INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. 1989. DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG. PRODUCED BY GEORGE LUCAS AND ROBERT WATTS. MUSIC BY JOHN WILLIAMS. STARRING HARRISON FORD, SEAN CONNERY, DENHOLM ELLIOTT, ALISON DOODY, JULIAN GLOVER, JOHN RHYS-DAVIES, MICHAEL BYRNE, ROBERT EDDISON, RIVER PHOENIX, MICHAEL SHEARD AND ALEXEI SAYLE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This terrific American action/adventure film was clearly meant to be the last instalment in the INDIANA JONES francise, judging by the title. Of course, in the end, it became the penultimate ‘Indy’ film when THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL came along in 2008.
The other two films are RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and TEMPLE OF DOOM. I always think that TEMPLE OF DOOM is my favourite of the four movies until I re-watch THE LAST CRUSADE, and then suddenly I’m all turned around on the matter yet again.
THE LAST CRUSADE seems to have everything you could wish for in an action/adventure film. It’s got evil Nazis, the Holy Grail, a treacherous femme fatale and the legendary Sean Connery starring as Indy’s dad, Henry Jones, Sr.
It’s a lot less gory than THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, the instalment which preceded it. I understand that some people had a problem with the gore. I’m not one of them, mind you. I absolutely relished every drop of gore in THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. If anything, I would have embraced a load more gore, haha. You can’t always get what you want, however.
The plot, in a nutshell, is as follows. Dr. Henry Jones, Sr., Indy’s Pops, is a Holy Grail scholar who is kidnapped by the aforementioned evil Nazis and is being held somewhere on the Austrian-German border. Naturally, Indy hotfoots it after his dad and rescues him, only for them both to spend the rest of the movie being pursued by the Nazis who are using the two Jones men to find the Holy Grail for them, believing as they do that the secret of eternal life will be given to whoever’s lucky enough to find it.
One of these evil Nazis, of course, is a beautiful blonde female called Dr. Elsa Schneider. The moment when the two Jones lads discover that they’ve both come to know this woman carnally is pretty funny. Indy is gorgeous, obviously, and so manly, but Sean Connery is James Bond. James Bond. I honestly couldn’t choose between ’em. Just as well I’ll probably never be asked to. Sigh.
There are a lot of funny moments in this film, actually. I love the scene in which Pops thinks Indy’s gone over a cliff in a tank and been killed. Next minute, Indy’s standing next to him peering over the cliff as if to say: ‘So, what are we looking at…?’ I’ve remembered that scene my whole life, since I saw the film as a nipper. I don’t know why but I just did. Well, I guess I do know why. It’s funny and sad.
Even funnier is when Indy throws the evil Nazi out of the Zeppelin and then tells the appalled onlookers that the guy didn’t have a ticket. Priceless…! And what about Indy accidentally getting the autograph of the Third Reich’s most infamous poster-boy…? You couldn’t make that stuff up, haha. By contrast, the bit about the 700-year-old knight made me sad. Soooo very sad. Well, it was very sad. That poor man. That poor, dear lonely man.
There’s a big long tank chase towards the end of the film which didn’t float my boat as I thought it was a bit too long and besides, I’m female and that stuff doesn’t really do it for me. In this particular film, it’s the relationship between Indy and his Dad that really interests me. Yes, they didn’t have much to say to each other when Indy was growing up, but the love is definitely there. You can feel it, all warm and fuzzy and as real as real can be, beneath the slightly prickly surface. Oh, and by the way, ‘Don’t call me Junior…!’
Speaking of Indy’s growing up, the late River Phoenix stars as a young Indy at the start of the film in scenes that show us the origin of Indy’s bullwhip scar and famous fedora hat. Then at the end of the film, Sean Connery himself tells us where Indiana got his cool nickname from, though Indy doesn’t seem to want to discuss it.
I really feel at this point like this film was meant to be the last in the series. It has a sad, lovely kind of ‘ending’ feel to it. They were all saying goodbye to it, wrapping up the loose ends. Then, as we know, the franchise was unexpectedly revived in 2008 (unexpected to me, anyway!) and the rest, as they say, is history.
By the way, the film gets a mention in hit Irish sitcom FATHER TED, starring Dermot Morgan, Ardal O’Hanlon and Frank Kelly. We have only one hit Irish sitcom and this is it. INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is the Christmas film on Irish broadcaster RTE in the famous Christmas episode and the priests tune in just in time to catch it ending. Then, to the lads’ utter disgust, a special extended Latin Mass from St. Patrick’s cathedral comes on. See…? That’s the Irish connection right there. I’m Irish, by the way. Just in case you’re wondering why I’m pushing the Irish connection.
Anyway, though Indy’s undoubtedly super-sexy both as a tweed-jacket-wearing Professor and as a rough-and-ready adventurer-type, Sean Connery’s the real star of this film for me. The film-makers made a wise choice when they cast him. Yep, this is definitely my favourite Indy film. I’ve made up my mind for good this time. I’ll never change it again. Until I next watch THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, that is…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
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