Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Back in 2007 I wrote a blog post about a VHS tape I made as a kid. The tape was labeled “MAKING OF MOVIES TAPE” and had five television specials on it: SPFX: The Empire Strikes Back, Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Monsters, The Making of Superman: The Movie, and (part of) Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi. Each of these specials originally aired on television, which is how I recorded them.

I’ve transferred most of the specials over to the computer, but for some reason that Raiders of the Lost Ark one is in terrible condition. More than any of the others, that particular special drives the tracking on my new VCR crazy.

Unlike some of those other specials, it turns out Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark was released on VHS as part of a double feature along with another special, The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was able to track down a brand new copy for $10 via Amazon.

The tape arrived in today’s mail, and I wasted no time in ripping off the original plastic and cramming it into my VCR faster than Indiana Jones could crack his whip!

Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first special on the tape and the reason I purchased it, was as wonderful as I remembered it to be. In this special, narrated by Harrison Ford, viewers get a behind the scenes look at some of the stunts that appeared in the first Indiana Jones film. There’s a lot of bonus footage from the “Well of Souls,” in which we get to see pretty much everybody on the set handling approximately 9,000 snakes. There’s also a lot of footage showing how they staged the fight in Marion’s pub, and more of the stunt where Indiana Jones is dragged behind the truck carrying the Ark. The hour-long film also contains some classic footage of stunts being performed along with interviews with some of the film’s stunt men.

I hadn’t seen The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark before, and it begins only a second or two after the first one ends. As a kid I probably would have loved this special. It’s only downfall, if it has one, is that it follows Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark and uses a lot of the exact same footage. There’s less talk about stunt men, but a lot of it just feels like a longer edit of the first special (or perhaps the first special was a tighter edit of this one?). Lots of the behind the scenes clips are the exact same ones that appear in the first special, so watching them back-to-back seems a bit redundant.

I spent a couple hours after work last night dumping these into to the computer, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the VHS tape — either take it to Goodwill or put it back on Amazon to share with somebody else.

Maybe I’ll hide it in a temple and surround it with poison darts and a giant boulder…

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