Sunday, May 15, 2016

Meet Harry Steele

Yes it's the exact same outfit.
And yes, Charleton Heston obviously wore it better
What did you expect?

Ever wondered to yourself, what the fuck kind of archaeologist is Indiana Jones? 

If you haven't that's all right you probably have never met an archaeologist...or maybe you have and didn't realize it because they are not as a breed given to shooting up bars.  They are quiet retiring types who spend most of their time in the field delicately brushing off pot shards with a toothbrush.  It is rare indeed that natives go chasing after them with blowguns.  Usually the local department of antiquities will wave them off if that is likely to be an issue.

Harry Steele on the other hand was not an archaeologist, he was the thing archaeologists hate the most, an outright tomb raider.  He was also a con-man, a thief and (as you may have guessed from the jacket) a pilot.  So you see on top of being the inspiration for  Indiana Jones, he was also clearly the muse that summoned forth Han Solo.

Yes, Harry always shot first.

Harry was stuck in a back water waiting for chance to make his big score.  He was a tough guy, a hustler and a smooth talker.  Naturally he has made serious enemies.  The only reason he had stuck around was because he had a line on his Big Score.  However he needed a  ship needed a plane to make it happen. Harry had acquired an amulet that if used properly in a secret map room on a certain day would reveal the location of an ancient Incan treasure.  And then along came a dame in trouble   Harry did not become all misty eyed and gooey when he found out some rich gamma male with oneitis was chasing after her.  As soon as she had bedded down for the night, he called the Gamma to collect the reward he had placed on her.  Harry Steele was not given to putting women on a pedestal.

He was quite the lady's man in a way that even Indiana Jones really wasn't.

Bald Dude's wife:  Is guiding people fun?

Harry Steel: It depends where they want to go.

Bald Dude's wife: I don't want to miss anything.

Harry Steel: I'll see what I can do.

Bald Dude (huffing and puffing): Oh, my! I'm feeling quite winded and little sick.  

Harry Steel: We're two miles mile above sea level we have to take it slow and easy.

Bald Dude's wife (smiling): That's the way I like it.  Where will you be if we suddenly need you?

Harry (cocksure smile): Right outside your door.

Bald Dude's wife: Wonderful service.

Harry: I've never had any complaints.

Dude's wife (moments later): Darling when we get to the hotel, I think you should take a long nap.

The art of innuendo was at it's height.  I miss it rather badly.  I know a number of you are complaining that Indy always got the girl but it would be more accurate to say that the girl always threw herself at Indy for some inexplicable reason.  That was as close to the concept of Game as George Lucas is capable of getting.

For contrast, here is a typical Indiana Jones love scene.  Marion Ravenwood's bar is burning down after bar fight, in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Marion: Well Jones, you still know how to show a lady a good time.

Indy:  Boy, you're something.

Harry:  Can't say much for the food but you've got a hell of a floor show Baby!

Marion (smiling coyly): Hey, I wouldn't touch the food.  I'm pretty sure my cook is a cannibal.

Harry:  Too bad.  Any suggestions as to where I can get a bite?

Marion (very coyly): I can think of a place or two.

Indy:  Where the fuck did you come from you?

Harry:  Your love scene needed punching up pal, it was written George Lucas.

Indy (sheepishly):  Yeah I know.  

When you look at Indiana Jones he is clearly a watered down politically correct version of this character.  When Secret of the Incas was made you could still do a film about treasure hunting with something that approached societal approval. By 1981 those days were over.  It was unthinkable for a good lefty to make that guy the hero of his action shlock.  So Indiana Jones was created as an archaeologist who would have been expelled from every university in the county for gross malpractice.

The question is why did Lucas lie about his inspiration for Jones and Solo?  Why could he not give a thimble full of credit where it was due?

Because he is George Lucas, Creative Genius.  He could give credit to Flash Gordon and nameless action serials because they were drastically inferior works.  Secret of the Incas, was not an inferior work.  Don't get me wrong it's no Casa Blanca.  But the pacing is good and the dialog is tight.*

George Lucas is so intellectually dishonest he simply can not give credit where credit is due. Ever.  If he had acknowledged that Secret of the Incas had basically inspired the entire first half of Raiders of the Lost Ark...Well he clearly wouldn't be a creative genius now would he?

Anyway Secret of the Incas is in public domain.  It's not a great film by any stretch but it was a good enough film and the people who made it should have gotten the credit they deserved.

Why?  Because that is what a Man does.  To do less is theft and this is beneath a Man's dignity.

Footnote;  This is the full uncut version of Secret of the Incas.  It was made by Paramount and was buried so deeply in their vault after Raiders of the Lost Ark came out that they forgot about it completely and it fell into public domain.  

*Major Admission: the action scenes suck ass by modern standards and weren't that great when the flick was shot.

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