SCREEN TnLet’s Hope for More Indiana JonesesnRaiders of the Lost Ark; Written bynLawrence Kasdan: Directed by StevennSpielberg; Produced by GeorgenLucas; Paramount Pictures.nMel Brooks’ History of the World;nWritten and directed by Mel Brooks;n20th Century-Fox.nby Eric ShapearonUnwittingly (or perhaps not) Raiders,nthe current ultimate in pulp entertainmentnand suspense, makes a statementnabout modern history which wouldnbe refreshing and amusing if it were notnladen with ironic melancholy. We can goneven further and grope for an historicalnexplanation of a convoluted, if not metaphysical,nmagnitude. What emergesnfrom Raiders of the Lost Ark is the suppositionnthat Hitler lost the war becausenhe couldn’t acquire the sacrosanct Jewishnsymbol of God’s assistance necessaryntowina war—all wars, in fact. It assumesnthat, regardless of Hitler’s fundamentalnconvictions, he feverishly searched fornYahweh’s (the Jewish Almighty’s) supportnbefore he started his worldwide conflagration.nBut—rhanks to the intrepidness.ndaring and physical exploits of onenIndiana Jones, professor of archaeologynand quintessential American as exemplifiednby the American ideals of then1930’s—the ancient Hebrew Ark ofnthe Covenant was rescued from thennazis’ clutches and secured for the Alliedncause just in time, sometime aroundn1936. The story details how Indy Jonesnaccomplished such a feat by his astutenhandling of his fists, legs, muscles, whipnand a .38 Colt as well as his archaeologicalnerudition. The Chandleresquenreflexes and smart pseudoscience makenfor superb, lighthearted. inoffensive entertainment—anresurrected, wonderfullynAmerican tradition of cliffhangers.nserials and “Perils of Pauline.” of theninnocent culture in which the image ofngood always wins and social moralitynthrives. And Yahweh alone knows hownmuch we need it right now.nEdifying escapism has often provednto be a cultural remedy for the bestialnconsequences of misguided utopianism.nWe live in an era of social horrors providednby a militant culture of a redressnideology, a culture which presents a subhumannpunk-rock entertainer as annexemplar of naturalistic humanness. IfnYahweh can again provide us with somenIndiana Joneses as role models for ournyouth, we may be on the way out of ournsociomoral holocaust.nNothing can be said about Mr.nBrooks’s personal view of world historynthat adjectives like “stupid,” “vulgar,”n”gross,” “ignorant.” “moronic.” “disgusting”nand “boring” do not exhaust.nOnly the addition of the adverb “utterly”ncould enhance this opinion withnmore expressiveness. Mr. Brooks seemsnnot to have the slightest idea of what henintends to (or does) talk about, which,nof course, is not in itself a reason to refrainnfrom making a movie. His is anscatological genre in which urinationnnnis the universal, all-encompassing keynto the knowledge of man and his purposenon this earth. Naturally his “art”nelicits cackle rather than laughter. Unawarenessnmay be cheerful, but a concentratedndose of cretinism, a playfulnessnillustrated by vomiting on a dinnerntable, does not qualify for any evaluationnand frees us from having to devoteneven one more sentence to Mr. Brooks’snpicture.nHistory has never been an easy subjectnto portray in the movies. With fewnexceptions, historical pictures have alwaysnbeen infected with theatricality, anninsidious ingredient which by naturenis antithetical to movie-making as annautonomous art. Even less adaptable toncinematic treatment is philosophy ofnhistory, that is. an intellectual methodnof interpreting history according tonsome philosophical assumption, synthesizingnhistorical knowledge for the sakenof an ideological statement. Griffith’snIntolerance was perhaps the best-knownnattempt to establish the genre, and henwas not unsuccessful. In the 1930’s anFrench film-maker Sacha Guitry producedna few movies which were imbuednwith caustic irony about some fragmentsnof French history as seen through a camera.nMr. Brooks, of course, does notnqualify to be mentioned with Griffithnor Guitry. Yet he succeeds as a catalyst.nThere’s little doubt that the recentnbreakdown of the American movie culturenis due mostly to the amorality ofnthe contemporary liberal movie critic,nutterly corrupted by his or her own disintegrationnof criteria in keeping withnthe licentiousness of the liberal culturalnbazaar. Accordingly, iVIs. Pauline Kael,nthe highly regarded movie critic of ThenNew Yorker, generally considered then”dean” of liberal film criticism, closednher exceedingly favorable review of Mr.nBrooks’s oeuvre with a benign absolution:n”He’s a cutie.” We are left withna pile of manure sanctified by liberalnfiat according to a modish gospel. •nmmm^^mam^^nSeptember/October 1981n