, it’s hard to explain, but as he’s going up with the water, he passes a whole bunch of hieroglyphics on the wall. Translated, they say, “Exit. Press here.” He discovers another room the hieroglyphics are telling him about. There’s a way out of here. It’s hard getting him out of this one.
G — It’s hard getting him out, and it’s also hard getting him in. We should ask ourselves if this is what we really want to do here. Do we want to close him in the temple, lock the door, and then have something else happen to him.
S — Why can’t they close him in the temple and lock the door, and he sits down thinking about what he’s going to do, because there’s no way out, and all of a sudden you hear strange animal sounds. The Germans had put some kind of maneating animal in there to get him, like a couple of lions or tigers. He hears this growling that gets louder and louder, he goes around this corner and you realize a chute put these horrible animals in there, and they’re starving. He realizes that however those animals got in. that’s the way out. But the animals are trying to get him, and all he has is this bullwhip, and maybe some clever devices hidden under his clothes. We’ll do an animal fight. He works his way to this little chute where the animals came out. Somehow he gets out that way. I don’t know how.
G — One of the first suggestions that you made, replacing the water with sand, might be of interest. It’s like “Land of the Pharaohs” where they had those giant sand chutes. There would be giant sand chutes to protect the temple. Not only does he close the door, he says, “This is your last hurrah. If you don’t die of starvation, the temple’s defense mechanism will get you.” Wham. He pushes a lever and all of a sudden these old stone things fall away and suddenly sand starts pouring in on him from four directions. He’s sort of fighting to keep above the sand that’s filling up the room. It would be more dynamic than quicksand, where you just sink slowly. He’d be almost buried by all this sand, so he’s constantly trying to climb out of it. Then the issue would be… the sand could fill up to the point where the thing collapsed. Assume that the floor of the temple is really the second story. There is another floor below it. When the sand comes in, the floor falls through down into the next level. As he’s climbing, you hear creaking. You get a shot of him falling through the sand. He lands in the sand at the bottom of another temple. But there are doors. You can have him walk through the buried city. Then he finds another digging and gets himself out.
S — It’s so convenient. The circumstances have permitted him to get out of this one. You could do the same thing with water. Or he sees some water being channeled, a little stream going out a crack. He realizes it’s a loose rock, and he can get out that way. It just seems convenient for the sand to be too heavy, with the way those temples are constructed.
G — Suppose he’s just in the temple and they lock the door. What if the temple had other doors? He came in from the roof anyway. He can’t get toe door open, so what he does is there’s like a giant column or something. He starts chipping away at the column, cutting it down like a tree. He finally gets the column so it falls over and crashes through the door, and opens it up. Then he climbs through. I like the idea of him climbing through the underground city. Then he finds an exit. The idea of the Nazis putting tigers in there… You know what it’s like to fly in a tiger from South Africa.
S — It would have to be a neighborhood tiger.
G — There aren’t any tigers out there.
S — I’m not in love with the idea.
G — You could have bats and stuff, make it slightly spooky.
S — I like the idea of, while the water’s rising, he climbs up onto the moss on the rocks, he sees a column which is weak, he finds a rock and pulls it out of the wall. He begins pounding away at the column as the water is rising. His hands are all bloody. He’s able to loosen the column so that it falls through a wall or through a door.
G — And then all the water rushes through?
S — And he swims out with the water. It’s a waterfall.
G — The only problem with the water is it’s going to be hard to do, and it’s going to be hard to rationalize it. We can’t. We can call it the temple of life and establish that it has a lot of water in it. But, at the same time, it’s like the sand. Plus it’s such a classic thing.
S — What about snakes? All these snakes come out.
G — People hate snakes. Possibly when he gets down there in the first place. L — Asps? They’re too small.
S — It’s like hundreds of thousands of snakes.
G — When he first jumps down in the hole, it’s a giant snake pit. It’s going to detract from the… This is interesting. It is going to detract from the discovery of the Ark, but that’s all right. We can’t make a big deal out of the Ark. He opens the thing, and he starts to jump down, and it’s full of snakes, thousands of them. He looks down there and sees them. What if they scurry out of the light. Then when he says they’re afraid of light, they throw down torches. You have a whole bunch of torches that keep the snakes back. Then he gets the thing, and they take it out. And the guy says, “Now you will die my friend.” Clunk. At the clunk three of the remaining four torches go out. So he only has one more torch, and the snakes start coming in. He sits there with one torch, knowing that when the torch goes out… It’s the idea of being in a room, in a black room with a lot of snakes. That will really be scary.
S — The snakes are waiting, looking at him. Thousands. And the torches are burning down. He’s trying to keep it going. The torch goes out. The whole screen goes black. The
sound of the snakes gets more intense. You hear him backing up. The camera pans and suddenly you see, it’s black, but there’s light coming from several cracks. It’s not completely black. That leads him to an opening. To a rock that isn’t so flush against the other rocks. He knows there’s access. He keeps pushing on it, he gets a little more room.
L — What are the snakes doing?
S — The snakes are coming at him, but the darkness gives him his way out. The clue of the way to go.
G — If he was there with one torch, he’d see that. It’s pretty dark. I like the idea of, he’s got the last torch, or maybe the last two torches, depending on how long we want to play this out. Say there’s thirty-five torches. This will be a nice scene when we go to get the Ark and there’s like a landing strip of torches. It’s getting very smokey in there. They close the door and almost all of them go out, except for maybe five or six. It’s the only thing that’s keeping him from the snakes. He looks around and tries to figure a way out. He sort of sees that there-is this door that’s locked. Maybe he takes one of the torches and moves over toward this door and bangs on it, can’t get it open. There is a big column. What if he takes… During this whole thing torches keep going out every minute or so. Now he only has two torches, so you know he’s really getting desperate. He works his way over to this column and he shimmies up. As he goes up, he drops one of the torches, and it bounces down. He only has one left. The snakes are sort of winding their way up the column. Suddenly a bat comes flying out. He drops a torch, or he takes the torch and sort of pushes it behind the column, and snakes slither out. He starts pushing between the wall and the column. Finally the torch goes out, it’s just a glow around his face. He’s sweating and straining. Shots of snakes slithering toward him. He finally pushes it and the column goes crashing down. We could have a couple of crashes from above. Obviously it’s very thick. The column knocks out a portion of the wall next to the door. It would be great if he were left hanging there. It breaks open the door.
S — Now he has to get over to the door.
G — I think we’re going to have to leave him with one torch. I don’t want to get into a big long thing. He’s up there, he has one torch left, he dropped the other one, he’s holding it in his teeth and it begins to go out. There are little shafts of light coming through, so it’s not pitch black. He knocks the column over. It goes crashing down, knocks open a door in the far side of the temple. He’s left hanging up there, about to fall onto the thing of snakes. Maybe one snake slithers across his hand. He pulls himself up on the ridge, or he drops down to another ledge. He gets into a position away from the snakes. He stands there and lights his torch again. He has matches. He didn’t do it before because he was in the middle of pushing the column. He gets the torch going again and he starts walking through the temple with the torch. We have to have a torch.
S — I think it should end quickly the minute the column falls and breaks down the door. I think he should ride the column down and get out right away. That’s the end of the scene.
L — He has to ride it as it falls.
G — He goes down with the column, does a tumble and runs out. The trouble is, you’re going to have him going through those temples without any light.
S — The column falls down, breaks through a wall, and light comes pouring in. It’s like salvation.
L — I don’t think there should be a door down there. He sees that it’s weaker there.
G — Let’s just make it a wall. Since he’s an archeologist, he would know how it… (garbled). If it’s that dark, you don’t need that many snakes. You’re using shafts of light, so you can just see the snakes on the edge of the light.
S — The way to do it is like “Squirm.” It has more worms than you can imagine. Snakes are ugly when they’re all piled up with each other.
L — I wonder what their reaction to light is.
G — You can get a snake charmer or something. I don’t know how you’ll do that. All you need is a lot of snakes in a very small spot, so it looks like there are a lot of snakes everywhere. You can also do a lot with sound, and close shots of snakes slithering across hands.
S — What’s real scary to me is when that rock comes down to seal the temple. The air pressure blows half the torches out. That place is air tight. A visual effect and a sound effect.
G — We shouldn’t have any snakes in the opening sequence, just tarantulas. Save the snakes for now.
S — It would be funny if, somewhere early in the movie he somehow implied that he was not afraid of snakes. Later you realize that that is one of his big fears.
G — Maybe it’s better if you see early, maybe in the beginning that he’s afraid, “Oh God, I hate those snakes.” It should be slightly amusing that he hates snakes, and then he opens this up, “I can’t go down in there. Why did there have to be snakes. Anything but snakes.” You can play it for comedy. The one thing that could happen is that he gets trapped with all these snakes.
