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TheRaider.net
TheRaider.net Films Temple of Doom Post Production
 
The Making of
 

Chapter 5: Fulfillment of an adventure

 

One of the main differences between Raiders and Temple is that the first film was more oriented towards death-defying stunts while this new one was towards special effects, which were extensively explored in Cinefex magazine.

The initial script for Temple of Doom was delivered to ILM just as the facility was finishing work on Return of the Jedi. Muren, Franklin and Johnston reviewed the script in detail, broke it down into possible effects sequences and then developed recommendations on whether particular ideas should be conveyed with physical effects, miniatures or opticals, what respective costs might be, and whether the idea was cinematically sound in the first place. These recommendations were then presented to Lucas and Spielberg, executive producer Frank Marshall and associate producer Kathleen Kennedy in several initial storyboard conferences. First the ideas were fleshed out into often-spectacular sequences, and then necessarily reduced to something that could actually be done with the amount of time and money available. "Many effects just came from Steven's imagination," Franklin explained. "There were things he wanted to see happen, and whether they were done as an effect or practically was a matter of budget and feasibility. He imagined everything that he wanted done, and then it was broken down-'ILM will do this, and this will be done in England'- and it just went from there, with everyone feeding everyone else's imagination."

Some sequences were dropped and others added or expanded. A minor mine car escape became a chase of major proportions in the final film. An aerial dogfight that had most of the principals very excited was ultimately dropped as too costly and impractical. Other sequences which could have been very labor-intensive were reevaluated and either simplified or streamlined. One such involved Indy's escape by auto from the nightclub in Shanghai. The principal action was for the midnight chase was filmed in the back streets of Macao by second unit director Mickey Moore-with plans to dispatch another unit, either to Macao or Hong Kong for supplemental plate photography which would later be blue screened into interior shots of the vehicle.

Instead of using opticals Dennis Muren and his team came up with a more old-fashioned approach. They brought the car and the principals onto the ILM stage and the whole sequence was shot very simply, using lots of smoke and flashing lights. By not stopping the lens down very much, they had very little depth of field because all the out-of-focus backgrounds helped to camouflage the fact that they weren't actually using street footage.

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Large Trimotor model.

Having eluded their pursuers Indy, Willie and Short Round board a Ford Trimotor cargo plane bound for India. Since only part of the required aerial footage could be obtained with the vintage aircraft procured for the show, the Trimotor flying scenes were augmented at ILM with miniatures and motion control photography. The model aircraft nearly three feet long and intricately detailed was constructed by model makers Mike Fulmer and Ira Keeler. Originally intended for use in the later-discarded dogfight sequence, the craft was actually overbuilt considering the limited use to which it was ultimately put.

A full-size cockpit was also constructed-mainly by Lance Brackett, Ed Reymond and Dave Childers- and mounted on inner tube-like blades whose pressures could be controlled to simulate movement in the air. The blue screens filmed with the actors in the cockpit were composited with actual aerial footage photographed by Jack Cooperman ASC.

En route to its destination, the plane passes over the Great Wall of China. Not only the aircraft itself was a miniature but, but so was the Great Wall, a large-scale forced perspective landscape constructed in the ILM model shop. Since the shot was scheduled for later in the production, and since ILMbecame overloaded with work on Indiana Jones, Star Trek III and The Neverending Story, Dennis Muren opted to give the scene out to Dream Quest Images, an up and coming effects facility which had previously handled some of the scenes from E.T..

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Filming the Great Wall of China landscape and the result.

The miniature aircraft and set were shipped to Dream Quest's Culver City headquarters, with Muren and Lorne Peterson flying down to supervise the setup. Dream Quest programmer Michael Bigelow devised the flowing air-to-air simulation over the Great Wall and also the flight trajectory of the Trimotor. Photographed separately by Hoyt Yeatman, plane and landscape elements were optically combined at Dream Quest and the results were shipped back to ILM. The scene was shot in smoke with the entire thing backlit to look like early morning. Originally it was intended, as background imagery for an animated route map but it was found sufficiently impressive that it was ultimately left intact for much of its running time, with the map dissolved in over only its final moments.

