Part III: Dramatic
"I hate snakes, Jock!"
we learn about Indiana Jones' snake phobia at
the end of the Hovitos chase. Since Indy grabbed
the Idol of the Fertility, he has failed in everything.
And the fear he displays, as he discovers the
snake in the plane, contributes to introduce him
as a non-immaculate-and-always-
So, until we arrive in the
Well of the Souls, we think that this presentation
of Indy is just a way to tell us that Jones may
not be able to fulfill his next mission: recovering
the Lost Ark.
As noticed above, about the
flying wing scene, Spielberg uses the opening
gambit to introduce many elements (Indy's pragmatism,
his whip, his rivalry with Belloq,…) and,
among them, the hero's soft spot. On this very
reveals another Hitchcock influence.
The british director introduced
the weakness of his hero through the same technique,
in the first sequence of Vertigo.
This revelation takes place at the end of a chase
too: policemen are pursuing a burglar on the rooftops.
One of the cops, the sergeant-detective "Scottie"
Ferguson, fails jumping from one roof to another.
He slips on the roof but manages to grab the edge
and remains a long moment hanging fifty feet over
Since this event, he has been afflicted with vertigo
. This phobia is the core of the story, but during
the first part of the movie, we think that this
opening gambit just explains why "Scottie"
quitted the police department.
Death of Marion
According to Lawrence Kasdan,
the screenwriter of Raiders,
he called the female character Marion because
"that was a pretty
name, it was my wife's grandmother's name."
If that is true (and there's apparently no reason
why it would not be), I personally do think that,
during the writing sessions with Lucas and Kasdan,
Steven Spielberg imagined the death of Marion,
because of the character's name. Or we must consider
the following as a huge coincidence:
- In Raiders,
Marion Ravenwood, who seemed dedicated to be
the hero's companion throughout the whole movie,
suddenly disappears (dies?) in the first third
of the film, prisoner of a basket, put in the
back of a truck which finally explodes;
supposed death in Raiders.
- In Alfred Hitchcock's
the alleged heroin is Marion Crane, who suddenly
dies in the first third of the movie. She then
disappears, wrapped in a plastic foil and laid
in the trunk of a car which is buried in a swamp.
death in Psycho.
The famous scene of the kiss
in the Bantu Wind cabin of Raiders
has nothing in common with the one written in
the third draft of Kasdan's screenplay: Spielberg
rewrote it. According to some critics, he did
so with a reference to a similar scene of Continental
Divide (1980), a Michael
Apted film, written by... Lawrence Kasdan and
produced by... Steven Spielberg.
Nevertheless, a better explanation for such a
rewriting can be found in another Hitchcock influence.
For Spielberg and Hitchcock, people making love
are uninteresting – dramatically speaking.
Both directors do prefer the much more suggestive
way to the kiss. So, it appeared evident to Spielberg
that Kasdan's version of the scene was neither
suggestive nor progressive enough.
Spielberg's version can then
be obviously compared to the famous scenes of
kiss in Notorious,
North by Northwest
and To Catch a
Moreover, besides their lacking drama, coitus
scenes don't find their way to Spielberg's and
Hitchcock's movies, because of these directors'
sense of decency
- Hitchcock admitted it
about the first scene of Psycho:
when we discover Marion Crane (Janet Leigh)
and Sam Loomis (John Gavin) in their hotel room,
they have just finished making love. But Marion
is already wearing her bra; Hitch explained
that she actually should not at that time .
- Same modesty with Spielberg:
very uncomfortable about the sapphic love scene
between Celia and Shug in the novel The
Color Purple, he replaced
it in the screenplay by a much more decent scene.
In fact, Hitchcock and Spielberg
graphically suggest the coition.
between the heroes' kiss and Marion's smile of
contentment as she wakes up in the cabin, Spielberg
inserts a sexual allusion, showing in the foreground
the cock (I'm sorry, but it's a technical term
of weaponry!) of Indy's gun.
between the heroes' kiss and Marion's smile.
allusion also appears in the last shot of
According to me, about the
suggested coitus in Raiders,
another hitchcockian sexual allusion must be noticed
At the opening of Psycho,
the camera penetrates the hotel room through a
slit, under the window shades, discovering Marion
Crane lying on the bed, under a quite un decent
at the opening scene of Psycho.
But what's really interesting
is the composition of the shots in both scenes,
just after the sexual allusion:
Nota Bene as a Conclusion:
Talking about the introducing scene
of Psycho, Hitchcock
admitted that he tried to consider the evolution
of his former young audience. He then gave up
his way to the kiss conception and showed Janet
Leigh in underwear ...
By the way, let's notice that we all have had
to wait for Munich
(2005) to see people making love in a Spielberg
movie. By doing that, did Spielberg want to please
his former young audience? I don't think so. It
is clearly an evolution of Spielberg's mentality,
but not of his art of directing. When Hitchcock
shows Janet Leigh's bra, it is dramatically unjustified.
On the contrary, Spielberg stays focused on his
dramatic conceptions: the two scenes of coitus
in Munich are
not gratuitous, but express the psychological
evolution of Avner and his wife.
In other words, the pupil has exceeded