On Sunday, August 6, 2017 I wrote about an American cinema chain reporting an earnings slump which might be long-term.

The next day, I read Vox Day’s Vox Populi blog, highly recommended.

Warning: adult theme ahead.

Vox has an entry called ‘The sickness in Hollywood’ which discusses the relationship between Marion and Indiana Jones in the 1978 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I’ll get to the film makers’ dialogue in a moment, but, first, this is the relevant part of the script:

Marion: I’ve learned to hate you in the last ten years.
Indy: I never meant to hurt you.
Marion: I was a child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it.
Indy: You knew what you were doing.
Marion: Now I do. This is my place. Get out!

There are several sites with documents relating to the creation and making of Raiders of the Lost ArkTheRaider.net being but one of them. Moedred’s Journal has a 2009 entry with some of the film makers’ discussion.

I’ve never seen the movie, by the way.

Vox pulled a passage from moedred’s Journal. Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

“RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK”
Story Conference Transcript
January 23, 1978 thru January 27, 1978
George Lucas (G), Steven Spielberg (S), Larry Kasdan (L)

G — We have to get them cemented into a very strong relationship. A bond.

L — I like it if they already had a relationship at one point. Because then you don’t have to build it.

G — I was thinking that this old guy could have been his mentor. He could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven.

L — And he was forty-two.

G — He hasn’t seen her in twelve years. Now she’s twenty-two. It’s a real strange relationship.

S — She had better be older than twenty-two.

G — He’s thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she was only twelve.

G — It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time.

S — And promiscuous. She came onto him.

G — Fifteen is right on the edge. I know it’s an outrageous idea, but it is interesting. Once she’s sixteen or seventeen it’s not interesting anymore. But if she was fifteen and he was twenty-five and they actually had an affair the last time they met. And she was madly in love with him and he…

S — She has pictures of him.

G — There would be a picture on the mantle of her, her father, and him. She was madly in love with him at the time and he left her because obviously it wouldn’t work out. Now she’s twenty-five and she’s been living in Nepal since she was eighteen. It’s not only that they like each other, it’s a very bizarre thing, it puts a whole new perspective on this whole thing. It gives you lots of stuff to play off of between them. Maybe she still likes him. It’s something he’d rather forget about and not have come up again. This gives her a lot of ammunition to fight with.

G — This is a resource that you can either mine or not. It’s not as blatant as we’re talking about. You don’t think about it that much. You don’t immediately realize how old she was at the time. It would be subtle. She could talk about it. “I was jail bait the last time we were together.” She can flaunt it at him, but at the same time she never says, “I was fifteen years old.” Even if we don’t mention it, when we go to cast the part we’re going to end up with a woman who’s about twenty-three and a hero who’s about thirty-five.

Vox’s commenter who cited the screenplay wrote:

Knowing what I know now from the transcript, it probably makes more sense that Indy knew her as the pubescent daughter of his archeology mentor with whom he went too far. But that’s not the way it sounded to me watching the movie, and not the way I assume most of its audience takes it.

The movie conditions you to think of Indy as a man who attracts interest from young girls through his job. Indy’s relationship with Marion came through her father who was a collector of artifacts, and it’s not much of a leap to think Marion was Indy’s student. That’s what I / assumed. In which case “I was a child” would be hyperbolic.

Watching the movie in my ignorance, I interpreted the dialogue to mean she came into him and he spurned her, so she bears a grudge. Women aren’t as used to rejection as men.

Just so happens that the pedophile’s excuse is always that the kid wanted it. You can say that at 15 Marion wouldn’t be competent to ask for it even if she did want Indy. However, the audience isn’t told she was 15. I and presumably lots of people assumed she was college-aged. 18 or 19.

Exactly, so it all worked out as the film makers thought it would.

Ironically, Raiders of the Lost Ark continues to be a favourite family film.

I am amazed — although not totally surprised — that George Lucas actually said he found this scenario ‘amusing’. Someone on Vox’s thread wrote:

It’s one thing to put molestation in your story because you’re trying to say something about it, because it’s part of the character that you’re writing about. These people do it because they think it’s funny.

To which another reader replied:

What’s more disturbing, is that these people felt so comfortable saying this stuff, that it was so commonplace and old hat and nothing to shout about, that they thought nothing about it being recorded.

Another of Vox’s readers recalled Brooke Shields’s debut that same year:

I still recall seeing Pretty Baby in the theater. (Not great cinema.) A MAJOR element of the studio’s promotion of that 1978 movie was breathless description that the 10 year old “star” appeared fully naked. The scene was utterly banal, and Shields looked like a skinny little boy. 40 years later and it still is utterly senseless. The open cesspool of Entertainment Culture in the USA is not new.

Adults turned on by that are broken. Broken adults should be exiled.

I never saw that movie, either.

Someone on Vox’s thread mentioned Jodie Foster. In 1976, after Taxi Driver (which I have seen), she starred in The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. Wikipedia gives us an idea of the criticism at the time:

Writer Anthony Synnott placed The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane in a trend of sexualizing children in film, calling Rynn the “murdering nymphet” and comparing her to Foster’s child prostitute character Iris in Taxi Driver (1976).[10] Anthony Cortese also referred to Foster as giving an “encore performance” of Taxi Driver, calling Rynn “a 13-year-old imp of maturing sexuality”.[11] Scholar Andrew Scahill described it as fitting a cinematic narrative of children in rebellion, one in which the child appears seemly, as with The Innocents (1961), The Omen (1976) and others.[12]

Of course, this did not suddenly start in the 1970s, and such mainstream films were rare.

However, although the off-screen rot has been deep in Hollywood practically since the film industry began, aberrant film themes have not been the norm until the past 20 years or so. There are few, if any, movies today about a loving nuclear family — meaning, Dad included. There are few that reflect values of courtesy, civility and integrity.

With all of that, we find reality imitating art. There are more dysfunctional families and casual sexual relationships than ever before. And, returning to the dialogue above, do a search on ‘mom’s boyfriend’ and you will see pages of hair-raising stories about men molesting underage girls.

It’s time to stop going to the cinema as well as watching films on television. Since the 1990s, the old classics, which used to be shown during the day on local channels, are now exclusively on pay/cable television. More’s the pity.

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