By Damian Arlyn
[From the co-editor: Since publication of this article, the author was charged with partial plagiarism. See Damian's response to the charges here, and House editor Matt Zoller Seitz's note here.]
For years after the divorce of his parents, Spielberg had a contentious relationship with his father Arnold (the resentment being reflected in his films through the recurring theme of an irrelevant, absentee or even abusive father). Finally, after many years, Steven and Arnold reconciled in what the director has called as a "tremendous coming together": a meeting of the hearts and of the minds between a father and a son. Thus, when the time came to make the third--and presumably final--Indiana Jones adventure, once again, Spielberg's own life informed his work and he had the idea of including Indiana's father in the story in a big way. Far from being a mere "gimmick" (as it was in Richard Donner's Maverick) this decision enriched the Indy character by providing more history than had been thus far (although Raiders did reveal some background too) and also creating another significant character in the world/life of Indiana Jones. As a result, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, while it may not have been the best, most balanced or even most exciting of the three Raiders films, was by far the most dramatic, the deepest and, from the perspective of Spielberg, the most personal.
To read the article, click here. House contributor Damian Arlyn is the publisher of Windmills of My Mind, where he's devoting all of August to "31 Days of Spielberg," a series of comprehensive critical articles about Spielberg's career published on 31 consecutive days.