Indiana Jones: Child molester?

Raidersofthelostark1981
Recently, a transcript has surfaced of the story conference between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan, in which they hammer out the ideas for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. At 126 pages, there’s much to digest, but some may find this bit of dialog a bit hard to swallow, as the trio discusses Indy’s love interest. (G is Lucas, S, Spielberg and L, Kasdan.

G — I was thinking that this old guy could have been his mentor. He could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven.

L — And he was forty-two.

G — He hasn’t seen her in twelve years. Now she’s twenty-two. It’s a real strange relationship.

S — She had better be older than twenty-two.

G — He’s thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she was only twelve. It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time.

S — And promiscuous. She came onto him.

G — Fifteen is right on the edge. I know it’s an outrageous idea, but it is interesting. Once she’s sixteen or seventeen it’s not interesting anymore. But if she was fifteen and he was twenty-five and they actually had an affair the last time they met. And she was madly in love with him and he…

S — She has pictures of him.


One thing that springs to mind is that this is a bit like the relationship between Carol (14 year old Mackenzie Phillips) and John Milner (Paul Le Mat) who goes on a drag race against Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford) in Lucas’s AMERICAN GRAFFITI, so this idea must have had some appeal to Lucas.

The other is…blecccch.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    I think you mean Carol and John Milner (played by then-29-year-old Paul Le Mat).

  2. Oz Carver says:

    Between this and Anakin/Padme, I’m convinced that healthy romantic relationships aren’t something that Lucas is familiar with in the least. But hey, the Millennium Falcon will always be one bad-ass ship.

  3. Don’t ask me why I read the novelization of RAIDERS, but it’s there in another manifestation: there, Indy’s not just benignly pursued by a doting student, he’s sleeping with her on the side.

  4. Colin says:

    There is that line where Marion specifically says “I was a child!” so ewwww…

  5. OTOH, there’s a quote from Picasso where he says art and pornography are more intertwined than the academics like to think, or words to that effect.

    For sake of argument, say you deem Kathryn Harrison’s THE KISS to be true art.

    Is it art IN SPITE of making you go “Ewww?”

    Or BECAUSE it makes you go “Ewww?”

  6. Alexa says:

    Why so creepy, George Lucas? D:

  7. Alexa says:

    Gene, this isn’t pornography he’s talking about, or even adult incest. IT IS CHILD RAPE.

  8. Naughty says:

    Family man Chewbaka does not approve of his kink.

  9. I’m not following why a fictional story about this type of ilicit sexuality doesn’t qualify as pornography.

    To be sure, it’s rather a nasty fantasy, and I’m glad not to be related to Lucas. But it’s still just a fantasy.

  10. At it’s core Raiders was always about a woman who loves a man that treats her like shit (Indy) and rejects a man that tries to treat her well (Beloq). There is really great subtext revealing that throughout the movie.

  11. Hollywood’s fascination with older men and young women continue.

  12. Eric,

    FWIW, actors Ford and Freeman were both a little under ten years’ older than actress Karen Allen.

  13. I read the novelization too shortly after the movie came out. In that, I believe that Marion was in college and the daughter of Indy’s mentor in archeology. Thus, Professor Jones is seriously tempted again, but now with past guilt, when pretty college girls hit on him. I don’t think she’s supposed to be 22 when the movie starts.

  14. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I don’t think anyone’s suggesting Lucas be tried in anything other than the Court of Ewww.

    If the core of Raiders of the Lost Ark had anything to do with Marion Ravenwood’s romantic entanglements, I have been mis-watching the heck out of that movie for decades.

  15. “I don’t think anyone’s suggesting Lucas be tried in anything other than the Court of Ewww.”

    Might be a little confusion about that here:

    “Gene, this isn’t pornography he’s talking about, or even adult incest. IT IS CHILD RAPE.”

    If it were a real event, the relationship would be statutory rape, etc.– but we’ve already done all this with the Simpsons cartoon (so to speak).

    “If the core of Raiders of the Lost Ark had anything to do with Marion Ravenwood’s romantic entanglements, I have been mis-watching the heck out of that movie for decades.”

