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The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Espionage Escapades (2007)

Video  -  Comedy  -  18 December 2007 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 114 users  
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May 1917. Sixteen year old Indiana Jones joins an international trio of spies plotting against their German counterparts in the neutral city of Barcelona. After his old acquaintance Pablo ... See full summary »

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Title: The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Espionage Escapades (Video 2007)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Indiana Jones (archive footage)
...
Franz Kafka (archive footage)
Amanda Ooms ...
Nadia (archive footage)
...
Cunningham (archive footage)
...
Colonel Schmidt (archive footage)
...
Julio the Chauffeur (archive footage)
...
Marcello (archive footage)
...
Sergei Diaghilev (archive footage)
Liz Smith ...
Delfina (archive footage)
David Leland ...
Costume Designer (archive footage)
Charles McKeown ...
Charles (archive footage)
David Hatton ...
Count of Toledo (archive footage)
Sussanah Morley ...
Countess of Toledo (archive footage) (as Susannah Morley)
Wolf Kahler ...
German 2nd (archive footage)
Carl Chase ...
German 2nd (archive footage)
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Storyline

May 1917. Sixteen year old Indiana Jones joins an international trio of spies plotting against their German counterparts in the neutral city of Barcelona. After his old acquaintance Pablo Picasso helps him get a job at Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Indy devices a plan to forge a love letter written by the German cultural attaché to make it seem he is having an affair with the Countess of Toledo. In August of the same year, Indiana is reassigned to Prague where he is to receive an important phone call. Unfortunately his hotel room proves to be unequipped with a phone. Indy heads for the Ministery of Telephones, where he learns that having to confront Czech bureaucracy can be quite a trial. Written by Il Tesoro

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Comedy

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Release Date:

18 December 2007 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally scheduled to be released on VHS in 2000, but put on hold owing to poor sales on the first batch of 'Adventures of Young Indiana Jones' tapes. This chapter was finally released on disc 7 of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Volume Two, December 18, 2007. See more »

Goofs

When the Prague Spy is stuck in the closet, he is heard to say "I have to go wee wee". However, his mouth forms the words "I have to go to the bathroom". See more »

Quotes

Marcello: [posing as a shop keeper] May I help you?
Indiana Jones: Ehm. I hope so. I'm looking for a one eyed elephant... named Bruno...
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jar Jar foreshadowed
5 May 2008 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

In interviews conducted at the time, producers George Lucas and Rick McCallum mentioned how varied the episodes of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles were. One week it's a drama, the next a love story, and the one after that is a comedy. As far as being funny was concerned, two episodes really stuck out, and it is only natural that they would be combined into one feature length film (even though chronologically, the very serious episode Petrograd, July 1917 was to have happened in between Barcelona and Prague assignments). Both of the stories are played completely over the top by all the actors concerned (not unlike Spielberg's '1941'), something which immediately sets them apart from the rest of the Young Indy series. The first half, "Barcelona, May 1917", directed by Python Terry Jones, is the funnier of the two, while the second half, "Prague, August 1917" is full of the kind of slapstick that must have seemed funnier on paper than it does on film. I suppose George Lucas really enjoys this kind of humor, as evident from the use of it in "Radioland Murders" and the much maligned Jar Jar Binks of "The Phantom Menace"

Each Chapter in these complete adventures starts with a title splashy 'old fashioned serial style' title, but this one has a silly and cheap editing machine wipe added to it that that looks quite dated and pathetic in this, the age of Youtube. The film begins with some establishing shots of Barcelona, than we see the opening of the Prague episodes as Indy (S.P. Flanery) enters a shop. Instead of meeting Timothy Spall and Charles McKeown as he originally did, here he is introduced to Terry Jones in a brand new scene shot especially for "Espionage Escapades". Jones then takes on the part of narrator originally filled by George Hall (as 93 year old Indiana) as we segue into the Barcelona episode. There is another, much shorter new scene between Flanery & Jones after Barcelona concludes, in which the real life Jones (Terry) points the actor playing Jones (Flanery) towards Spall and McKeown and the rest of the Prague footage.

An amazing line up of British comedy talent is featured herein, but unfortunately a lot of them are completely wasted in thankless cameos. Terry Jones, suspiciously cast as an Italian, heads a trio of silly international spies: Spall as a Brit and McKeown as a Frenchie. Harry Enfield gets little to work with playing a chauffeur with a little Hitler mustache. Raiders veteran Bill Hootkins, who usually only got to play single scene characters, fares better as Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Dutch actress Amanda Ooms plays ballet star Nadia and proves that comedy is not her forte. There are many more familiar faces from the British comedy scene in smaller roles, such as Liz Smith and Stephen Frost, and even Danny Webb makes a return as Pablo Picasso. Here's a bit of trivia for you: according to Dan Madsen's book "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles - On the set and behind the scenes", Terry Jones objected just as much to having his hair cut as his character Marcello does in the story.

The Prague episodes is even more packed with British talent (but unfortunately far lower on laughs). Nickolas Grace, who was such a scene stealer as the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin of Sherwood", is completely miscast here as 'colonel Clouseau' a bumbling French spy who is obviously some sort of misguided reference to the Peter Sellers' most famous alter ego. Philip Davis, Prince John to Grace's sheriff, appears briefly, as do two regulars from Blackadder: Bill Wallis and Tim McInnerny. The later gets top billing as Franz Kafka. Why on Earth writer Gavin Scott decided to make all sorts of silly joke references to Kafka's work I'll never understand. The misguided caper concerns our Indiana trying to install a telephone in his hotel room in order to receive an important call. Trevor Bannister (of 'Are you Being Served') and Harry Fowler manage to raise a smile as two telephone installers, but Michael McShane (of Who's line is it anyway) does not. Still, it was nice to see 'Carry On' regular Bernard Blessaw one last time in his last screen role at the Ministry of Telephones.

I must confess I did not like the Prague installment the first time I saw it on television and was not looking forward to watching it again as part of this feature. I even found myself viewing the two stories separately on different days of the week instead of in one sitting. 'Prague' is without a doubt the worst Young Indy episode ever made. There is even some unbearable sped up slapstick of the Jar Jar kind concerning a filing cabinet. Nickolas Grace's turn as Clouseau is unforgivable. Somebody in the credit department must have thought so as well, as his part is simply listed as 'The Prague Spy' in the end credits. Surely they couldn't have been afraid of MGM suing them for character infringement? After filming the bulk of the series in and around the studios in Prague, it's a shame the only episode to actually feature the city is such a dud.

5 out of 10

Ps. At the start of the Prague assignment, Indy (calling himself "Amadeus Schubelgruber") is sent to the Netherlands. Although this sequence was obviously filmed in Prague (with the possible exception of one establishing shot which might well be a matte), we do get to hear some peasants speaking flawless Dutch. However none of the lines match the Czech actors lip movement at all and the women's voices sound much younger than the old crones we see on screen. Also, there seems to be some confusion concerning money: the old man mentions 3 Stuivers (Dutch currency), yet the sub tiles say 50 Francs (French currency).


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