The second adventure of Dr Indiana Jones, the archaeologist who is handy with a bull whip is already breaking box office records in the States and looks likely to do just as well here.
Chronologically it is a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark (it takes place four years earlier in 1935). If anything it has more thrills, stunts, fights, chases and narrow squeaks (and perhaps less plot) than its predecessor. Steven Speilberg is still paying homage to a lot of great old-style Hollywood adventure movies and making hay with everyone’s nastiest nightmare fears. The result is a marvellously entertaining two hours and a film that is confident enough to send itself up, keep you on the edge of your seat (or under it) and make you laugh at the same time. At the showing to which we took a group of assorted children 13-14+) the audience clapped and cheered the best bits.
I hope no one accuses it of being sexist or racist – though they could. Miss Willie Scott, night club dancer, is the classic Hollywood female side-kick; she worries about breaking her nails and screams a lot. The evil followers of Kali, the Thuggees (favourite sport garotting) couldn’t be farther removed from any genuine connection with Hinduism and the massive underground temple where the rituals of the cult are performed is pure fantasy.
No purely verbal re-telling could capture the essentially visual excitement of the film so its just as v ‘II that Armada’s theo tie-in books have plenty of shots from the film in full colour. There is a large format Storybook, adaptation by Michael French (0 00 692405 0, £2.95) which carries a more of less faithful account of what happens. It misses out the sexy bit – but then as it turns out in the film so does Indiana Jones; give him a choice between a glamorous woman and a draughty secret passage with un-named horrors lurking round every comer and it’s no contest. The Famous Five would have taken him to their hearts. The spelling in this version is Anglicized (Marks and Spencer are also doing an edition and insisted.) The other Armada version, by Les Martin, is ordinary paperback size; it has just as many stills from the film but with a longer (American) text aimed at slightly older readers. (0 00 692046 2, £1.75).
There is also an ‘adult’ version by James Kahn from Sphere (0 7221 51721, £1.75).
Robin Hood will be back
Viewers and reviewers were united in their enthusiasm for the new style Robin Hood as presented in the recent HTV/Goldcrest series. Response was so positive that another seven episodes are currently being filmed for transmission in the autumn.
Richard Carpenter, writer of the TV scripts and author of the Puffin based on the series has been commissioned to continue the series. He talked to Books for Keeps about this new project.
‘It’s been great fun working with this team and I very much hope we will be able to keep the production standards up – the reviews have been so good. So far I’ve written three of the seven episodes and at the moment I’m working on the fourth and fifth. I’m bringing the character of King John in rather more; but I’m trying to steer away from the kind of stereotyping of history he has been the victim of. If he hadn’t been so paranoid and small-minded he might have been one of the great Angevin kings like his father, Henry II. Of course the Sheriff of Nottingham is still in evidence. He becomes Robin’s friend and then his enemy again. In general I’m keeping the same elements and the same approach. I don’t know if there will be a second book. No-one has mentioned it yet!’
In View this Autumn
Watch out for two big new series on TV this autumn. The BBC has produced a serial adaptation of John Christopher’s Tripods trilogy – The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire. The series starts in the autumn and will go out on Saturdays in the ‘Dr Who slot’.
From Tyne/Tees, an all action, star-studded adaptation of the adventures of Supergran which will no doubt spread enthusiasm for this amazing senior citizen still further.