Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a
1984 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It
is the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a
prequel to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, featuring Harrison
Ford reprising his role as the title character. After arriving in
North India, Indiana Jones is asked by desperate villagers to find a
mystical stone and rescue their children from a Thuggee cult
practicing child slavery, black magic and ritual human sacrifice in
honor of the goddess Kali.
The film was released to financial success
but mixed reviews, which criticized its violence, later contributing
to the creation of the PG-13 rating. However, critical opinion has
improved since 1984, citing the film's intensity and imagination.
Some of the film's cast and crew, including Spielberg,
retrospectively view the film in a negative light, partly due to the
film being the darkest and most overtly violent Indiana Jones film.
The film has also been the subject of controversy due to its
portrayal of India and Hinduism.
Ford returns as Indiana Jones, archaeologist and adventurer who is
asked by a desperate Indian village to retrieve a mysterious stone
and rescue the missing village children. Ford, who was playing a
younger version of himself from Raiders of the Lost Ark, undertook a
strict physical exercise regimen headed by Jake Steinfeld to gain a
more muscular tone for the part.
Kate Capshaw plays Wilhelmina
"Willie" Scott, an American nightclub singer working in
Shanghai. Willie is unprepared for her adventure with Indy and Short
Round, and appears to be a damsel in distress. She also forms a
romantic relationship with Indy. Over 120 actresses auditioned for
the role, including Sharon Stone. To prepare for the role, Capshaw
watched The African Queen and A Guy Named Joe. Spielberg wanted
Willie to be a complete contrast to Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of
the Lost Ark, so Capshaw dyed her brown hair blonde for the part.
Costume designer Anthony Powell originally wanted the character to
have red hair.
Amrish Puri was cast as Mola Ram, the
Thuggee priest who performs rituals of human sacrifices. The
character is named after a 17th-century Indian painter. Lucas wanted
Mola Ram to be terrifying, so the screenwriters added elements of
Aztec and Hawaiian human sacrificers, and European devil worship to
Jonathan Ke Quan plays Short Round, Indy's
eleven-year-old Chinese sidekick, who drives the 1936 Auburn Boat
Tail Speedster which allows Indy to escape during the opening
sequence. Quan was chosen as part of a casting call in Los Angeles.
Around 6000 actors auditioned worldwide for the part: Quan was cast
after his brother auditioned for the role. Spielberg liked his
personality, so he and Ford improvised the scene where Short Round
accuses Indy of cheating during a card game. He was credited by his
birthname, Ke Huy Quan.
was born in Saigon, South Vietnam (present-day Ho Chi Minh City,
Vietnam). He was forced to leave his country when the Army of the
Republic of Vietnam was defeated during the Fall of Saigon. His
family was selected for political asylum and emigrated to the United
States. He became a child actor at age 12, apearing in Temple of
Doom. After being cast, his family changed his name to Ke Huy. The
following year (1985) he co-starred in The Goonies as the kid
inventor Richard "Data" Wang. After high school, he
graduated from the University of Southern California School of
Cinematic Arts and later attended the University of Manchester, in
the United Kingdom. He is fluent in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin,
and English and continues to work as an actor and stunt
choreographer. Having studied Taekwondo under Philip Tan on the set
of Temple of Doom, he later trained under Tao-liang Tan. He worked as
a stunt choreographer for X-Men and The One as the assistant of
renowned Hong Kong fight choreographer Corey Yuen.
Actor Pat Roach (who played both the Giant
Sherpa and shaven-headed German mechanic in Raiders) appears as the
Thuggee overseer in the mines. Spielberg, Lucas, Marshall, Kennedy,
and Dan Aykroyd have cameos at the airport.
When George Lucas first approached Steven
Spielberg for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg recalled,
"George said if I directed the first one then I would have to
direct a trilogy. He had three stories in mind. It turned out George
did not have three stories in mind and we had to make up subsequent
stories." Spielberg and Lucas attributed the film's tone, which
was darker than Raiders of the Lost Ark, to their personal moods
following the breakups of their relationships (George with his wife,
and Spielberg with his girlfriend). In addition, Lucas felt "it
had to have been a dark film. The way Empire Strikes Back was the
dark second act of the Star Wars trilogy."