S — Another thing that would be interesting for complete abject terror, as you see these thousands of snakes, you cut to macro insert shots, snakes laying eggs, little snakes hatching, two snakes eating each other. All this propagation is going on inside this huge tomb.
G — The other thing you have here is, he’s trying to push the thing away. He’s pushing the column and a snake comes down and crawls up his arm. In the temple next door there is a little bit more light, but not flooding light. And maybe in the next temple it’s like a tomb. There’s all this embalmed stuff. A little spook house stuff, not a lot, five or six shots. Maybe like a one minute sequence where he goes through all this stuff.
S — Maybe little tiny mice climbing around on the corpses.
G — Rats.
L — Can we use the bat in the first scene, since we’ve taken away the snakes?
G — Okay.
L — There can’t be too much light, because they’ve been digging in the middle of sand dunes.
S — All the light would come from above. Is there anything he could light, rags or something?
G — He has torches there. It would be a matter of relighting them.
S — Walking through these catacombs, you don’t see the dead people until the light hits
L — If he reaches into his pocket and lights the torch again, that hurts it for me. He always had that capability.
G — Or we just don’t let the last torch go out. He jumps down with the torch.
L — I think it would be good if it were almost gone, and he brings it back to life. He’s blowing on it and he gets a burst of light…
S — He’s in the catacombs and the bodies are piled like cord wood.
G — Bodies and skulls and things. He walks through the tombs then you cut outside. This is the point where we have a choice of doing things.
S — Does he go back and get the girl?
G — It depends on how quickly you do this. He goes through the catacombs. He sees the light at the end of the tunnel. He pokes his head up and the Germans are out there. Cut to the Germans on the airstrip, flying wing comes in, taxis around.
L — Is the airstrip revealed?
G — That’s we’ll have to decide. Of course, how would they have time to build it? Why would they?
S — It’s probably just landing on the flat desert floor.
G — Anyway, the wing lands and taxis around. The Germans are going to load the Ark onto the plane.
S — One of the things he wants to do is take control of the airplane. He’ll hijack it.
G — A lot of the wings are only like little fighter planes, a tiny cockpit with two guys in it. S — That’s even better.
G — All you need is him poling his head out of the temple and seeing all the Germans. Then you cut to the wing landing. I want a great shot of the wing flying. The wing could land, taxi to one of the buildings and say, “Fill this up with gas. We have a precious cargo to load.” They’re loading the wing up with gas, and he goes and gets in a fight with the guys. He can get in a fight with the pilot and a couple of other guys. He beats them all up. In the process of beating them up, the plane gets loose and crashes into something.
S — It crashes into the gas pumps and creates a fire, and the wing burns up.
G — A giant explosion. That’s good, because then the ark isn’t in the wing. They haven’t loaded it yet. They say, “Get this thing gassed in a hurry. Don’t even shut the engines off because we have a precious cargo and it has to get out of here right away.” The guy starts to go to the pump and you pan over and there’s Indy. He jumps the guy, the thing blows up. There’s a big fight first, then the wing starts breaking loose. You see the wing hit the gas pump, then you cut to the Germans. You see a giant fire ball behind the tents.
S — That way we don’t have to show the plane blowing up.
G — Then everybody runs over there, they’re running around and yelling and going
crazy. “Get that truck to Cairo. Get it to the main airport. We’ll put it on one of our fighter planes.” Then you see Indy scrambling along, black face, torn jacket.
L — Sabu is in the tent with the girl, tied up. We’ll just do away with his two helpers. G — We can play this along a bit more if we want. He looks out of the temple…
END OF TAPE THREE, SIDE B
“RAIDERS” — TAPE FOUR
S — She becomes the driving force. She’s so tired of being tied up and pushed around. She becomes a real active part of the story now.
L — What if she became involved with the Frenchman? For her own purposes. After all she’s not an American agent.
G — She’s a free spirit.
L — A tough woman of the world, which would appeal to him. She has been deserted by her guy.
G — Down here when we go through the villains deal with the girl, Indy finds the thing, the Germans appear, the girl ought to be with them.
L — As the thing slams shut you see her mixed emotions, but she’s siding with the rival. G — The other thing they could do is throw the girl down there with him.
S — In the snake pit?
G — Yes. That would be a natural thing. They don’t need her anymore.
S — I’ve seen that in so many movies, they throw them in to suffer their fate together.
G — But if they throw her in, it would be a great stunt. Say it’s like twenty feet down, or further. They just throw her in, and the guy would have to catch her.
S — Love among the snakes.
G — I think it is important that we get the girl back into it. L — He pushes her up the column ahead of him, or what?
G — This solves a problem. They have two torches left, he has one and she has one. He goes up and his goes out. The snakes are going to get him. He pushes the column over and she still has her torch. The snakes are closing in on her and she’s trying to burn them and keep them back, on the other side of the room.
S — All these snakes are coming to get her, and she’s holding them back with the torch. All of a sudden the snakes begin to part, like they’re afraid of something. They leave a certain area. Here come two king cobras.
L — I like that. And then the column falls on them.
S — And kills the king cobras.
G — You’ll never get those snakes to part, and you’ll never get two giant snakes to walk
in unless you make them all mechanical snakes, and we’re not going to have any mechanical snakes in this movie. Do it so you can shoot it all in inserts. We’ll do the whole thing second unit. It’s good that she’s there, you can intercut with him pushing the thing and her with the torch and snakes. It’s also funnier going through the catacombs with this girl. They go through that, then you cut to them looking outside the temple, seeing the Germans. “Now what?” “We have to get that Ark.” Then you cut to the flying wing coming in. It lands at the gas tent. It’s a tent with a couple of gas trucks out there. It’s all makeshift. The thing pulls up. She’s there with him. “What are you going to do?” “I’m going to pilot that plane.” “How am I going to get back?” “I never thought of that. You’ll find a way.”
L — What about Sabu?
S — He says, “Go with Sabu.”
G — I don’t know how we’re going to get Sabu back in this. I don’t want to throw him down there.
S — He’d be serving breakfast by now.
L — His father is Indy’s best friend, and we’re just going to sacrifice him to the krauts? S — Sabu could get out of it and show up later. We don’t have to follow his story.
G — They don’t care about the Arabs. They work for whoever they’re paid by. We can use him wherever we need him. They can just bump into him, “Sabu, what are you doing here?”
S — I like it when a character just reappears.
G — If anything, we would find him after the explosion, because that would draw his attention, too.
L — When he says he’s going to take over that plane, and she asks him how she’s going to get back, why doesn’t he just say, “You’re going to be my co-pilot.” Let his intention be the highest, since they’re never going to have to do it anyway. He’s going to fly her out of there.
G — Or he can just say, “There’ll be room for you.” It might be interesting to have her fight, also.
S — You mean fighting the Germans?
G — One of the German guys. Or, when he’s fighting, the pilot has jumped out of the plane and the cockpit has shut. He tells her to get in the plane. She climbs up on the wing as it’s moving around and tries to get the cockpit open. She’s struggling with it as he’s fighting.
S — She should be responsible for the plane catching fire. He can say, “Okay, I burned your cafe. You burned our only means of transportation out of here. We’re even.”
G — We just have to make sure that right before we cut, we have to explain how they got out of it. She maybe falls off the plane.
S — She gets inside the cockpit and she doesn’t know what to do. She’s stepping on and pulling on things. She makes a mistake, pulls something, and suddenly the propellers go really fast. The plane starts heading for the gas tanks. He sees her and screams, “My God, jump out of there.” She does. Then you cut to the Germans. She’s directly
responsible for destroying the airplane. She doesn’t mean to.
G — You’re going to have to be very careful about getting her out of there. Something like that happens very quick. It’s not like she’s going down a runway and realizes she’s going to crash. The thing is right over there.
L — She could pick up one of the blocks that’s holding the tires.
G — We could have a piece of phony wing that could hit it. She’s in the cockpit and the wing goes and crashes into one of the trucks. It breaks into the side of the truck, and the truck crashes into the next truck and all the gas starts pouring out. Then he looks and yells for her to get out. It doesn’t explode right away. She starts to get out. He starts to run. You cut to the Germans, “Where is that damn thing?” All of a sudden there’s a giant explosion. Which is the way it would happen anyway, it wouldn’t explode on impact. It would explode after the gas hits some kind of spark.
S — As long as she’s responsible, that will work out.
