Steven Soderbergh Rescored ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark,’ And It’s In Black And White

Why? Because staging.

The “retired” (from film, in that word’s very strictest definiton) Steven Soderbergh has been hard at work on another singular, Soderbergh-y project. He’s put the result, Raiders as you’ve never seen it, up on his website “for educational purposes only.”

As a means of studying staging, Soderbergh has taken the Steven Spielberg classic (“this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day”) and taken away all color and sound. His purpose is to invite us to examine staging as he did.

So I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me.

To aid your studies, Soderbergh has inserted some music. As /Film notes, most of it came from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ soundtracks for The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the sounds of Gone Girl weren’t available yet,  sadly).

None of it is recut or edited. It’s simply a gorgeous black-and-white now, and Soderbergh made sure credit for that was properly given. Watch the project here.

At some point you will say to yourself or someone THIS LOOKS AMAZING IN BLACK AND WHITE and it’s because Douglas Slocombe shot THE LAVENDER HILL MOB and the THE SERVANT and his stark, high-contrast lighting style was eye-popping regardless of medium.

Tyler Hanan
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