    Dunno ’bout no “core,” but there’s some sort of leitmotif flickering around there.

  16. Just so fucking “Hur hur hur” that. Gross.

  17. I get it from the stand point of developing the girl character. She’s the little girl that had a crush on the older hero and now she gets to go on adventure with the older guy and show how cool she is now. All of GL’s stuff is about the kid getting to grow up and having an adventure. All of GL’s movies seem to be the further adventures of the little boy from the end of Shane. (Well, except THX 1138.)

    But on the other hand, looking at it from the standpoint of developing the Indy character… blecch.

  18. Is everyone assuming that it was of a sexual nature? It only mentions an ‘affair’ which is defined as an ‘intense amorous relationship, usually of short duration’. Affair, and indeed amorous doesn’t necesarily imply anything sexual went on… I’m not saying that the idea is right or wrong, just that it seems interesting that people have automatically assumed that sex was involved.

  19. Peter Sanderson says:

    Since Karen Allen was30 when “Raiders” came out, I had assumned that Marion would have been 20 when she had her initial affair with Indiana Jines. But I see
    from this website (http://indianajones.wikia.com/wiki/Marion_Ravenwood) that “the script states that Marion’s age in Raiders is 25 years old, making her around 15 at the time of the affair with a 27-year-old Indy. With the release of Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide in 2008, this was changed when Marion’s birthyear was revealed to be 1909, making her age about 27 at the time of Raiders instead.” No matter what version, she was still underage. It gets worse: according to this same site, Karen Allen came up with her own backstory for Marion, including a stint as a prostitute.

  20. The Beat says:

    If you go to the link you’ll see Spielberg actually says the kid was “promiscuous” so they had sex on the mind.

  21. Peter Sanderson says:

    Since Karen Allen was 30 when “Raiders” came out, I had assumned that Marion would have been 20 when she had her initial affair with Indiana Jines. But I see from this website (http://indianajones.wikia.com/wiki/Marion_Ravenwood) that “the script states that Marion’s age in Raiders is 25 years old, making her around 15 at the time of the affair with a 27-year-old Indy. With the release of Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide in 2008, this was changed when Marion’s birthyear was revealed to be 1909, making her age about 27 at the time of Raiders instead.” No matter what version, she was still underage. It gets worse: according to this same site, Karen Allen came up with her own backstory for Marion, including a stint as a prostitute.

  22. @HLR- Except later in the exchange, Lucas describes Marion as “promiscuous”. What else are we supposed to think happened?

    @gene phillips – ELEVEN-years-old is NOT statutory rape. Eleven-years-old is pedophilia and a FELONY.

  23. The Beat says:

    I added the next three lines of the transcript because…IT’S JUST SO DAMNED FUNNY!

  24. Jim Higgins says:

    “He could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven.”

    I can’t believe that there is even a debate here. Lucas suggests Indy had an affair with her when she was eleven. Grown man has sex with 11 year old = sexual abuse. Period. So it’s bad and insane that Lucas wanted to have him be a child molester. Adults don’t have “affairs” with children — they engage in criminal sexual behavior. Yes, it’s fiction, Mr. Phillips, fantasy. And it would have been fiction about child sexual abuse. Anybody still not get that?

  25. Thanks for the link!

    I think what’s disturbing here is not so much the idea – they were, at this point, trying to create an anti-hero, after all – but the conversation itself. Lucas seems to be looking at a grown man having sex with an 11 year old as a bad idea rather than child molestation. If Indy has a thing for his college students – or even for 15 year olds – that says fairly icky things about his psychology, which is appropriate for an anti-hero. But if he has a thing for 11 year olds, that makes him a child molestor, which is NOT an anti-hero – that’s just a criminal, period. Lucas doesn’t seem to grasp the distinction.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if having raised a couple of daughters changed his perspective on this.

  26. ‘”…Marion’s birthyear was revealed to be 1909, making her age about 27 at the time of Raiders instead.” No matter what version, she was still underage.’

    Point of fact: 10 years before that, she would have been 17. Under current law in the vast majority of countries (including all but a dozen US states) that’s at or above the age of consent for sex.