G — All the Germans are running around like crazy. They’re crawling around the tents. That’s when he says now they’re even. The Germans are saying, “The ark is in the truck. get out of here. Saboteurs.” That’s when they run into Sabu. You have this little scene with them under one of the trucks or something saying, “How are we going to get it now?” He says, “Look, you take Sabu, go back to his father and get him to get a plane or some kind of transportation to England. Tell him I have to get to England, and I’m going to come in quick. But I’ll get that truck.” “How?” “Don’t worry about that. Just get there and tell him.” She and Sabu sneak off. The truck is taking off. There are a bunch of Arab’s horses around. He goes and jumps on one of the horses and rides off across the desert. Eventually he gets on a mountain road.
S — Or a motorcycle would be good, like in “The Great Escape.” He could do some great cross-country jumping.
L — There’s no end to the fascination of a motorcycle.
G — He has to stand up on a motorcycle and make the transfer.
L — How do you see this guy?
G — Someone like Harrison Ford, Paul LeMatt. A young Steve McQueen. It would be ideal if we could find some stunt man who could act.
S — Burt Reynolds. Baryshnikov.
G — We can do two things here to hype the action. You can have him go after the truck and forget about the girl and Sabu. Or you can have the Germans going after the girl and Sabu, discovering them and chasing after them.
S — I think that’s too confusing. I would rather, at this late point in the movie, concentrate on the most important action. One man against the Ark.
G — Okay. They go off to Cairo. He takes off after the thing. There are two trucks, or a truck and a car. The truck is one of those canvas Warner Bros, trucks. And a staff car. If he’s on a motorcycle, he races across the desert…
L — you had him shooting out the tires. Is there something better we could do?
G — what if he just forgets about the car. He cuts across country, comes up alongside the truck, and the car is still behind or in front, it doesn’t make any difference. What is
the car going to do? If he jumps onto the truck and gets into the cab, and is fighting with the guys in the cab, the guys in the car can be shooting at him or whatever. But there’s nothing they can do. If they’re behind them, all they can do is follow. When he gets control of the truck and he tears off, the car can chase him instead of two motorcycle guys. He has to lose the car. If the car is in front, there’s still nothing they can do. The don’t want to kill the driver.
L — They don’t want the ark to go over the cliff.
G — It’s an interesting situation, because the guys in the car are stuck.
L — If they’re in front then there’s a danger of them running off the cliff themselves. They don’t want to get too far ahead.
S — The great thing about them being ahead is you know the hairpins because the car has to take them first. The car almost didn’t make it, and here are two guys fighting in a truck. How are they going to make it? You get a preview of all the different twists and turns.
G — If the driver of the car slows down enough, the truck will suddenly be right up on them.
S — So the car has to go as fast, and eventually it can go out of control and go shooting off the cliff.
G — I like the idea of the car chasing them.
L — Especially after it’s been chased.
G — Plus the fact that you have the Germans in the car going crazy. If the Ark goes over the cliff, all the Germans are as good as dead anyway. You can also have the Frenchman in the car.
L — How many guys are in the back of the truck?
S — There should be about twelve. Reinforcements. They keep getting out and walking along the side and getting knocked off on the mountain.
L — Are they coming from both sides?
S — Yes, both sides of the truck. The guy can swerve from side to side. He has two rearview mirrors and he sees them.
G — There shouldn’t be a back window, it should be steel. He races across the dune, then we dissolve and it’s more mountainous.
S — The Kyber Pass.
G — He races across and jumps on the road, and then it starts getting more mountainous. Like in “Wages Of Fear.”
S — The scenery itself should be frightening. You pull back and the truck is this big and the cliff is this big. It should be the most spectacular set in the picture. Where we shoot this chase should be the climax in terms of geography. “Where did they find that location?”
G — It would be good if we had two cars, so one gets sacrificed. We should have a car go over a cliff.
S — It should be an open staff car with a machine gun in the back seat. G — We can’t do it where they could shoot out the tires.
S — Why would they? The thing would go off the cliff if they did.
L — What about when he’s coming up from behind on the motorcycle.
G — He doesn’t. He comes alongside. He cuts them off. The truck is going like this, and he comes in at a right angle. Maybe the hills make it blind to the people in front and in back, and suddenly this motorcycle comes out of nowhere, and zips alongside. And he immediately jumps into the cab. The guys in the front and the guys in the back can’t do anything about it. The car that goes over the cliff could be either one.
L — I’d like it to be the back car. G — Then the front car spins out.
S — And the man in the car that goes off the cliff is the SS officer who was torturing her. He’ll be the one close-up, he’ll be the guy that screams.
G — He gets control of the truck and he scrunches off the last few guys. The front staff car has spun out. He goes by it and they tear off after him. They race through the city and he loses the car. He races into the warehouse and the Arabs close the door and put old baskets in front. As soon as the truck goes in, everybody comes and fills the street up again. The Germans come by looking for the thing, but they don’t see it. We have a little exposition scene where the guy tells him he couldn’t get a plane, but he got a ship. “A ship. Jesus Christ, that’s going to take forever.” “No, it’s a good ship.” The next scene is down on the docks when they’re loading the Ark. You see all these slimy pirates. But, his old friend tells him these guys are trustworthy, and he introduces him to the captain. We don’t have to make them Chinese, since we already have our Chinese sequence.
S — Make them Lithuanian. L — What if they’re all black?
G — That would work. They’re black pirates. They’re on a freighter, one of those old tramp steamers.
L — Where is the girl?
G —The girl is in the garage, and she goes on the boat with him. There’s a scene where they’re loading the thing on the boat, and it’s night and they’re afraid someone is going to see them. The Germans are coming and they have to get away right away. We introduce the captain, who is a friendly guy. Our family guy says that this guy is trustworthy. We’re in league with the pirates and we have a good feeling about them. Except a lot of them are sort of shifty. They’re cutthroats, but they trust them because the guy told them they could.
L — Didn’t you have a scene in here where someone wanted to open the Ark? G — We don’t really have time to open it.
L — No. Someone wanted to and he says no.
G — That was in the warehouse scene, when they’re unloading it. We could do that. The warehouse scene is everybody unloading the Ark. “We have to get out of here.” “I got
you a ship, it’s the only thing I could come up with.” It has to move fast. They get on the ship, and just as it’s taking off… Actually, it would be better if the Germans weren’t on the deck. So it’s more of a surprise. It goes very fast, and the ship sails out into the harbor at sunset. Then you have this relaxing scene where there is no threat. They’re at the captains table or something.
S — The audience will feel that it’s winding down.
G — He says, “We did it.” And this is where we can have a scene between the guy and the girl, tender, reconciliation. He loves her. It’s where we can really pull them together. A short little scene. It can be in the cabin or wherever. They fall asleep and everything is calm. He’s asleep, and the engines shut down, then he wakes up. “The engines have shut down.” “What does that mean?” “I don’t know. I’m going to find out.”
S — They’ve been making love. This is the first love scene in the movie.
G — Right. He tells her to stay there. He goes up to the cabin and asks the captain what’s going on. “Look.” We look, and there are like twelve wolf submarines surrounding them.
S — The Germans are manning the guns.
G — “Shit.” “There was nothing we could do. They’d torpedo us out of the water if we tried to resist. There’s too many of them.”
S — They wouldn’t torpedo them, they’d shoot them with their deck guns.
G — He says, “Shit.” You cut to the Germans swarming all over the deck, treating everybody very rough. The captain is outraged. They slap the captain around.
L — They think they’re Aryan supermen.
S — Heavy prejudice. They really abuse the black guys.
G — Indy is running down the deck trying to get back to the cabin and the girl. He gets cut off by the Nazis. He hides under a lifeboat. Two of the Nazis are carrying the girl. You see her struggling and screaming at them.
S — Why are they talking the girl?
L — The captain sacrifices himself in some way for the girl. Then you really hate the Germans even more.
G — We have to figure out a reason for them to take the girl at this point. Before I had it because she was a double agent.
L — Maybe here is where we can save the other thing. The Frenchman wants her, even though she’s not receptive to it. We can do that in a scene when he comes in to question her. Say he’s the Claude Rains character, it makes sense that he’s attracted to Barbara Stanwyck. The German says it’s time to get rid of her, the French guy says no.
G — The big thing with these movies is the damsel is going to get screwed by the bad guy. What we do is, in the interrogator scene the Frenchman is in love with her, coming on to her. The German torture guy could care less. “Get out of my way.” When they push her down into the snake pit, it’s the German guy who does it, and the Frenchman is very upset about it. “The girl was mine.” “She’s a waste of time, and we don’t need her.” We got rid of the German guy when he went off the cliff. Now the French guy is left to his own devices. “The girl goes with me. She’s important to this project.” He takes her
along. We know he’s been sort of lusting after her. As the Frenchman takes her, they look around and say, “Where is Indy?” “Search the ship.” They take the girl and the Ark, and row out to one of the submarines. Then we cut to the submarines going away.
