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Tintin: Small "homage" in Indiana Jones?

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#21 · Posted: 19 Apr 2010 07:16
Steven Spielberg:
"I knew nothing about Tintin till the day I read reviews of Raiders of the Lost Ark with Harrison Ford, that compared my film with a certain Tintin... I didn't understand! So I ordered books of Tintin, and then I said to myself: "Now I understand!"

I forgot from where I got this interview extract.

Moderator Note: It's best and polite to have an attribution when posting someone else's text; using Google produced the information that this is a post to another discussion forum, where someone had translated an interview from a special in Le Monde, between Mr. Spielberg and journalist Michel Guerrin (03/12/2010). The original article can be purchased on-line here.

The Attributive Tintinologist Team
#22 · Posted: 24 Nov 2010 11:26
Indy's movies are by far the biggest hommage/rip-off of The Advenutres of Tintin ever!

I still like them though even if I can't help myself and play a little game of, "Let's see what I can spot that Steve has nicked from Hergé this time!"

To be fair though if one thinks about it Indy for me is a cross bewteen Tintin and Haddock and most likely the kind of man Tintin himself would have become had he been aloud to age.

I knew nothing about Tintin till the day I read reviews of Raiders of the Lost Ark with Harrison Ford, that compared my film with a certain Tintin...

I'm sorry to say that you have been the victum of a hoax!

Spielberg, I'm told was quite a fan of Tintin as a kid when a number of the books came out in the US.

So I think that he did borrow a few things from Tintin.

Added to that I'm quite sure that the abanded 1970's/1980's Tintin film project (I'm not quite sure when this happened) would have had something to do with the movies, even though Lucus did already come up with the idea beforehand when he was under the impression that the first Star Wars movie was going to be a flop.

I may be wrong but that is what I've always been led to believe.
#23 · Posted: 24 Nov 2010 21:04
Spielberg, I'm told was quite a fan of Tintin as a kid when a number of the books came out in the US.

Yes, but who told you? What makes them more credible than the man himself? What evidence do they have?

There really isn't any reason to put the pronouncement of an unknown third party over the word of the man himself, who, after all, was there, and has nothing to gain from lying about it.

If he'd read them as a child, it would surely have made it easier, not harder, to get a Tintin film made, as he'd have been wanting to do it all along.

Also, look at the dates - he was born in 1946, and doesn't speak French. He'd have had to wait for English-language books to be available, so post-1958 at the very earliest, and even then, you'd still have to show that he ever saw one of the Golden Press books - which sold badly - in the short space of time they were available.

Indy's movies are by far the biggest hommage/rip-off of The Advenutres of Tintin ever!

Here you are working from the position that the Indy films are Mr. Spielberg's work entirely, when - as has been reported here and elsewhere - they are George Lucas's creations, not his; Spielberg didn't invent the character, write the story or script, and (although he obviously grew to have a lot of influence on the series) he still doesn't fulfill any of those rôles.

Added to that I'm quite sure that the abanded 1970's/1980's Tintin film project (I'm not quite sure when this happened) would have had something to do with the movies

No, the Tintin movie plans all post-date Raiders of the Lost Ark. I don't have a date to hand for when Hergé said that he felt Spielberg was the only director who could do Tintin justice, but Spielberg's response that he didn't know the books, to the person who said that Raiders had the spirit of Tintin about it, which lead to Spielberg getting the books, which then prompted talks with Hergé, all fall into the period after Raiders came out.

Likewise the first meeting between Mr. Spielberg and Hergé was scheduled to occur just when Hergé's health took a turn for the worse and he died, and that was later still.

Had Spielberg wanted to do the movie earlier, he'd have surely contacted Hergé earlier, and a meeting would have taken place before Raiders came out, or before it was even made.

So the weight of evidence as we have it is that no, Spielberg was not channeling pent-up desires to make a Tintin film any time before Raiders, otherwise he'd surely have at least asked to do so...

Lucas did already come up with the idea beforehand when he was under the impression that the first Star Wars movie was going to be a flop.