Abandoned by its crew and out of fuel the plane starts an ill-fated route to the mountain slopes ahead. At first the plan was to have the mountain totally covered in snow, but by the time they got around to shooting the cockpit's POV somewhere up in the Sierras, a lot of the snow had melted. As a result, they had to build a miniature that looked pretty much the same. So, they created a whole mountaintop from coal on the roof of the ILM building. When the mountain was made it was covered with baking soda and micro balloons. Then they rigged up a wire so that the plane would come in and just skim the top, the wheels would spin, and the snow would fly.

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Preparing the Ford Trimotor crash into the mountains.

Originally, the three-foot miniature was to have been sacrificed. Fabricated from thin sheets of corrugated aluminum over an inner structure of brass, it had been given a deliberately weakened styrene nose section designed to collapse on impact. Upon further consideration, however, it was decided to build a second model half the size of the first in order to avoid a mountain-building project of major proportions. As it was, Peterson and his crew still had to construct a mountain range about twenty feet across by twenty feet deep. Though the simplest approach would have been to rig a pair of wires and fly the small-scale Trimotor right into the mountain, Muren feared that after impact the wires might still hold up parts of the debris, ruining the shot. It was therefore decided to construct a five-foot-long pneumatic ram that would pull the plane into the mountain, crushing the fuselage and collapsing the wings. So in the beginning of the shot, they used wires to fly the plane but just before it hit the mountain, they jump cut to the plane being pulled into the mountain by the ram. Since the plane was out of fuel, they didn't think it should explode on impact and so they filmed it. Later though, after cutting the shot in, Spielberg and Lucas thought it needed to explode in order to keep the action moving. By this time, however, it was too late to rebuild the set and restage the crash. So they went with what they had and optical matted in one of their stock explosions. Since then Muren found out that when a plane runs out of fuel there's so much vapor left that it does explode.

Managing to escape the airplane's fate the trio employees a life raft as a parachute and after a frantic slalom their raft goes over a cliff and down into a gorge hundred of feet deep passes through a series of white water rapids before drifting to a stop. The racing-down-the-snow shot was done in California, near the ski resort of Mammoth Mountain. Stunt arranger Glenn Randall supervised long shots of the raft with stuntmen, and an ILM team consisted of Dennis Muren, Mike Owens and Kim Marks shot plates for later blue screen insertion of the principal players. The scene where the raft goes over the cliff was shot in Idaho, on the Snake River Canyon. For this shot they had to do a matte painting around it because in the actual shot there were houses and a city in the upper part of the frame. Since the plate was photographed with a very long lens and there was a lot of aerial haze, it turned out to be quite difficult getting the painting to match into it, and they were also trying to work in a tilt. What followed was a day on a white water river with the principals. Actually there was very little effects work - it was either doubles or the real actors in the real situations, though there were a couple of blue-screen shots of the principals in the snow, because there wasn't any snow at the time of filming.

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Filming the wild-water raft ride.

Matte painting supervisor Michael Pangrazio, his with associate Christopher Evans and fellow matte artists Frank Ordaz and Caroleen Green produced some twenty matte paintings for Indy II. A fair number of them were used to represent the maharaja's castle as seen from various perspectives. Depending upon the extent to which the painting dominated the frame, these and other Indiana Jones matte shots were composited either on the matte camera or in optical.

For a distant view of the young maharajah's palace at Pankot Pangrazio - along with Evans - rendered a full-frame painting. Disappointed with the on-screen results, Pangrazio and his unit prepared a cutout silhouette of the palace, erected it on a nearby hilltop and photographed it with the sun setting behind. The basic castle shape was next rotoscoped onto a pane of glass, to which Pangrazio added highlights and a few details. Matte cameraman Craig Barron then combined the painting with the latent image plate to produce a hazy backlit effect.

