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15 Things You Might Not Know About Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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You already know that Harrison Ford improvised his gunshot in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but even if you’re an Indy fan, there are probably a few facts and stories you don’t know about the third installment of director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas’s collaborative adventure series.

1. SPIELBERG MADE LAST CRUSADE TO APOLOGIZE FOR TEMPLE OF DOOM.

After the masterpiece of spirited adventure that was Raiders of the Lost Ark, some critics and audience members felt betrayed by the grim and gruesome sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Director Steven Spielberg was hardly a defender of the movie—in 1989 he admitted, “I wasn't happy with the second film at all. It was too dark, too subterranean, and much too horrific. I thought it out-poltered Poltergeist. There's not an ounce of my own personal feeling in Temple of Doom.

Spielberg’s involvement in a third Indiana Jones film sprang from his desire to apologize to viewers for the series’ disappointing second outing, and to revive the earnest spirit of the original. He rehired supporting stars Denholm Elliott and John Rhys-Davies to double down on the Raiders ambiance.

2. EARLY DRAFTS OF THE SCREENPLAY FEATURED A SCOTTISH GHOST.

Before settling on its father-son mission to retrieve the Holy Grail, Spielberg and Indiana Jones creator George Lucas entertained a number of potential plots. Lucas proposed the idea of Indy facing off against a ghost in Scotland while bound for the discovery of the Fountain of Youth. He dubbed the story Indiana Jones and the Monkey King

3. THERE WERE ALSO MAGICAL PEACHES.

Spielberg brought in screenwriter Chris Columbus, with whom he had previously collaborated on The Goonies. In his first go at the script, Columbus fleshed out Lucas’s Scottish ghost idea (developing the character as the late Baron Seamus Seagrove III) but replaced the Fountain of Youth with the Peaches of Immortality, a construct of Chinese mythology. Also present in Columbus’ first draft were a 200-year-old pygmy, a cannibalistic African tribe, and a college student named Betsy whose love for Dr. Jones tests the limits of sanity. 

4. THERE WAS A DEADLY CHESS GAME, TOO.

Columbus took another crack at the script, this time including a major sequence in which the titular Monkey King challenges Indy to a game of chess, using real people as pieces who suffer quite the sour fate if captured. Additionally, this version sees Indy get hitched to archaeologist Dr. Clare Clarke, a “Katharine Hepburn type.” 

5. INDY ALMOST HAD A NUN AS A LOVE INTEREST.

Spielberg replaced Columbus with The Color Purple screenwriter Menno Meyjes, who introduced elements that would ultimately reach the screen in The Last Crusade, such as the Holy Grail and the character of Henry Jones Sr. Meyjes’s script concluded with Indy’s father rising to heaven upon discovery of the Grail and Indy himself marrying a former nun named Chantal. 

6. SPIELBERG WAS AFRAID THE MOVIE WOULD REMIND PEOPLE OF MONTY PYTHON.

Last Crusade’s eventual screenwriter Jeffrey Boam held onto the Holy Grail element despite Spielberg’s uncertainty about how it might be received. His apprehensions came from the association of the sacred cup with the 1975 comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “Of course, I was worried that people would hear ‘Holy Grail,’ and they would immediately think about a white rabbit attacking Monty Python,” Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly. “My first reaction was to say, ‘Everybody run away! Run away!’” 

7. A RENOWNED PLAYWRIGHT SECRETLY PENNED THE INDY/HENRY MATERIAL. 

Since the relationship between Indy and his estranged father, played by Sean Connery, provided the emotional meat of the story, Spielberg and Lucas hired a ghostwriter to bolster the gravity of the characters’ interactions. Celebrated playwright Tom Stoppard contributed the bulk of the Jones boys’ material but didn’t receive a writing credit. 

