• It works almost alone without dialogue just focusing on the spectacular set pieces, the editing (Oscar win), John Williams score, and the set design (Oscar win)—silent cinema
  • Irresistibly entertaining
  • Love the opening graphic match with the mountain in south America and the Paramount pictures logo
  • This is a spectacle—plays with and borrows from James Bond (heavy iconography) and Gunga Din—like Bond this starts in medias res—and since it borrows from bond it also borrows from North by Northwest and certainly it has that sort of narrative momentum and set piece focus
  • Love the ornate set design iconic opening- the white lights through the trees
  • Cairo and Tunisia setting- clearly Spielberg is inspired by Lean and Lawrence—massive cast in the dessert
  • The supporting players are superb- Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliot and the horrifying Ronald Lacey
  • The narrative absolutely steam rolls- there’s nothing here I’d take out and everything has a purpose to propel it forward- even when we show Karen Allen in the drinking contest early in the film it’s used again in her contest and attempt to escape Paul Freeman’s character
  • I admire the long silent scenes of Ford looking for the ark with the gorgeously designed sets in the background
  • Lots of deadline editing space/time manipulations that Spielberg would be known for largely
  • Welles’ Citizen Kane warehouse that goes on forever ending—phenomenal
  • Ford is a revelation in the lead- it’s his best work and he’s been very good before (star wars, empire) and after (witness, the fugitive, blade runner: 2049)
  • A masterpiece- though I’m not longer convinced it’s necessarily better than Jaws and Schindler for Spielberg’s best

July 2019

  • Siskel “Yes, it’s as entertaining as you have heard. Maybe more so. Raiders of the Lost Ark is, in fact, about as entertaining as a commercial movie can be.”
  • Hilarious negative review from a woefully off Pauline Kael
  • Camby “To get to the point immediately, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most deliriously funny, ingenious and stylish American adventure movies ever made.”
  • It’s an incredible bounce back for Spielberg directly after 1979’s film– “1941”– a flex to return to form
  • Ebert calls it ” Indiana engages in the best chase scene I’ve seen in a film. (I include, in second place, the chase from “The French Connection” and “Bullitt” in third)”
  • I’ve seen the film 20 times and I was blown away by the of the film, the editing, we’re moving, South America, classroom, Nepal, and in Cairo in the first 34 minutes
  • John Williams achievement here can’t be overstated- he has so many themes that all work together as a cohesive whole and as I said many of the best parts work as a silent film with his music over the top, Ford’s stoicism and Spielberg’s set piece brilliance- the map room sequence is entirely silent, Ebert’s favorite chase, the shot of Ford drinking after Marian’s supposed death
  • It’s not Spielberg’s forte but there is a stunning wall-art quality shot of the sunset here as the men are digging
  • a Masterpiece