L — When the captain sacrifices himself could be when he takes after the Germans.
G — They’re maybe going to blow up the ship or something. We’re going to intercut them rowing out to the Ark with something going on on the ship, without Indy being involved in it. So we can speed that time progression up. Just as they’re closing the hatch on the submarine, you see this hand come up and grab the submarine. The last we say Indy, he was hidden under a life boat.
S — As the last of the Germans leave the ship, they sink it right there.
G — Expensive.
S — Or they can rake it with machine gun fire.
G — You can do that. You intercut them going out to the submarine with other Germans searching the ship for Indy. They report that he is absolutely not on board.
L — We’re not going to be very interested in their searching the ship.
G — The pirate tells the Germans that Indy is not on board, “We got rid of him before we left the dock. We killed him. We’re going to sell the girl into slavery.” He plays up the whole pirate thing. You know that they’re just protecting Indy.
L — One thing you could do to sacrifice Gossett would be the Germans are just about to discover Indy and Gossett sacrifices his life to distract them.
G — The hatch closes and the submarine starts to move away, a hand comes up and grabs onto one of the railings. He swings himself up on the deck, runs along and the ship starts sinking. He’s running knee deep in the water.
S — We have research on this. There are no World War Two submarines on either coast that work. We haven’t checked Europe yet.
G — There was one in Argentina that Peter Yates used. We do close-ups of him running in the water on the deck. You can do it in inserts.
S — We don’t have to. We’re building a (garbled) which we can use.
G — He’s holding onto the periscope. We’ll start tomorrow on the tunnel when he enters the underground submarine base. In Leviticus it describes it. How they built it and where it came from. He thinks Von Daniken’s first book, “Chariots of the Gods” has some stuff in it about the Ark. The theory I’d heard is the one about being able to speak to God when you set up all the silk cubicles and that stuff. There was a theory that some doctors had come up with in Chicago about twenty-five years ago. There was an article. He doesn’t know where it is or anything about it. We’ll get that.
[PAGE 101 MISSING]
G — to get to the surface, and then he hits his head. That way it makes him bright, but he gets outsmarted anyway.
S — He finally gets through and he surfaces and sees… G — an underground submarine base.
L — How big is this base?
G — Small. One sub. When he first sees it it will just be a miniature sub. All the close- ups we can just do on a set.
S — We’re also experimenting on using miniatures with live action. So he comes up and he sees the base, which is sort of like Captain Nemo’s place. It can’t be too modern.
G — No, it has to be… It’s all rocks with a little bit of concrete reinforcement. Essentially it’s a natural cave. He climbs up and starts going down one of the hallways. There are guards everywhere.
L — He can watch them unload the Ark, see where they’re going.
G — Somehow we have to get to the Ark already set up with the silk boxes so they can talk to God.
L — But they just got there.
G — They got there ahead of him. Somehow between where we are now and the final climactic scene, they have to set up this. Of course, they could have had this set up before. We could do that with a piece of dialogue. As they’re unloading the Ark, a Nazi soldier comes over and says that “We have arranged the tents as you have described to us, Professor.” “Okay, take the Ark and put it in the middle of the tents.” He sent them a diagram of what it should look like.
S — At the end, when the whole thing goes, shouldn’t it also hurt the German army somehow. There should be some important generals there or something when the place blows up.
G — Yeah, but you don’t want to make it too outrageous. Obviously it didn’t really hurt the German army at all.
S — As an example, a guy down there is minutes away from being able to split the atom and he got killed. So they won’t have the bomb in ’41.
G — The one thing is to make the whole thing plausible, especially the ending, so you can assume the whole thing was covered up, is lost in Nazi files, but this really happened. It’s a semi-believable story. Maybe we could figure out a way where he’s going to sabotage it. Not only does the thing blow up, but he has set some kind of a time bomb that will blow the whole place up. That gives him a time lock as soon as he gets there. Not only does he have to get the Ark quickly… Obviously it’s not the brightest thing in the world to do. Now, another problem, the girl, which we have to cope with somehow.
S — The “Guns of Navarone” worked because it was a mission movie. They had to destroy something rather than capture something. In this movie the audience won’t be expecting anything to blow up. But, if we establish in the beginning of the movie, that all these Nazi operations are … There is a secret base that nobody can find. We never mention in again, but in the beginning of the film we discover that there’s this secret base where the supplies are coming from, and planes just seem to disappear at a spot in the ocean. In fact, it’s the secret Nazi submarine base. Then there is some promise, some hope, that by the end of the movie they’re going to discover this place and blow it up. His assignment is to recover the Ark, but if you see a submarine base, blow it up.
G — I only worry that we have enough trouble as it is trying to explain everything and make it work. But if they’re going to lose more than the Ark, a huge ammo dump or
something, that’s going to cost them. The problem I have is that we wind up the way every Bond movie has ended. He’s on the island, he has to get out of there with the girl, and they do get out, they’re on the water, and the whole place blows up.
S — I love that. Every Bond movie has made money, too.
G — If you follow classic dramatic plotting, that’s what is going to happen. You put your biggest boom last, and you create as much tension as you possibly can. The way we originally had it, the bad guys got fried by the Ark, and he dragged it back to Washington. He didn’t really destroy anything. We had that time lock thing, but that gets confusing. We can hype it or we can leave it at the original. Those are the two extremes. Right now the end of the movie is, all the stuff for the Ark is set up, silk cubicles, and he goes in there, and the bad professor and the Nazi general and a couple other guys are there about to open the Ark. He gets in there and drops the gun on them. “Just pick up the Ark and follow me.” Somebody comes up behind him and hits him on the head. They fight and he is subdued and hauled off. As he’s being led out, the guys open up the thing and it goes off. The guy turns around and the tent turns into a big fire ball. In the resulting chaos he runs in to try and get the Ark. He drags it off and hides it, or wipe to Washington. D.C., where he’s telling them that this is dangerous, and it’s real. They tell him they’ll take care of it. He says he wants to work on it. They tell him to apply for a grant or something. The last shot is them putting it in a warehouse. We have certain problems — the girl, does he blow up the base? The tent goes up in smoke…
END OF TAPE FOUR, SIDE A
TAPE FOUR, SIDE B
G — Then he could jump on the cart and race out with it. And he gets into the.. We had him get on a boat. The idea was that the little mine train cane out onto the island, and there were some fishing boats that he gets away on. Or have a couple of speed boats down by the dock.
S — We want that speed boat chase.
G — Right. That’s where that came from. S — We lost the speed boat chase.
G — Hell, we were talking generally. If it went anywhere, it would go here. The only thing I wanted to do with that, and it’s going to be hard to do, is that he gets chased and they’re firing at each other. He gets into a harbor where all these big boats are, and he races down in between two boats just as they’re starting to close. And the other boat races down and goes… There’s no easy way to get out of that one. I think it would be better if we just let the villains get scrunched and that’s how he gets away from them. We could put that at the end.
S — Once we’re here, let’s stay in this place.
G — Also, do we want to have him destroy the base?
L — Indy doesn’t know that there is going to be this electric explosion from the ark. But there is, and it threatens the ammo stock. Now he does have a time problem. He has to move the Ark and the girl out of there without getting blown up. How does he survive that? Everyone else dies, the island blows up, but he and she survive. That would be an improvement on the Bond thing.
G — It’s the ultimate cliffhanger, everybody gets killed in the end..
S — Or they turn transparent. I like the idea of the whole island blowing up and finding a clever way for them to survive. Whatever that is.
L — When the guy opens the ark, you visualize that it explodes and then the top slams down again. What if they open it up, and it takes care of everyone, and we see a lot of this electrical stuff zapping people and starting fires everywhere. And he has to close it.
G — That’s possible. I saw the opening of the Ark and the resulting chaos as the climax of the movie. The quicker we get from that point to fade out the better. I just wanted him put the thing on a cart, race out, and cut to Washington.
S — It makes him very godlike if one of the bolts doesn’t zap him.
G — If we make the effect real, it shouldn’t last long, or that hurts it. If it happens in a split second, he opens it up and suddenly these giant arcs go for five or six seconds, then you cut outside and see the entire tent go up, then it’s not that hard to get away with the whole thing.
S — We end it like “Moby Dick.” After the explosion there’s no life at all. Our guy and our girl come up gasping for air, they’re okay. Suddenly the Ark comes up. They grab onto the Ark and hang onto it and kick ashore. The Ark presents itself.
