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View Full Version : Raiders of the Lost Ark is really subversive!



SMACK!
05-05-2010, 02:51 PM
I just watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time in years, and something really stood out to me. It takes place in 1936, and deals with the rise of the Third Reich and the threat of WWII, conveniently circumventing having to deal with Jews in concentration camps. Were there other movies of the time dealt with Nazis, without touching on the Holocaust? This is right at the epicenter of the Holocaust Hollywood, with NBC's Holocaust miniseries, Sophie's Choice, Marathon Man and any time you saw a Nazi in film they were raping and gassing Anne Frank. Sure, the extermination of millions of Jews isn't subject for a popcorn adventure yarn -- but that's where the subversion comes in.

There is Judaism all over that movie, without a single rabbi or any nod to the concentration camps. The Nazi's are searching for the most reverent relic of Judaism, the Ark of the Covenant and wish to use it as a weapon. Allegorically, they are plundering the history, culture and wealth of the Jewish people to fuel their war machine.

Where it really gets crazy is when the Nazi Belloq masquerades as the brother of Moses, the Levite High Priest Aaron, his costume complete with the breastplate Ephod and turban, and he starts performing Hebrew rituals. And then God smites him for his hubris, melts his face and the Nazi's are attacked by what appears to be ancient ghostly Jews.

Let me reiterate. A Nazi dresses up like the most sacred Jew and Yahweh makes his head explode.

It's like having a movie where a southern plantation owner dresses up in blackface and is killed by voodoo.

The movie isn't mired by the serious weight of the Holocaust, but Spielberg still manages to have the Jews permeate the movie in spirit. It's crazy, subversive, fucked up shit for a summer blockbuster, every bit as crazy as Inglourious Basterds and Spielberg must have been giggling every Jewish-Nazi-killing-wish-fulfillment second of it.

The Hodag
05-05-2010, 02:54 PM
I like these observations. Well done.

anjugrao
05-05-2010, 02:54 PM
Other movies that dealt with Nazis without touching on the holocaust...

Top Secret
The Last Crusade
Inglorious Basterds
Surf Nazis must Die

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 02:58 PM
Other movies that dealt with Nazis without touching on the holocaust...

Top Secret
The Last Crusade
Inglorious Basterds
Surf Nazis must Die
The surf boards in Surf Nazis must Die were obviously symbols for the table of showbread and the beach itself represented the tabernacle.

edwardmblake
05-05-2010, 03:00 PM
Porkins has top men working on this.

afroloq
05-05-2010, 03:00 PM
I just watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time in years, and something really stood out to me. It takes place in 1936, and deals with the rise of the Third Reich and the threat of WWII, conveniently circumventing having to deal with Jews in concentration camps. Were there other movies of the time dealt with Nazis, without touching on the Holocaust? This is right at the epicenter of the Holocaust Hollywood, with NBC's Holocaust miniseries, Sophie's Choice, Marathon Man and any time you saw a Nazi in film they were raping and gassing Anne Frank. Sure, the extermination of millions of Jews isn't subject for a popcorn adventure yarn -- but that's where the subversion comes in.

There is Judaism all over that movie, without a single rabbi or any nod to the concentration camps. The Nazi's are searching for the most reverent relic of Judaism, the Ark of the Covenant and wish to use it as a weapon. Allegorically, they are plundering the history, culture and wealth of the Jewish people to fuel their war machine.

Where it really gets crazy is when the Nazi Belloq masquerades as the brother of Moses, the Levite High Priest Aaron, his costume complete with the breastplate Ephod and turban, and he starts performing Hebrew rituals. And then God smites him for his hubris, melts his face and the Nazi's are attacked by what appears to be ancient ghostly Jews.

Let me reiterate. A Nazi dresses up like the most sacred Jew and Yahweh makes his head explode.

It's like having a movie where a southern plantation owner dresses up in blackface and is killed by voodoo.

The movie isn't mired by the serious weight of the Holocaust, but Spielberg still manages to have the Jews permeate the movie in spirit. It's crazy, subversive, fucked up shit for a summer blockbuster, every bit as crazy as Inglourious Basterds and Spielberg must have been giggling every Jewish-Nazi-killing-wish-fulfillment second of it.