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Pankot Palace matte paintings.

Although part of the tea plantation on location in Sri Lanka had been burned down to give the impression of a desolate village the ILM matte department was required to make the shot more effective by presenting a wider shot. There was a shot where Indy, Willie and the boy are walking down the hill toward the village, and the village is in total desolation, as is the landscape around it. Everything is dead, and there are no children. The scene was shot on location, but everything was alive, so Pangrazio repainted the entire scene with dead foliage. Then the plate was timed a little bit redder so everything looked brown and parched. Finally, some smoke elements were shot separately and exposed into the village area so it looked as though smoke was coming from little fires in the village.

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Another Pankot Palace walls matte painting and the result in the film.

They were rough-cutting the movie when Spielberg felt they needed an additional establishing shot for our heroes return to a now prosperous village. Pangrazio and his stuff went to Lucas' Skywalker Ranch and set up a camera on a hill. They used a bunch of flats, to represent building faces. Some of them were pretty big -twenty feet long by seven or eight feet high- and three of them had black doorways painted in. Up close, it looked pretty silly, but from the camera position, which was quite away, it was fine. They had sheets hanging out on the clotheslines, flapping in the breeze, and about twenty people dressed in Indian costumes just walking around. Once they got the latent image plate, Pangrazio worked on the painting for quite a while and then optical did a tilt-up on the composite so that as Indy and the others enter the bottom of the frame and walk down the trail, the camera follows them down to reveal the village.

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Filming the return to the village, the matte painting and final result.

When Indy and his companions make their way into the subterranean temple they discover an elaborate sacrificial altar where the villainous demagogue Mola Ram is preparing to offer up a victim to the goddess, Kali. Peripheral to the altar area is a crescent-shaped fissure of molten lava, represented on the live-action stage by a ten-foot-deep pit with red-gelled lights upturned from below. For the majority of the scenes, where the chasm itself was out of frame, these lights and some attendant steam generators were sufficient to suggest the boiling magma. About a dozen shots, however, from five or six different angles, did call for the lava to be on view, and for these the plan was to add the molten effect optically in postproduction. They ended up using a mixture of glycerin and water that they lit from below with gelled lights. A mixture of plastic chips and cork was used to suggest opaque solids floating on the molten magma. Amusingly, one of the things chief model maker Charlie Bailey tried when there was still an expectation of creating lava that could be front lit was a combination of vanilla pudding and fluorescent dyers. The resultant goop actually came close to being the correct color and viscosity, but did not have quite the right glow and intensity. It was however a major attraction to the mouse population which would come out of the woodwork at night to dine on the unexpected treat.

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Preparing the lava shots.

Returning to the film, a section of the floor opens at the base of the altar and from the extended arms of Kali's statue a torture rack with a person inside is lowered down a narrow shaft about sixty-feet into swirling vortex lava. A thirty-foot-tall lava pit was erected over a ten-foot diameter plexiglas vortex through which nearly five tons of glyserine was circulated by heavy-duty industrial pumps. Initially, the pit was very narrow, just barely wider than the rack, in fact. But that turned out to be not very interesting, because if someone looked down, all he would see was a little hole at the bottom. They changed the design of the shot so that as the rack went down, the shaft opened up into a bigger chasm; and as it approached it, it got larger and larger and eventually filled the frame. Twenty-six people were involved in the vortex shoot, and with the heavy-duty pumps roaring, communications headsets were required so that Muren, thirty feet in the air and watching the proceedings on a video monitor, could keep in constant contact with his stage crew and with Mike Owens who was directing the action from below.

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Filming the descent into the shaft towards lava.