Again, no: Lucas wanted to do a modern day version of a pulp serial, and used blow-ups of old adventure serial lobby-cards to decorate Lucasfilm's offices when he first set them up, including one of a horse rider jumping from the saddle onto a lorry, which later served as reference for Raiders, so it was an idea bubbling around even before making Star Wars.

In the same way, he'd wanted to do a Flash Gordon-style space adventure - actually he did want to make Flash Gordon, and had asked to do so, but he discovered that Dino de Laurentis already had the option on that property, hence Lucas penning his own space story...

I'm not convinced that Lucas thought that Star Wars would flop, so much as he'd become convinced by his experience on it that directing was, for him, a chore: thus he sought to devolve that area of the work to someone else (in this case Steven Spielberg), and to concentrate on the writing/ creation of characters side of things (which is where any appropriation of Tintin material - had it actually happened - would have occurred).

lets see what I can spot that Steve has nicked from Hergé this time!

Setting aside the fact that the stories and scenarios aren't Steven Spielberg's to begin with, I think you are missing out on the fact that both series, Tintin and Indy, are drawing on a common history of action/ adventure fiction.

Hergé wan't shy of appropriating themes from adventure stories. Look at the parallels between The Black Island and Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (a fugitive on the run across Britain, wanted for a crime he didn't commit), which was of course itself drawn from an adventure novel, John Buchan's The Thirty Nine Steps, or stunts like Tintin scaling the front of the skyscraper in Tintin in America, and the films of Harold Lloyd.

Indeed, Martin Lodewijk, the author of Agent 327 and Storm, has gone as far as to say that "What Hergé did, was steal." I personally don't believe this of Hergé any more than I think it of George Lucas or Steven Spielberg.
#24 · Posted: 29 Jul 2011 23:20
This is a little off topic, but why does the world still hate Spielberg for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?
I thought it to be an excellent film, showing the humour of Indy having aged, but still being cool, and able to fight off his enemies with as much exciting intrigue as before...

I believe that the whole reason for hating the film was the flying saucer, but why should that be an issue? It's set in the 50s, the time of the great craze of Science Fiction... And let's be honest, what makes a flying saucer more ridiculous than an ark of spirits or the holy grail. All are far-fetched, and as mad as the other, but the series is based off classic serials, where the cheesy quests were part of the ride. As far as I'm concerned, Crystal Skull was equally as good as the older ones. Not worse in any way.

And regarding the topic... People need to stop using the term "ripping off". They make it sound like inspiration is a bad thing. And stop complaining about Spielberg for Crystal Skull or any other Indiana Jones issue, because it's been said countless times on this forum alone, Spielberg was merely a director, while George Lucas was the brains behind it all. People ought to be taking it up with him, and not Spielberg.

We all clearly love that Spielberg is making the Tintin film, but slandering him as a thief by calling him a rip off of Tintin seems to me to be a pretty poor way of repaying him, don't you think?
#25 · Posted: 30 Jul 2011 10:39
Spielberg really only got involved in directing Raiders after 1941 (1979), a large-scale, WWII-set comedy he made, famously blew its budget and then flopped - nearly ending his career. He was seen as un-reliable, and fallible, where he'd once been seen as indomitable.

'1941' was acknowledged as Spielberg's first movie failure. This is beyond dispute.

On the back of film success being 'Jaws'and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', Spielberg made '1941' which was panned by critics but still made a modest budget for its release.
A key point to note is that the studios made their budgets plus profits, albeit much smaller.
It was not a financial failure by any means.

It did, I suppose, 'flop' when compared to the other Spielberg movies at the time.
It possibly gave doubt in studio executives in Spielberg's ability as a filmmaker to generate profits but his next directing venture being 'Raiders' and then 'ET' laid this claim to rest forever.

Did the film go 'famously over budget'? Is there evidence of this?
Further, was Spielberg's career on the line after '1941'?
I'm not so sure although I may well be wrong...

Sorry Jock If I'm attacking you a little bit, I just wanted to voice some feelings I had for your comments!

