Trivia / Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Miscellaneous

  • At the end, when the British Indian Army Riflemen fire at the Thuggees, because they are using blanks, which have no recoil, one rifleman is short-stroking his rifle. He is only drawing back the bolt 3/4 of the way before the brass breaks loose from the extractor claw, then tries to load a fresh round before he has expended the spent brass. This causes both rounds to jam in the chamber, and takes him several seconds to clear it by pulling back hard on the bolt.
  • This, along with Gremlins, is partially responsible for the making of the PG-13 rating because of its dark content.

Specific Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Indy chases after a small group of mooks, only to encounter a larger group of mooks and run away from them screaming.
  • Banned in China: Temporarily banned in India due to its offensive representation of their culture. The writers claimed any inaccuracies were supposed to be deliberate clues that Mola Ram was evil.
  • Bowdlerized: For its UK release, about one minute of violence and gore was cut in order to secure a PG rating rather than a 15 (the 12 rating wouldn't be introduced until 1989, and 12A until 2002). As noted above, there was also some drama about the rating in the US. The uncut version was finally released on Blu-ray in 2012 with a 12 rating. Detailed 'Cutting Edge' background and comparison video via GNC Films
  • California Doubling:
    • The filmmakers tried to avert this with regards to India, but the Indian government was too offended by the portrayal of their country and so the Indian exteriors were filmed in Sri Lanka instead. The Shanghai exteriors were done in Macau, which was still under Portuguese colonial rule at the time of filming. California filled in for a few more exteriors while the sound stages were, as always, built at Elstree Studios in England.
    • In a DVD documentary, Spielberg notes that the climactic rope bridge battle was filmed on three continents. First, they had an actual rope bridge in Sri Lanka, built and destroyed specifically for the movie. After the bridge splits in half, the shots of Indy and Mola Ram battling on the side of the cliff were done at Elstree Studios in the UK. Finally, the shots of the alligators were filmed by a second unit in Florida.
  • Content Warning: One American poster featured the phrase "This film may be too intense for younger children" at the bottom corner (The poster for Jaws also had that same inscription). Judging by the subsequent controversy, it's obvious that parents did not heed that warning.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Spielberg has stated in his interviews that Temple of Doom was his least favorite of the Indiana Jones films, and the best thing about it is that he met Kate Capshaw while making it.
    • In the 2003 documentary about the film, Capshaw was very critical of Willie's character, saying that all she does is scream.
    • According to some sources star Harrison Ford himself was not entirely comfortable with the film's story and, again, according to some sources, he was not entirely happy with how the film turned out either.
    • The predictable reaction to the racist characterizations in this movie (more pronounced in this film than the others) stands as a hard lesson learned by Spielberg; a lesson he took to heart in 2011 when he adapted Tintin, which itself has similarly come under fire for racist depictions.
  • Creator Breakdown: The film was produced while George Lucas was going through a divorce, and Steven Spielberg was going through a breakup as well, hence the scene where a sacrificial victim gets his heart ripped out and set ablaze. Lucas has admitted that this may be why the film was made so much Darker and Edgier than its predecessor. It may also explain why Willie is an annoying collection of sexist stereotypes as opposed to the somewhat better female characters in the other films. It probably could be one explanation for the "Shiva is good, Kali is evil" dynamic of Mola Ram's cult. Shiva & Kali are a couple and the masculine & feminine halves of Deity. It's like Shiva & Kali got a divorce. However, this is clearly a heresy on Mola Ram's part rather than Spielberg & Lucas' beliefs or the beliefs of Hinduism.
  • Creator Cameo: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy all have cameos at the airfield.
  • Deleted Scene: Scenes cut from the film:
    • While traveling to Pankot Palace, Willie is disgusted by the smell of the elephant which carries her and pours the entirety of a bottle of perfume on the animal. In the film, we find a while later that, dissatisfied with being soaked with the stuff, the elephant stops in the middle of a river and, using his trunk, soaks his back as well as his passenger. This causes Willie to fall into the river, which causes general hilarity. Originally, the scene was longer. The elephant did not only react to its "freshening up", but also to Willie's voice. Forgetting the jungle's dangers, thanks to the perfume, and finding a little of its social context, Willie starts begins to loudly sing the song from the beginning of film. Moved by the melody, Indy and Short Round chime in the same way with a song of their own. The perfume and the constant noise is definitely too much for the elephant which, with a bellow, again interrupts the smell and the songs. Indy and Short Round can do nothing else than explode into laughter.
    • Right after the first sacrifice Indy makes his way to the center of the Temple to grab the Sankara Stones. Having put the Stones in his pouch he spots a big stone snake on the top of the altar. Originally, Indy was shown touching the stoned snake in awe, but considering his established snake phobia, the filmmakers came up with the idea of Indy adjusting his hat in a hello manner.
    • As Indy walks past the Temple's altar, to explore where the mysterious cries he hears are coming from, we see Willie and Short Round's encounter with a group of Thuggee guards. As Shorty is being captured Willie manages to flee back to the catacombs. What has been left out is the part that shows Willie's return to her room. Following the same trail that lead them to the underground Temple, Willie finds her way back to her room, there she finds Chattar Lal waiting for her only to be captured again. This little scene, besides the fact that it explains how Willie was captured, reveals for the first time Chattar Lal's allegiance to the Thuggees. When the time came to cut the film Spielberg and Kahn figured that the scene slowed the film's pace while the deletion of it didn't affect anything! Once again Marvel Comics can give a hint of what this scene was all about. Another scene of Indy feeding lies to Captain Blumburt and menacing Willie has not been verified yet.
