A holy grail of Indiana Jones artifacts

Upon the first story meeting with Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas hand wrote this treatment for Raiders of the Lost Ark, courtesy of Will McCrabb. Speaking of which, dear every screenwriter/storyteller, read this: a holy grail of Indiana Jones artifacts—a 125-page transcript of the original story-conference meeting involving producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The blog, Mystery Man on Film, somehow got its hands on the alleged transcript, which features the filmmakers talking at great length in January 1978 about what would eventually become Raiders of the Lost Ark. The thing’s a pure joy to read. In it, you can find the genesis of everything from Indiana Jones’ name to his fear of snakes to his (possibly risque) romantic history with Marion Ravenwood. Download the 125-page transcript [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at Amazon and other online retailers.

Some background first…

Original cloth-board bound complete revised fifth-draft script for Raiders of the Lost Ark. This incredible piece was used by Harrison Ford throughout filming, complete with color revision and daily hand-typed dialogue pages (showing folds and wear from carrying in Ford’s pocket). Contains 145 pages, of which 112 sides have hand-annotations (over 1,300 words) penned by Ford in his distinctive block capital style of writing. Notes range from single words to complete pages of writing and cover all aspects of the filmmaking process, ranging from dialogue alterations and questions about the plot to suggestions and perspectives used to create the iconic character of Indiana Jones.

Of specific interest are: Ford’s concern about avoiding references to “Han Solo”-like behavior; a list of hat related superstitions; the dialogue for the famous line: “there’s a big snake back here”; notes asking, “what exactly is a headpiece to a staff of ra?”; direction suggestions on a number of scenes (Hawaii plane sequence, Tanis dig, etc.); thoughts about the depiction of drunken behavior (a side of the character that was eventually removed from the film); suggestions for background reading books (such as Temple of Solomon). The script remains in fine condition, with light wear and stains to covers, exhibiting normal signs of daily, on-set use. Arguably the greatest script in modern cinema, forging the character of “Indiana Jones” which would become one of the greatest icons in film history. In 2010, Indy stands as #2 on Time Magazine’s greatest fictional character of all time — surpassed only by Sherlock Holmes. Sold for $100,000.00.

Original Medway Productions script for Raiders of the Lost Ark. With page changes. Signed by Vic Armstrong, Harrison Ford’s stunt double, and Jim Steranko, who created the original concept art for Indiana Jones. Medway Productions is an oblique reference to the then-home of George and Marcia Lucas.

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  • George Gomez

    This is damn cool stuff

  • Mike White

    Wrote a bit about these transcripts. Amazing stuff. http://impossiblefunky.blogspot.com/2009/03/when-george-lucas-had-talent.html

  • Jim_A

    Fun, huh ? I remember when the story treatment first hit the net more than a decade ago, my entire generation read it within about a week. LoL It’s astonishing how much ground they covered. Probably based on research done by Philip Kaufman and his wife. Great stuff.