L — I like that.
G — I like the idea on these conditions. If we put him on a little mine train, he pulls the thing onto it and jumps on, they’re racing through these tunnels, and the Germans are shooting at them, the clock has started ticking and we cut to flames getting closer to destruction.
S — A mine train chase with bullets ricocheting off rocks.
G — They get to where the submarine is, in the main thing, and… The come to the entrance of the mine shaft stop, see lots of Nazis, and hear the rumble, because the thing has started already. Or, rather than have the whole thing blow up, there’s a chase through the mine shaft, you cut to the time thing, they’re getting to the end, and the thing blows up. You see the place where the ark was blow up. It fries some of the pursuing Germans, rocks are falling at the same. They run right through the submarine thing and go right off the dock and into the bay with the cart. He runs it right off the end of the dock. Finally, so many rocks fall they obscure the screen. Then we cut to outside to the island, and it’s all quiet. You hear rumbling. Then you cut to them and they pop up.
L — Indy comes up and he sees the base. I thought the tent thing took place right there. G — I thought they moved it down into another big cave.
L — In the old thing, they took a mine train out to air. That would work for here too. They could just shoot out into the ocean. Otherwise they have to go through the underground water passage to get out to the bay.
G — You could make that a cut. Cut outside and eventually they pop up. S — It would be a real roller coaster ride.
G — They race off the end of the ramp, crash into the water, the mountain caves in, the submarine is destroyed. Cut out to the island, you hear a lot of rumbling, a side of the mountain slips down, a cave in. Then you sit there. And then the cast credits go up on that shot. After they finish, where the crew, credits would normally be, they pop up.
Then you have to do the tag scene in Washington. You might be able to do the Washington scene with the end credits, like you do opening credits. They pop up, you cut to Washington, and then you continue with the credits. That should be a short little dialogue scene. Not more than a page. “Congratulations, Indy. You did a great job. We’ll take it from here.” Then you cut to the guy carrying the crated up ark stamped “Top Secret” or “Do Not Remove.” He puts it in a giant warehouse. So you have three little title sequences.
S — I think we should try it.
G — If it’s done with style, then you have really nice credits. It’s just the reverse of opening credits.
S — This mine cart thing, we should shoot it at the Disneyland Matterhorn. They go on it at the end, so the final run is an up and a huge down, and the out is over the ocean.
G — I don’t know if you can make that believable.
S — Just the last part of the run. It’s tracks and a very small closure. It’s like where they have the cable to pull the thing up, except this time it’s coming down. It’s weightless. It’s not being run by a machine. The wheels are locked on the track, but there’s no machine grinding it forward. It has no brakes. They’ve gotten onto the tail end. It drops down to the loading zone.
G — You’re talking about an expensive sequence there. To make it look great you’d have to build a whole track.
L — You’re saying that it comes out in the underground bay.
S — It lets out on a loading platform about thirty feet over the water, with scaffolding, where they load things from ships that anchor just below it.
G — We had talked about having them get out in the submarine. I think that it’s better if they’re under the mountain when it explodes.
S — You don’t know if the whole thing caved in on them. I don’t know if you need that kind of thing. If you had just a straight mine train, motorized. You can have curves on it, and you can have it go very fast.
L — I don’t think you have to explain why there’s a dip there.
G — I can see the opening of the mine being thirty feet up. When you come into the submarine base, up on the wall you see the mine thing, and the tracks come down and goes straight. It comes down, goes onto the dock, levels out, and then at the end of the dock it goes back up again because normally it flips down and then up. It would normally flip down onto a ship. They run up, hit it, and go off that way. It will be very hard to build that cheap.
S — It will cost what our rock set did on “Close Encounters,” $75,000. You just have to build the last run. I won’t go into mines.
G — We’d probably have to do it on a sound stage.
S — It has to be an exterior on some island where the thing goes into the ocean.
G — I think you could do that without having that dip in it. It comes around and just races off the end of the dock. You would have the same effect of it getting airborne, and then it lands down. Then you can fake it and do it on a set. Close pans and close shots.
S — On “Great Escape” they did it with a dolly track and a hundred foot cutaway. But But we need a hundred yard cutaway.
G — You just have a straight piece and a curved piece, and you do different angles. You just keep going through the same piece. It would be interesting if the mine train part was just like a foot above the metal part of the train. You had to keep down. Instead of having it be the whole mine, it would be beams, like concrete buttresses. There would be about a foot clearance. And the buttresses would be about forty or fifty feet apart, or less. As they come down, “Keep your head down.” They’re popping up and down.
S — I’ll take that instead of a dip.
G — It will probably have to be outside.
S — Dolly track and a camera right next to it, speeding along with it.
L — Let’s run through the geography of this place again. He comes up out of the water and we’re in the sub base. Now we want him to go to the inner sanctum, so we can have this ride at the end, and still keep him inside.
G — Here is the way I envision it. They put the ark on the train to take it out. (making a drawing) The main base is like three stories tall on the inside. They should have concrete rooms. Something that looks like this is where their headquarters are. The tent area is sort of in a courtyard. He walks down there and when a cart comes he has to press himself up against something to get out of the way when the guys go zooming by. He could walk right down the center of the track and nobody would see him. All he would have to do is hear the thing coming and he could jump to the side.
L — Just one lane.
G — Right. And it should be very narrow in places. Not more than six or seven feet wide. At certain points it should be six or seven feet high, and then when the buttresses come, it’s only four feet high.
S — How are we going to blow this place up? Is the ark going to do it?
G — We have several problems to cope with now. One, what are we going to do with the girl? Two, how is he going to blow the place up?
S — There’s an easy way to blow it up. He goes in the submarine and fires all the bow and stern tubes. He does it with the torpedoes from the sub.
G — Either have the ark do it, or something where the time bomb starts ticking. S — Where does he get a time bomb?
G — Figuratively. The fuse starts. We figure out where the fuse starts, from then on, you’re worried about whether he’s going to get out in time. It should start when the ark goes off, or right after that. It could be something he does, or something he does accidentally.
L — Or he may not do it at all. Let the ark do it.
S — I like the ark doing it, he doesn’t do a thing. There’s a door that says magazine on it, and you see torpedoes and ammunition coming out to the sub on gurneys. They’re reloading the sub. When the ark blows everything up, it sets a fire that begins burning the magazine door. He has to escape before the magazine door burns down and the fire
gets to it.
G — You could have a whole string of things — the magazine door that’s open a bit, a stack of ammunition, and about twenty feet from that is a stack of oil drums and gas. The ark blows the tent up, it’s like a gas explosion. These little burning pieces rain down. It rains down on the pile of stuff, garbage, cotton stuff. That bursts into flames. When he’s getting the ark and putting it in the thing, that thing is burning like crazy. He jumps in the thing and goes racing down the thing. He’s firing at the guys. This stack of stuff that’s burning finally falls over and falls on the oil drums. He’s still racing along, then the oil drums explode and oil and gas go onto the ammunition. You see all these boxes of ammunition burning like crazy. Then finally that blows up, right after that there’s a huge explosion. We have a chain reaction until it gets to the big explosion. Each time it’s worse.
S — That’s great. Now what has happened to our Frenchman? G — I wanted him to get fried by the ark.
S — The man who finally chases our hero through the mine shaft, can he be one of the continuing characters? The second main bad guy. He doesn’t go off the cliff in the car.
G — I think that guy should go off the cliff. We can introduce new main bad guy on the ship.
L — How’s he going to die?
S — I’d like for him to get killed by a cave-in. The thing goes off the tracks, they scream, and one big rock comes down smashing him.
G — So we have him be the one who takes Indy away. The professor is the one who’s going to open it up.
L — Now, the girl.
G — We do have a problem with the girl. She could be in the main room. The other idea was that Indy saves her.
S — What if the Frenchman made her wear strange clothes? I’d love to discover her in the strangest outfit you’ve ever seen, because he wants her dressed up like some sort of a crazy princess. She’s apologizing. “I can’t help it. He made me put this on.” Something completely ridiculous for the final escape. Something very elegant, but weird. She has to pick it up to run.
G — Indy climbs up on the submarine. He sneaks off. We have a couple shots of him walking down the tunnel, trains going by. Now he makes his way into the main room, and sees this silk cubicle thing set up. He looks around. He knows that they are in the cubicle, because he can hear them talking. Where is she? Actually, we also saw her get taken off. She gets pulled out as they’re unloading the ark.
S — Can the Frenchman die in Indy’s arms, terribly burned beyond recognition? “I’ve seen the face of God.”