  27. “[…] Their comments about the inappropriateness of a romance between Amethyst and Prince Topaz are rather timely, given this revelation from the Raiders of the Lost Ark story-conference transcripts. […] ”

    Arguably Golden Age Captain Marvel went there before either of them, even if the “romance” was unconsummated back then.

  28. michael says:

    suddenly, I don’t feel so good.

    Lucas is….craaazy!!! O.O

  29. This underage thing sounds like Lucas and Spielberg’s attempt to ‘sex up’ their archeologist/hero— a la James Bond or Captain Kirk, a backstory gloss to make Indy that more interesting “bad boy” lead?

    And I wouldn’t underestimate Spielberg’s input into all this: he did design the Mothership from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS to resemble a giant breast,
    AND inserted that quite bizarre “Space Bukkake” scene after Dreyfuss’ Neary entered the craft in the Special Edition version of the film…

  30. Half plus seven rule, Lucas! Half plus seven!

  31. James says:

    Sheesh. Hello, different era?

    The whole 11-year-old Marion yeah, there’s something seriously wrong with that. But 15 or 16? Give me a break! That would have been 1926. Check your history, people, perhaps even your own personal history… Lots of “girls” age 15 or 16 were marrying men 10 and sometimes even 20 years their senior in those days. My grandmother was 15 when she married my grandfather, age 25. Those were the marrying ages back then.

  32. Alexa says:

    @James – According to the US census, the median age of marriage for women in 1920 was 21.2, and 21.3 in 1930. In 2003, it was 25.3. It was lowest in 1956, when the median age was 20.1. So no, your grandmother was not the norm then.

  33. The Beat says:

    Alexa, actually the low median does reflect the fact that a lot more teenaged girls got married in the 20s and 30s.

    One thing that comes clear from reading the whole transcript is that Indy was supposed to be an ANTI-hero from the start. We clearly see him fooling around with his students in the films and books. A 25-year-old Indy messing around with his mentor’s 17 year old daughter is naughty and inadvisable but well within the realm of stupid stuff that people do.

    Messing around with an 11 or 12 year old, however…is a bit weird and skeevy, even if she was a promiscuous ho who threw herself at you.

    As I mentioned in my post, Lucas put just this kind of story into American Graffiti, where Carol’s crush on Milner is charming and quite innocent. At one point Milner does come onto her, after which she decides she’d rather go home after all.

    Given all the young girls in Lucas’s oeuvre and the lack of mature women of any kind, this whole element is…interesting.

  34. Annie Social says:

    Does this explain why I have heard so many fans complain that Lucas raped their childhood? :)

  35. Abhay says:

    The Raiders story transcript is an interesting and unique document, and it’s sad that one page out of 126 is being used as yet another excuse for boring people on the internet to be judgmental.

  36. Scott says:

    NEWSFLASH: Older guys love young pussy.

    Who’da thunk it?!?

    Seriously, the only one on these comments who makes ANY sense AND knows history was James who said it was a different era and women did get married younger. Back then there were none of the laws that they have today and it was considered ok. Women married earlier and going even further back, when life spans were much shorter to due a wide variety of reasons, they were married off even earlier.

    Put down the comic books and read some real history books, dopes.

    Also, the early stages of any movie are all about throwing ideas around and trying to hone the material down. Don’t read too much into these transcripts as they are just written words and you don’t know the context in which they were actually saying them. It sounds more like normal guys sitting at a table with a few beers and throwing out ideas for the initial script and having a laugh. The script was also rewritten between Harrison Ford and Spielberg on the plane ride over to start filming since Harrison wanted input. Any movie novelizations or comic adaptations are done so far in advance and sometime have to use earlier scripts to get it done on time hence the problems with having a different ending.

  37. Michael says:

    As always, I’m rather aghast at number of men who will leap to defend the idea of older men fucking teenage girls once the subject is broached on the Internet.

