05 November 2020 925 Views

The Movies I Turn To Most Frequently: Raiders of the Lost Ark

by James Murphy

Am Often Asked for my ‘favourite’ films. Impossible!

But I will, given these uncertain times, provide a list of those gems I revisit most often. They remind me of how and why I love Cinema and that I will do so, always, no matter what. Here. We..GO!

Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of comes in at the top, every time..

It’s my first vivid recollection of a film on television; on ‘VCR’. And as a budding academic myself, an inspirational treasure.

I did not enjoy Biblical archaeology class as an undergraduate at Oxford. But now? As I embark on any quest, or travel to far flung places (pre and post lockdowns?)..this remains a ‘go to’ treasure.

It has to be..the one, the only..Raiders of the Lost Ark:

The film fuses genres of action, adventure, comedy and romance, seamlessly so. There are stakes, the action feels urgent and the punches hurt. Yet the fun never relents.

A period piece, it is nonetheless of its time and timeless; capturing a 1980s zeal and tribute to ’30s serials via reference to ancient Biblical lore and epic aesthetics.

Propelled by John Williams‘ classic score and fronted by possibly the greatest leading man of all time in Harrison Ford. He is a weathered veteran yet still young and vital here. A rogue and a villain, even, yet a champion of good, fusing the civilised academic to the man of action. Ford can still play this at 80 because youth is never a feature of the character’s definition. Such a shame we will never get that fifth movie from the old team.

But I can settle for Raiders on its own. I adore this picture! Sequels are good, too. Yes, even ‘that’ one. Temple of Doom is not as ‘dark’ as people think: Raiders is in fact the more horror based piece.

Last Crusade is wittier and softer, more cerebral and of course has Sir Sean Connery (RIP) and a Grace Kelly-esque Alison Doody. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ages Indy beautifully and has a likeable progression to it, even if the Russians are terrible villains and Cate Blanchett was woefully miscast (she’s no Kate Capshaw).

But you cannot beat Raiders. Best of the bunch.

Spielberg and Lucas at their very best. Unbeatable. A perfect into to cinema: this is the westsern, James Bond, Citizen Kane, David Lean, Cecil b Demille, Casablanca and so much more, whilst being very much its own inimitable thing.

 



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