Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom | 1984
There’s an uncomfortable amount of laughing at the crazy rituals (voodoo in India?) and the gross-out foods of ‘funny foreigners’ – though it could be argued the film is guying the 1930s attitudes of the genre.
Like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, its prequel was based in the UK and an awful lot of it was filmed on studio sets at Elstree in Hertfordshire, including, of course, the interior of ‘Obi Wan Club’ which opens the movie.
Macau has long been a popular gambling destination for tourists, being easily accessible by ferry from Hong Kong.
The entrance to the club was on Rua de Felicidade, near to the famous Floating Casino in the rather sleazy Inner Harbour district.
‘Nang Tao Airport’, where Indy (Harrison Ford), the irritatingly squealy Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) attempt to make a getaway on board Lao Che’s plane, is Hamilton Air Force Base, east of Novato, north of San Francisco in Marin County. Built in 1933, the base was decommissioned in 1974 and, though there’s been some redevelopment, much of it is preserved. The base can also be seen in Philip Kaufman’s 1983 epic The Right Stuff.
The plane itself is the real deal – a Ford Tri-Motor, christened the City of Philadelphia back in 1929, by Norma Desmond herself, Gloria Swanson. You can see it on display at the aircraft collection Fantasy of Flight, 1400 Broadway Boulevard SE, Polk City, in the Lakeland district of central Florida.
The ‘Himalayas’, where Indy & co are forced to improvise an escape after the crew abandons the plane, are the peaks of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, in Mono County, central California. Avoiding a premature ending to the film, the life raft conveniently touches down on the resort’s Crest Ridge Run.
The raft careers into the Tuolumne River, which runs through its own ‘Grand Canyon’, north of Big Oak Flat Road in Yosemite National Park, and is soon some 50 miles to the northwest, being buffeted along by the currents of the American River, running from Lake Folsom to Sacramento.
It’s supposedly landed in ‘India’, where it had been intended to film, but when the Indian authorities demanded alterations to the script, filming was switched to the island of Sri Lanka.
The ‘Mayapore’ village was built on the grounds of the government-owned Hantana Tea Plantation, now home to the world’s first Tea Museum, about three miles from hilltop capital Kandy, in the centre of the island.
As is often the case, the availability of animals can determine a location and so the elephant ride to the ‘Palace of Pankot’ takes advantage of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. With over 60 elephants, it’s the largest captive herd in the world, established in 1975 as an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants. On Rambukkana Road in Pinnawala village, about eight miles northwest of Kegalle, between Kandy and Columbo, it’s open to the public daily.
The Pink City of Jaipur in India had been scouted to stand in for the Maharajah’s abode, but when filming in India fell through, the whole palace, interior and exterior, was built back in the studio at Elstree.
It’s back to Sri Lanka for the rope-bridge, which was built across a 300 foot-deep gorge downriver from the Victoria Dam north of Kandy. As the dam was still under construction, there was a convenient supply of engineers and equipment to string the bridge.
Almost everything else was filmed in the studio, though the shot over the village to which the freed kids are returned, was a last-minute addition. It’s a matte painting added to a view over the hills of Nicasio, Marin County, in California.