Steven Soderbergh Raiders

Steven Soderbergh‘s “retirement” has been a delight to follow. Freed of the demands of film directing, he’s found time to do all sorts of other things, from an Off-Broadway stage play to a Cinemax TV series to a Twitter novella to a Gus Van Sant / Alfred Hitchcock Psychos mash-up. His latest endeavor, released today, is a silent, black-and-white version of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In an accompanying statement, Soderbergh explains that he undertook the exercise in an attempt to better understand staging. But of course the real reason this happened is “because Steven Soderbergh.” Hit the jump to see the Steven Soderbergh Raiders of the Lost Ark cut.

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Empire Strikes Back Voted Greatest Movie

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back has been voted the greatest movie of all time in a poll conducted by the British film publication Empire Magazine. More than 250,000 film fans voted in this latest poll, resulting in a list of the 301 greatest movies of all time. When the poll was last conducted six years ago in 2008 with 10,200 voters, The Godfather took the top honors. This year the Star Wars sequel displaced the Francis Ford Coppola adaptation for the top spot. Who else did Empire Strikes Back beat for the top slot? How has the list changed in the last six years? Find out after the jump.

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raiders-remake-kids

It’s one of the better stories in film fandom: two kids, Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala, with cinematographer Jayson Lamb, were such huge fans of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark that they remade the film, shot for shot. It took seven years, but eventually Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation was complete enough for people to watch, and years later even got the attention of Spielberg himself. The creators are not kids any longer, actually; the guys weren’t even teens when they started to shoot the Raiders remake, and the project got going in 1982.

But while many people have seen The Adaptation, the creators never really considered it as 100% finished as they were never able to shoot the airplane scene. You know the one, with the giant propellor, and the bald Nazi mechanic, and all that blood.

Now, as a documentary about The Adaptation and a dramatic film about its creation both get into gear, the original three creators are trying to raise money to shoot that one final scene. Read More »

Raiders Face Melt

Next week, New York gets a taste of Los Angeles as Gallery 1988 brings their signature event, Crazy 4 Cult, back to the Big Apple. The show opens December 13 and while we’ll have much more on the event in the upcoming days, two pieces in particular deserve to be called out.

They’re paintings by Jason Edmiston, who recently had a solo gallery show at Mondo in Austin, TX. Edmiston captured the climax of Steven Spielberg‘s Raiders of the Lost Ark with two paintings showing Colonel Dietrich and  Major Arnold Toht in the horrific final moments. These works aren’t for the faint of heart, but they will find a place in the heart of any Indiana Jones fan. Check them out below. Read More »

Raiders of the Lost Ark set photo

In 1981, PBS aired a terrific, in-depth “making-of” special about Raiders of the Lost Ark. Some of the material here has been, er, raided for other docs about the creation of the movie, but you can watch the full special below.

There’s a lot of great stuff in here, as the special goes into great detail about some elements of the production. But my fave bits might be when the cameras catch Harrison Ford at his most sardonic. The actor comments on being dragged behind a truck as “just one more useless experience,” before saying “I’m sure it’s not dangerous. If it was dangerous they would have waited until we’d got more of the movie done.”

There is also a lot of excellent footage of Steven Spielberg at work directing, and it’s useful to see how he gets performances out of different situations. Directing can be a different job not just from movie to movie, but shot to shot, and you’ll see that illuminated here. Read More »

Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark

A behind the scenes photo from Raiders of the Lost Ark has unearthed an interesting story from one of the most iconic adventure films of all time. As we all know, when the Ark is opened at the end of the film, all of the evil Nazis and their supporters are killed in incredibly gruesome ways. The worst was saved for Belloq (Paul Freeman), Indiana Jones’ main nemesis throughout the film. In the movie, his head explodes while being engulfed in flames. However, that wasn’t what director Steven Spielberg originally intended. Read More »

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Paramount Home Video and Lucasfilm have officially announced the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade individually for the first time ever in High Definition. As you may recall, the original Indiana Jones trilogy films were previously only released as part of the Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures box set, forcing fans to own the much despised fourth installment Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

(A side rant: the box set didn’t feature the television series The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, yet still claimed to be the “Complete Adventures.”)

Now the first three films will be released on bare-bones Blu-ray discs (with a digital copies available through iTunes) on December 17th, 2013. Digital HD versions via streaming and download services will be available earlier on November 19th, 2013. Read the full press release with full special feature details after the jump, and see all the new cover art.

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Raiders Adaptation Book

Though you may not know their names, odds are you’ve heard the story of Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala. They’re the two long-time friends who, at the age of 11, set out to make a shot by shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. And they did! It took them seven years, but their homemade version of Steven Spielberg‘s 1981 masterpiece has since become a cult classic, screening at small festivals and repertory houses before being documented in the book Raiders by Alan Eisenstock. Now, in a beautiful twist of fate, Hollywood has bought the rights to that book and plan to make Strompolos and Zala’s filmmaking adventure into an adventure film of its own.

Jeremy Coon, who produced Napoleon Dynamite, has just optioned the rights to Eisenstock’s book. He plans to first direct a documentary about the story, then turn that into a narrative feature. Strompolos and Zala are attached as producers and their life rights are part of the deal.  Read More »

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