By Kyle Shea
One of the most iconic of adventure movie heroes, Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., or “Indiana Jones” for short, has been one of Harrison Ford’s most beloved roles. Jones is right up there with Han Solo. With his trademark brown fedora hat and handy bull-whip, Indiana is the face of adventure in far-away lands, exploring abandoned temples in thick jungles or desolate deserts and solving ancient riddles and puzzles. His rogue’s gallery includes Nazis, Communists, gangsters and Thuggee Cultists, and he is popular with the ladies in a way that only 007 can compare to.
Indiana Jones first appeared in the film “Indi-ana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” where he races to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get their hands on it. In “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” Dr. Jones battles Thuggee Cultists to retrieve sacred Sankara Stones. Finally, in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Indiana Jones once again battles the Nazis in a quest for the Holy Grail. There is a fourth movie, but it shall not be mentioned here.
“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” came out in 1989 and was a big hit. Sean Connery joined the cast as Henry Jones, Sr., Indiana’s father, a role he excels in. Other actors include Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody, John Rhys-Davies as Sallah and Alison Doody as Dr. Elsa Schneider. Julian Glover and Michael Byrne play the villains and do a great job.
In one scene in the movie, Indiana and his father are on a Zeppelin and are forced to leave on a biplane. They end up fighting a couple of Luftwaffe fighter planes, with Jones Sr. shooting a Villar Perosa M1915 and Jones Jr. shooting a Webley “WG” Army Model revolver. This leads to a hilarious moment where Jones Sr. shoots the back wing of the plane and blames it on the enemy pilots. The Villar Perosa is actually two Beretta Model 38As made to look like that gun. The Webley “WG” Army Model, however, is the real thing.
The Webley “WG” Army Model revolvers were the pistol of choice for the British Army. They were produced by Webley & Scott, a company that also produced automatic pistols, shotguns and air guns. From the late 1800s to 1963, the Webley saw action in both World Wars, the conflicts in Ireland, the Malayan Emergency and many others. The gun was also used by various police departments in the British Empire and even the Commonwealth of Nations until the 1970s.
The Webley revolvers shoot a small number of ammunition types, but the one in the movie shoots .455 caliber from a revolving six-round cylinder. It didn’t have an effective range, about less than 70 feet. It is over 3 pounds and had a rate of fire about 30 rounds per minute. There are a number of other variants of the Webley revolver, including the earlier Mk I, Mk II and Mk III. There were also the Mk V and the Mk VI, the latter seeing service in World War I. There was also a rare one named the Webley-Fosbery Automatic revolver. While an interesting idea, it did poorly in the field, and the production period was short.
“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” is a great movie. It is not quite as good or as memorable as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” but is better than “Temple of Doom” and the fourth movie. Harrison Ford is great as the main character, Sean Connery is excellent as his father, and the other actors and actresses do a good job. The effects are a bit dated but are still impressive. The above-mentioned airplane dogfight and the follow-up chase scene were exciting, and there is a fun scene involving a tank. It is one of my favorite movies, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V24N1 (Jan 2020)