It’s a scene that lasts less than 30 seconds and yet it’s still the subject of speculation more than 30 years on.
In an early scene of 1981’s Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Professor Jones is teaching a class of students, most of whom are watching him in dreamy-eyed adoration. Then the recess bell sounds and they gradually file out of class.
As they do so, one of the male students strides quickly and nervously past Dr Jones desk, puts an apple on his desk then rushes from the room. Could he be…gulp…gay?
That’s always how I’ve read it but it’s intriguing to read some of the threads on Indiana Jones fan sites. One of them runs to several pages and doesn’t mention the ‘g’ word once! Instead it’s suggested that the young man is merely a slacker who thinks it’s better to curry favour with his lecturer than actually do any work. Another theory is that he was jealous of all the attention the girls in the class were getting and that he “felt that he had to suck up a little in order to get noticed”. And a third suggests that it’s a way of showing his respect to a great teacher!
My vote is on him being gay and that the episode was put in as a little play on the ‘student adoration’ theme. It’s quite a nice touch really – although in real life (the movie was set in the late 1930’s) the student’s life would have been hell.
It wouldn’t have been that much better for a lot of gay students in 1981 – so it would be nice to think that that little gay vignette in a mainstream movie made them realise they weren’t alone.