Executive producer and co-writer George
Lucas (above center with Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg and Harrison
Ford on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) decided to
make the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the
villains again. After three rejected plot devices, Lucas wrote a film
treatment that resembled the film's final storyline. Spielberg
originally wanted to bring Marion Ravenwood back, with Abner
Ravenwood being considered as a possible character. Lucas created an
opening chase scene that had Indiana Jones on a motorcycle on the
Great Wall of China. In addition, Indiana discovered a "Lost
World pastiche with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs".
When Chinese authorities refused to allow filming, Lucas considered
the Monkey King as the plot device. Lucas wrote a film treatment that
included a haunted castle in Scotland, but Spielberg felt it was too
similar to Poltergeist and the haunted castle in Scotland slowly
transformed into a demonic temple in India.
came up with ideas that involved a religious cult devoted to child
slavery, black magic and ritual human sacrifice. Lawrence Kasdan of
Raiders of the Lost Ark was asked to write the script. "I didn't
want to be associated with Temple of Doom," he reflected. "I
just thought it was horrible. It's so mean. There's nothing pleasant
about it. I think Temple of Doom represents a chaotic period in both
their [Lucas and Spielberg] lives, and the movie is very ugly and
mean-spirited." Lucas hired Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz to
write the script because of their knowledge of Indian culture. Gunga
Din served as an influence for the film.
Huyck and Katz spent four days at
Skywalker Ranch for story discussions with Lucas and Spielberg in
early 1982. They later said the early plot consisted of two notions
of Lucas': that Indy would recover something stolen from a village
and decide whether to give it back, and that the picture would start
in China and work its way to India. Huyck says Lucas was very
single-minded about getting through meetings, while "Steve would
always stop and think about visual stuff."
Lucas' initial idea for Indiana's sidekick
was a virginal young princess, but Huyck, Katz and Spielberg disliked
the idea. Just as Indiana Jones was named after Lucas' Alaskan
Malamute, Willie was named after Spielberg's Cocker Spaniel, and
Short Round was named after Huyck's dog, whose name was derived from
The Steel Helmet.
Lucas handed Huyck and Katz a 20-page
treatment in May 1982 titled Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death to
adapt into a screenplay. Scenes such as the fight scene in Shanghai,
escape from the airplane and the mine cart chase came from original
script ideas from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Huyck, and Katz had been developing Radioland Murders (1994) since
the early 1970s. The opening music was taken from that script and
applied to Temple of Doom. Spielberg reflected, "George's idea
was to start the movie with a musical number. He wanted to do a Busby
Berkeley dance number. At all our story meetings he would say, 'Hey,
Steven, you always said you wanted to shoot musicals.' I thought,
'Yeah, that could be fun.'"
Lucas, Spielberg, Katz and Huyck were
concerned how to keep the audience interest while explaining the
Thuggee cult. Huyck and Katz proposed a tiger hunt but Spielberg
said, "There's no way I'm going to stay in India long enough to
shoot a tiger hunt." They eventually decided on a dinner scene
involving eating bugs, monkey brains and the like. "Steve and
George both still react like children, so their idea was to make it
as gross as possible," says Katz.
Lucas sent Huyck and Katz a 500-page
transcript of their taped conversations to help them with the script.
The first draft was written in six weeks, in early-August 1982.
"Steve was coming off an enormously successful movie and George
didn't want to lose him," said Katz. "He desperately wanted
him to direct (Temple of Doom). We were under a lot of pressure to do
it really, really fast so we could hold on to Steve."
A second draft was finished by September.
Captain Blumburtt, Chattar Lal, and the boy Maharaja originally had
more crucial roles. A dogfight was deleted, as well as those who
drank the Kali blood turned into zombies with physical superhuman
abilities. During pre-production, the Temple of Death title was
replaced with Temple of Doom. From March to April 1983, Huyck and
Katz simultaneously performed rewrites for a final shooting script.
Huyck and Katz later said Harrison Ford took many of the one liners
originally given to Short Round.
CLUB FEATURETTE DEPARTMENT
The Temple of Doom (1984) is the second of the George Lucas/Steven Spielberg Indiana Jones epics and is set a year or so before the events in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy (Harrison Ford) sets out to retrieve a precious gem and his companions this time around include a dimbulbed, easily frightened nightclub chanteuse (Kate Capshaw), and a feisty 12-year-old kid named Short Round (Quan Ke Huy).