As the ceremony reached its climax, Mola Ram's sacrificial offering, had to be shown having his still-beating heart plucked out of its arteries and descend into swirling inferno. To achieve the first effect David Sosalla took a quick body cast off a model maker, who was physically similar to the Punjab character, as it came to be known by the crew. He vacuformed an understructure and laid foam and latex over that. The mechanics were real simple. It was just a matter of putting some plastic slides underneath the skin and attaching them to cable controls that Sosalla had in his fingers. When the hand was inserted, Sosalla had only to pull on the cables and the hand could slip right into the chest cavity. For the healing shot that follows, he just used the mechanism without the hand going through and shot in reverse. For the second effect a thirty-inch was built. Inside the puppet was a mechanism that enabled the arms and head to move realistically. They shot the rack and the puppet against blue screen and matte that into a background plate of just the lava alone. The result ended up being too gruesome. Nobody could keep his eyes on the screen so Spielberg asked to put some flames and smoke to obliterate the effect, especially at the moment of contact. In real life, if a person came into contact with lava like that would just blow up; all the water in his body would just vaporize. A second puppet was created for the scenes of Willie being lowered in the lava pit.

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Creating the puppet for the descent.
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Willie's puppet made for her descent and a puppet on fire.

One of the most difficult scenes to create was our heroes' attempt to escape from the temple of doom in a runaway mine car. In the original script, they just got in the mine car and run through the tunnel and got out at the end of it. Only a few key sequences were laid out. Everything in-between was devised by Spielberg, Joe Johnston, Dennis and Mike McAlister-how it was going to happen and little tricks and situations the characters would get into until the end of the ride. ILM had basically the same situation with the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi. It kept expanding and expanding until it became the film's showcase piece. "It's often hard when we look at a script to anticipate where things are going to develop, especially working with Steven and George who are both very open about going beyond what is written in the script", commented Muren. Originally, the thought was for the scene to be created entirely blue screen. Johnston and McAlister based on the storyboards created quick-and-dirty enactments employing the most rudimentary of sets and props and recorded them expeditiously on videotape. These videotaped enactments, called at the time videomatics, were actually the predecessors of today's animatics. They used brown wrapping paper to quickly throw up some walls, added some railroad tracks that they bought in a hobby shop, and used toy cars and toy figures to quickly go through the maggot motions of the shots. They didn't try to finesse them in any way, but just tried to translate the storyboards into something that could be cut into the movie to give a feeling for the pace. It turned out to be really valuable. The videomatics were given to Spielberg and he could then cut the sequence together. A lot of changes were made on the basis of what he learned. The sequence was restructured; things were cut and the design of some of the shots was altered. So basically, the videomatics gave him a chance to firm up his ideas.

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Preparing the chase
through the mines.

Muren, who was in England, got them done just in time because Spielberg was ready to go on the set and start shooting, and by that time he had decided to do as much as he could over there and not do it bluescreen. So he really got into it and came up with ways to shoot that sequence, mainly by under cranking and shaking the camera a lot, by that he gave more of a documentary look about it. Spielberg spent quite a while on this set, shooting primary close-ups but also some of the longer shots that he was able to get in the limited space available. Naturally, he was doing everything he could to make it look as good as possible, and so he threw in steam and gushers and all kinds of things to make it look better- which made it a lot harder for Muren to match up. He ended up getting over half the sequence on that set, and it was really valuable for the ILM artists to have all that, both as a guideline and for inspiration.

It was decided to do the sequence stop-motion where everything is sort of moving along. Right away, though, he found that scale was going to be a major factor. They wanted to do shots where the camera's traveling along with the cars for long distances, so they would figure a rough scale for the cars and then calculate how far it would need to go for a four-second cut, depending on the speed they were trying to suggest. What they ended up was a miniature set larger than one hundred feet while their stage was only eighty feet long. The only way around was to make everything very small.

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Finishing two minature sets for the mine chase.

