Sunday, 12 June 2016

Arches UT, USA


     
The opening scene of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is set in 1912 during the early years of Indy (River Phoenix). As a member of the Boy Scouts of America he is horseback riding to explore caves with his troup.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 0:04:58
Young Indy stumbles upon a group of treasure hunters who just have found a golden crucifix that once belonged to the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. Indy thinks the cross belongs in a museum and steals it from the thieves, leading to a chase first by horse and car, then on a circus train. The first five minutes of the movie, with the exception of the scene in the cave, where filmed in Arches National Park, located in the desert of Utah, famous for its unique rock formations.

The combination of the soft red sandstone have resulted in many natural arches, hence the name of the park, in addition to a variety of other rock formations.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008 
The most notable arches have been giving a name. Being a national monument in 1929, Arches was redesignated in 1971 as a national park. In wintertime it can snow and in the summer temperatures will rise up to 100° F. During our visit it was very hot, but do not let the heat stop you from visiting the park, just bring enough water (and an air-conditioned car helps as well). The filming on location was done in September 1988 when temperatures are less high, but still warm.

During the opening credits a few amazing views of the park can be seen, starting with the mountain of the Paramount logo slowly dissolving into a rock that is near the entrance. No arches can be seen here, but an impressive one-mile trail of large monoliths. It is known as Park Avenue because it resembles the famous street in New York with its skycrapers.

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 0:00:13
Park Avenue, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008
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Park Avenue, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008

The scouts pass the Courthouse Towers, a number of rocks at the end of the Park Avenue trail. The rock formation in the foregound is known as The Organ and in the background Tower of Babel can be seen.

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Courthouse Towers, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008

The Three Gossips are also part of the Courthouse Towes. On the right a small part of Sheep Rock can be glimpsed, a rock that indeed has the contours of a sheep. The horses on the bottom left give an indication of the size of the rock formations.

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Three Gossips, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008

Many national parks in America, including Arches, have a rock that seems to be balancing on a smaller rock, which explains the name Balancing Rock. Visitors are able to circle to rock, again the horses on the bottom left give an indication of the size of the rock formation.

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Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008

The scout leader (Larry Sanders) halts at the Double Arch, the only arch out of 2000 natural structures that can be seen in the movie. Indy and the other scouts mount their horses to do some exploring, in reality there is no cave here.

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Double Arch, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008
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Double Arch, Arches National Park, 22 August 2008

Screenshots © Paramount Pictures/Lucas Film