Upon Sean Connery’s death, we try to understand why his Henry Jones Sr. of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade had a beneficial effect for a generation.
The death of Sean Connery at the age of 90 pushes us to reflect on the role he had for the writer, and for many peers of the undersigned, born in 1976, one of his most famous characters, theHenry Jones sr. Indy’s father in Indiana Jones and the last crusade (1989) by Steven Spielberg. When our generation reached the age of reason, Connery had already entered a different phase of his career, more iconic and self-celebrating: just think of The Untouchables (1987) and The Name of the Rose (1986), but the meeting with Spielberg’s cinema he generated in me an awareness of the particular medium, perhaps pushing me without even making it, together with other works of similar importance, to write about audiovisuals. This is a reflection that I hope will be worth as tribute.
Sean Connery, father of Indiana Jones, the movie star for everyone
Between Sean Connery e Harrison Ford, father and son in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there were only 12 years of difference, yet we all judged at the time and still perfectly plausible the relationship between the two actors and between the two characters. I was 12 myself when I saw the film just released in theaters, I could not reflect on such a thing, but as an adult the reality still does not disturb me. Because? Just because Sean was artfully aged and Harrison was young? There is something more subtle.
If between Connery and Ford there are only 12 years, between Indiana Jones and the last crusade e Licence to kill there are 27, and that is the distance that is measured in this irresistible game: as a kid I could not understand it, but I was witnessing a comparison between stars, not between real people. Sean Connery was one of the stars par excellence, able to mark so much thecollective imagination, to frame an era and therefore reconfigure the conception of time. It is one of the reasons why one feels disoriented in front of the loss of an icon, because it is a magical North Star, which transcends the rules of everyday life and its inexorable passing.
The presence of Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the last crusade made me touch the profound concept of stardom, as in few other cases, in my reflections on the medium, but at the same time it made me realize something simpler but equally valuable: his Henry Jones Sr., also being a well written and perfectly acted character, is an added value of the film even beyond these critical and linguistic reflections. And perhaps Connery’s acting challenge in this case was precisely in looking for a real character, even in the “metacinematographic” involvement desired by Spielberg, who not by chance always wanted to shoot a James Bond.
And then the magistrale Henry Jones sr. di Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade showed me two things: that with cinema you could be fun, immediate and nice, and at the same time sophisticated and subtle, combining the professionalism ofentertainment with more complex reading levels, marrying popcorn and intelligence, heart reactions and cinema history. Here, for this I thank Sean Connery, for having been a great actor and for having been playfully within his stardom, combining in a single emotion every approach to the seventh art, from the immediate to the meditated. And in this enterprise it could only be directed by Steven Spielberg, who embodies the same precious acrobatics behind the camera.