Huyck later recalled "at one point
when we were writing it we told George We know a lot of
Indians. We've been there... I don't think they're going to think
this is really so cool. Do you think you're going to have trouble
shooting there? He said, Are you kidding? It's me and
Steve." Months later they called and said, We can't shoot
in India. They're really upset. So they shot in Sri Lanka and
The filmmakers were denied permission to
film in North India and Amer Fort due to the government finding the
script offensive. The government demanded many script changes,
rewritings and final cut privilege. As a result, location work went
to Kandy, Sri Lanka, with matte paintings and scale models applied
for the village, temple, and Pankot Palace. Budgetary inflation also
caused Temple of Doom to cost $28.17 million, $8 million more than
Raiders of the Lost Ark. Filming began on April 18th, 1983 in Kandy,
and moved to Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England on May 5th.
Producer Frank Marshall recalled,
"when filming the bug scenes, crew members would go home and
find bugs in their hair, clothes and shoes." Eight out of the
nine sound stages at Elstree housed the filming of Temple of Doom.
Lucas biographer Marcus Hearn observed, "Douglas Slocombe's
skillful lighting helped disguise the fact that about 80 percent of
the film was shot with sound stages."
Daniels choreographed the opening music number "Anything
Goes". Capshaw learned to sing in Mandarin and took tap dance
lessons. However the dress was fitted so tightly that Capshaw was not
able to dance in it. Made by Barbara Matera out of original 1920s and
1930s beads, the dress was one of a kind. The opening dance number
was actually the last scene to be shot, but the dress did feature in
some earlier location shots in Sri Lanka, drying on a nearby tree.
Unfortunately an elephant had started to eat it, tearing the whole
back of the dress. Consequently, some emergency repair work had to be
done by Matera with what remained of the original beads, and it was
costume designer Anthony Powell who had to fill in the insurance
forms. As to the reason for damage, he had no option but to put
"dress eaten by elephant".
Norman Reynolds could not return for
Temple of Doom because of his commitment to Return of the Jedi.
Elliot Scott (Labyrinth, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Reynolds' mentor,
was hired. To build the rope bridge the filmmakers found a group of
British engineers from Balfour Beatty working on the nearby Victoria Dam.
Harrison Ford suffered a severe spinal
disc herniation by performing a somersault while filming the scene
with the assassin in Jones' bedroom. A hospital bed was brought on
set for Ford to rest between takes. Lucas stated, "He could
barely stand up, yet he was there every day so shooting would not
stop. He was in incomprehensible pain, but he was still trying to
make it happen." With no alternatives, Lucas shut down
production while Ford was flown to Centinela Hospital on June 21st
for recovery. Stunt double Vic Armstrong spent five weeks as a
stand-in for various shots. Wendy Leech, Armstrong's wife, served as
Capshaw's stunt double.
Macau was substituted for Shanghai, while
cinematographer Douglas Slocombe caught a fever from June 24th to
July 7th and could not work. Ford returned on August 8th. Despite the
problems during filming, Spielberg was able to complete Temple of
Doom on schedule and on budget, finishing principal photography on
Various pick-ups took place afterwards.
This included Snake River Canyon, in Idaho, Mammoth Mountain,
Tuolumne and American River, Yosemite National Park, San Joaquin
Valley, Hamilton Air Force Base and Arizona. Producer Frank Marshall
directed a second unit in Florida in January 1984, using alligators
to double as crocodiles. The mine chase was a combination of a roller
coaster and scale models with dolls doubling for the actors. Minor
stop motion was also used for the sequence. Visual effects
supervisors Dennis Muren, Joe Johnston and a crew at Industrial Light
& Magic provided the visual effects work, while Skywalker Sound,
headed by Ben Burtt, commissioned the sound design. Burtt recorded
Willie Scott's scream and roller coasters at Disneyland Park in
Anaheim for the mine cart scene.
"After I showed the film to George
[Lucas], at an hour and 55 minutes, we looked at each other,"
Spielberg remembered. "The first thing that we said was, 'Too
fast'. We needed to decelerate the action. I did a few more matte
shots to slow it down. We made it a little bit slower, by putting
breathing room back in so there'd be a two-hour oxygen supply for the audience."
Temple of Doom was released on May 23rd,
1984 in America, accumulating a record-breaking $45.7 million in its
first week. The film went on to gross $333.1 million worldwide, with
$180 million in North America and $153.1 million in other markets.
The film had the highest opening weekend of 1984, and was that year's highest-grossing
film (third in North America, behind Beverly Hills Cop and Ghostbusters).
Marvel Comics published a comic book
adaptation of the film by writer David Michelinie and artists Jackson
Guice, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey, and Bob Camp. It was published as
Marvel Super Special #30 and as a three-issue limited series.