Making tiny sets and props was no problem for the ILM model makers. Filming them was. Since many of the shots called for the camera to be trucking along with the action, the mineshaft sets needed to be built large enough to allow sufficient clearance all around. The smallest camera in the ILM inventory was 9-inch width and seemed to be a limiting factor on how small the sets could go. So they ended up using an in-house Nikon after Mike MacKenzie slowed down its motor drive about two-thirds and built a special magazine for it that would hold fifty feet of film, which is four hundred frames of VistaVision. The end result was a VistaVision format motion picture camera almost literally small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. No wider than a normal Nikon, and only a quarter-inch higher than one equipped with the standard motor drive, it was mounted on a small pan and tilt head and used to photograph almost all of the mine car sequence. By making the Nikon work they essentially cut their scale in half, which meant that rather than building a set that was sixty feet long, they had to build one that was only thirty feet long. That saved them an enormous amount of time and money. It was determined that ten-inch mine cars would be employed for most of the chase sequence.

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The Nikon ready to do its job.

Once the basic set-building approach was developed, with preliminary work well underway, Barbara Gallucci and her mineshaft construction team were relocated from the ILM model shop into a large isolated industrial bay across the street where Mike McAlister and his crew were gearing up to shoot the mine chase footage. There, over a period of four months, each specific set would be pieced together, photographed, taken apart and reconfigured anew as required. Further set dressing included miniature barrels, tools and wicker baskets, all carefully placed for subtle effect. In addition, strings of bare light bulbs ran everywhere establishing scale and perspective.

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The mine car puppets.

A major project by itself was the creation of the mine car's passengers, which would be stop-motion animated by Tom St Amand during the miniature shoot. They built eight animation puppets, Indy, Willie, Shorty and several bad guys and on these puppets, it was critical that the arms be able to move naturally, as well as the legs.

They had to be able to twist as well as pivot. Ordinarily you can't do that with ball-joint armature because it wants to turn at the wrist and you end up with really weird kinds of wrinkles. Amand designed the armatures himself, but Chris Rand did most of the machine work. Each puppet began as a clay sculpture rendered by Phil Tippet. Tippet and St. Amand assembled the armatures that would enable the puppets to be articulated. Once finished, the armatures were fitted into the plaster molds derived from Tippet's sculptures. Flexible foam was then injected into the molds. After curing, each puppet is painted and dressed. Randy Ottenberg did the costumes for Kate Capshaw, and Dave Sosalla and John Reed did most of the rest. They didn't actually make suits; they just custom-fitted all these outfits and contact cemented them onto the figures. The puppets were basically about ten inches high, although they didn't put legs on all of them. In fact, they had to remove the legs from the Indy puppet in order to squeeze him into the miniature mine car. He just couldn't fit otherwise. When interviewed by Cinefex magazine St. Amand remembered a day at the bluescreen stage watching part the live-action shooting, "I noticed that the actors were also having problem squeezing into the cars. Nobody suggested cutting their legs off, though!" And continued, "Imitating people is the hardest kind of animation there is and we were trying to do it under the worst possible conditions. We had scenes where I had to animate, six figures, all moving at the same time, going over lava, which I had to be really careful not to bump because all it was backlit gels with little pieces of cork on top to represent the darker part of the lava. So if I disturbed that, the whole thing would go. The sets were cramped and we had to wear masks for four or five hours at a time. Plus it was winter and it was freezing cold. Several times I found myself wondering why I ever wanted to do this. A couple of shots were particularly tough, especially the one when they're going over a trestle and the bad guys grab Shorty and start to pull him into their car and Indy has hold of his pants and the kid is suspended between the two cars being pulled back and forth."

For a few shots where the tunnels were so narrow and remote that St. Amand could not gain access radio-controlled stand-ins were employed.

Though the ten-inch mine car models were more than adequate for most of the sequence, several shots called for high-speed photography and therefore required a larger-scale miniature. Included among these were scenes where Indy trips the overhead ore loader, dumping its contents into the pursuing mine car behind them, and a later shot when one of the cars derails and crashes through a trestle. "When it came to crashes we shot them with our bigger-scale models in front of a blue screen, but actually on mirrored plexiglas."