G — All he has to say is, “I saw him.” You have to be careful about that line in that place. They put her and the ark on the mine train. She could either be in the silk thing with them, or she could be outside, being held prisoner.
L — It would be neat if, when they open the ark and it fries them, she would have been there if she hadn’t done something. They bring in Indy, “I’m sick of this guy. Take him
out and shoot him.” She turns around and spits in his eye or something, “Shoot me too.” He says, “I have bigger things on my mind. Take her too.” She saves herself by making a sacrifice.
G — We have to be careful about making it seem very convenient. If they both leave, then you know something is going to happen. We’re also building suspense about what happens when they open the ark.
S — I would love to see her tied up and bound by the magazine door, near the explosives. When all the fire and thunder happen all of a sudden a trail of gas fire comes around the corner. It’s heading for her, slowly. She gets save, untied and pulled out of there. The audience sees that the trail is going to ignite the bombs. It could be a long hallway.
G — He’s standing there at the entrance to the thing and he sees the silk and stuff. That is the point where the girl should come back into the movie. Say we put her behind the tent so Indy can’t see her. He goes in the tent, gets the drop on them, tells them to take the thing back on the cart. They catch him, send him outside. They open the ark. We have an awkward point here when Indy rushes back in and gets the ark. If he has to rush back to get the ark, and also sees the girl and has to rush back and get her… It’s going to take too long for that to actually happen. The only that would work is if he saw the girl and the ark at the same time. He saves the girl rather than the ark. Then they save the ark together and put it on the thing. This might be an interesting touch — he goes down the corridor, he sees them talking, he either sneaks by the guards or there’s nobody around, so he takes his gun out, he goes into the thing, gets the drop on them. Something clever should undo Indy at that point. He gets caught, he goes out. When he gets the drop on them, you expect the girl to be there. When he goes in the tent and sees she’s not there, he looks around. He can ask where the girl is, and before there’s answer he gets beaten up. You’re half going for the ark and half going for the girl at this point. We can’t just lose sight of the fact that she’s there. He has to save the girl and the ark. If we build that relationship up, obviously she’s an important factor.
S — If he has a choice of what to save, her saves her first. And then luckily gets the ark too.
L — As soon as he frees her she says she’ll help him to do it. G — She helps him carry the ark.
S — He says, “Don’t look at it. I’ll shut the lid.”
G — I think it should have already shut.
S — By itself?
G — I do think it should be a short little effect. We don’t linger on it too long.
S — Besides the effects, the light inside is so bright you can’t look at it.
G — A bright light with tensor coil, those things arcing off it.
L — What happens to this final Nazi who has him by the arm, gun in his ribs?
G — He could punch him out.
L — He could be blinded.
G — He could karate chop him, get his gun, and run for the girl She could be surrounded
by flame with more flame pouring toward her. That’s not connected with the other fire going toward the stacked stuff. He runs through the fire to get her, comes back, picks up the ark, gets back on the train, and the fire is slowly making its way toward the magazine.
L — Maybe what’s menacing her is a big flaming sheet of the silk. It’s right over her head, about to drop.
S — What would it be?
G — It would be crude oil, thick and heavy. One of the cans broke and it’s dripping out. L — This is right after the opening of the ark?
G — Right. It’s a trail of burning oil. Plus maybe a sheet of flame that’s around her.
S — When they get her out, that part goes under the door.
G — No. We have to have more time for that. You have to have a real slow progression of the stuff getting toward the door. We’re intercutting between the good guys and the bad guys, going down the tunnel, and the fire getting closer to the magazine. It doesn’t even have to be a door, the stuff could just be sitting there.
L — How about if the oil were part of the ritual?
G — We’re talking about oil that’s in big containers. The tent has burst into flame from the arcs. Everybody fights, and you can’t see anything. The flames die down, because if was just a tent. You don’t know where it really came from, but there’s a river of oil and flame that goes around her.
S — It’s like a lava flow.
G — It doesn’t just explode.
S — A good effect would be when he opens the ark and sees whatever he sees, he screams, and whatever comes out x-rays him. When he screams he’s all green and blue with his skull showing through. White hair.
G — We should do something like static electricity. He hair is down and long, and all of a sudden it just goes…
L — And the top slams shut?
G — Right. You let the effect go for a little bit, then you cut outside and the arcs are going around. The river of oil is approaching her. After it’s all died down, you have these flaming silk things floating around: It’s clean and there’s not that much to burn. The ark isn’t burning, it’s sitting in the center. He sees her.
S — She should be in tatters.
G — It would be a funny moment if you didn’t know where she was, and then suddenly the thing blows aside. It’s like a giant entrance. He grabs the girl, they run over and grab the ark, the cans and things are blowing up. They struggle and put the ark on the mine train and shoot out.
L — The German guy comes to, gets up, there’s panic all around.
G — The Germans are running around. Everything is on fire. Suddenly they’re noticed.
They jump in the next train and you have the racing thing.
S — He should kill a few Germans in the corridor. He shoots two of three Germans with his service revolver, then that’s out of bullets. Then he picks up a machine gun, or even a Thompson sub-machine gun. Some Germans come around the corner and he gives them a burst.
G — He could jump on the mine train with a Thompson. There would be great sound in there.
S — Every time the bullets go off, rocks fall down.
G — The mine train keeps getting filled up.
L — Is just one car chasing him?
G — I think it’s just one car, with like three or four people in it. L — How do the cars move?
G — They’re electric. They have a throttle. Indy just jams it down and takes off. L — And at this point we want to get the final German.
G — The final thing, when the fire hits the real munitions and it’s burning there for a while and suddenly it goes bang, then the whole thing starts to shake, and maybe flames come through the tunnel and fry the Germans, at the same time everything comes crushing down. He gets fried, and then they crush him. He jams it forward. Then you cut to the submarine part, and the little car comes shooting out of the shaft. The whole thing is shaking and rocks are falling down. She looks up and says, “Jesus Christ, stop.” He says, “It’s our only hope.” And they go shooting right off the end of the dock, and sail across the water. Wham.
L — We have the sense that there’s a final big explosion coming.
S — Everything will be rumbling like an earthquake.
L — So we don’t want to see the final ammo pile go up yet.
G — I think the mountain is sort of collapsing. Rocks obliterate the screen, it looks like the whole place collapses around them. Then you cut out to the island.
S — What would really be great would be to show how deep and how complete the explosion is. You see an explosion where fire and debris come shooting out of the mine holes. Then the submarine that was way in there comes shooting up through the rock. It just sits there like a huge knife wedged out of the rock. That would show the whole inside of the place is gone.
G — I think it should be done subtly. It has to be believable. I wouldn’t believe that a submarine would get shoved through the rock.
S — I wouldn’t believe the whole island getting blown up, either.
G — Explosions just come out of the sides of the rock and maybe out of the top and then it just sits there and steams. I don’t think we should do it as a giant huge explosion that blows the island apart. It should be like if this were a real island, there were a real tunnel, and if there was a huge, like an atomic explosion in the middle of it, there would be bits of explosion shooting out various cracks and things, and then it would sort of
settle, and maybe there would be one side of the mountain that would break away and collapse like in an earthquake. Then it would settle. It wouldn’t be overdone. We’ll consult geologists about what would happen.
S — One thing that would happen would be a huge tidal wave. A wall of water fifty feet high would just boil up and fan out in all directions.
G — A subtle and realistic explosion that says things happened. It’s sort of a long shot, or a medium long shot. They’re sitting there, and then the titles come up.
S — (gap in tape) …then you hire some private pilots to get in real airplanes and fly in the background about a half mile away, which puts the airplanes. You have a miniature blowing up in the foreground while you have real planes in the background, and you’re convinced that it’s a real place blowing up.
L — There’s a long wait through the cast credits where you think they’re dead. It seems there should be some final comment between them.
G — “Slow down.” “It’s out only hope.” L — He says, “We tried.”
G — Whatever. That whole concept… We’ll look at it. The other alternative is you just hold on the island for a while, then they pop up, then you cut to the scene in Washington. It will work either way. This way it just make a big… It’s a false ending, which is funny.
L — They pop up, one, two. They’re circling around in the water and then plop, it’s the ark.
G — She says, “It’s the ark.” “Well, for God’s sake, don’t open it.”
L — If there is no cast credit, then it bothers me that there is no time lapse for them to go through the underground tunnel and everything.
S — They get out flying through the air from the roller coaster. L — But they don’t. This takes place in the sub room.
S — They go back to the sub room?
G — Yes. That’s where they end up.
L — If they don’t go in the sub room, then they’re not in jeopardy when the island blows up.
G — The way to solve that, if it comes down to that, is that you have some shots of the island blowing up. A little montage of things blowing up. Then you cut to that long shot. It does its thing, and then they pop up. You could very easily fill that time.