LucasArts and Atari Games promoted the
film by releasing an arcade game and Hasbro released a toy line based
on the film in September 2008.
The film received mixed reviews upon its
release, but over the years the film's reception has shifted to a
more positive tone.
Roger Ebert gave the film a perfect
four-star rating, calling it "the most cheerfully exciting,
bizarre, goofy, romantic adventure movie since Raiders, and it is
high praise to say that it's not so much a sequel as an equal. It's
quite an experience." Vincent Canby felt the film was "too
shapeless to be the fun that Raiders is, but shape may be beside the
point. Old-time, 15-part movie serials didn't have shape. They just
went on and on and on, which is what Temple of Doom does with humor
and technical invention."
Gabler commented that "I think in some ways, Indiana Jones and
the Temple of Doom was better than Raiders of the Lost Ark. In some
ways it was less. In sum total, I'd have to say I enjoyed it more.
That doesn't mean it's better necessarily, but I got more enjoyment
out of it." Colin Covert of the Star Tribune called the film
"sillier, darkly violent and a bit dumbed down, but still great fun."
Pauline Kael, writing in The New Yorker,
claimed it was "one of the most sheerly pleasurable physical
comedies ever made." Halliwell's Film Guide described the film
as a "slow-starting adventure romp with much ingenuity and too
much brutality and horror."
Dave Kehr gave a largely negative review;
"The film betrays no human impulse higher than that of a ten-year-old
boy trying to gross out his baby sister by dangling a dead worm in
her face." Ralph Novak of People complained "The ads that
say 'this film may be too intense for younger children' are
fraudulent. No parent should allow a young child to see this
traumatizing movie; it would be a cinematic form of child abuse. Even
Harrison Ford is required to slap Quan and abuse Capshaw. There are
no heroes connected with the film, only two villains; their names are
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas." Leonard Maltin gave the
movie only 2 out of 4 stars, saying that the film is "headache
inducing" and "never gives us a chance to breathe",
and chiding the "'gross-out' gags."
Capshaw called her character "not much more than a dumb
screaming blonde." Steven Spielberg said in 1989, "I wasn't
happy with Temple of Doom at all. It was too dark, too subterranean,
and much too horrific. I thought it out-poltered Poltergeist. There's
not an ounce of my own personal feeling in Temple of Doom." He
later added during the Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
documentary, "Temple of Doom is my least favorite of the
trilogy. I look back and I say, 'Well the greatest thing that I got
out of that was I met Kate Capshaw. We married years later and that
to me was the reason I was fated to make Temple of Doom."
Dennis Muren and Industrial Light &
Magic's visual effects department won the Academy Award for Best
Visual Effects at the 57th Academy Awards. Soundtrack composer John
Williams was, as he had been for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark,
again nominated for Original Music Score. The visual effects crew won
the same category at the 38th British Academy Film Awards.
Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, editor Michael Kahn, Ben Burtt and
other sound designers at Skywalker Sound received nominations.
Spielberg, the writers, Harrison Ford, Jonathan Ke Quan, Anthony
Powell and makeup designer Tom Smith were nominated for their work at
the Saturn Awards. Temple of Doom was nominated for Best Fantasy Film
but lost to Ghostbusters.
The film's depiction of Hindus caused
controversy in India, and brought it to the attention of the
country's censors, who placed a temporary ban on it. The depiction of
the goddess Kali as a representative of the underworld and evil was
met with much criticism, as she is almost exclusively depicted as a
goddess of change and empowerment (Shakti), meaning that while she
does destroy, she almost always does so in order to effect positive
change. The depiction of Indian cuisine was also criticized, as
dishes such as baby snakes, eyeball soup, beetles, and chilled monkey
brains are not actual Indian foods. Shashi Tharoor has condemned the
film and has criticised numerous parts of the film as offensive and
factually inaccurate. Yvette Rosser has criticized the film for
contributing to negative stereotypes of Indians in Western society,
writing "[it] seems to have been taken as a valid portrayal of
India by many teachers, since a large number of students surveyed
complained that teachers referred to the eating of monkey brains."
This is a not for profit
fan site, presented here is for general educational and informational
This site is in no way
affiliated with Lucasfilm Ltd. or Paramount Pictures. Copyrights and
trademarks for the films, books, articles, and other promotional
materials are held by their respective owners and their use is
allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.