Everyone I know–snob and non-snob– is psyched for the new Indiana Jones movie. The Indy trilogy was a huge part of our generation (late Gen X, early Y/Millennial) and whether you hate Spielberg or not, he helped define a huge chunk of the early lives of us children of 80’s pop culture. What I’m most excited for is the return of Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood on screen, possibly the most kick-ass female action character ever created.
Allen was one of the most beautiful actresses of the late 70’s and 80’s with her cascades of reddish brown hair, big green eyes, freckled skin and lean figure. She exuded the same kind of natural, slightly ersatz beauty that young Diane Keaton did–a thinking man’s screen siren. But, uh, yeah, she was also Lara Croft before there was a Lara Croft! As Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark, she was a heavy-drinking, tough-ass bartender/abandoned daughter (her father was Indy’s mentor) who wasn’t afraid of snakes or Nazis. As an equally freckle-faced childsnob in the 80’s, I watched Raiders over and over again. I would then go and play “drinking” with my parents’ empty wine bottles and I’d drink my dolls under the table just like Marion did with those native bar-flies. Hmmm, interesting, yes? Never got into pretending to seduce Nazis, though.
What makes Allen as a person so very, very cool is that she aged gracefully and with taste to become the ultimate hippie mom (not a “why don’t people like old actresses, oh wo is me” Debra Winger figure). In her fifties now, she has taken up a second career of knitting and she has her own store: the Karen Allen Fiber Arts store in Western, Mass. She also opened a yoga studio, which is why when we all go to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, we will admire how lovely her skin still is and what nice shape she’s in.
Check out Karen’s scarf:
A little bit like the 80’s Afghan garb floating in the bar she tended?