L — The mine train dumps them in the sub base.
S — They’re back where they began then.
L — That’s why they’re in such trouble when the place starts to collapse. G — It collapses on them.
L — But that’s the route we have set up for the train.
G — The train goes between the sub base and the thing. We don’t want to have to explain other ways out. They land in the middle of this thing. That’s the last we see of them. Cut to various explosions. Cut to the long shot of the island and see half of the mountain cave in. Hold for a minute. Then they pop up.
S — If we had a more pronounced entrance to the sub base, that could be what collapses. It should be a familiar area that collapses.
END OF TAPE FOUR, SIDE B
G — Or maybe caves or something. Something that we’ll remember. The idea is that it caves in on them.
S — And they get out in time.
G— It’s just making that little time progression there plausible. The toughest thing is to be able to get some decent shots of the island exploding.
S — You can photograph shock waves.
G — Another way to do it, they’re racing on the train and she says, “Stop this thing.” “No, it’s our only hope.” They go off the pier, splash into the water, rocks are falling and they obscure the screen, as the whole screen sort of goes black, what would happen if you faded in on them in Washington? With the Ark. And you said. “Congratulations, Indy. You did a great job.” And you just assume that…
S — It’s too much of a leap. They think they’re dead.
G — You’re only going to think they’re dead if you see the thing explode, and the thing collapses.
L — If you’re going to do it that way, we might as well have them take another route on the mine train and shoot them out into the ocean. Then at least we get a big roller coaster ride into the ocean. Then they’ll get out and the audience will see it.
S — Instant freedom.
G — The alternative ending is that the mine train goes in the other direction. It goes through the thing and out the other side. Then we don’t know where we’re going. They get chased
[PAGE 116 MISSING]
S — to run in front of the boulder and get out of the cave before it gets you. The reason the boulder is coming down is not to kill him, it’s to seal off the cave.
L — I’m seeing his retreat from there as all out, but still keeping in mind what he has to do. Like when he gets to this place, when he’s going back, he dodges through it. They’re a little slower than he is.
S — Fast doors closing are fun.
END OF TRANSCRIPTION
TAPE RECORDING OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN DEBBIE FINE, LARRY KASDAN AND PHIL KAUFMAN
PK — I have some notes somewhere which I am still trying to find — we have moved since then and my notes are all packed away somewhere and, I don’t know — I an missing a few ideas — I just haven’t had the time to go in and find a lot of the stuff. In general, I don’t know where you’re at in terns of what you’re writing.
LK — Just gearing up, really. I’ve been waiting for an outline from George.
PK — Because the — we were talking, I don’t know, I guess pre-World War II, somewhere around the 1930s, starting in South America, you know.
LK — Somewhere in 1936.
PK — Carmen Miranda, seaplanes – whatever that big thing was and kind of a Middle Eastern adventure based around a similar idea to something like that book “The Spear of Destiny” where the Nazis were into mystical cults and so forth, and they were looking for, in this case, it was a thing that I, you know, have been thinking about for maybe twenty years since a doctor — my mononucleosis doctor — when I was in college, a famous blood specialist – and he had written – with another doctor — an article on the Ark of the Covenant and how he felt it provided a means of communication with some other extra-terrestrial or God-like or whatever – it was in a sense an elaborate radio setup — it contained silk curtains and veils and other things – I’ve forgotten — it’s all in the Bible, Leviticus, Exodus, the second book of the Bible, or whatever – or the beginning of Leviticus or something. A good part of that chapter in the Bible is the detailing of the actual Ark of the Covenant itself and all of the, you know, wood and how much – and gold cherubim and there were other components in there and he was saying that when the gold was rubbed in a certain way, and silk, and so forth, you have the ability to remit radio waves or receive, and in that case, the Levites were the only ones who could go in there and they would have to take their shoes off — I’ve forgotten if you — if you walk across the rug with your shoes off — but there is a whole electrical charge — it was, in fact, the holy of holies, and it was, in fact, a means of communicating with some other being, that it was a primitive or maybe highly elaborate radio wave that was on the right sensitivity for this kind of communication, and in fact when they use to go into battle there was a cloud that hovered over — they carried the Ark with them in the early days and there was always this cloud that hovered over the Ark and they were always victorious. They never lost whenever they carried it into battle. Then there was some talk that there were two Arks somewhere — I remember reading that, one of which was supposed to be on Mt. Horeb (?). I think, the one that was lost or something like that and they never found it after the, I forgot, what was it —
DF — Destruction of the first temple — PK — 54 B.C. or something like that. DF — I was 586 B.C.
LK — That’s the last time.
DP — Yes, that’s the last time — and even then in these articles that I got there is some discrepancy about even previous to the destruction of the temple, whether the Ark was still in it at the time that the Babylonians destroyed the temple. There’s several different theories in these articles, some of them for Biblical — most of them from later – Biblical sources or legends. But basically there is no – nobody really knows where it is. It’s totally just speculation. Most of it from Biblical sources.
PK — Never has been found and never — what happened to it has never been fully documented — it’s all nebulous, right?
DP — That’s true — that’s true
PK — It was – but the idea as that whoever had it was invincible and the Germans being into the mystical thing were looking for it and they believed whatever that it might in fact have — these, you know, contain these powers and maybe in the story they had developed some, you know, mad German something — you know, not only discovered, like in the sword, er “Spear of Destiny”, the actual thing — it’s like Lord of the Rings, if you have the ring you have all the power and they were looking for all the power on earth and in fact, they — the Germans, with all their cults of golden, whatever that was — the golden rule or something — they were looking all over for ways of capturing all the mystical power on earth and our heroes were racing with them to find this in this area and I told George the other day that there was a thing on “In Search Of” the other night — The Dead Sea Scrolls — and there was, kind of the landscape with similar to what — to where I’d imagine this would happen — the tents in the desert and coming upon — suddenly in the Middle East — all of these Nazis who were out there looking for — tracking down clues to find this thing if they could in fact find it, all power would be there’s — they would be invincible, and immune. In gong back over the ancient stories of whoever carried this into battle could not be beaten, or whatever.
DF — The only actual explanations that I found any reference to were not successful at all but it was just presumed that it was somewhere in the Jerusalem area buried in the tombs of the Kings of Judah and, you know, that it would be somewhere near the site of the first temple so that the excavations were in Jerusalem itself.
PK — There is another thing, I think it was in the Encyclopedia Britannica that just speculated on some of these things — the Americana or Britannica, something about one of the mountains out in the desert that there was a thought — it was two things – there was also the thought that there were two of these around and there were rumored findings somewhere I read of cherubim — you know — like there were these things that had been broken off that might indicate that somewhere in that neighborhood — like with the Dead Sea Scrolls — there was shot where they said one day, you know, an Arab, Mohammed A Fuktu (?), or something, wandered up into the hills and he found this cave and he walked in it and little did we know that that day and that moment was about to change the course of history and he found something that was an artifact and immediately brought it to a guy in Jerusalem who was a — this was 19 — right after the war — 46 or something like that — and this guy began interpreting it and one thing lead to another and suddenly he realized — and the way he checked it was — for authenticity it was a crumbling piece of parchment — was that there were a couple of changes in the document crossed out and corrections that could have only — some logical way — have only been done at the time — that kind of change and, so — finding a fragment of the Ark was the way — almost something like — you know, I mean, those movies with — I don’t know — anyway — I am trying to think of some of the movies where somebody has a little piece of something — Sidney Greenstreet would have something and he would say do you realize what this could mean and we have reason — my sources have reason to believe that this is the way — and then you begin tracking down the mystery and finally arriving at a place and seeing that the other guys are already tracking it down — “I know where the black bird is”.
LK — Right.
DF — You could also — well, among the different theories — one that it was carried off by the Babylonians in the destruction of Jerusalem — so it could be somewhere in the old Babylon area, or, also another theory was that an Egyptian pharaoh named Shushak (?) or something raided Jerusalem and took it at that time.
LK — That gets us to the way we are going. DF — I could possibly be an Egyptian.
LK — That could be good for it.
DF — But the most likely theories are that Solomon in foreseeing the destruction of the temple had somebody take it and hide it in a secret place in what was then the Kingdom of Judah which was the old Jerusalem and that it’s very close to the old sites there. But you could conceivably do it in Egypt.
LK — We’ve been talking (blank) Cairo 1936 — so we are talking about outside of Cairo and if there is at least one rumor — you know — an Egyptian raid — I would stick with that, I think, you know, if it’s not a big problem. There’s something better, I think, about Cairo in 1936 than Jerusalem. I mean, Peter Lorre would be more comfortable in Cairo.
