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Patrick Schoenmaker

Indiana Jones' Influences
Classic Adventures
Tales of the Gold Monkey
High Road to China
Romancing the Stone
The Goonies
King Solomon's Mines
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold
Magnificent Warriors

DuckTales: The Movie

Operation Condor
The Mummy
The Mummy Returns
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
King Solomon's Mines
National Treasure
Pirates of the Caribbean: Trilogy
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
The Librarian: Trilogy
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Help Support Research Indy's Influences Legacy Romancing the Stone
Romancing the Stone

Released by 20th Century Fox - 1984

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Diane Thomas
Produced by: Jack Brodsky, Joel Douglas & Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas .... Jack Colton
Kathleen Turner .... Joan Wilder
Danny DeVito .... Ralph
Zack Norman .... Ira
Alfonso Arau .... Juan
Manuel Ojeda .... Zolo


Soon after Raiders of the Lost Ark made its massive splash on the silver screen in 1981, the yearn for adventure films was awakened and audiences craved for more tales of ancient jewels and dangerous chases. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg themselves would answer the call in 1984 with their huge sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

No treasure hunt without
a map laving clues.

Ironically however, one of Spielberg's biggest "future" collaborators (no pun intended for those who know what I mean) was competing with Indiana Jones that summer with the release of the film Romancing the Stone. The director was Robert Zemeckis, who would later team up with Spielberg to create the wildly successful Back to the Future series before going on to make such hits as Forrest Gump and What Lies Beneath (which also starred the beloved Harrison Ford).

The film was compared by the critics to the Indiana Jones series and was a big success at the box office. The story was rather straightforward. A famous romance novelist named Joan Wilder (played by Kathleen Turner) discovers an ancient map in her mail that was sent to her by her sister in Columbia. A local bad man in Columbia, named Ira, kidnaps her sister. Ira calls Joan and demands that she bring the map to Columbia or he will kill her sister.

Joan hitches a ride on the next flight to Columbia, only to be deceived at the Columbian airport by Ira's rival and evil nemesis, Zolo, who "kindly" leads her to the wrong bus. Ira's brother Ralph (played by Danny Devito) sees the whole thing and begins chasing after her. Joan realizes she has taken the wrong bus when she awakes to find the bus in the middle of the jungle. The bus collides with a jeep and she finds herself stranded on the side of the road. Zolo pulls a gun on her and demands the map, but luckily a local rough and ready American named Jack T. Colton (played by Michael Douglas) arrives to find his jeep totaled and fights Zolo off. The adventure begins as Joan and Jack team up to find the mysterious treasure at the end of the map and rescue Joan's sister before Zolo can catch them.

Douglas as Jack Colton.

While many critics cite this as an Indiana Jones type of film, truthfully that notion cannot be farther from the truth. The only real links to Indiana Jones besides the fact that Jack and Joan are on the search for a buried treasure is the opening act in which Jack and Joan race through the jungle with Columbian police in hot pursuit. There is a scene in which they come to a rickety bridge over a chasm (which is strikingly similar to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) and they swing across on vines. In another sequence they are hacking through the rain forest with a machete and there are smatterings of Indy-style adventure in which they use the map to pinpoint natural landmarks in the hunt for El Corazone. Some other Indy-worthy moments include their car going over a waterfall into a rushing river, a chase in a truck that jumps another river, and wild shotgun shoot-outs in the jungle. Also, when we first meet Jack, he wears an outback hat that alludes to the Indiana-type rogue.

Douglas & Turner.

The rest of the story is really a trumped up romantic comedy that just happens to be in the jungle sometimes. Jack Colton is not an archaeologist or really a fortune hunter until he finds Joan. The story is really about them falling in love while on a crazy excursion into the jungle. This is not to say that the film is not enjoyable. In fact, many critics said at the time that this film captured what Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom could not, the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark. While this writer disagrees with that fact, the film is fun at times and worth a watch.

A sequel, Jewel of the Nile, has also been made and while it attempts to capture the spirit of the first, fails on many levels. (MF)


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