BY ROGER EBERT / May 24, 1989
Cast & Credits
Indiana Jones: Harrison Ford
Henry Jones: Sean Connery
Marcus Brody: Denholm Elliott
Elsa Schneider: Alison Doody
Young Indy: River Phoenix
Sallah: John Rhys-Davies
Paramount Presents A Film Directed By Steven Spielberg. Executive Producers George Lucas And Frank Marshall. Written By Jeffrey Boam. Edited By Michael Kahn. Photographed By Douglas Slocombe. Music By John Williams. Running Time: 125 Minutes. Classified PG-13. Printer-friendly »
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There is a certain style of illustration that appeared in the boys' adventure magazines of the 1940s - in those innocent publications that have been replaced by magazines on punk lifestyles and movie monsters. The illustrations were always about the same. They showed a small group of swarthy men hovering over a treasure trove with greedy grins on their bearded faces, while in the foreground, two teenage boys peered out from behind a rock in wonder and astonishment. The point of view was always over the boys' shoulders; the reader was invited to share this forbidden glimpse of the secret world of men.
"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" begins with just such a scene; director Steven Spielberg must have been paging through his old issues of Boys' Life and Thrilling Wonder Tales, down in the basement.
As I watched it, I felt a real delight, because recent Hollywood escapist movies have become too jaded and cynical, and they have lost the feeling that you can stumble over astounding adventures just by going on a hike with your Scout troop.
Spielberg lights the scene in the strong, basic colors of old pulp magazines. When the swarthy men bend over their discovery, it seems to glow with a light of its own, which bathes their faces in a golden glow. This is the kind of moment that can actually justify a line like It's mine! All mine! - although Spielberg does not go so far.
One of the two...