8. FORD AND CONNERY TOOK OFF THEIR PANTS WHILE SHOOTING ONE SCENE. 

A little more than halfway through the film, Indy and Henry converse over a private table while hiding out on a German zeppelin. Unbeknownst to viewers, beneath the table neither Harrison Ford nor Sean Connery is wearing pants. Excessive heat on the set prompted Connery to remove his slacks while shooting the scene, and Ford followed suit. 

9. THE MOVIE HELPED TO PIONEER THE RAT INSURANCE GAME.

The rat-filled subterranean sequence early in the film proved to be a complex problem: the presence of the rodents cost the film its first choice of female lead, Amanda Redman, as she was too afraid to perform alongside the critters. Then, the production team had to breed its own grey rats for the scene—thousands of them—in order to have enough rodent firepower that was definitely disease-free. 

Finally, there was the unprecedented matter of taking out an insurance policy on the unpredictable creatures. After some negotiation, the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company did indeed grant Paramount Pictures the very first (and more than likely last) “thousand-rat insurance policy.” The policy would have paid off if the production had lost more than 1,000 of its rodents. 

10. THE SOUND DEPARTMENT USED HOUSEHOLD ITEMS TO MIMIC THE NOISES OF DESTRUCTION. 

To produce the sound of raging fire for the sequence in which Indy and Henry escape from the burning German castle, the sound team digitally modified the sound of friction against a Styrofoam cup. The rubbing of a balloon doubled as the sound of earthquake tremors in the film’s climax. 

11. THE DEATH OF WALTER DONOVAN WAS A BENCHMARK IN DIGITAL EFFECTS. 

The rapid degradation of Julian Glover’s villainous character Walter Donovan following a sip from a particularly unholy grail (“He chose poorly”) is considered the first complete digital composite shot in Hollywood history. Glover was filmed in several separate stages of the sped-up aging process, which were digitally melded together (along with shots of puppet heads for some of the later stages) and translated back to film as one cohesive take. 

12. SPIELBERG BEFRIENDED THE KING AND QUEEN OF JORDAN DURING PRODUCTION. 

Much of Last Crusade was shot in Petra, Jordan, during the reign of King Hussein bin Talal and Queen Noor. The royal family was invited to the set to observe production, and in turn developed a rapport with Spielberg. The king actually loaned Paramount the four horses seen in the final sequence of Last Crusade, and the queen occasionally gave Spielberg a ride to shooting locations. 

13. THE LAST CRUSADE DID WONDERS FOR PETRA’S TOURIST DRAW. 

After the release of the movie, international interest in Petra skyrocketed. Prior to the film, the city saw only a few thousand visitors every year. That number reached into the millions following Last Crusade’s release. 

14. HARRISON FORD ISN’T THE ONLY ACTOR TO APPEAR IN ALL THREE ORIGINAL INDY FILMS. 

The sequel brought back the familiar faces of Denholm Elliott and John Rhys-Davis, but it also welcomed a less recognizable returning player to the action: Pat Roach, who doubled as a Sherpa and a mechanic in Raiders of the Lost Ark, played a guard in Temple of Doom, and made his final Indy appearance as a Gestapo officer in Last Crusade. Other than Ford, Roach is the only actor to appear in all three movies. He passed away in 2004 before shooting on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had begun. 

15. THE FILM’S OPENING NEARLY BROKE A RECORD.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade grossed $5.6 million on the Wednesday it opened, the second-largest box office draw ever for a midweek opening before Memorial Day. The only thing that topped it was the 1984 opening of Return of the Jedi, which pulled in $6.2 million. The film went on to gross over $197 million against a production budget of $48 million.

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Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in October
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NBC - © 2012 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Netflix subscribers are already counting down the days until the premiere of the new season of Stranger Things. But, as always, in order to make room for the near-90 new titles making their way to the streaming site, some of your favorite titles—including all of 30 Rock, The Wonder Years, and Malcolm in the Middle—must go. Here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in October ... binge ‘em while you can!

