Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Young Indiana Jones -- Episode 22: Hollywood Follies

To Watch: Click Here

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Indiana Jones gets a job in Hollywood to make sure that a perfectionistic director gets his film done by its deadline. Then, he works as another director's assistant on a Western and finds himself on screen after several stunt men get injured and an actor dies. 

Memorable Quote:
It's no life for a woman, sharing a bed with a man and his mummy.  ~Harry Carey

I like the mood of the scenes where the actors and the cowboys hang out at night around the campfire and tell stories -- looks like fun.

Indy's moral compass goes south when he takes the drunk Italian prince into Mexico and abandons him with no passport.

Brushes with historical figures:
  • George Gershwin (second appearance)
  • Carl Laemmle
  • Isadore Bernstein
  • Irving Thalberg
  • Erich von Stroheim
  • Jack Ford
  • Harry Carey
  • Wyatt Earp

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • 5:25 mark -- what an amazing train!  Shouldn't we have better trains now than they did 100 years ago? 
  • Apparently Foolish Wives was a real movie and is described by wikipedia as an "erotic silent drama film." Sounds like a real hoot. 
  • 57:44 -- for being a young writer trying to make it in the industry, Claire has a very nice beach house. 
  • 1:04:50 -- director Ford stops the caravan to shoot a scene with the dramatic sunset, but that wouldn't translate in a black and white movie, right?
  • The scene with the burning cabin looks a little bit like Vazquez Rocks from the MacGyver Location Adventure
  • 1:12:05 - I think this is the first time in Young Indy that his fear of snakes is mentioned. 
  • The horse and wagon stunt is reminiscent of Raiders where he crawls underneath the truck. 

Final Analysis:
Overall a good episode. I liked the second half better than the first, and it was cool how they mixed in some black and white footage of the "finished product" during the Western scenes. Ranking it 6th out of 22.

Final Series Analysis:
Most of these episodes I watched for the first time, and I hardly remembered anything about the ones that I had seen previously. Let's start with the pros of the series:
  • A production value that was second to none. Lucasfilm has cash, and they weren't afraid to spend it while filming on location all over the world with top-notch cinematography. I'm not a tv historian, but I can't imagine there were too many other network tv shows that filmed in as many exotic locations as this one.
  • The war scenes are likely the best and most elaborate to ever appear on network tv. 
  • Sean Patrick Flanery is an excellent actor, and he brought a high degree of likability and charisma to this role. His softer, more sensitive character isn't really in keeping with Harrison Ford's more macho, edgier portrayal, something that we see in the Last Crusade where River Phoenix portrays young Indy with an edge. But I don't fault Flanery for his interpretation. 
  • The guest star list is incredible: Daniel Craig, Elizabeth Hurley, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Vanessa Redgrave, Max von Sydow, Anne Heche, and Christopher Lee, among others.
  • They found a way to get Harrison Ford involved. Kudos.  
Now, let's move to the cons:
  • Not enough adventure. That's an understatement, so I'll say it again: NOT EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE TO ENOUGH ADVENTURE!  I love history, more so than probably 95% of the population, but even I thought there was way too much emphasis on placing Indy in historical situations with every single famous person from the 1910s. That emphasis is evident in the DVD set where there are hour-long documentaries that accompany each episode and explain the historical references in great detail. It's as if the production team (or maybe just George Lucas) was more interested in giving the audience a history lesson rather than making some exciting stories. And as I said, I love history and I love Indiana Jones, but even I thought that the history was too much. With the budget they had, they could have had some amazing adventure set pieces, and there should have been plot line after plot line of "Indy finds a treasure and is chased by a lot of bad guys" instead of "Indy dates multiple women while being a stage manager for a Broadway play" (and that was one of the better episodes). 
  • To continue on that point, the episodes with nine year-old Indy are practically unwatchable given their glacial pace. As older Indy would say, "They belong in a museum."
  • I'm not a Remy fan -- I just find him annoying. 
  • The war episodes go on for too long.
  • Not enough references to Indy characteristics, such as the whip, fear of snakes, and the map screenshots when he travels. Instead of meeting with some obscure 20th century writer that 99% of the audience has never heard of, why couldn't he have had some interactions with a young Belloq or a young Lao Che?
So there you go.  I'm glad I watched it, but I'm also glad to be done with the kid stuff, because it's time to get serious and move to the movies. Fortune and glory await. 


  1. I commend you for getting through 44 hours of this show. I knew by Episode 2 back in 8th grade that this wasn't gonna be for me. At one level I'd like to revisit the series as an adult but the two-hour nature of the episodes as presented on the DVD would be extremely intimidating given how glacially paced some of them are. I'm sure there's much to admire in the production values and some of the more exciting war scenes, but there's a lot to trudge through before you get to the good stuff. Looking forward to moving on to grown-up Indy.

    Having watched all three series in full, where would you rank "Young Indy" in comparison to "Legend" and "Mission: Impossible"?

    1. I'd go Young Indy, then Mission Impossible, then Legend. For the most part, I enjoyed Young Indy (not including the episodes where he's a nine year-old). I just think the potential was there for it to be a whole lot more.