Near the beginning of the 1981 film “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” two men from U.S. Army Intelligence confer with Indiana Jones, the relic-hunting professor. “Over the last two years, the Nazis have had teams of archaeologists running around the world looking for all kinds of religious artifacts,” says one of them. “Hitler’s a nut on the subject. Crazy. He’s obsessed with the occult.”
When I was a kid, Raiders of the Lost Ark was my favorite movie. I think I saw it five times in the theater. When I learned about The Master Plan by Heather Pringle–an account of how the Nazis used and abused archaeological research–my mind turned to Indy. Didn’t yours?
Anyway, I snagged the review assignment and began my research. First I read Pringle’s earlier book, The Mummy Congress, which had been on my list for a while. Then I dove into The Master Plan. Somewhere along the way, I re-watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, jotting down the dialogue during the movie’s main exposition scene. That provided the lede. I also re-watched the third movie in the series because it includes a quip that I wanted to use as a punch line at the end of the review. I just had to make sure that my memory of it was correct. If you want to know what it is, read the review.