1984
For the first time, Stanley Kubrick lets Steven Spielberg in on his plans to make a film based on Brian Aldiss’ short story about a little robot boy (Super-Toys Last All Summer Long). After having watched E.T. Kubrick feels the story might be more suitable for Spielberg. However, the two directors assert that the special effects technology of that time is not advanced enough.

After Kubrick’s death in 1999, Spielberg creates a film version based on his own screenplay titled A.I. – Artificial Intelligence (2001).

1984
Indiana Jones Fan Film Trailer:
Supported by a couple of friends, Jörg Breitenfeld (that’s me, much younger and with much more hair than today) directs an 8mm short film as part of a planned amateur feature film titled Indiana Jones and the Key to Atlantis

Jörg Liemann does an excellent job as co-author and editor.

Thomas Fritsche plays Indiana Jones, with Patrizia Pinz as the female lead Vivienne Lazzarro. Equipment: one Super8 camera, two lights and a lot of fun… When it becomes obvious that we don’t have the resources to produce a feature-length film, we just pack the scenes we have shot so far in a 4-minute film trailer and call it Indiana Jokes and the Temple of Zoom. The title cards are added later. Thanks to all who participated!!!

The film is shot in Berlin, at a time when the western part of the city is still enclosed by the Berlin Wall – so, the locations are somehow limited.

Our set photo (see below) is an homage to a quite similar photo from Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). The photo is signed by Dennis Muren (Temple of Doom’s visual effects supervisor) on his visit to the Berlin Film Festival’s special-effects retrospective in 1985. He even takes the time for an hour-long interview which is published in our fan magazine.

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Set photo signed by Dennis Muren

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Production call-sheet and ID signed and commented by Dennis Muren: “There must be 1 special effect every minute! Not a moment’s rest.”

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My interview with Dennis Muren. He is impressed by our enthusiasm to create an amateur film based on the Indiana Jones franchise.

1984
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
, a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), succeeds at the boxoffice but is met with mixed reviews due to its shrill tone and excessive violence. The MPAA is forced to introduce a new category to their film-rating system: PG-13.

Lawrence Kasdan who penned the script for Raiders turns down Lucas’ offer to write the screenplay for the second installment based on his story: “I just thought it was horrible. It’s so mean. There’s nothing pleasant about it.”

In his place Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz abide by the demands of Lucas and Spielberg to create a script for a much darker film. A first draft is ready after six weeks. According to Katz, “Steve was coming off an enormously successful movie [E.T.] and George didn’t want to lose him.” […] “He desperately wanted him to direct [Temple of Doom]. We were under a lot of pressure to do it really, really fast so we could hold on to Steve.”

Due to the Government of India’s finding the script racist and offensive, the
filmmakers are denied permission to film in North India and Amer Fort. Director of Photography Douglas Slocombe’s skillful lighting helps disguise the fact that about 80 percent of the film is made on sound stages.

Reprising his role as Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford gains a more muscular tone through a strict physical exercise regime. The cast includes Amrish Puri and Roshan Seth who both played parts in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982).

Out of over 120 actresses auditioning for the female lead (including Sharon Stone) Steven Spielberg selects Kate Capshaw – and marries her in 1991. Capshaw plays Willie Scott, an American nightclub singer in Shanghai. Spielberg and Lucas make her a spoiled and hysteric “damsel in distress” which is a radical departure from Raiders of the Lost Ark’s tough and clever Marion Ravenwood.

Ke Huy Quan plays the 9-year-old sidekick Short Round who has
lost his parents during the Japanese bombardment in the Battle for
Shanghai. He has found a surrogate father in Indiana Jones. In his film Empire of the Sun (1987), Spielberg will seriously explore the fate of children in the wake of the Battle for Shanghai.

Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, and Dan Aykroyd have cameos at the airport.

Despite major problems during filming, Spielberg is able to complete Temple of Doom on schedule and on budget ($28 million – which is $8 million more than the first installment’s budget).

Spielberg on the editing process: “After I showed the [first cut of the] film to George, at an hour and 55 minutes, we looked at each other…” “The first thing that we said was, ‘Too fast’. We needed to decelerate the action. I did a few more matte shots to slow it down.”

The film’s highlights: the musical opening, the rope bridge sequence and the mine cart chase which is created by ILM’s innovative miniature / stop-motion photography (Academy Award for Best Visual Effects).

With the highest opening weekend of 1984, Temple of Doom grosses $333.11 million worldwide.

1984
Apple Macintosh introduced:
the first personal computer with a graphical user interface and mouse operation that is produced in larger quantities.

In the George Orwell year of 1984, Ridley Scott directs an elaborately staged commercial that portrays competitor IBM as “Big Brother” being attacked by a young and beautiful girl (representing Apple).

1984
James Cameron’s The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is an instant smash hit and spawns several sequels.

Terminator Salvation (2009) features Christian Bale who plays the lead role in Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun (1987).

Spielberg on Cameron: “He gets a lot of points for being a techno-brat, but he is a very emotional storyteller.“

1983
Twilight Zone – The Movie – a film adaptation based on Rod Serling’s TV series. Spielberg signs an ensemble of “hot” directing talents of the time: John Landis (Blues Brothers), Joe Dante (Piranha) and George Miller (Mad Max). Each one shoots a different segment for the anthology. Steven Spielberg directs the second one.

Richard Matheson (Duel) writes the script for segments 2, 3 and 4.

The film disappoints audiences and critics, especially Spielberg’s segment “Kick the Can” starring Scatman Crothers (The Shining).

One major reason for the disappointing result: The film is not completed as originally conceived. In an interview, Joe Dante explains that the segments were supposed to be “interwoven so people in one story will appear in another story and the stories will overlap. That was the original plan for “The Twilight Zone” but for obvious reasons that couldn’t happen.”

Dante refers to a helicopter crash on the set of John Landis’ episode that killed the main character Vic Morrow and two children. The court’s investigation finds that safety measures have not been fulfilled. The child actors were not allowed to attend the night shoot. John Landis is acquitted of charges of involuntary manslaughter.

It’s the end of Spielberg’s and Landis’ friendship.

1983
Barbra Streisand’s Yentl
: Musical about a Jewish-Orthodox girl living in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century who is posing as a man to secretly study the teachings of the Talmud. The lead part is played (and sung) by Streisand. Amy Irving plays her fiancée, Hadass.

Yentl is the first Hollywood film directed, co-produced and co-written by a woman who also plays the lead character. Spielberg (who is rumored to have been romantically involved with Streisand by that time) says about the film: “The greatest directorial debut since Citizen Kane.”

Streisand is the first female director receiving a Golden Globe (the second will be given to Kathryn Bigelow in 2010).