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Old 01-05-2008, 07:38 AM   #1
indytim
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Help Required Regards The Women Of Indiana Jones

Hello all,

I'm working on a Media Studies project at college and I'm writing a paper on the portrayal of the lead female characters in the existing Indiana Jones trilogy (ie. not including Indy IV). The study focuses on both the three characters (those being Marion, Willie and Elsa) and the women who actually played the roles (those being Karen, Kate and Alison). What follows are a few questions relating to the aforementioned and I would appreciate any answers, thoughts or feedback which I will be including in my research notes. Many thanks in advance to anyone who replies ...

1) What do you think about the way in which women are represented in the Indiana Jones films?

2) Do you think the way in which women are depicted in the films is a direct result of them being produced almost entirely by men (director, producers, writers)?

3) Of the three female characters which one is the most appealing and why?

4) Which of the three female characters best pairs with the character of Indiana Jones and why?

5) How important do you believe it is for the Indiana Jones films to have a female lead character?

6) What do you believe is the main purpose of including a female lead in the Indiana Jones films?

7) To any female readers, as a women which character do you most relate to and which one has the most appeal?

8) How do you feel any/all of the characters compare to Harrison Ford's leading lady from the other huge film franchise of that time, that being Star Wars and the character of Princess Leia?

9) Do you think the way in which women were portrayed in the films had any long-term influence on other film makers?

10) What do you think the long-term impact has been on the careers of the three actresses who played the lead female roles (NB. do you think Jones has had the Bond effect where most leading women chosen for the Bond films are plucked from obscurity, thrust into the media spotlight, and then mostly disappear without trace)?

Many thanks,
Tim
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:55 AM   #2
peterlally
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Havent got much time but I have tried to give you a few pointers below. Defo worth watching all the films again. Ill help you out with these: -


4) Which of the three female characters best pairs with the character of Indiana Jones and why?

** Marion from Raiders. He has met his match here she is a feisty piece of work who knows how to look after herself. She can pull her punches just as well as Jones can and sometimes he's on the end of them**


10) What do you think the long-term impact has been on the careers of the three actresses who played the lead female roles (NB. do you think Jones has had the Bond effect where most leading women chosen for the Bond films are plucked from obscurity, thrust into the media spotlight, and then mostly disappear without trace)?

The bond effect is not true of "Jones" girls. Karen Allen continued to have a massive career throughout the 80's before petering out. She is now set to re-launch her career appearing once again as Marion Ravenwood in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Kate Capshaw the lead from Temple of Doom got busy making babies with Steven Speilberg, not quite disapearing without a trace.

Alison Doody of Last Crusade gave up acting to bring up a family.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:55 PM   #3
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Ah, someone's working on a gender in film essay... You have read Lauren Mulvey's essay, I presume? Besides, I would think that you would need actual sources, that you can in-text reference in your essay and perhaps you should sit down, watch the films and take notes. Afterall, I have to do that everytime I write for film theory. These things that you ask afterall, are often a result of personal judgment rather than the judgment of an average opinion of Indyfans posting on a message board (and if you took that, you might find contradiction between thoughts in the essay).

Btw, for Q2, not all the writers were male. Temple of Doom was written by writing team Willard Huyck (the last name's misspelt, I can't be bothered to look it up now) and his wife, Gloria Katz. The film ironically was attacked by feminists because of the Willie Scott character being so helpless and constantly whining and screaming all the time and blamed it on those involved with the film, but hey one of the writer was a woman and they were too blind to see that if a woman writer had no problem it seems with the character of Willie, then why attack the film like that? Especially since at the time, Kate Capshaw was a single mother with a degree, a feminist ideal.
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Old 01-06-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
Nathan Drake
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1) What do you think about the way in which women are represented in the Indiana Jones films?
I think they do a good job as the three characters are very different from each other and because of that they aren't viewed in a single light.

2) Do you think the way in which women are depicted in the films is a direct result of them being produced almost entirely by men (director, producers, writers)?
No because the diversity between their characters is well balanced rather than them just being sex objects.

