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Captain Phillip James Blumburtt was an officer in the Eleventh Poona Rifles, an infantry unit stationed in Allahabad during the waning years of British rule in India.

Amongst other duties, Captain Blumburtt's company was responsible for patrolling Pankot, and in 1935, he helped disband a resurgent Thuggee cult from Pankot Palace.


Born around the late 1800s,[2] Captain Phillip James Blumburtt[3] was sent in India around 1910 and in Pankot region in 1915. By 1935 Blumburtt, of late middle age, led the Eleventh Poona Rifles stationing in Allahabad. Blumburtt treated both the British and Indian members of the Rifles fairly, and his men seem to have a genuine respect for his leadership.[4] Suspecting a revived Thuggee movement in Pankot Province[1] after hearing rumors of dark rituals and Thuggee activity,[4] he brought his unit[1] of eighty-man[4] at Pankot Palace[1], under the guise of a routine inspection tour.[4]

Blumburtt's inspection tour to the palace was unexpected by prime minister Chattar Lal, who was forced to invite him to the Guardian of Tradition dinner. At dinner, Blumburtt and other recent arrival Indiana Jones began discussing the potential of a Thuggee resurgence, a topic quashed by their host, Zalim Singh.[1]

The next day, Blumburtt and his forces came to the rescue of Indiana Jones, Willie Scott, and Short Round as they fell under attack by Mola Ram's Thuggee archers, after they escaped from the Temple of Doom, having been summoned by Singh for help.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

Phillip James Blumburtt was played by the late Philip Stone in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.[1] David Niven was originally attached to play the role of Captain Blumburtt, but passed away some weeks before filming began, allowing Stone to be cast in the role.[5]

During the development of the film's script, written by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, there was a scene in which Willie Scott would try to tell Blumburtt and Chattar Lal that the secret tunnel in her room leads to the Thuggee temple. However, Lal and later Indiana Jones, under the influence of the Black Sleep of the Kali Ma, dismiss her claims and Blumburtt leaves the palace with his men. Harrison Ford herniated a disc in his back which rendered him unavailable to shoot it. With the production schedule altered as a result, director Steven Spielberg opted to drop the scene altogether.[5] The scene was retained in James Kahn's novelization,[6] storybook[7] and comic adaptations.[8]

In the Read-Along Adventure adaptation of the film, Blumburtt is absent from the story.[9]

In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures the Eleventh Poona Rifles never save Jones and his friends as all of the Thuggee guards are devoured by the crocodiles. However, the characters "British Officer" and "British Commander" fulfill Blumburtt's role from the movie, representing his scenes from the palace dinner and closing bridge battle, respectively, although the minifigures' faces differ from each other.[10] In the sequel, all the Thuggees are defeated by the Eleventh Poona Rifles at the Temple of Doom after Kali's statue breaks out, as only Mola Ram is faced by Indiana Jones and Short Round during the bridge scene (which takes place over a cliff, instead).[11]

In Howard the Duck, a George Lucas production released two years after Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and three before Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Tim Robbins plays a character named "Phil Blumburtt".[12]



Notes and references[]