The Arab Swordsman, also known as the Cairo Swordsman, was working for Nazi intelligence agents operating in Cairo in 1936. He was a member of the city's underworld, who had a reputation as a feared assassin and muscle-man, but his actions led him to meet his death at hands of the American archaeologist Indiana Jones.
The Arab swordsman was based in Cairo, Egypt, operating as an assassin and bandit in the city's underworld. In 1936, the man was hired by Nazi intelligence agents operating in the city. Along with a number of other men, the Arab Swordsman was brought on to remove or disrupt any threats to the German excavation of the Ark of the Covenant at Tanis, which included American archaeologist Indiana Jones. When the group kidnapped Marion Ravenwood, Jones' associate, the swordsman stepped up to challenge the archaeologist during his frantic search for her.
A busy Cairo marketplace suddenly parted as the black-robed man confronted Jones with an over-sized scimitar. Giving a small laugh, he began displaying his skill with his weapon to intimidate the American. However, Jones, deciding he had no time for a protracted fight against the flamboyant swordsman, simply took out his revolver and shot him. The Cairo onlookers cheered Jones' action and ran off with the assassin's sword.
Personality and traits
This Arab man was famous across the Cairo underworld for his reputation as a bandit and assassin, willing to steal or kill if in that consisted his task. A professional swordsman, the Arab handled perfectly his sword, which served as his weapon. However, he liked to boast of his sword skills, a trait that ended up culminating with his death at the hands of Indiana Jones, who chose not to waste time with the swordsman by shooting him as he showed him how skilled he was.
Behind the scenes
The sequence depicting the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark was dramatically shortened from conception. The film's script, written by Lawrence Kasdan, originally intended to have Indy fight the swordsman with lengthy choreography and demonstration of his whip, including a gag where the swordsman accidentally cleaves a tough piece of meat from the market stall of a grateful vendor who thanks the swordsman afterwards. However, Harrison Ford, along with most of the crew, was suffering from dysentery. Ford then suggested they "just shoot the sucker", and Steven Spielberg agreed, resulting in the biggest laugh of the film and one of its most memorable sequences.
In both Campbell Black's novelization of the film and the comic book adaptation, the Arab Swordsman is absent from the story. Indy never fights him in Cairo as he witnesses the "death" of Marion Ravenwood immediately after getting rid of the bandits who first try to kill him.
The Arab Swordsman's brief scene is humorously referenced in the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. After Indy escapes the temple, two Thuggee swordsmen challenge him (even briefly showing off their skill with the sword much like the Arab Swordsman), and he smugly reaches for his gun. However, this time Indy can do nothing but smile sheepishly and fight them with his whip after he remembers that his gun was lost by Willie Scott earlier in the film during the Shanghai car chase. The music cue confirms the homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark, despite the second film actually taking place a year earlier to the first.
In a 1980s commerical for Kenner's The Adventures of Indiana Jones toyline, as the Cairo Swordsman, the character works with Major Toht to trap Indiana Jones. However, the archaeologist quickly escapes and the pair subsequently decide to flee.
In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, the Arab Swordsman's role is the same as in the movie in that Indy finds and defeats him. This is shown in a cutscene, but in actual gameplay of the Cairo level the player can encounter multiple swordsmen. In the DS version of the game, however, the Arab Swordsman (depicted as an old man) is never shot by Indy and fights both Indy and Marion.
In the game's sequel, the Arab Swordsman again appears in a cutscene, now sporting a turban like his physical minifigure, and blocks all of Indy's bullets, but after a monkey steals his sword, Sallah takes advantage of this and knocks out the Arab Swordsman with a banana. In actual gameplay, the player must use other bandits’ swords to disarm the multiple swordsmen who attack them before being able to kill them for good.
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (First appearance)
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Non-canonical appearance)
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars Galactic Spy (Non-canonical appearance)
- The Adventures of Indiana Jones
- Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
- Ambush in Cairo
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Raiders of the Lost Ark
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook
- ↑ Raiders of the Lost Ark novelization
- ↑ Raiders of the Lost Ark comic book
- ↑ Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- ↑ Kenner The Adventures of Indiana Jones commercial
- ↑ Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- ↑ LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
- ↑ LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues