Thinking about the Uncle Scrooge influence has led me to wonder if Irina Spalko was inspired by Magica De Spell. Maybe this would explain why I found Spalko to be so profoundly attractive, since I had something of a thing for De Spell when I was a kid.
I don't think I read any of the comic book issues where she appeared, so I mainly knew her through DuckTales. Apparently, hotness was the idea for De Spell, according to Wikipedia;
. . . she would not be in the image of the old hag usually associated with witches. [Carl Barks] wanted to create a youthful and attractive enchantress, so he took inspiration for her look from Italian actresses Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren. He also wanted her to be seductive, amoral, and somewhat threatening. In a later interview, Barks identified a similar figure from the comic strips of Charles Addams as another source of inspiration for Magica, namely Morticia Addams of The Addams Family. Maleficent, the malevolent fairy from Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, first released on January 29, 1959, has been suggested as a third source of inspiration . . .
That's a lot to ask from a duck. Carl Barks may've had a screw loose in some wonderful way. Or having already worked on comics about duck people for about ten years at the time he'd created Magica (1961), his perspective was completely skewed. I can't say I was particularly as interested in Magica after I hit puberty, yet Magica with a pretty humanoid face and a woman's body really settles well in the primordial soup of my personality.
Of course, I'm also wondering if Irina Spalko gets her first name from Simone Simon's character in Cat People. It all comes full circle.
What else . . . I was very intrigued by suggestions of Indy's World War II experiences as a spy and his perspective on the Cold War. I kind of wish the film had been entirely about that. Maybe I just need to watch From Russia with Love again . . . But, no, there's a wonderful weariness about this Indiana Jones, especially in light of the easier fantasy world of the original movies. The melancholy of Indy aging would work as a nice parallel to the world becoming unimaginatively brutal and senseless.
Though, if you watched the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles*, you know Indy'd already experienced the senseless brutality of trench warfare. I was rather amused that there's actually a reference to one of the episodes in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, mostly because the movies and the series never quite felt like they existed in the same reality.
One other thing about the movie--John Williams kind of falls down. I suppose Mutt Williams must have a theme, but damned if I could remember it, or any other new melody, getting in edgewise with the almost constant reliance on themes from the previous films. Not just the Raiders march, but also Marion's theme, the Ark theme, even the Holy Grail theme. Maybe my ear just wasn't in the right place; I'd missed my afternoon tea and was in sort of a caffeine withdrawal headache. Who knows; maybe I'd like the whole movie better with proper fortification.
*Which, I admit, I did. No, Sean Patrick Flannery wasn't as good as River Phoenix or even really resembled Harrison Ford at all, but . . . good production values. Christopher Lee was in one episode.