The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Season 3 Episode 2

The Hollywood Follies, Hollywood, August 1920 (2)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 15, 1994 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Indy becomes an assistant to John Ford!

    Does Indy have what it takes to be a success in the movies? Viewers may like to be aware that 'Hollywood Follies' was originally filmed as one of four TV movies to be shown as a proposed third season. It combines two scripts for the original third season that never materialised, 'Hollywood, Early August 1920' with 'Hollywood, Late August 1920'. The TV movie as a result of its revised format abandons the 90-year-old Indy segments along with the original opening intro. 'Hollywood Follies' is also notable for being in terms of continuity the last Young Indiana Jones featuring Sean Patrick Flanery. No other stories to do with Young Indy are set after this, bringing the series 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' to a close.

    Disheartened he was unable to shutdown Erich von Stroheim's 'Foolish Wives' Indy begins to wonder if he'll ever raise money to pay for his college studies. Things look up when John Ford (Stephen Caffrey) offers him a job as his assistant on the new movie 'Six Steps to Hell'. Ford wants this western to be the biggest and longest film he's ever done even going as far as recruiting deputy sheriff Wyatt Earp (Leo Gordon) as a consultant. It's a dangerous road to making a silent movie picture but earthquakes, injured stuntmen, a cast member dying and deadlines aren't enough to deter Ford from finishing the movie. Plus he has Indy to help with stunts. Hang work? Indiana Jones is keen to admit he doesn't know the first thing about being in the movies. He'd better learn or he'll end up like the injured stunt crew. Can Indy help the maverick director complete his film?

    We have now come to the last episode in the Young Indiana Jones series timeline. It's been a long road with some gaps in between but the overall quality has been fantastic, a shame some flaws with how the series was originally presented putted people off. Part 2 of 'Hollywood Follies' doesn't bring a final conclusion to the series firstly because the budget didn't allow for more stories to be produced up until the year 1921 and secondly it's difficult to bring finality to a series that is a prequel to a well known film franchise. We were lucky to get what we got. That's not to say the second part of 'Hollywood Follies' is a total letdown. It in fact does what the series was always doing before: incorporating Indiana Jones into historical events in a fun and adventurous way while providing some well written drama. It's apparent writers Jonathan Hales and Matthew Jacobs are big fans of the old westerns and a lot of the fun I just mentioned comes from them exploiting all the clichs we've come to expect from these films. It's quite funny seeing Indy so out of his element dealing with actors, acting and stunts. Yes there are a number of stunts Ford requires and not all of them are safe. One involves locking his leading lady Kitty (Julia Campbell) inside a barn which erupts into a fire (clumsy Indy) and Ford's prized actor Harry Carey (James David Hinton) has to rescue her for real while Ford insists to keep shooting. The fire itself started because of an earthquake which was written into the real script when the 1994 Northridge event occurred. It's nice that like director Ford the real cast and crew of this episode think on their feet to adapt to working conditions. In this scene a poisonous snake threatens Kitty and in a absolutely funny moment we're reminded of Indy's phobia of snakes from 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'. He scrambles away making it clear to everyone even a leading lady in danger isn't enough to get him near the dangerous beasts. Our hero is also called upon to do a stunt involving a dummy, a wagon and some horses, a nod to Indy doing the exact same stunt under a truck in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. Surprisingly it's at this point we get the 'Young Indy' theme tune by Laurence Rosenthal which is absent throughout most of the series. Thanks to Rosenthal's love of the western this story won an Emmy Award for best music. You can hear the composer's nods to the Old West throughout this story, a joy to listen to. Director Michael Schultz also seems to be enjoying himself making strong use of natural lighting on location in Santa Paula and California's Red Rock Canyon State Park.

    The guest stars are great although a couple stand out. Stephen Caffrey is really believable as famous director John Ford. He makes Ford come across as this intelligent, creative man who wants to brake free from his usual films and do something that will be seen as special. He doesn't care about budget although he's constantly hassled by his accountant Pete (Peter Dennis) every day about it. Ford wants to prove himself and will do anything to guarantee his success. There's a nice little moment where he guesses that Indiana got his name from his dog, 'Ford' recognising himself a made up name when he sees one. His hiring of Wyatt Earp is a stroke of genius. You're making films about gunslingers and you have a man working for you that was around during that time as one of the best. Leo Gordon is enjoyable to watch as Wyatt Earp while not overstating or overplaying the role. Indy's troubled relationship with Claire (Allison Smith) continues as Indy comes to the conclusion he would be living a lie if he continued to see someone who wasn't faithful. Claire's reluctant willingness to see two men at the same time is confusing for him and Smith does a splendid job of bringing ultimately forward Claire's career minded nature. Indy takes solace in his cast/crew in a wonderful scene around a camp fire where advice may come from all sides but there's the sense that everyone is looking out for each other as they're looking out for him as well. Kitty also teaches Indy that real love is something long lasting, not something that happens immediately which makes him hopefully understand where he's been going wrong with women so far.

    And so we come to the end of our journey. Indy drives off into the sunset, a nod to the classic westerns. This might be the end of the series but the viewer knows this is only the beginning of young Indy's adventures. He still has much to gain and lose along the way. The original airings of 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' showed promise, it was just some design mistakes by creator George Lucas that didn't allow audiences to appreciate the series. The re-edited versions are closer to showing the series in it's full glory and while it's an incomplete timeline, it's still an understandable, well developed one. It was a window into allowing us to see the life of a young man as he grew up to be a legend we know from cinema. At least in it's re-edited form 'Young Indy' is a classic show that should be shared amongst everyone that seeks adventure, drama and history which is after all what Indiana Jones has always been about.
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