    And no one’s even brought up the abuse of the teacher/student dynamic yet…

  38. Alexa says:

    @Scott – The fact that George Lucas thought it was even appropriate to talk about an ELEVEN-year-old having sex with a man a DECADE her senior shows a profound disturbance in the Force. Second of all, do some of your own research– age of consent laws have existed for centuries, and have generally been above 15 since the 1800s. Did more 15/16-year-olds get married back then than do today? Of course, but a) it was far from universal and b) that does not make it appropriate material for a family adventure film made in the 1980s.

  39. Michael, you do realize that we’re talking about characters in a work of fiction, right? It isn’t a question of “is this moral?” but “is this dramatically interesting?” I wouldn’t defend a person who leaves a handcuffed man in a burning building with a hacksaw, but it’s a great idea for a character.

    Evidently Lucas, Spelberg, et al. decided that Indiana Jones should not be that kind of character, and I think Raiders was a lot more enjoyable popcorn flick as a result of that decision. But there’s a world of difference between considering whether he should be that kind of character… and endorsing that type of person as a role model.

    As for social norms of the period the movie was referring to, I just did a little research. (gasp!) In 1880, the age of consent for sex in most US states was 10 or 12; in Europe the limits were generally 12-15. By 1920 most US states had raised it to 16 or 18, to more effectively ban teenage prostitution (the women’s suffrage, christian temperance, and anti-child-labor movements all played a hand in this); most European countries ranged from 12-16. Since then the US has trended back a little toward 16; Europe has edged upward to mostly 14-16.

  40. Figures says:

    George is my hero in some ways, but on the other hand that is criminally sick and I’m not surprised.

  41. Did nobody think about this before? Why the shock? He’s obviously older. I always assumed he was mid-twenties, and that she was mid teens. The whole point of all the Raiders backstory stuff at the beginning is to establish that Indiana Jones ISN’T a white knight hero, that he’s a grave-robbing, opportunistic, womanizing scoundrel, which is why his shifting to do good for the sake of good makes for such a worthwhile viewing experience. The fact that he’s so casual about it makes it all the more hard to take, and it SHOULD – that’s the point of the scene.

    Lucas, Spielberg, Kasdan – all of them are pretty whitebread these days, but if you think back to this late seventies period, and the crowd they ran/worked with (Coppola, Scorsese, etc), pushing the uncomfortability envelope was standard to them. That they toned down the age difference shows their burgeoning maturity by the time the early eighties rolled around – less the young Turks out to shake things up, more the great storytellers.

  42. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I somehow managed to get by all these years enjoying Raiders without once thinking on Marion’s criteria for choosing a man or Indiana Jones’ moral enlightenment. I still liked it, though. There was punching and running and snakes.

  43. “We clearly see him fooling around with his students in the films and books.”

    I always figured Marion was 17-22, and then when RAIDERS takes place she was 27-32. And I don’t recall him messing around with his students, although the students are attracted to him.

    “Given all the young girls in Lucas’s oeuvre and the lack of mature women of any kind, this whole element is…interesting.”

    Maybe … maybe not … despite what some amateur psychologists think, you can’t always tell very much about an author by their works.

  44. Hero or anti-hero, the fact remains that Indiana Jones was portrayed as the charming protagonist of the films, and as such would have a role model function to an audience consisting mainly of teenage men.

    Sending out the message that it’s not more than naughty to have a relationship with an underage girl is irresponsible, and further proof that GL’s emotional side is severely stunted. If an underage girl (or boy) consents in sex, or is the instigator, it’s up to the adult to say “no”. That’s why adults are adults and kids are kids.

    To even argue this on a theoretical level shows a big level of immaturity and naivity (at best)

  45. repowers says:

    To bring up the novelization again…. Marion implies pretty strongly that she did indeed survive as a prostitute for a time after her dad died. “I worked here, and i wasn’t exactly the barmaid, you know what I’m saying?” or something like that.

    Yay for useless trivia floating around in my head.

  46. Vincent Jones says:

    If Marion Ravenwood was born around 1909 and she was 15 when this affair happened, the approximate year of this affair was 1924. Age of consent on average was about 14 until the 1970s. By 1920s standards, Indiana Jones was not a child molester. Things have change for the better over time.

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