Indy's movies are by far the biggest homage/rip off of The Adventures of Tintin ever!

I don't with this agree at all.
Many other posts on the forum dispute this significantly...

(Regarding Indiana Jones)..
Lucas did already come up with the idea beforehand when he was under the impression that the first 'Star Wars' movie was going to be a flop.

George Lucas originally had two key movie ideas.

One was about science fiction and the other was about a explorer/adventure in homage to the early Hollywood serials, similar to a 'B grade film.

Lucas chose 'Star Wars' first, and upon the unexpected success of this film, he spoke with Spielberg about a possible collaboration for his next idea.

The rest is history...


#26 · Posted: 3 Aug 2011 10:51
It was not a financial failure by any means.

You're absolutely spot on there, Rodney! If I didn't say it here (I'm losing track as I have had to tackle this subject several times) then I should emphasize that 1941 wasn't so much an actual immediate financial flop, as a film which failed to meet expectation.

However this should also be balanced against the way in which it was marketed - it opened in a huge number of cinemas, an expectant (and large) audience with an appetite for a Spielberg picture went to see it, generating a lot of revenue quickly, and then when they didn't really like it, word of mouth sank the movie, and it died away.

It didn't make back it's money in the States, but it did eventually turn a profit world wide.
The profit though was very small, considering the investment - and many smaller-budget movies made better profits than that one big picture.

It can be more sensible to make a lot of small films, some of which fail, some are successful, some very successful, than put all your eggs in one basket.

Another caveat here: the accounting of movie studios is notoriously convoluted, and films which appear to have taken a bucket load of money never officially make a profit - Tim Burton's Batman being a famous example.
This is apparently an accounting device, to stop the studio having to make royalty or other additional payments to artistes, who may stand to make more money if and when the film goes into profit, and it regularly ends up in court.
Jack Nicholson was due a massive payout on that film reaching "profitibility" - which it never has done, and litigation has failed to resolve it.
His response was to invoke a "first look" clause in his contract, which promised a fantastic sum of money in consideration of his taking a part in the sequel. It normally means that a star gets an inducement to read the script early enough to see if they want to do it, and to allow for such changes as they might ask for to be meade before shooting (in Nicholson's case, the script would have had to do some major gymnastics, as (spoiler warning - look away now!) The Joker is dead at the end of Batman.
Nicholson allegedly arranged a meeting where he literally walked in, looked at the script on the desk, and walked out again, which was technically all he had to do to earn a couple of million dollars, as required by his "first look" contract...

So perhaps 1941 has had some history of this too?

his next directing venture being Raiders and then E.T. laid this claim to rest forever.

The studio execs probably had a good point - they couldn't afford to gamble with the viability of their studios on him making another dud on the scale of 1941; it was Lucas having faith in him, and financially backing him, which made him promise to mend his ways and be more discerning in what he shot and how he made a movie.

Did the film go 'famously over budget'? Is there evidence of this?

Again, good point - I don't have a citation to hand, so you are right to be cautious about accepting such claims.
Bear in mind however, that this started out with the intention of being a regular studio comedy-drama about a real historical event, with presumably a regular budget, and ended up the most expensive farce in Hollywood studio history.
Furthermore the question of budgetary restraint (or lack of it) was a major reason that Paramount were not keen on him, and why Lucas was the guarantor on Raiders.

Further, was Spielberg's career on the line after '1941'?

Yes, very much so. It was very much in the news at the time, and they have spoken of it since, Spielberg being very sincere in his gratitude to Lucas.

Sorry Jock If I'm attacking you a little bit, I just wanted to voice some feelings I had for your comments!

No problem at all! I'm always happy to discuss the points, and am grateful for any corrections! I'd be just as happy if you were able to show that the case against 1941 was an ill-considered mis-representation.

Although it is a very bad film...!
#27 · Posted: 5 Aug 2011 01:00
After 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' came out I read somewhere that in the French press they kept referring Indiana Jones to Tintin.
Spielberg was like 'who's this guy, who are they talking about?'.
He then sent his secretary out to obtain the adventures and although could not understand the story as it was in French, it quoted as saying that 'he fell in love with the art'.

