The Raiders warehouse. What’s inside?
RICHARD EDWARDS, EDITOR
It’s one of cinema’s all- time greatest parting shots. Indiana Jones has just saved the world from Belloq and the Nazis and recovered one of the most important archaeological finds in history. It should be a moment to whip the Time Team dirt- scrapers into a collective frenzy. Except it isn’t, because what does the US government do with its spoils? Of course, it completely ignores the blatantly obvious fact that the Ark Of The Covenant “belongs in a museum” and packs it up in a wooden crate, just one anonymous box among thousands stacked in a giant warehouse.
It’s the perfect ending to a perfect movie, simultaneously hilarious ( it’s bureaucracy gone mad!) and a little bit tragic – has Indy’s quest really been a complete waste of time? It’s a relic from a time when movies didn’t always have to worry about sequel opportunities; undoubtedly an endpoint, but still ripe with potential. Ever since I first saw the movie as a kid, the scene has lingered with me. What other treasures could be in the rest of those boxes? Who manages the warehouse? Will the Ark ever see the light of day again? And who the hell are those “top men” Major Eaton was banging on about? Surely the old fellow in the flat cap pushing the Ark to its final resting place isn’t one of them…
Of course, the answers to some of these questions came in the opening scenes of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The
Crystal Skull. As Soviet forces zeroed in on one of the Roswell aliens, we learned that the warehouse was located in an infamous Nevada hotspot, is called Hangar 51, and that the Ark Of The Covenant is still a resident. But despite the allusion to one of my all- time favourite movie moments, I wish Indy had never been forced to go back.
Because aside from the beautiful framing, the wonderful John Williams score, and the stunning matte painting that conveys the vastness of the storeroom, the reason the original scene works so well is the mystery. Surely we were never supposed to know too much about it. Without rooms like that there would be no X- Files, no “top men” to form the basis of conspiracy theories. Some doors are best left unopened.
Hope he made a note of where he left it.