When I was planning this site, the home of the character Indiana Jones was one of the first ideas for a post that I wrote down. So when I heard the news yesterday evening that Harrison Ford was injured in a plane accident, I knew now would be the perfect time to pay a tribute to the great actor and bid good wishes for a speedy recovery.
I was just the right age when “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” was released, and I’ve seen it countless times since. You probably have, too. But this website gave me a new angle for reapproaching it, and so last night I took a fresh look at interior scenes from “Raiders” as well as the third film in the series, “The Last Crusade.” The set decoration deftly blends archeological relics with the Art Deco style popular in the ’30s, and a close look reveals that Dr. Jones is at least a tad more fashionable than we’d think.
The first thing I noticed is that Indy is so surrounded by relics that they’re actually piled up on his desk right in the classroom. Those nice students who flash “love you” on their eyelids or leave him apples would certainly never stoop to absconding anything.
The first shot we get of the inside of his Indy’s modest college professor’s house is the hallway, where his leather jacket — like his hat, a symbol of adventure inserted inconspicuously into scenes — hangs from a coat rack, while on the left are artifacts under museum/gallery lighting that anticipate what’s to come in the next room.
In the living room lighted artifacts line the top of the bookcases. Other pieces, along with old prints and paintings, fill the room. But above the fireplace, framed by a set of silver vases on the mantle, is a modern painting. It’s a small detail but feels completely appropriate for the character; this highbrow professor can appreciate modern art as much as ancient artifacts.
In the screenshot below we see his paisley dressing gown, beat-up suitcase, and a piano in the corner with a pair of Art Deco lamps on top. The sofa Dr. Brody sits on is also contemporary, suggesting Indy had acquired it in the past decade or so.
The rug is oriental, and one surmises that Indy would have acquired it on one of his many travels. It seems fitting that the sofa is modern while the rug is traditional; imagine if it were reversed and he had a clunky Victorian sofa atop a modern rug.
In the third film we get a glimpse of Indy’s office in some godforsaken part of the campus (at least according to the interior shots, not the exterior). Crude storage shelves are piled with dusty relics, and as Indy contemplates the drudgery of dealing with student papers and unanswered mail, the hat of adventure sits beckoning on his desk.
Just as in “Raiders,” where the enemy archeologist Belloq is an evil shadow figure of Indy (he even has a line of dialogue saying this very thing), in “The Last Crusade” the villain Donovan has an apartment that exaggerates to extreme the components of Indy’s home.
The skyscraper setting is truly spectacular, with the balcony outside and the view. The artifacts are presented as valuable masterpieces, and the Art Deco glamor of the furnishings is far more pronounced.
While there’s a quick glimpse of a modern painting in the adjascent room, virtually everything in this room of Donovan’s is ancient and either Greek or Asian.
In the final shot in this scene, Donovan delivers the call to adventure: Indy must one again go on a hero’s journey, this time to save his father. We don’t see Indy’s face as he hears the news, but his hat is in the center of the shot.
Once again best wishes to this actor so many of us have enjoyed from childhood all through adulthood. May he have many more adventures.
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