2 issues I have with this...Belloq was a Frenchman working for the Nazis...not a Nazi himself and the spirits...no one can really say what the spirits were short of the hand of God Himself.

Question you have to ask ho is if Belloq was so brilliant, why didn't he know NOT to open the ark or at the very least, look away.....that damned hubris hmmm?? LOL

Foolish Mortal
05-05-2010, 03:03 PM
I just watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time in years, and something really stood out to me. It takes place in 1936, and deals with the rise of the Third Reich and the threat of WWII, conveniently circumventing having to deal with Jews in concentration camps. Were there other movies of the time dealt with Nazis, without touching on the Holocaust? This is right at the epicenter of the Holocaust Hollywood, with NBC's Holocaust miniseries, Sophie's Choice, Marathon Man and any time you saw a Nazi in film they were raping and gassing Anne Frank. Sure, the extermination of millions of Jews isn't subject for a popcorn adventure yarn -- but that's where the subversion comes in.

There is Judaism all over that movie, without a single rabbi or any nod to the concentration camps. The Nazi's are searching for the most reverent relic of Judaism, the Ark of the Covenant and wish to use it as a weapon. Allegorically, they are plundering the history, culture and wealth of the Jewish people to fuel their war machine.

Where it really gets crazy is when the Nazi Belloq masquerades as the brother of Moses, the Levite High Priest Aaron, his costume complete with the breastplate Ephod and turban, and he starts performing Hebrew rituals. And then God smites him for his hubris, melts his face and the Nazi's are attacked by what appears to be ancient ghostly Jews.

Let me reiterate. A Nazi dresses up like the most sacred Jew and Yahweh makes his head explode.

It's like having a movie where a southern plantation owner dresses up in blackface and is killed by voodoo.

The movie isn't mired by the serious weight of the Holocaust, but Spielberg still manages to have the Jews permeate the movie in spirit. It's crazy, subversive, fucked up shit for a summer blockbuster, every bit as crazy as Inglourious Basterds and Spielberg must have been giggling every Jewish-Nazi-killing-wish-fulfillment second of it.
The movie is done in the style of 1940's serials. Serials didn't deal with heavy issues like the Holocaust. They were just intended to be straight forward adventure stories with clear good guys and bad guys.

The Hodag
05-05-2010, 03:05 PM
Porkins has top men working on this.

That wasn't actually the Star Wars Porkins dude, was it?

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 03:06 PM
The movie is done in the style of 1940's serials. Serials didn't deal with heavy issues like the Holocaust. They were just intended to be straight forward adventure stories with clear good guys and bad guys.
Exactly my point, hence the subversion. Without dealing with the Holocaust or the persecution of the Jews, Spielberg, a Jew himself, filled the movie with the spirit of the Jews. And had Yahweh explode the Nazis. Kinda like a certain Bear Jew machine gunning the head of Hitler.

Come on, it's pretty fucked up no matter how you look at it, to have the persecutors of the Jews fucking with the Ark of the Covenant.

But then again it's strait biblical. It's kinda like Nebuchadnezzar fucking with the Ark of the Covenant and God cursed him.

Foolish Mortal
05-05-2010, 03:16 PM
Exactly my point, hence the subversion. Without dealing with the Holocaust or the persecution of the Jews, Spielberg, a Jew himself, filled the movie with the spirit of the Jews. And had Yahweh explode the Nazis. Kinda like a certain Bear Jew machine gunning the head of Hitler.

Come on, it's pretty fucked up no matter how you look at it, to have the persecutors of the Jews fucking with the Ark of the Covenant.

But then again it's strait biblical. It's kinda like Nebuchadnezzar fucking with the Ark of the Covenant and God cursed him.
Oh yeah there's a definite "fuck up the Nazis" tone the whole film especially the end in which they get destroyed by the very thing they were seeking to obtain.

It also fits into the serial theme as well because very often the bad guy in the serials ultimately gets destroyed by his own machinations.

Frozen Sooner
05-05-2010, 03:19 PM
I'm probably wrong on this, but I thought the concentration camps didn't start interning Jews until 1938, after Kristallnacht for "their protection." Which would be a good explanation for why a movie set in 1936 didn't talk about them much.