October 1

30 Rock (Seasons 1-7)

A Love in Times of Selfies

Across the Universe

Barton Fink

Bella

Big Daddy

Carousel

Cradle 2 the Grave

Crafting a Nation

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest

Daddy’s Little Girls

Dark Was the Night

David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates (Season 1)

Day of the Kamikaze

Death Beach

Dowry Law

Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief

Friday Night Lights (Seasons 1-5)

Happy Feet

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Hellboy

Kagemusha

Laura

Love Actually

Malcolm in the Middle (Seasons 1-7)

Max Dugan Returns

Millennium 

Million Dollar Baby

Mortal Combat

Mr. 3000

Mulholland Dr.

My Father the Hero

My Name Is Earl (Seasons 1-4)

One Tree Hill (Seasons 1-9)

Patton

Picture This

Prison Break (Seasons 1-4)

The Bernie Mac Show (Seasons 1-5)

The Shining

The Wonder Years (Seasons 1-6)

Titanic

October 19

The Cleveland Show (Seasons 1-4)

October 21

Bones (Seasons 5-11)

October 27

Lie to Me (Seasons 2-3)

Louie (Seasons 1-5)

Hot Transylvania 2

October 29

Family Guy (Seasons 9-14)

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Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in October
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Netflix

While October means self-curated horror movie marathons for many people, the biggest thing happening on Netflix just might be the return of Stranger Things. But that's not happening until October 27, and there’s a lot more happening outside the city lines of Hawkins, Indiana on the behemoth streaming network this month (like the premiere of David Fincher's Mindhunters and the return of Schitt's Creek). Here’s every new movie, television series, comedy special, and documentary making its way to Netflix in October.   

October 1

88 Minutes

A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song

Before Midnight

Blood Diamond

Boogie Nights

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Cleverman: Season 2

Death Sentence

Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood

Eagle vs. Shark

Eyes Wide Shut

Generation Iron 2

Ghost Patrol

I Love You, Man

Ice Guardians

Lockup: Disturbing the Peace (Collection 1)

Made of Honor

Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

Must Love Dogs

Never Let Me Go

No Reservations

Penelope

PJ Masks (Season 1)

Set Up

The Reaping

Tokyo Idols

Tommy Boy

Vanished

Veronica

October 2

Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown

Sleeping with Other People

October 3

13 Demons

Rodney Carrington: Here Comes The Truth

Cult of Chucky

The Survivalist

October 4

Raw

October 5

Bonus Family (Bonusfamiljen) (Season 1)

Schitt’s Creek (Season 3)

The Fosters (Season 5)

October 6

ID-0 (Season 1)

Skylanders Academy (Season 2)

Suburra (Season 1)

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Word Party (Season 3) 

October 7

Chris Brown: Welcome To My Life

Middle Man

October 10

Christina P: Mother Inferior

The Skyjacker’s Tale

October 11

Donnie Darko

October 12

Fe de Etarras

October 13

El Especial de Alex Fernández

Kingdom of Us

Mindhunter (Season 1)

Super Monsters (Season 1)

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

The Babysitter

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Voltron: Legendary Defender (Season 4)

October 15

Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses

Lego: City (Season 1)

Money

OtherLife

She Makes Comics

West Coast Customs (Season 6)

October 17

Patton Oswalt: Annihilation

Slasher: Guilty Party

October 19

Wedding Unplanned

October 20

1922

Haters Back Off (Season 2)

One of Us

Smurfs: The Lost Village

The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story

Wheelman

October 23

Meet the Robinsons

While We’re Young

October 24

Wanted (Season 1-2)

The Mist (Season 1)

October 25

The Hateful Eight

The Final Master

La Querida del Centauro (Season 2)

October 26

Strange Weather

October 27

Stranger Things 2

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

October 28

Pup Star: Better 2Gether

October 30

Judah Friedlander: America Is The Greatest Country In The United States

October 31

Zumbo’s Just Desserts (Season 1) 

 

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