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The Last Crusade: An Oral History
The third Indy movie in the words of the people that made it

The Jones Boys

"Sean was in a great mood most of the movie because he was able to be funny."
Steven Spielberg
Ford: Some of those scenes were like vaudeville routines. It was great fun working on that stuff with Sean.

Spielberg: Sean was in a great mood most of the movie because he was able to be funny. He was able to use his comedic skills, and Harrison was in a fantastic mood because he was able to be the foil for the father. It was the most fun we had between actors in all of these movies.

Michael Byrne (Vogel): It's like a pantomime, really, with Sean Connery playing the dame and Harrison being the principle boy.

Alison Doody (Dr. Elsa Schneider): That kiss where I bite Indy's lower lip was Steven's idea. We tried to work out how I should approach the two of them because they were both tied up and both sitting down. We played around with it for a while, which wasn't a chore. Then Sean thought I should also kiss him, but Steven disagreed.

Ford: It was just really great to work with an actor who doesn't give a shit. I don't mean about the craft, but about his ego. We just clicked.

Connery: There was just stuff one could find while shooting. I'm racing along on that motorbike, in the sidecar, and Indy's thrilled with himself and all I do is look at my watch: "What time is it? What are we doing in this stupid place?"

Julian Glover (Walter Donovan): My favourite memory is Sean making up that line, "She talks in her sleep." It was on the spot. Harrison said, "How did you know she's a Nazi?" and he said that, and they had to stop filming. Everybody just fell on the floor and Steven said, "Well, that's in."

Nazis? I Hate Those Guys

Doody: I remember the audition with Steven and George. Steven gave me a broom-handle and said, "Come in and pretend it's a gun." I thought, this girl isn't so straightforward.

Glover: I don't know if Donovan was a nice man, but not many people can say they shot Sean Connery.

Doody: With Elsa being a bad girl, a Nazi, it really was designed to veer away from the damsel-in-distress from Temple Of Doom.

Glover: The Grail diary was unbelievably detailed, an extraordinary piece of work. Someone slaved away for months, I'm sure. I don't know what happened to it. Maybe it ended up in Harrison's museum.

Doody: In Venice, no-one told me how to drive the boat. I had to go at speed towards another boat with a camera on it, and behind the camera were Steven and the big honchos from the studio, and then George Lucas and Frank Marshall. I was supposed to get this signal to veer left, but I left it a bit late, Steven starts shouting, "Away! Away! Away!" I could see all of them panicking.

Connery: Steven was marvellous for ideas. You only have to look at the sequence where I'm in the tank. It was originally scheduled for a day, two days maybe. I think it went to seven days in the end.

Vic Armstrong (Stunt Co-ordinator): My lasting impression of Steven was in Almera on The Last Crusade. He always wanted to have good light. For an hour before sunset you ran your bollocks off. Steven's coming along on his quad saying, "Come on guys, come on guys, you're killing me, we've got to move faster."

Doody: We were in Spain, and there was this dinner with Harrison and Sean - Frank Marshall was there, Steven and some of the other males in the cast, and I was the only woman at the table being looked after by all these men. I thought, "This is great!"

Spielberg: We had a great preview. Nobody wanted to change anything except George and me. The studio was ecstatic and the audience gave us a bunch of unprecedented scores. But George and I were troubled that the end of the second act was rather word-heavy, so we concocted a couple of new set-pieces - especially the motorcycle chase, which we shot up near where George lives in Northern California.

Glover: I'm convinced it is the best one. It's a love story between two men. Between Harrison and Sean. This brings it way beyond the other two. The central story is so strong and interesting. And funny - they're so naughty, the two of them.

This article originally appeared in Empire issue #208.

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