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Positioning the puppets in the mine carts.

Matching the miniature footage with the live-action photography presented another challenge for the ILM artists who worked close to the film's editor Michael Kahn combining them so perfectly that none could tell the difference.

Midway through the mine car chase, Mola Ram gives an order for the giant water tank, a thirty-foot-tall cistern dominating Elliot Scott's massive ore processing set, to be overturned, thus flooding the cave and all vital escape passages. Creating such a deluge in full-scale would have been both difficult and dangerous. Therefore it was decided to make the effect with miniatures, but miniatures proved to be a relative term when it came to executing this effect. Outside, in the ILM parking lot, stage technicians under the supervision of Patrick Fitzsimmons constructed a basic framework for the quarter-scale replica, a giant twenty-five feet wide by thirty feet long and eighteen feet high. Looming over the set was a 1300-gallon water tank, some eight feet in diameter and about six feet in depth, rigged with a pin that could be pulled to tip over and flood the cave. Since the tank was to unleash about 11000 pounds of water against the miniature cave walls, the basic aluminum foil structures had to be sprayed on the backside with a type of roofing urethane and then further reinforced with a foam and lumber superstructure. The floor of the cave was heavy-duty urethane foam spread over a shock-absorbing bed of moist sand. More importantly, the crew dug down three feet into the asphalt and poured concrete piers as if they were constructing a building. In fact, as the set began taking shape, people passing-by were heard to comment that they thought ILM had decided to build condominiums on the property.

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The water tank set: before and after the flood.

Toppling the tank was not a problem, but stopping it proved to be quite another matter. "To stop the tank from destroying the whole set when it fell," said Fitzsimmons to Cinefex magazine, "we connected it to a 45000-pound rated cable. For our first try, we had the tank about half-full and no water in the lake where it was to land. We figured the cable would easily hold it. Well, the cable snapped. So we went to some of the engineering wizards in our east bay and asked them to calculate the actual force for us, and they came up with the astronomical figure of something like six trillion foot-pounds of force."

The collapse of the water tank initiates a whole of water in the tunnel shots requiring a second large-scale parking lot setup. The principal tunnel structure for these scenes was pieced together from sections of four-foot diameter sonotube, heavily reinforced and wedged up against the outside of the studio, which acted like a brace. Once the basic twenty-four-feet structure was completed, by stagehands Bod Finley, Dave Childers and Harold Cole, it was elevated on one end and connected via a chute to a large dump tank with a simple trap-door mechanism that could release more than 5000 pounds of water on cue. Then the project was turned over to Lorne Peterson's crew. Inside the tubes, they built the tunnel structures from urethane foam and real rocks. In fact, they spent a lot of time finding rocks that looked good at that scale. The problem was that as they built up the tunnels, the four-feet diameter got narrower and narrower to the point where only Randy Ottenberg and Marc Thorpe, two of the smaller model builders, could get in there to work. In addition to building the basic wall and rock structures, they cast up a bunch of old beat-up fifty-gallon drums that varied in scale from four-and-a-half inches to seven inches high. When the water came through, some of those barrels would get swept up and hit a rock or something and go tumbling right by the camera lens. They also had lanterns, baskets and strings of electric lights. Hand blown glass bulbs were made up, complete with frosted glass and halogen light sources, and each one of them waterproofed and sealed with silicone. Actually, the same types of bulbs were used earlier in the mine car chase. After each of the six water shots, the set was cleared out and redressed so as to seem like an altogether different area.

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Making the tunnels where the water flood will run through.