3) Of the three female characters which one is the most appealing and why?
Marion. She has a unique personality and never gives up.

4) Which of the three female characters best pairs with the character of Indiana Jones and why?
Marion again, because she's a tough character that can hold her own alongside Indy as well as the personality that plays off each other.

5) How important do you believe it is for the Indiana Jones films to have a female lead character?
Very important as it adds another angle of chemistry to the story and characters.

6) What do you believe is the main purpose of including a female lead in the Indiana Jones films?
Same as above.

8) How do you feel any/all of the characters compare to Harrison Ford's leading lady from the other huge film franchise of that time, that being Star Wars and the character of Princess Leia?
I think Marion is very similar to Leia. Both are tough and have a spunky, fiery attitude, but at the same time they are both still human and relatable. Both characters are fighters first, and their feminine side comes second which makes them come off as proper characters in the story rather than just "the lead lady" feeling I get from say, Padme who's only really there to draw in female audiences.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:49 PM   #5
Joe Brody
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Just FYI, I'm a father of two girls (7 and 4) who spends a lot of time looking for good girl power role models for my girls.

1) What do you think about the way in which women are represented in the Indiana Jones films?

It's a failure. Even the strongest female lead (Marion) can't cope for herself -- she can't get herself out of Nepal on her own, she always needs Indy to rescue her, and her strongest asset is that she's developed some tolerance to booze. Great. The other two are not even worth talking about.

2) Do you think the way in which women are depicted in the films is a direct result of them being produced almost entirely by men (director, producers, writers)?

Totally. Someone help me spell misogynist. Seriously, I want to see Indy IV mostly to see the depiction of the Marion character -- because I think Spielberg's long marraige has had some impact on his thinking, plus Kennedy seems like a smart and strong women worth listening to. I'm apprehensive because Marion is dressed like a man in the one pic I've seen. What's up with that? I could have come up with a better period appropriate outfit without the vest. Why does a "strong" women have to dress like a man? Grace Kelly could've kick my ass -- while wearing heels and something hot from Milan.

3) Of the three female characters which one is the most appealing and why?

Gotta say Elsa because she's thinking for herself but her character development really suffered because Indy/Henry interaction.

4) Which of the three female characters best pairs with the character of Indiana Jones and why?

This is a vague question. If the female is a foil to help define the lead, then one could argue Willie Scott. If the female role is to provide the 'Happily ever after' then its Marion. If the 'best' means to add another layer of intrigue, then its Elsa.

5) How important do you believe it is for the Indiana Jones films to have a female lead character?

It's critical. On the old hierachy of needs, Indy may not need to go to the bathroom but he does need female companionship. I think the female character is a critical part of the film because each film's relationship goes in a different direction -- it adds to character. Plus, I support him sleeping around because its the only element of the Indy character that is not converted into a boy scout in Last Crusade. Nothing wrong with two consenting, unmarried adults going at it.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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Oh wow, Tim. Umm... I'm still thinking. Let me get back to you on this one.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:55 PM   #7
Niteshade007
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1) What do you think about the way in which women are represented in the Indiana Jones films?

--I think that they could be handled better. The first time we see Marion, she is in pants and a button down shirt, drinking a man under the table. While this helps establish her "tough gal" image, the rest of the film is spent trying to get her into a dress. I even had a film teacher that said that Marion's choice of a frying pan in her fight scene is a way of saying that women need to be in the kitchen. While I disagree with this statement, I do feel that Marion seems like a tough girl, she really is used as an object as the film progresses, keeping her in heels and dresses throughout most of the film.