PK — Right, there’s more characters in there. Yeah, you’re into your Casablanca type of setting.
LK — You don’t remember where the article is that this doctor wrote.
PK — I wouldn’t know, I mean it would be —
DF — Because I got —
PK — 1950, somewhere in the early — let’s see, somewhere around 1955. DF — I got everything I could find on the subject.
LK — Nothing by a blood specialist?
DP — Nothing by a blood specialist — that doesn’t sound (laughs) that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, I just —
PK — Well, you found that thing that Von Daniken mentioned something. LK — Yeah, he covers about two pages briefly, real briefly.
PK — Yeah, but that’s essentially the same kind of thing. I was surprised to see it. I am sure these articles, whenever somebody writes anything –
DF — I did find reference to —
PK — Somewhat occult all the occultists run out and say “did you hear this latest thing”?
DF — Did find reference to the whole electrical charge business and all these theories in another article, I didn’t find the one that you mentioned.
PK — I mean I forgot all the details. Other than that, I don’t know.
LK — So basically, it was your doctor, and his article and Van Daniken, and the Bible, and nothing else that we know anything about.
PK — No, that’s all I can think of, that “Spear of Destiny”, reading a lot of that kind of stuff to find out what the Germans — I think it was the “Spear of Destiny”, it may be another book also, just detailing the journey, the mysticism of Hitler. I think there’s another book out about that and just how the Germans were in fact — really another kind of mentality. We’ve always approached them on a political level and in fact they were approaching things on another kind of Wagnerian, mystical level and that we just — we tend to explain Hitler away in terms of just a madman — he was just a bad guy — and he was, in fact, the guy who was obsessed with the whole ancient I don’t know
what, manakaim (?) — there’s something, a whole dark side of —
DF — The interesting thing I found is the bulk of the sources are in German and that just might be an incredible coincidence and because a lot of Biblical research — it’s not necessarily a Nazi kind of a thing — it’s just that most of the articles in books are in German.
PK — Well the mystical thing wasn’t necessarily a Nazi but it was that they picked up on it so much, you know, it was one of the strange things — you get so highly involved in mysticism or with the occult that somehow conventional morality no longer has any meaning and you get into even Charles Manson kind of stuff where they are all babbling seemingly incoherently but they have a little unified occult thing that they’re talking, you know, that transcends morality. They are working in Egypt out there, somewhere, might be a good idea — or out of Egypt.
LK — Outside of Cairo — you know that place.
DF — Valley of the Kings. Well this electrical charge business would really work well dramatically because it’s like the curse of when they would open up tombs. It has the same feeling. Well there is a couple of things here — that were —
PK — Nobody else wandered into the tombs —
DF — That are reported that in the Middle Ages someone thought they found the tomb of David and they opened it up and there was a flash of lightening and were knocked unconscious, supposedly, from the electrical discharge.
PK — And they woke up singed —
DF — There’s a couple of like recorded incidents like that although they really aren’t documented but they are legend. I mean there is enough of that sort of stuff that you can get away with it, I guess.
PK — Yeah, all those movies are great; all those mummy movies of those times; all the curses and all of the prohibitions; if you do any kind of serial thing, I mean they always have, you have a forecast of doom and then you have something that looks like the doom strikes and then you find out that the doom itself wasn’t exactly — when you replay your last scene from another angle things were – and they manage to escape somehow miraculously, (blank). That’s all I can think of right now unless I can find uh —
DF — The thing that struck me about this tomb, what’s fantastic about it is if it were ever found, when you think of the significance of it in terms of making people believers — I mean if the original tablets were ever found that sort of thing, I mean there’s a terrific symbolic thing to it.
LK — The understanding is that the tablets are still in the Ark. They’ve never been found anywhere.
DF — They don’t talk about it that much except it is presumed that, of course, the first tablets were — Moses smashed them. Then the second set remained.
PK — These were smashed somewhere in Egypt.
DF — So if tablets existed in the Ark it would be presumably the second set. Apparently God made them again.
LK — He went back up –
DF — But they were brought down from the mountain by a prophet not by Moses — someone else went up – another man went up and brought back the second set.
PK — Nobody knows who that man was. DF — I don’t know who that man was.
PK — He was the guy who rewrote them (laughter). You can check with the Writers Guild (laughter).
DF — Presumably, it would be that set that would be in it. LK — And that’s the assumption, that they are still in there.
DF — But there was another — at the building of the second temple another Ark was constructed at that time and then after that they were all just copies or —
LK — In building a second tmeple another Ark was constructed.
DF — Yeah, and then —
LK — But the first one had not been destroyed.
DF — There are two Arks. The first one, it just vanished, it’s never been confirmed whether it was destroyed or if someone hid it or if someone vandalized it.
LK — And the second Ark —
DF — The second Ark, well there’s a lot of Biblical documentation about that, it’s called the Solomon Ark or something, as opposed to the Davidic Ark which is the first one, so anyway, it’s really interesting. It’s fascinating. It really is.
PK — The one with the little cloud over its head — like that character in Al Capp. Remember him? There is a guy who would walk around with a cloud over his head in Lil Abner — Joel ? — wherever he walked there was a little dark cloud over his head.
DF — The only thing that struck me about this research is that there haven’t been a lot of — there is no like serious people writing about — like speculations about it in this century. I mean the stuff that’s speculated is fairly hokey —
PK — It’s all hokey speculation —
DF — There hasn’t been any serious excavations or attempts by archaeologists to really find it.
PK — You want it to be fun. And it is one of the great undiscovered things, like they are always looking for the Ark, and in search of Noah’s Ark and in search of this and that. Those are just the artifacts but this is a thing that had potency. In its time it was known to have potency — something — and that’s
PK — That’s —
DF — They carried it around in a cart —
PK — What you need, that’s the “Lord of the Rings”. I mean and it’s amazing that there isn’t a single thing that I can think of in the Bible that has more detailing than that. That is the main thing in the Bible that’s talked about. It’s half of that book — I mean it’s like really a lot of talk about the construction of this and that in very elaborate detailing of
LK — And you have some drawings is that right?
DF — Well there is a couple of — they are all just hypotheses, I have a couple and what I didn’t bring is all the different arks that had been made down through the ages.
PK — Have people tried to make those?
DF — Well I mean the arks that have been used in the synagogues ever since, I mean what holds the Torah now, is a facsimile, but it’s not an exact one. I mean they’ve changed, like the style in the Middle Ages was different from the style in the 18th century or something. But there are just like two, here are two, us —
PK — That’s interesting too, the idea of somebody trying to build one out of the, you know that this kind of wood in that time really was another wood, you know yon find those obscure clues — that shittim wood or certain cubics of measurement and you see — it could be really dramatic to see this because you’re dealing with lots of devices anyway — Strange seaplanes or whatever, I don’t know — and they are trying to build something that has this magical thing with all — out there in a wind-swept desert area with different curtains blowing, and silks and all of the Arab silkmakers, I mean you could have a fabulous, ominous set out there to work with.
DF — This was one thing that, it says at the Kalmit (?), which I don’t know what that means — this is another one — movable sanctuary (PK) — an ark showing an Egyptian — and some say it was the size of a desk.
PK — The Philistines — but the Ark
DF — The Philistine thing is earlier than uh –
PK — But there was a thing in the thing that contained the Ark where only Aaron and his family, only priests, the Levites, could walk inside the thing. There was a bigger thing too where it finally contained. Where was that? There was a thing about — they were the only ones.
PK — See only Aaron — only those guys could talk to God. DF — Yeah. In the Shilo —
LK — I think what it is is the tabernacle in the desert – was was a tent, you know, it had to be movable.
PK — The tabernacle.
DF — The Shiloh was one of the permanent, semi-permanent resting places and they had a fairly big thing there — thing that housed it.
PK — Shiloh was where the civil war battle was. See all the, there’s a lot of the smitten people, people were smitten by fooling with the Ark. One guy got emerauds (?), that is hemorrhoids and a plague of mice was sent over the land. The infliction of boils was visited upon. Uh, Philistines on the advice of their diviners returned it to the Israelites. Give it back.
LK — That’s right and that’s one where I found– and the Etonites carried it in front of their Army and soundly trounced by the Philistines. It didn’t always work.
PK — Right, it didn’t always work but the idea was that it worked it was as close as they
could come to the A-bomb – to the bomb, you know, to the big one. I guess that’s DF — There, I’ll just [keep this for you?]
LK — All right.
PK — Ok, well that’s all I can do.
LK — And thank you.
Thanks to Moedred’s Journal for the transcription.
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