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Steven Soderbergh Made a Black-and-White, Silent Edition of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK… and You Can Watch It

Steven Soderbergh Made a Black-and-White, Silent Edition of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK… and You Can Watch It

Beyond being one of the biggest filmmakers to come out of the indie film boom of the ’90s, Steven Soderbergh has made himself a reputation as a true lover of film. So much so, in fact, that the man has been known to dabble in the art of recutting and modifying the flicks he loves the most, just to see what’ll happen when he does. This drive for experimentation by the Ocean’s Eleven director is what brings us here today, as the man has created a very interesting new way to watch a fan-favorite: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

“I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master,” said the director, in a post on Extension765.com. “I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order?”

This really is an interesting take on the classic, especially since so much of Raiders (and the Indiana Jones franchise as a whole) is influenced by the black-and-white serials of the 1930s. In fact, when presented in this format, it almost feels like Spielberg intended one day for it to be seen in this way. The two contrasting colors and dynamic lighting really add something special to the whole experience. Just another reason why Raiders really is one of the best films ever made.

Due to privacy settings, we can’t embed the video, but we can show you some sweet screenshots before you watch the entire thing over here:

What do you think of this black-and-white version of Raiders? Let us know in the comments below.

[HT: The Film Stage]

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Comments

  1. Rick says:

    Garbage.

  2. Alex Locke says:

    Sorry, I couldn’t sit through more than about 30 seconds because of the HORRID 8-bit video game score! Really? Is that a joke or was somebody shirking their job? What happened to the John Williams score? You could’ve used that and it would’ve worked fine. Nice idea, though. 

  3. This is supposed to be an experiment allowing the viewer to focus on shot composition and staging and the affect on storytelling. He probably removed the Williams score so we wouldn’t rely on how iconic it feels (and how much the music itself powerfully propels the story). Sometimes this music works, mostly probably not, but that’s not the point. The focus here is on the pure visual storytelling.

  4. Derek Read says:

    I agree with previous comments, the music is distracting. Best to leave it off or very low. However, The Nerdist is also selling this incorrectly. It isn’t a silent movie, it is simply a study in re-cutting this film. A proper silent film would include dialog cards when actors have spoken and this makes no attempt to do that. As a film it is not very watchable unless you have memorized the dialog. This is really for directors or editors (including us armchair types) to study and contrast with the original. Having said that, I’d like to see it done properly as a silent film with dialog cards interspersed. That would probably need another re-cut though, so they don’t get in the way in some of the action scenes.

  5. I’m inclined to agree with AngryMongo, the music they used for this is all wrong. It might be different if it sped up during the more exciting scenes and slowed down during the low-action ones, as was done in the actual movie. For me, Raiders without John Williams just doesn’t feel right at all.

  6. AngryMongo says:

    But why that music?!?!?