With Willie Scott, you have a beautiful woman who is obsessed with objects; her dress, a diamond, her nails, her house, limousines, etc, being taken out of her element by Indiana Jones and forced into one where she is clearly not comfortable (and she makes it VERY well known to the audience). Most of her lines are complaints or simply screams of terror. However, one could make the argument that in the end, she experiences a bigger turnaround than Marion. While Marion's progression went from tough girl in pants to damsel in a dress, Willie almost seems to make the opposite transition. She starts of the film in a dress, and spends a good deal of time in one (and when she's in the jungle wearing Indy's suit, she still carries the dress around with her). However, in her ONLY fight scene, she is wearing pants as part of her sacrificial garment. She makes a turnaround and instead of waiting for Indy to save her, she turns around and punches a guy. Also, while at the end of Raiders, Marion is waiting patiently for Indy in a dress suit, Willie is once again in pants, and trying to get AWAY from Indy. The film ends with the two in a passionate embrace, but her last bit of dialogue shows that she isn't up for a life with him.

Elsa is interesting. I think that her character had the potential to be the strongest of the female leads. In the beginning, she is a smart, beautiful archaeologist, the only one of the Indy girls who has a job that requires a college education. Even though she is in a dress, she proves her "toughness" by getting excited over the discovery of the tomb of Sir Richard, even going in before Indy, without a moment's hesitation. She may be in heels and a skirt, but not once does she complain. She makes a small scream when she first sees rats, and again when she is in a coffin being surrounded by them, but for the most part keeps her in cool in a situation that would have had Marion and Willie screaming and begging Indy for answers. Sadly, though, this is where her character peaks. After that, it turns out that she is in league with the Nazis, and has had an affair with both Indy and his father, using sex to gain their trust. There are some scenes where she seems to be almost making a transfer over to the "good side." She is at a book burning in Berlin, and clearly upset over it. As an educated woman, she would know the importance of books, of knowledge, whereas the event might not have had the same effect on Marion and Willie (although the argument could be made that Marion, the daughter of a professor, would have understood their importance, it is possible she didn't, since she refers to Abner's archeology as "looking for his bits of junk"). However, she is at a Nazi book burning, and her appearance was requested "at the highest order," making her much more than just another person forced to join the Nazi party. Clearly, she goes willingly. In her final scenes, she once again shows a heart, when Donovan shoots and wounds Henry Sr. She very clearly shows concern. Even though she may not have loved him and she used him and his son to get the diary, she makes it obvious in a brief moment that she didn't want any harm to fall upon him. In a following scene, she gives Donovan the wrong grail. How this can be viewed can vary. Either she knew that he was a bad guy, and decided that he didn't deserve the grail, or possibly (and maybe even more likely) she wanted the grail to herself. At any rate, the film sets it up for a happy ending for everyone, including her. The dad is now safe, the villain is defeated, and everything is ok. Then, once again, her character takes a downward spiral. Her greed overcomes her, and she tries to leave the temple with the grail. This of course doesn't work, and she and the grail fall into a bit. Indy tries to save her, but she wrenches her hand out of his in order to try to grab the grail. She of course has to pay for this, and then falls to her death. Indy on the other hand, can do the exact same thing, and be redeemed. He falls in immediately after her, this time with his father trying to help him up. Indy tries to grab the grail (even though he's just seen someone die trying to do this), but since he is the hero after all, he is allowed to live, albeit without the grail.

2) Do you think the way in which women are depicted in the films is a direct result of them being produced almost entirely by men (director, producers, writers)?

--Of course, but we also have to keep in mind that the series is called Indiana Jones for a reason. He is the main character, and he is the one who has to get ALL of the characters through the film.

3) Of the three female characters which one is the most appealing and why?

--Marion is my favorite because she seemed like the best fit to Indy's personality. Willie was far too materialistic to ever have a real relationship with him, and Elsa was a bit too much like him, although more power hungry.

4) Which of the three female characters best pairs with the character of Indiana Jones and why?

--To expand on the above, Marion is tough in the sense that she can handle the situations that Indy puts her in, as long as he's there. She doesn't scream her head off or complain, but she needs him there for guidance. Willie and Elsa could never have long term relationships with him because of their personalities.

5) How important do you believe it is for the Indiana Jones films to have a female lead character?

