Interesting: “Raiders of the Lost Archives”

4 01 2012

I tried to come up with a better Indiana Jones-derived pun for the title–I really did. But “Raiders of the Lost Archives” was hard to top.

In case you can’t watch or have a very short attention span, the above video (which I first saw at the Reason blog, oddly enough) is the first thirteen minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark paired up with clips grabbed from “30 different adventure films made between 1919-1973” (the names of those 30 titles are never revealed).

And it’s all basically spot-on from start to finish. Dart traps, backstabbing, a giant rolling boulder- it had all been done before Raiders. Is this evidence that the Indy series is nothing more than rehashed Golden Age productions? Are Lucas and Spielberg little more than cinematic plagiarists?

Well, no, not exactly. Its no secret that Indiana Jones was conceived as a campy homage to the pulp adventure novels of the 1930s and 40s (and the films they spawned).

Just check out the concept art–it’s so over-the-top it might as well be from a boys’ adventure magazine cover.

I hate snakes, Jock! I hate 'em!

If you’re familiar with the Indiana Jones films, the above is worth a watch. You’ll be surprised by how many elements have been borrowed from (or inspired by) earlier flicks, from the clever opening fade-in to the reactions of Indy’s portly, treacherous guide.

Yet with thirty films to work with, it’s no wonder the video’s creator was able to find parallel shots- the exercise says as much about his or her creative cutting and editing abilities as it does the true origins of Indiana Jones.

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