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 03:48 PM
I'm probably wrong on this, but I thought the concentration camps didn't start interning Jews until 1938, after Kristallnacht for "their protection." Which would be a good explanation for why a movie set in 1936 didn't talk about them much.
*sigh* Do I have to explain subversive?

Raiders, although trying to emulate the serials of the 1940's, is a product of 1980, the emerging summer tent pole popcorn blockbusters. It didn't exist in a vacuum. The audience had preconceived notions of how the Nazis were. At at the time, Nazis didn't exist in the American mind as just a bad guy, but as a Jew killing villain of epic proportions.

Culturally, America itself has just went through a traumatic decade where the highest officials of government were crooks, and had just come out of a war that had no clearly defined good guys or bad guys. The portrayal of WWII movies went from heroic Guns of Navarone, Patton and Dirty Dozen shoot 'em ups to serious dramatic fair. Germans were not goofy Colonel Klinks, not as combatants, not the same way we would portray the British in a Revolutionary War picture, but as really really evil twisted genocidal antisemitic uberfucks. After Vietnam, war movies were as appealing as Die Hard would have been on September 12, 2001. America needed an emotional release valve and they found it in the summer spectacles of Star Wars and Jaws.

George Lucas wanted to tell an airy, escapist, high adventure, treasure hunting, fun flick. They want to have clear good guys and bad guys, so they use Nazis. Evil twisted genocidal antisemitic uberfuck Nazis sans the messy genocide and antisemitism. A studio isn't going to greenlight a summer Holochaust Adventure movie, right? So the concentration camps and Jew gassing has to be ignored. HENCE, place it before all of that, in 1936. Easy right?

Enter Speilberg. His idea is to have the Nazi's searching for, not some one eyed pirates gold, not some mystical ancient scroll, not the hammer of a norse god, but THE FUCKING ARK OF THE COVENANT. The holyest of holies for the Jews. And then he has a Nazi dress up like THE FUCKING HOLIEST PERSONAGE of the Jews, the HIGH PREIST, and perform Hebrew rituals.

So the hidden theme is, Don't Fuck With Jehovah. Nazis seek to wage war equipped with Jewish treasure and Yahweh explodes them.

And he did it under the noses of the studio. Hence the subversion.

Frozen Sooner
05-05-2010, 03:52 PM
After rereading your first post, I realized I misread what you were saying. I thought you were saying it was odd a film set in 1936 wouldn't deal with the Holocaust. My fault.

No, you don't have to explain "subversive." However, feel free to explain to your friends about how you were totally awesome and condescending to some guy on the internet today.

danlomb
05-05-2010, 03:54 PM
How cool is the opening?!

Josh!
05-05-2010, 04:00 PM
Check out a 1942 Ernst Lubitch flick called "To Be Or Not To Be," a comedy about the bombing of Warsaw. It's REALLY funny (Mel Brooks stared in an 80s remake which was good, but not great). Apparently after the truth about the Nazis came to light both Lubitch and Charlie Chaplin, who made "The Great Dictator" were asked "knowing now what you do, would you have still made your films?" Chaplin said no, Lubitch said yes.

And, on a similar note, "the Producers" is pretty fucking subversive too, but much, much more overt than "Raiders."

edwardmblake
05-05-2010, 04:06 PM
That wasn't actually the Star Wars Porkins dude, was it?

It was. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0393853/

Not to highjack the thread:

Top Men (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoy4_h7Pb3M)

Porkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFPI54fOWoo)

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 04:08 PM
Check out a 1942 Ernst Lubitch flick called "To Be Or Not To Be," a comedy about the bombing of Warsaw. It's REALLY funny (Mel Brooks stared in an 80s remake which was good, but not great). Apparently after the truth about the Nazis came to light both Lubitch and Charlie Chaplin, who made "The Great Dictator" were asked "knowing now what you do, would you have still made your films?" Chaplin said no, Lubitch said yes.

And, on a similar note, "the Producers" is pretty fucking subversive too, but much, much more overt than "Raiders."
Yeah, I thought of the Producers while I was writing it. But that's just it. It's too overt. What I found interesting is realizing how coy Spielberg was about it. He made the studio and the audience buy into an over the top Jewish-Nazi-revenge-wish-fulfillment without even being aware of it.

