Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Raiders of the Lost Ark

You may have noticed that we did a little redecorating around here in honor of the upcoming 30th Anniversary of one my favorite films, Raiders of the Lost Ark.  To kick off the month long celebration of Indiana Jones (and especially Raiders) related posts, let's try to roundup all the special features that have been released over the years.

The very first release of Raiders of the Lost Ark on CED, VHS, Betamax and Laserdisc all contained one special feature that, to this day, has never been released again. Although not pertaining to Raiders, this is the only place you will find the the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom teaser trailer which plays before the movie starts. It has sadly been missing on all subsequent releases.

Great Movie Stunts & The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark is another title that is mysteriously missing from both DVD releases of the Indiana Jones Trilogy.  Released on CED, VHS and Laserdisc (was there a Beta release?), this title includes two 50 minute documentaries about the making of Raiders, one is an Emmy award winning program, while the other is narrated by Harrison Ford himself.

From the back cover of the Laserdisc...
Raiders of the Lost Ark has been called "the movie Hollywood was born to make." As thrilling as its story is the discovery of the techniques, effects and daredevil stunts that went into its creation. This disc contains two made-for-television specials: The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Narrated by Raiders star Harrison Ford, the Stunts episode demonstrates how major action sequences were designed and executed. The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark captures the cast and crew as they tackle the many problems created by an adventure spectacular of this magnitude.

These documentaries are well worth tracking down and should not have been excluded from the DVDs.

When Lucasfilm decided to release the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles onto VHS in 1999, they also re-released the Indiana Jones Trilogy in matching packing and a few special features. Aside from trailers for the re-release of the movies and the Young Indy tapes, there was a ten minute behind the scenes featurette called Raiders of the Lost Ark: A Look Inside and featured interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford. While the interviews don't reveal anything new to the Indiana Jones fan, this is the only place you'll find it.

In 2003, we finally saw the first release of the Indiana Jones Trilogy on DVD. This four disc set featured an entire disc of bonus material (pictured above). While not Raiders exclusive, it does offer one lengthy documentary, a few featurettes and some trailers.
Indiana Jones: Making the Trilogy 
(127 minutes, 51 minutes on Raiders)
The Lucasfilm Archives were raided to give you unprecedented access into the making of the Indiana Jones Trilogy. Join the cast and crew of the three Indiana Jones films on an epic movie-making adventure including all-new interviews from Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Frank Marshall, Karen Allen, Kate Capshaw and more. Go on set and experience firsthand the rough-and-tumble world of creating the Indiana Jones films. Illustrated with never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes, screen tests, production drawings and photographs, Making the Trilogy is your first-class ticket behind the scenes of movie-making history. 
(Text from the booklet)

The rest of the disc is devoted to four featurettes, The Stunts of Indiana Jones (11 minutes), The Sound of Indiana Jones (13 minutes), The Music of Indiana Jones (12 minutes) and The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones (12 minutes).

This was also the first time that any of the trailers were available on home video, aside from the teasers for Temple of Doom (mentioned above) and The Last Crusade.  The teaser, theatrical and re-release trailers for Raiders are included.

If you purchased the DVDs and Best Buy, and were at the store early enough, you had the chance to score a fifth bonus disc entitled Raiders of the Lost Ark: Classic Featurette. This 10 minute video feels like a trailer for the Great Movie Stunts & The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark documentaries as they are made by the same people, although this featurette does include some material that I don't remember seeing before.

The Indiana Jones Trilogy was re-released again in 2008 when the trilogy became a quadrilogy. This new special edition contained a few special features that weren't on the previous version.  

Raiders of the Lost Ark: An Introduction (8 minutes) a new introduction features interviews with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

The Melting Face (9 minutes) a behind the scenes look at how the melting of Toht's face was achieved for the film's finale.

Storyboards: The Well of Souls (4 minutes) a storyboard to film comparison showing the storyboards on the top of the screen while the scene from the film plays below.

The disc also includes four photo galleries: Illustrations & Props, Production Photographs & Portraits, Effects/ILM and Marketing.

Unfortunately, that's all of the officially released special features for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Perhaps, when the blu-ray set is released, we'll be treated to something like the upcoming Star Wars set; but I doubt it. Indiana Jones always seems to come in with significantly less love than Lucas' other franchise, but that's a topic for another day...

1 comment:

A hero never dies said...

Great post, love this kind of stuff!