Indy and company manages to escape from the caves only to find themselves on the brink of a sheer precipice, the wall of water churning close behind them. Scrambling onto a rocky ledge, they clear the opening just as the water reaches it. The master of Willie and Shorty in one side and Indy on the other is a large matte painting. The area immediately around the opening was an insert set shot in England and the river was filmed on location in the Grand Canyon by cameraman Robert Elswit. One of the major difficulties involved just finding a river, with a sheer wall next to it that followed a north-south direction and therefore got enough sunlight to film. The following shot a closer view as the water bursts through, involved yet a third parking lot miniature again with a large tank positioned behind it. More than five thousand pounds of water traveling twenty or twenty-five feet down a four-foot diameter sonotube and then chocking down to an eighteen-by-eighteen inch opening in the face of the cliff as it exits were involved. They wanted to have a mine car come flying out of the cave ahead of the water, so they put a miniature car near the opening, but the water was traveling so fast at that point that it bypassed the mine car, defeating the effect. In an effort to make the effect work they came up with a trigger mechanism using something like surgical tubing to launch the mine car and increase its speed just before the water hit. They believed that by triggering the mechanism when the water was three or four feet away the water would catch up to it just about the time it reached the opening and it would look like it was being pushed out ahead of the water. Before the shot they set up nets to catch the mine car. They calculated the force of the water and the trajectory of the mine car after the mechanism shot it and decided to play it safe and move the nets out a bit further. When they finally did the shot, the mine car shot out of the opening, passed about four feet over the top of the net, hit up against the side of the building and smashed in zillion pieces.

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Painting the edge matte painting and the result in the film.
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Water flood rushing through an opening in the ledge and result in film.

Muren wasn't satisfied with the result of a certain shot. It was a down shot of Harrison Ford on the cliff with the facing breaking away and a real river in the background. Muren spent a lot of time trying to get it come together, but it proved to be too tough. Ford had some dialogue in it and they had to keep it. For the shot of Indy climbing up over the cliff facing Muren didn't take any risks and used the same model they had when the water broke through. Ford was filmed climbing up a skeleton frame against blue screen and his hands sort of matched some hand holes they had been built in the rock. The animation department spent a lot of time adding a shadow for him and tied it right together.

First Frank Marshall, doubling as second unit director, shot footage of real alligators for the close-up inserts of people being chewed up. The rope bridge was filmed in Sri Lanka and the river below it is in Arizona. There was a river in Sri Lanka but Spielberg wanted it bigger. For a shot from the top of the bridge the crew borrowed seven two-foot-long alligators from stage coordinator Ed Hirsh. Hirsh raised baby alligators as a hobby and volunteered to help. They put them in milky water and softly lit them from the top so that they just had them silhouetted. They shot them with the widest lens they could from the top of the stage, and then reduced that two hundred to four hundred percent in the printer to get it in scale. In the end they were just little black things from the height of the suspension bridge, but when you look at them, they're moving like alligators are supposed to do.

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Storyboard image.

During the fight on the bridge Indy cuts the bridge in half and his portion of the bridge is left dangling over the cliff. The basic elements of those shots are stuntmen and actors who are on a set piece built in England. ILM artists once again took those shots and extended the set piece to make it look like a steep cliff by using matte painting. They added the river below to give the illusion that it is the river setting in India. For scenes of Mola Ram's henchmen losing their grip and falling from the severed bridge, St. Amand was able to reuse the robed animation puppets from the mine car sequence without significant modification. Some of it was kind of comical, though as they're still thrashing around after they hit the bottom. But that area ended up being all matte painted out when they substituted the big river with the alligators in it.

The death of Mola Ram not as great as the one Belloq had in the first film was very difficult to stage. "You actually see him falling down the cliff face and the camera follows him all the way down," remembered St. Amand. "He hits the cliff two or three times and then careens off into the river. It was tough to do. I would look at the board with Dennis and he would say: 'Killer shot, killer shot. We're never going to be able to pull this off.'" The first step toward achieving the shot was to procure a suitable background plate. So Art Repola and Mike Owens went chasing around the Southwest looking for a cliff facing they could shot. The problem was finding a river and a cliff with a sheer enough wall so they could drop the camera down four hundred feet without hitting anything. The best spot was found at Paige Arizona, near the Glen Canyon Dam. Mike Owens and Mike Wood and a couple of others went there with the Descender, a motorized winch type devise, attached the camera to it, and did about five takes.

