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Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford, front), Dr. Henry Jones (Sean Connery, right), Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott, left), and Sallah (John Rhys-Davis, back) go on a quest to find the Holy Grail in Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." The Lucasfilm Ltd. production was directed by Steven Spielberg.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Most of the filmmakers who worked on the first and second motion picture adventures of Indiana Jones reunited to make "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." They include composer John Williams, cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, editor Michael Kahn, production designer Elliot Scott, costume designer Anthony Powell, special effects supervisor George Gibbs, and stunt co-ordinator Vic Armstrong. Visual Effects were again produced at Industrial Light & Magic; and the sound designed at Sprocket Systems. In 1982 "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director; and won Oscars for art direction, sound, film editing, visual effects, and a special achievement award for sound effects editing.
Having previously worked with Steven Spielberg on "Inner Space" (produced by Spielberg), screenplay writer Jeffrey Boam enjoyed collaborating with Spielberg and Lucas by writing the screenplay of the third Indiana Jones movie. "George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have created a new genre out of a very old one," Boam says. "George has the mind of a writer and understands instantly when an idea is right or wrong and how it affects the plot. George and I would paint in broad strokes and Steven was great in coming up with how to embellish them."
Principal photography for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" began in Almeria, Spain on May 16, 1988, after many months of pre-production. The art department had begun operations in late 1987, following the opening of the production office, which was co-ordinating the colossal organizational demands of the enterprise. Location selections, costume and set designing, and the rendering of storyboards were some of the preliminary efforts of the filmmakers. With the beginning of filming, transporting equipment and the large staff of production personnel became--as described by production supervisor Patricia Carr-"like an army maneuver."
"With 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' we set a pattern for what these movies were going to be: action, adventure, comedy and giant globe-trotting locations," adds Frank Marshall.
"For this film we were faced with the problem of recreating almost every form of transportation that was available in 1938: trains, planes, boats, a Zeppelin, horses, camels," Robert Watts says.
"The storyboards give one time to fully plan how to achieve certain effects," says director of photography Douglas Slocombe, who is renowned for his use of lighting to emphasize important story elements in each frame of film, so that "one sees right away what is happening without any extraneous image."
Filming began on a dry river bed with Indy's encounter, on horseback, with a Nazi tank. The second location in Spain was near Majocar on an abandoned airfield, where complex aerial scenes involving a Nazi Fighter plane were orchestrated. Railway scenes were shot in Granada at Gaudix station, which was transformed into the middle eastern town of Iskenderun, complete with camels, goats, market sellers, beggars, and women with yashmaks.
"We built a mosque in the background for additional atmosphere," producer Robert Watts relates. "Iskenderun was part of a small sultanate that existed during the period of the film. It's a place located somewhere south of Turkey and north of Syria."
After filming in Spain for three weeks, the filmmakers traveled to England for ten weeks of filming on sets constructed on the enormous stages at Elstree Studios. Interiors created by production designer Elliot Scott included Walter Donovan's apartment overlooking Central Park, sinister Venetian catacombs, and the interior of a zeppelin.
Other United Kingdom locations for the film included the Tilbury Docks in Essex, Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Hertfordshire, and the Royal Horticultural Hall in central London.
On August 7 the cast and crew traveled to Venice, where Harrison Ford and Alison Doody were filmed in the vicinity of St. Mark's Square and the Doges Palace. Later in the week the company flew to Jordan for scenes in the ancient city of Petra.
"Petra is a unique piece of architecture that serves in the movie as a secret temple lost for hundreds of years," Watts says. "And that's what Petra is because it's comparatively recently that Petra itself was discovered, within this century, and the building itself is three thousand years old.
"We've traveled all around the world with this trilogy: four continents, nine countries, and eight states," Watts declares. Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah are the states where "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" was filmed. Watts reminds, "As Indiana Jones once said, 'it's not the years, it's the mileage.' "
Exotic animals are another trademark of an Indiana Jones movie. The animal consultant was Mike Culling, who worked with wranglers and animal trainers to provide the right horses, lions, rats, and snakes for filming. "Harrison Ford is very good with animals and carefully prepares for working with them and handling them," Culling says.