Indiana Jones movie inspirations – a run down from Paul

I sent my co-author* Paul Dellinger the list of 50s movies cited by George Lucas as inspiring the new Indiana Jones movie.

Paul knows his old-school sci-fi and he sent the list back to me with annotations. I thought some folks might enjoy it…

I didn’t see “Rocketship X-M (1950) in theaters, but have seen it since on TV and on tape. It was a low-budget film which they rushed out to cash in on the publicity from George Pal’s “Destination: Moon,” also 1950. In “Rocketship X-M,” it is also supposed to be a moon shot but things go wrong and they end up on an atomic-devastated Mars (with scenery tinted red). I don’t recall anything about competition with the Russians in that one, though. That theme did come up in “Destination: Moon,” though.
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951) a B-picture? Hardly. That was a major release, directed by Robert Wise, and even got newsreel coverage.

“Them!” (1954) was also a larger-budgeted picture than a “B” would have been, and the best of the big bug movies. Some of its imitations might be seen as B pictures. I remember reading about “Them!” in Popular science magazine in the high school library before it came out, and it was almost a murder mystery; the giant mutated ants weren’t found as the culprits until a good part of the movie was over.
“Naked Jungle” was another major release, not a B. Again, we kids didn’t know what was threatening the plantation from the movie’s preview (unless we’d read or heard the 30-minute radio version of “Leningen vs. the Ants”) but the millions of army ants eating their way across the country was horrifying when it came.
“Rebel without a Cause” was my first experience with James Dean (I’d missed “East of Eden”). It was a …different movie.
“Around the World in 80 Days” had guest appearances by practically every actor in Hollywood. Good movie. Good theme song. Good story (thanks, Jules). I think they’re remaking it or have remade it…but then they’re up in Canada now remaking “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” too, with Keanu Reeves (!) as the spaceman. Ho ho.
As I say, I haven’t seen “5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) but I have seen a 1940s movie serial which has many more moments I’ve seen repeated in the Indiana Jones movies than they list for this movie. “Perils of Nyoka” had tons of stuff repeated not only in the Indy movies but also in the “Star Wars” movies. (It’s also the only serial I’ve ever heard of in which the leading roles of hero and villain were taken by women. The male hero co-star was Clayton “Lone Ranger” Moore, in his first starring role in any movie.

There’s a trailer for Perils on Youtube…

*Paul and I are working on a sci-fi kidlit MS together. Paul’s already a published author of Sci-Fi short stories. Including one that can be found in 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories.

2 Responses

  1. Keanu as Klaatu? Say it ain’t so …

    A few years ago, when Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise were involved with their “War of the Worlds” project, a friend of mine asked if I was planning to see it, knowing that I’m a certified science fiction geek.

    My rant lasted nearly five minutes. When I finished, she remarked, “I think ‘No’ was good enough.” Sigh …

    Why remake a perfectly-good movie like “The Day the Earth Stood Still”? I’m pretty sure that people could manage to watch the classic even without updating.

  2. Yes, you’re right. According to IMDB, he is going to be Klaatu…

    I’m not bothered by a remake of this one, though. We’ll have to see what they come up with…

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