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Director Steven Spielberg Was Stumped Over Raiders Of The Lost Ark’s Biggest Reveal


Another of the movie’s best moments, when Indy shoots a swordsman, comes from a moment of improv (even if screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan hated it), so there was already precedent for winging it a bit on “Raiders.” Spielberg explained his trepidation when it came to the big finale:

“The one thing in Raiders I was a little bit dubious about was what happens when they open the ark. What actually is going to come out of the ark? There were a lot of crazy things in the script that came out of the ark. I wasn’t sure how much we could actually get on the screen. We made a lot of it up when we were in postproduction.”

In the script, the opening is absolutely bonkers, with descriptions of a “light so bright, a power so fearsome, a charge so jolting, that there is nothing in our world to compare to it” and a “sound so intense and so odd and so haunting that the suggestible among us might imagine it were the whisper of God,” which are basically impossible to convey via film, so Spielberg and his team had to get creative. They managed to convey some of it, like the streaks of white light that shoot out of the Ark, but the rest all ended up being a bit of strobing and some amazing Nazi face-melting. I, for one, am not complaining. As impressive as Kasdan’s description of the moment is, who doesn’t love a Nazi getting their face melted off?

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