Two questions for the forum:

1. Anyone know if it was a particular adventure which so captivated Spielberg on his first reading or perhaps it was simply a combination of all the books?

2. Does Spielberg have a favorite adventure? Has he ever stated this?

I've always wanted to know these questions and think perhaps with all the media buzz and interviews he's doing currently (and will be doing much more on the film's release) perhaps these questions will be answered if they haven't already...
#28 · Posted: 6 Sep 2014 14:22
Just to be completist about this, following on from Ed's remark above, sadly I have to report that the great Bill Kerr, the "Boy from Wagga Wagga", passed away on the 28th of August, at the grand old age of 92.

His contribution to British comedy and the Australian film industry remain however, and thus we will continue to enjoy his talents for decades to come.

His BBC obituary is here.
#29 · Posted: 19 Jan 2021 19:55
This is an old post, but having seen again the 91-92 production entirely and remembering the comics, I must say that some scenes and concepts of Indiana Jones really depend on Tintin's adventures - I am aware of Spielberg's statements, and his Tintin movie and that's not the problem.

Undoubtedly there were some examples or clues for Indiana's adventures in Hollywood or other literature but not of this scale.

As a fan of both creations, I don't have a problem with this and just want to mention it.

Let me mention some correspondences between scenes and structure.

Naturally, these are not direct copies or imitations, but notable. Choose your word: inspired or influenced.
I think Indiana Jones movies constantly refer to Tintin's some adventures in a specific way. They reflect "the mirror image" of Tintin comics in a collage.

Consider the geographical direction of Cigars of the Pharaoh and the Blue Lotus (1932-1935). First Egypt, next India, then China (Shanghai).
Tintin encounters with Chang at China.
Indiana Jones arrives on the scene in Egypt (Raiders of the Lost Ark), moves to Shanghai at the beginning of the second movie (Temple of Doom) and immediately returns to India. And we have Shorty, a Chinese boy, in the great escape scene (I think this is not a shy reference to Snowy). He plays an important role in the rest of the movie.

Consider also these scenes (you'll see a mixed and reverse interpretation).

Cigars of the Pharaoh, part 1: from 20:35 - Raiders of the Lost Ark: 39:30 - 40:30
Tintin running - Indiana Jones running and chasing. Just smell the atmosphere and laugh to jokes!

You can also see the evil twins of Thom(p)sons/ Dupondts with their hats in the movie. Tintin escapes via plane in this scene, very similar to the opening scene of Raiders of The Lost Ark (already mentioned).

Compare the famous Hitler-Indiana scene from the Last Crusade (from 01. 09. 55)  with Blue Lotus, part 2 (from 04.35); Indiana Jones in his own identity encounters with the man, Tintin in disguise acts as a general.

Before this scene in the movie: Indiana and Sean Connery ride a German military motorcycle for two persons and escape from Nazis temporarily (Last Crusade, from 01.03.15).
After the "general scene" in Blue Lotus, Tintin escapes with a bicycle, Chinese soldiers pursue him with the same military motorcycle (Blue Lotus, part 2: from 06: 15)

In this tight context, compare also Tintin's and Indiana's troubled landing in India with a plane: (Cigars of the Pharaoh, part 2: from 03.24; Temple of Doom, from 15: 30)

There are some web-rumours about a deleted scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which shows Sallah with a camel. That's Haddock and the llama of course, but it needs to be checked.

I think one can observe other examples within the context of The Broken Ear and The Seven Crystal Balls/ Prisoners of the Sun.

#30 · Posted: 20 Mar 2021 16:40
That's strange.
I managed to read all Tintin comics and watch every Indiana Jones movie, and I managed to miss that...

I knew it was present in other stories, but I thought it was just a staple of pulp/ interbellum adventure series, like the rolling boulders and old Egyptian or South American artifacts, and that it hadn't just been lifted from Tintin. ;-)

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