As Steven Spielberg confirmed in his American Cinematographer piece, he was pretty much the only one who knew about the shorter schedule he’d worked up prior to filming. Luckily, he found that Douglas Slocombe was very adaptable once filming got underway. Not only that, much like the stunt team on “Raiders” who came close to death or serious injury multiple times, Slowcombe was so dedicated that he put himself in perilous situations throughout filming, at one point coming mere steps away from a cliff-plunging death. But he was also remarkably speedy. As Spielberg wrote, “When I said, ‘I’d like the third camera on the hill’ — I’d turn around and Dougie would be on the hill with a third camera two minutes after I had spoken.”
However, Slocombe wasn’t always so quick when it came to getting scenes shot. In particular, the cinematographer, who’d worked with Spielberg previously on a sequence from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” seemed to want to take his time when it came to lighting actor Karen Allen. Allen, of course, played Indiana Jones’ former love interest Marion Ravenwood, who reteams with her erstwhile lover on his quest to recover the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis get ahold of it.
Allen had already started to build a significant acting career before “Raiders” but was yet to land her breakout role. Having debuted in 1978’s “Animal House,” the actor had gone on to co-star opposite Al Pacino in William Friedkin’s 1980 crime thriller “Cruising” prior to being cast in Spielberg’s adventure epic. Playing Marion Ravenwood would prove to be that elusive breakout role, and it helped that Slocombe made Allen look better on-screen than she ever had.