Once the plate was selected, there still remained the difficult task of generating the blue screen puppet footage tumbling down the cliff side. Muren programmed the camera and model moves, expending a full week in fine-tuning and testing before a suitably real-looking choreography could be developed to fit the unorthodox plate. Then Tom St. Amand stepped in to animate the articulated miniature. "Mola Ram had this big cape, and to help suggest that he was actually flying through the air, we turned a fan on under the puppet so that his cape would always be billowing like a sail. The cape itself was made of cloth, unlike the skirts and capes on the other puppets, which were just tinfoil covered with fabric. So here we had this big flowing cape, and in order to have more control over it, we thought we'd hook it up with strings to one of our dragon movers, previously used in Dragonslayer. That way we could program it and shoot tests. What we ended up doing, however, was quite different. Since the puppet was constantly spinning around, the strings were always getting wound around his body. We finally got past the problem by having me animate the limbs and head while Dennis was out there hand-moving the cape for each frame, holding the strings and moving them during the exposure so the strings themselves would be lost in the blue. So here we had this big, expensive piece of equipment, and Dennis was moving the thing by hand." To further tie the falling figure to its background plate the animation department sweetened the shot with animated dust hits whenever Mola Ram tumbled into the side of the cliff and spun off. "Compared with that most of the other faking guys were easy to do."

When the time came to cut the film there was very little that were shot that wasn't in the film. Spielberg was very careful as he went along, and if the production was getting over length anywhere, he would tend to cut from the script before shooting, rather than the old thing of leaving it on the cutting room floor. Some explanatory scenes were cut from the script and a very few scenes were shot but not used, for instance after Short Round fights Thuggee warriors to allow Willie to escape. There was a scene after she apparently gets away down the tunnel and into her room, where she's recaptured. But when Spielberg and Kahn put the film together, and worked out it's pace, they figured it wouldn't affect anything.

There was a scene showing Maharajah's dark side earlier in the film but it was never shot, it excised only in the script. After the banquet the Maharajah grabs Indy's whip and wants to be taught how to use it. Indy teaches him but in trying to use the whip, the little Maharajah hurts himself, and Short Round laughs. Then, they have a little scuffle, where the Maharajah grabs the whip. The two are very close to each other and Short Round notices that the Maharajah's eyes are glowing. Nobody else sees it. So when Short Round brings it up Indy thinks he's just being a silly kid.

The first cut of the film was about 2 hours and 10 minutes and Spielberg cut it down to 1 hour and 55 minutes. The pace was considered too fast, so Spielberg decided to add some matte shots in order to slow it down. An example of such matte shots was the establishment of the Pankot Palace exterior in night. The film was predictably violent but Lucas felt it still needed additional horrors. More violence was added and the banquet scene was augmented with some even more loathsome dishes. After the retakes, Spielberg and Kahn fined down the film to 118 minutes, every one of which moved with the speed of the final roller-coaster ride.

The film originally follows the steps of Raiders, with the opening sequence continuing another adventure, while it contains many tributes. The first tribute of all is, of course, Paramount's mountain logo embossed on a large bross oriental gong in homage of 1939's Gunga Din. What follows is homage to the great Busby Berkeley musicals of the 1940s as Willie Scott is singing Cole Porter's Anything Goes once in English and once in Chinese!

In another scene Indy comes face to face with two swordsmen. Remembering his encounter with the Arab swordsman from Raiders he smiles and reaches for his pistol only to find out that his holster is empty!

Likewise, when Indy, Willie and Short Round arrive at the airport they are greeted by comic actor Dan Akroyd in a cameo as Weber the official dispatcher at Shanghai airport, while Frank Marshall who played the pilot of the Flying Wing in Raiders now plays a coolie pulling a rickshaw.

Next: Mixed Emotions >>

 

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