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 04:09 PM
It was. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0393853/


Porkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFPI54fOWoo)

Now that's subversive! Take that, fatty!

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 04:10 PM
After rereading your first post, I realized I misread what you were saying. I thought you were saying it was odd a film set in 1936 wouldn't deal with the Holocaust. My fault.

No, you don't have to explain "subversive." However, feel free to explain to your friends about how you were totally awesome and condescending to some guy on the internet today.
It was an honest mistake.

Sorry for the condescending tone, but I felt that I was retaliating to your dismissive and condescending "Of course it didn't have the Holocaust in it because it clearly took place in 1936." Tit for tat.

Raisor
05-05-2010, 04:15 PM
Porkins has top men working on this.

whom?

LastCloneStanding
05-05-2010, 04:21 PM
Belloq was a Frenchman working for the Nazis...not a Nazi himself

Yup. Exactly. Plus, I actually thought Belloq was Jewish. At the end the head Nazi says, "I'm uncomfortable with this . . . Jewish ritual." Like, the Nazi's and Belloq were using each other and it was ironic that Jewish.

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 04:21 PM
http://pdxsx.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/jek-porkins-20071001033021125.jpg

Alexander Hamilton
05-05-2010, 04:26 PM
Other movies that dealt with Nazis without touching on the holocaust...

Top Secret
The Last Crusade
Inglorious Basterds
Surf Nazis must Die

This dealt directly with the holocaust. It had a lead villian (The Jew Hunter) working in the systematic destruction of European Jews. This lead to the actions of a French Jew Protagonist.

afroloq
05-05-2010, 04:45 PM
Yup. Exactly. Plus, I actually thought Belloq was Jewish. At the end the head Nazi says, "I'm uncomfortable with this . . . Jewish ritual." Like, the Nazi's and Belloq were using each other and it was ironic that Jewish.

It wasnt so much of that it was of course they were xenophobic of Jews and also because of that they needed someone to perform it and what better person would it be than him?

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 04:47 PM
It wasnt so much of that it was of course they were xenophobic of Jews and also because of that they needed someone to perform it and what better person would it be than him?
Because he was an archeologist? Or a sadistic Nazi sympathizing uberfucker?

Greg S
05-05-2010, 04:56 PM
*sigh* Do I have to explain subversive?

Raiders, although trying to emulate the serials of the 1940's, is a product of 1980, the emerging summer tent pole popcorn blockbusters. It didn't exist in a vacuum. The audience had preconceived notions of how the Nazis were. At at the time, Nazis didn't exist in the American mind as just a bad guy, but as a Jew killing villain of epic proportions.

Culturally, America itself has just went through a traumatic decade where the highest officials of government were crooks, and had just come out of a war that had no clearly defined good guys or bad guys. The portrayal of WWII movies went from heroic Guns of Navarone, Patton and Dirty Dozen shoot 'em ups to serious dramatic fair. Germans were not goofy Colonel Klinks, not as combatants, not the same way we would portray the British in a Revolutionary War picture, but as really really evil twisted genocidal antisemitic uberfucks. After Vietnam, war movies were as appealing as Die Hard would have been on September 12, 2001. America needed an emotional release valve and they found it in the summer spectacles of Star Wars and Jaws.

George Lucas wanted to tell an airy, escapist, high adventure, treasure hunting, fun flick. They want to have clear good guys and bad guys, so they use Nazis. Evil twisted genocidal antisemitic uberfuck Nazis sans the messy genocide and antisemitism. A studio isn't going to greenlight a summer Holochaust Adventure movie, right? So the concentration camps and Jew gassing has to be ignored. HENCE, place it before all of that, in 1936. Easy right?

Enter Speilberg. His idea is to have the Nazi's searching for, not some one eyed pirates gold, not some mystical ancient scroll, not the hammer of a norse god, but THE FUCKING ARK OF THE COVENANT. The holyest of holies for the Jews. And then he has a Nazi dress up like THE FUCKING HOLIEST PERSONAGE of the Jews, the HIGH PREIST, and perform Hebrew rituals.

So the hidden theme is, Don't Fuck With Jehovah. Nazis seek to wage war equipped with Jewish treasure and Yahweh explodes them.

