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'Indiana Jones' flicks debut on DVD in adventursome boxed set

Trust them: The makers of the "Indiana Jones" flicks were not about to let fans down with the long-awaited DVD release.

A close second to the original "Star Wars" trilogy on DVD-lovers' wish list, "The Adventures of Indiana Jones" debuts Tuesday in a four-disc boxed set that includes one of the most comprehensive making-of documentaries ever.

Hardcore fans who think they know it all about cinema's best-known archaeologist are in for a surprise, promises Jim Ward, vice president of marketing for Lucasfilm, "Indiana Jones" executive producer George Lucas' outfit.

"It's very important for us to come to the table with something fresh and new," Ward said. "We up at Lucasfilm went on our own archaeological dig, if you will."

The team unearthed a huge range of behind-the-scenes footage for 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," 1984's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and 1989's "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Among the material: Footage of star Harrison Ford practicing with Indy's whip; Lucas bouncing along the suspension bridge built for "Temple of Doom"; and director Steven Spielberg pleading for more snakes in the "Raiders" tomb scene.

The two-hour documentary mixes that footage with new interviews of Spielberg, Ford, Lucas, female co-stars Karen Allen, Kate Capshaw and Alison Doody and Sean Connery, who played Indy's father in "Last Crusade." Interviews also feature other cast members and technical crew that created the stunts, sets and effects.

Lucas notes he dreamed up the idea that would become "Indiana Jones" in the 1970s but set it aside to do "Star Wars." The dashing archaeologist resurfaced when Lucas mentioned it to Spielberg on a Hawaii vacation the weekend "Star Wars" opened.

The two were quickly off and running with their modern take on old Hollywood adventure serials, with a part-academic, part-rogue hero whose tag line was the cocky, "Trust me."

They viewed it as screwball-comedy master Preston Sturges meets "Casablanca" director Michael Curtiz. Spielberg notes that Indy was conceived as a flawed hero who owed as much to the unstable Humphrey Bogart of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" as to the unflappable Bogart of "Casablanca."

"Indiana Jones is a very, very engaging hero," Allen, the female lead in "Raiders," told The Associated Press. "He's the hero who puts on the German uniform, when he knocks out the soldier and goes to put on the suit, it doesn't fit. When he goes to hit somebody, he hurts his hand. He's not one of these heroes who's perfect or over-muscled. He's every man, in a sense. That's very appealing to an audience."

The character originally was named Indiana Smith (Spielberg suggested changing it, while "Indiana" was the name of Lucas' dog, a joke that found its way into "Last Crusade").

Tom Selleck had been set to play the lead until his TV series "Magnum, P.I." left him unavailable; before Ford was cast, others considered to play Indiana included Tim Matheson and Peter Coyote. Screen tests featured in the DVD set include Selleck as Indiana, with Sean Young in the role that went to Allen.

The filmmakers originally planned to pack it in after the third "Indiana Jones" flick, but Spielberg, Lucas and Ford now plan to shoot a fourth next year, with the film expected to hit theaters in 2005.

"Nobody thought we were going to do another one. We felt we'd done with that," Ford said. "Every once in a while, an idea would come up and would be floated by sometimes, but it didn't spark enough interest from all three of us, George, Steven and I. When an idea did surface and George had time to devote attention to it, we began working on this. ... It was all about the story."

Spielberg, Ford and Lucas have kept details under wraps, including whether Connery or other past co-stars might return.

John Rhys-Davies, who played Indy's faithful friend Sallah in "Raiders" and "Last Crusade," said he would love to reprise the role but has not heard if he will be invited back. The whole project hinges on the three principals, Rhys-Davies said.

"This film will only be made with the consent of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford," Rhys-Davies said. "None of these guys are in it for the money, anymore. If they're doing it at all, it's got to be better and more remarkable than any one of the `Indiana Jones' films before. And that's a pretty tall order."

Spielberg's wife, Capshaw, no doubt has some inside information, but she stayed mum about casting during a question-and-answer session last weekend with Allen and Doody to promote the DVD release.

In DVD interviews, Spielberg notes that while "Temple of Doom" is his least favorite of the "Indiana Jones" films, the movie did introduce him to Capshaw.

"Even though Indiana Jones ended up getting the girl," Spielberg says, "I really did."

Indiana Jones
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