Whilst researching the background for the latest Hawking Bot vid on Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull, I came across a really interesting fact regarding the films that influenced Indy.
Lucas & Spielberg acknowledge that the adventure serials of the 1930’s and 40’s were the inspiration for Indy, featuring no nonsense man’s-man type explorer’s, quick to use fists and weapons against the local savages – or damsels in undress.
One of these cited inspirations, is a 1950 film called ‘Secret Of The Inca’s’, featuring Charlton Heston – as Harry Steele, a fedora and brown leather jacket wearing treasure hunter. Complete with treasure bag, six shooter and trusty leather bullwhip.
There have been lots of Fedora wearing adventurers commited to celluloid in the early 20th century – but to give Inca’s the offical influence stamp – Lucas & Spielberg showed a copy of this film to the crew, whilst shooting Raiders to give them an idea of the intended tone for the first Indy movie, (along with Casablanca).
And Harry Steele is so like Indy its uncanny – he even exhibits the same devil may care attitude and perchant for the defiling of tomb’s – and ladies.
To coin a phrase from Walter Donovan, in Last Crusade: ‘let me tell you another bedtime story, Dr Jones….!’.
Intriguingly, Secret Of The Inca’s was also produced by Paramount pictures, the company behind the Indy films and featured the iconic mountain logo’s, at the beginning of the Indy movies.
Even more intriguing, Inca’s has been inexplicably out of circulation for the last 30 years, despite being highly rated and being a Heston classic. Out of circulation that was – till it recently re-appeared on Netflix and Youtube.
A really interesting article on Yahoo from 2008 (prior to Crystal Skull release) made a very interesting link between Inca’s being out of print and the Paramount connection with Indy. It suggested that Lucas and Spielberg may have bought the rights to it (or more likely – in my opinion, Paramount themselves just pulled it) and purposely kept Inca’s out of the mainstream to stop comparisons with Indy. After all, the Indy franchise is a big buck commodity to be protected.
No one can deny that the previous generation of film makers inspire the next gen – and plagarism is commonplace, dressed up as original success (when something hits the bigtime).Star Wars is a great example of this, wearing its influences on its sleeve (Seven Samurai and WII movies) and its own subsequent onward influence of the modern gen’s of film makers.
Indy franchise has had something of a cult influence on the B-movie adventure circuit, so it is somewhat humbling to see that it may have itself sprang from borrowed beginnings.