    • A Thuggee guard is whipping slave children when he is suddenly struck in the legs by lava exploding from a fissure. Short Round who was digging nearby witnessed the guard's awakening from his possessed state before the Thuggee was dragged away by other guards. This scene explained how Short Round knew what to do to bring Indy out of Kali's "black sleep." Although, of great significance to the plot, this scene was cut from the final film for unknown reasons.
    • A scene was shot showing Indy and Willie helping the freed children to cross the lava pit through a makeshift bridge. When the time came for Short Round to cross the pit the bridge had caught fire under the intense heat and Indy and Willie managed to save him in the nick of time from falling in the lava pit. With the bridge crumbled the trio had to find another way out and that was through the mines. As with the above scenes, the most logical explanation for this cut seems to be the pace and not the film's running time, since it ended up at 113 minutes. Even the addition of all of the scenes mentioned on this writing would never push the film over the 120 minute barrier.
  • Dyeing for Your Art / Dye Hard: Prior to Temple of Doom, Amrish Puri had quite the full head of hair. His role as Mola Ram was so iconic, he kept his head shaved from then on.
  • Fake Brit: Dan Aykroyd putting on a fake British accent.
  • Fake Nationality: The Chinese boy Short Round is played by Vietnamese-American Jonathan Ke Quan. Also, because the movie couldn't be filmed in India, it features many Sri Lankans playing Indians, the result being that most of the "Indians" speak the wrong language.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!: The mine car chase sequence utilizes the sound of the trains from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Disney Theme Parks.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Experienced, lauded pilot Harrison Ford playing someone clueless about flying.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: The late Amrish Puri, the Indian professional wrestler turned-actor, who played the heart-ripping Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and went on to play several Bollywood villains, is said by both Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg to have been a sweet and lovely man.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: The beaded dress worn by Kate Capshaw was eaten by an elephant. You can almost see it in the campfire at night scene note . The good news? It was covered by insurance (Spielberg notes that all he could write on the insurance claim for "cause" was "dress eaten by elephant" and hope he was believed). The bad news? It was a dress made of genuine vintage crystal beads.
  • Refitted for Sequel: Several scenes were meant for Raiders of the Lost Ark:
    • Much of the original sword fight that would have been between Indy and the swordsman he shot instead made it into the sword fight where Indy tries the same thing, but his gun is missing.
    • The minecart chase was originally planned for Raiders (and even storyboarded) but had to be cut for pacing reasons.
    • Indy was originally to find the headpiece to the Staff of Ra in Shanghai, but the scene was cut before shooting. Elements of it (like Indy covering from gunfire behind a rolling gong) are in the opening scene.
    • The villain buying the pilots in Indy's plane, who parachute and leave him to crash, but he saves himself by using an inflatable raft to soften the impact. This was going to happen before Indy arrived in Egypt in Raiders.
  • Romance on the Set: After the film was complete, in 1991, Kate Capshaw married Steven Spielberg. He declares it's the only good thing to come out of the movie.
  • Tribute to Fido: Indy was already named after Lucas' dog, and this film took things further with Willie named after Spielberg's dog, and Short Round after another one.
  • What Could Have Been...:
    • David Niven was going to play Captain Blumburtt, but he died before the start of filming.
    • In the original draft, there was supposed to be a motorcycle chase scene across the Great Wall of China. However, the Chinese government refused to grant the permission of filming.
    • Sharon Stone auditioned for Willie. She played a similar role in the Alan Quatermain films.
    • Spielberg originally wanted to bring Marion Ravenwood back, with Abner Ravenwood being considered as a possible character. He and Lucas had already decided that every movie should include a different woman for Indy.
    • A dogfight was deleted from the script, as well as those who drank the Kali blood turned into zombies with physical superhuman abilities.
    • Lawrence Kasdan was asked to write the script. but he refused the offer:
    "I didn't want to be associated with Temple of Doom. I just thought it was horrible. It's so mean. There's nothing pleasant about it. I think Temple of Doom represents a chaotic period in both their [Lucas and Spielberg] lives, and the movie is very ugly and mean-spirited."
    • Lucas's initial idea for Indiana's sidekick was a virginal young princess, but the writers and Spielberg disliked the idea.
    • One of Lucas' early ideas had Indiana discover a "Lost World pastiche with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs".
    • One thing was thankfully avoided: Harrison Ford sustained a serious back injury while filming a fight scene, and was in such constant pain that George Lucas considered shutting down production. Ford traveled to the U.S. to get experimental surgery, and luckily it worked and he's still making movies today.
  • Working Title: The film's original title was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death which was changed because it sounded too foreboding. It was retained as the film's German title (Indiana Jones und der Tempel des Todes).

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