Today when we see it again, Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost ark" is like a beloved old friend. But when I first saw it in 1981, it felt like the start of something new. This is Bill Kurtis speaking for Roger Ebert. It played like the best parts from all the Saturday matinee serials ever made. Consider the locations: Africa, Nepal, Egypt, at sea and in a secret submarine base.
Then there are the forms of transportation: trucks, bulldozers, tanks, motorcycles, ships, subs, Pan Am Clippers, and a Nazi flying wing.
And the forms of dangers: traps and explosives. The hero is trapped in a snake pit, and the heroine finds herself assaulted by mummies.
And no movies Nazis have ever been killed more sensationally than when a heavenly fire shoots through them.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and Spielberg has supervised a complete restoration for a new special edition on DVD. As far as I know, this beautiful version will be playing in only one theater, the Music Box in Chicago, but it's certainly worth seeing on DVD.