--Extremely. Indy is a romantic hero, and much of the duller scenes in Last Crusade take place after it is established that Indy and Elsa will not be a romantic pair due to Elsa's treachery. The films need a female to keep that sense of heroism in the air. If Indy isn't fighting for a woman, there's no sense of danger. An artifact is an artifact, it's not a living, breathing thing. If it gets destroyed, oh well, but if a woman were to die because Indy couldn't save her, the audience would be far more upset.

6) What do you believe is the main purpose of including a female lead in the Indiana Jones films?

--It keeps Indy as a hero. It allows him to be macho and vulnerable at the same time. A female makes him more interesting, because despite his need to be viewed as a tough guy who can do it all on his own, his interactions with his female leads are always interesting. They are in his care, and he is of course attracted to them.

I can't really help you with any of the others.

Last edited by Niteshade007 : 02-02-2008 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:22 PM   #8
electronemic
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Is it too late to offer insights for your paper?
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody


1) What do you think about the way in which women are represented in the Indiana Jones films?

It's a failure. Even the strongest female lead (Marion) can't cope for herself -- she can't get herself out of Nepal on her own, she always needs Indy to rescue her, and her strongest asset is that she's developed some tolerance to booze. Great. The other two are not even worth talking about.

Too funny! Never thought about it like this Joe, you are on the money! Didn't she "cozy" up and use her "womanly assets" to get away form harm also?



3) Of the three female characters which one is the most appealing and why?

Gotta say Elsa because she's thinking for herself but her character development really suffered because Indy/Henry interaction.

Again a good point Joe, I agree, but because she whined the least, and was the hottest!

Plus, I support him sleeping around because its the only element of the Indy character that is not converted into a boy scout in Last Crusade. Nothing wrong with two consenting, unmarried adults going at it.

Joe, he only sleeps with 1 woman per moive, this is not sleeping around!
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
[Tucker Case] had never really dated much--gone on dates, that is. He'd met and seduced a lot of women, but it was never over a series of evenings with dinner and conversation--usually just some drinks and vulgarity at a hotel lounge had done the trick."

Name that quote. . .
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:53 AM   #11
roundshort
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody
Name that quote. . .


My Man tucker case form Christopher Moore, is that Island of the love nun?
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Old 09-24-2016, 07:38 AM   #12
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1) What do you think about the way in which women are represented in the Indiana Jones films?
All three different in each film. Marion: tough and Indy's match on that matter. Willie: the total opposite of Marion. Elsa: Maybe another match but it's different. I think they would get along perfectly, if she wasn't a Nazi, in a professional way. A romantic relationship would be just a nice extra.

It's just not always the same kind of woman. One can take care of herself, the second barely and third seems to be having the same interest as him.

3) Of the three female characters which one is the most appealing and why?
Personally? I think I'd go for Elsa. Because I think she and Indy has something in common. They work in the same field. Indy has a history with Marion, he was too different from Willie but with Elsa he shares that same love for archaeology. She's someone you can meet on a digsite for the same reason you might bump into Indy.

4) Which of the three female characters best pairs with the character of Indiana Jones and why?

Marion and Elsa. Marion because she's his match in character and Elsa because she's his match in their profession.

5) How important do you believe it is for the Indiana Jones films to have a female lead character?

Pretty important. Whether she's there to keep him (un)balanced or to betray him or to lead the enemy.

6) What do you believe is the main purpose of including a female lead in the Indiana Jones films?
Love, adventure and depth.

10) What do you think the long-term impact has been on the careers of the three actresses who played the lead female roles (NB. do you think Jones has had the Bond effect where most leading women chosen for the Bond films are plucked from obscurity, thrust into the media spotlight, and then mostly disappear without trace)?
I don't know much of their further careers after the Indy movies. Capshaw played a small role in Black Rain with Michael Douglas and Karen Allen appeared in Perfect Storm. Allison Doody, I haven't seen since but is still good looking.
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