And he did it under the noses of the studio. Hence the subversion.

It's an interesting interpretation. This doesn't invalidate the interpretations, but John Boorman and Lucas came up with the Lost Ark artifact before Speilberg became involved.

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 05:04 PM
It's an interesting interpretation. This doesn't invalidate the interpretations, but John Boorman and Lucas came up with the Lost Ark artifact before Speilberg became involved.
John Boorman? The guy who directed Deliverance? Didn't know he worked on Raiders.

Wigner's Friend
05-05-2010, 07:56 PM
2 issues I have with this...Belloq was a Frenchman working for the Nazis...not a Nazi himself.

I always thought a Frenchman that isn't outwardly antisemitic going along with the Nazis' crazy policies for selfish reasons was the most obvious subversive historical commentary.

Frozen Sooner
05-05-2010, 08:12 PM
It was an honest mistake.

Sorry for the condescending tone, but I felt that I was retaliating to your dismissive and condescending "Of course it didn't have the Holocaust in it because it clearly took place in 1936." Tit for tat.

No condescension intended. Just trying to give a reasonable explanation of why he wouldn't have talked about it. I didn't think it was terribly unreasonable for someone to not know when the Jewish internments started-heck, I didn't know for sure, which is why I said "I might be wrong..." That wasn't sarcasm or anything (though I can see how it would be read that way.) That was me saying "I've been studying fucking Property for 48 straight hours and I don't remember history all that well." :D

Mattman
05-05-2010, 08:26 PM
Subversively brilliant!!

Stupendous Man
05-05-2010, 08:29 PM
Very interesting post!

Greg S
05-05-2010, 08:33 PM
John Boorman? The guy who directed Deliverance? Didn't know he worked on Raiders.

Yep, that one. I'm pretty sure he gets story credit with Lucas for Raiders. He didn't do anything else on Raiders other than come up with the basic story.

The Hodag
05-05-2010, 09:00 PM
It was. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0393853/

Not to highjack the thread:

Top Men (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoy4_h7Pb3M)

Porkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFPI54fOWoo)

Don't apologize - this thread drift has been both educational and awesome!

Bonus facts:


He was Lt. Eckhardt in Tim Burton's Batman!

He was the guy who tried to shut down Christopher Lloyd's restaurant for liquor code violations in that one episode of Taxi!

He voiced Crimson Dynamo on an episode of the 90s Iron Man cartoon!

His last name is Hootkins!

:rock:

TIP
05-05-2010, 09:06 PM
Don't apologize - this thread drift has been both educational and awesome!

Bonus facts:


He was Lt. Eckhardt in Tim Burton's Batman!

He was the guy who tried to shut down Christopher Lloyd's restaurant for liquor code violations in that one episode of Taxi!

He voiced Crimson Dynamo on an episode of the 90s Iron Man cartoon!

His last name is Hootkins!

:rock:

:rock:

Jacques Toochay
05-05-2010, 09:11 PM
Have you ever really looked at your hand, man?

I mean really really looked at it?

:dazed:

SMACK!
05-05-2010, 09:32 PM
Don't apologize - this thread drift has been both educational and awesome!

Bonus facts:


He was Lt. Eckhardt in Tim Burton's Batman!

He was the guy who tried to shut down Christopher Lloyd's restaurant for liquor code violations in that one episode of Taxi!

He voiced Crimson Dynamo on an episode of the 90s Iron Man cartoon!

His last name is Hootkins!

:rock:In death, members of Rogue Squadron have names. His name is Jek Porkins.

stevapalooza
05-05-2010, 11:47 PM
Was it really a hidden theme? The Jewish revenge fantasy element of the story is pretty much right on the surface. Someone even calls it a Jewish ritual so we don't miss the irony.

Patch
05-06-2010, 08:09 AM
Oh, c'mon.
Raiders is not subversive. A subversive film attempts to sway popular public opinion, challenge mores, question authority, or defy what's culturally accepted.
Short of something like a Disney movie, you could hardly find a less subversive film. Exactly what does it subvert, established views of the Holocaust when it has no views on the Holocaust? Setting the story in 1936 is not subversive commentary.

It's an adventure movie.