In the Los Angeles Times, Paul Brownfield writes about Karen Allen, 57, once again in the spotlight thanks to Steven Spielberg's upcoming installment in the Indiana Jones franchise: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Though one of the best (and best-looking) actresses of the 1980s, Karen Allen pretty much disappeared from view more than a decade ago. She currently lives in Massachusetts, making sporadic film appearances in mostly small roles and/or little-seen films.
As far as I'm concerned, Karen Allen's presence is what makes the original Raiders of the Lost Ark watchable – admittedly, one of the most popular movies ever made. And she's the only reason I'm curious to check out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
According to Brownfield's piece, Allen “had not gotten along at all” with Steven Spielberg while working on Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yet, following an unexpected call from Spielberg not that long ago, Allen drove out to his Manhattan apartment and read the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull screenplay “because she wasn't permitted to take it home. Just like old times.”
Ultimately, Spielberg's offer must have been worth her while, as Karen Allen is back as Marion Ravenwood, Harrison Ford's love interest in the Oscar-nominated 1981 blockbuster. And that's all for the better.
Karen Allen movies
Raiders of the Lost Ark is Karen Allen's best-known movie, but despite the fact that she's just fine as Marion Ravenwood, Allen did much more interesting work elsewhere throughout the '80s. She's outstanding as the other woman in Alan Parker's Shoot the Moon, making it easier to understand why husband Albert Finney would want to leave wife Diane Keaton (who's also remarkably good). Allen is equally excellent as illegal alien Jeff Bridges' love interest in John Carpenter's Starman (1984) and as the shy Laura Wingfield in Paul Newman's 1987 film version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, co-starring Joanne Woodward and John Malkovich.
Other Karen Allen movies of the last three decades include John Landis' Animal House (1978); William Friedkin's controversial Cruising (1980), as cop Al Pacino's girlfriend; Richard Donner's Scrooged (1988), with Bill Murray; and supporting roles in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992), starring Denzel Washington; Wolfgang Petersen's The Perfect Storm (2000), with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg; and Todd Field's In the Bedroom (2001), with Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek.