Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) was the hidden villainess and anti-heroine in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
A trained archeologist, Dr. Schneider seduces both Jones’s and falls in love with Indy in the Nazis' ruthless quest of the Holy Grail for Hitler.
Recruiting Indiana Jones Edit
Elsa met Indy and Marcus Brody after they arrived in Venice, and guided them to the library where she had been working with Henry when he "disappeared", receiving a flower that Indy stole from a street vendor. In the library, she helped to ensure that the group would be unhindered by the library's closing. After realizing that the Knight's tomb was underneath the library, as it was a former church, Elsa accompanied Indy into the catacombs through a hole in the floor.
Passing through several chambers, they eventually found the flooded tomb of the knight and discovered that the knight's shield was the second marker. Their discovery was threatened by an oil fire set by the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. Indy's quick thinking saved Elsa, though a rat climbed in her hair, and they were able to find an exit via the sewers. Back on the piazza, the two were chased by more men from the Brotherhood, and they took a motorboat to escape. When their attackers boarded their boat, Elsa took the helm while Indy fought with the men. In a communications misunderstanding, she steered their boat between two freighters being docked alongside each other, but managed to avoid being crushed. A pursuing boat was not as lucky. After their boat's engine was shot up, Indy jumped to another boat, and started attacking Kazim. When they ended their fistfight before that boat was shredded by a freighter's propeller, they both jumped back into Elsa's boat and went to a dock where Kazim revealed Henry's location in captivity: Castle Brunwald.
Falling in Love With Indy Edit
The two returned to their apartments to clean up. Elsa was about to take a bath with the phonograph playing when Indy entered and showed her room torn about. She was horrified and asked what “they” were looking for. He revealed that he had the Grail Diary, sent to him by his father, and she became furious that he hadn't revealed his possession of it before. Indy accused her of almost getting him killed numerous times before kissing her quickly. Elsa pulled herself free and gnashed her teeth, angrily snarling why he would dare kiss her. But then she grabbed his head and forcefully kissed him back, longer and harder. He told her to stop as he didn’t like fast woman, but she just scoffed and shot over to his ear. Elsa bit down on his ear, whispering that she hated arrogant men and she pressed her lips against the ear, while sucking on it. They fell on the bed and made out, until Indy heard a person singing and proclaimed he loved Venice. Elsa made him turn back to her, and pulled him down for another kiss.
Revealing Her True Colors Edit
Later, Elsa drove with Indy to the Austrian border, while Brody was sent to Iskenderun. She played the role of an art collector's assistant when Indy tried to bluff his way past the butler who answered the door. Sneaking around the castle, they discovered a room likely to be holding Indy's father, and Indy left her in a side room, telling her he’d be back.
After Indy had rescued his father and started shooting the Nazis in the castle, the father and son returned to the side room, where SS Colonel Vogel held Elsa hostage with a Luger. She tearfully pleaded with Indy to put the gun down, while the elder Jones said Vogel wouldn’t shoot her. But the younger Jones believed what he saw and threw his gun down, so Vogel released her. Elsa ran over to Indy and into his arms. She sadly said she was sorry and took the Grail Diary from him. She smiled at him explaining he should have listened to his father.
In the castle's dining room, the Joneses learned that Walter Donovan (the film's main antagonist) was also working for the Nazis. When Indiana and his father were tied up, Elsa received a telegram from Berlin, requesting her presence there. She told Vogel to keep both of them alive in case they couldn't get Brody, who had made off with map pages from the Grail Diary. She walked over to Indy saying they both wanted the Grail and would’ve done anything to get it. She them smiled slyly and leaned down into him, explaining that she couldn’t forget how wonderful their time in Venice was. Elsa cupped both of Indy’s cheeks and she closed her eyes. She placed a finger on his mouth to keep him quiet. She opened her eyes, smiling, before closing them again. Elsa opened her mouth and placed her lips softly on his. She pushed deeper and deeper into him as she enjoyed her passionate kiss until Vogel informed her that her car is waiting for her. Elsa kissed deeply into Indy before sucking on his bottom lip. As she pulled back, she tugged on his lip before letting out a smooching sound. Elsa opened her eyes, smiling, and explained that was how Austrians, like her, say goodbye. She took the diary with her to Berlin, to show as a progress report on the quest for the Grail.
Berlin Rally Edit
At Berlin's Institute of Aryan Culture, Elsa attended a bookburning rally with Adolf Hitler, where she quietly sobbed at the destruction of knowledge. Due to her love for books, she snuck out, not wanting to see the destruction anymore. As she was leaving, Indy, in the disguise of a Nazi officer, grabbed her arm, demanding the diary. Elsa, with astonishment, asked Indy how he got there, only to be pinned to a pillar. When he pulled the diary out of her jacket, she asked why he came back for it, following him as he walked away. When he explained his father didn’t want it incinerated, she became furious and got in his way, saying she believed in the Grail, not the swastika. Indy told her that she stood up to be a part of the enemy of everything the Grail stood for and asked her cared about what she thought. As he passed her, Elsa grabbed his arm, pleadingly saying he cared about what she thought. As she released him, he grabbed her throat scaring her for her life. But her scared expression changed to a pleading and sad one as she said she’d scream and alert the Nazis. Indy released Elsa and deparated. As Elsa watched him go, she didn’t tell the Nazis she saw him.
Her Pursuit of the Grail Edit
Elsa met up with Donovan and Vogel in Republic of Hatay to inform them of the Joneses’ escape. She helped to lead the expedition to find the Canyon of the Crescent Moon using the map from their captive, Marcus Brody. On the way, the convoy of Nazi and Hatay soldiers came under attack by Kazim and the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. As Kazim's life ebbed away, he gave a final warning to Schneider and Donovan that the Grail would bring them death, which affected her greatly. While Indy attempted to rescue his father and Brody from Vogel's tank, Elsa and Donovan proceeded to the Temple of the Sun, where they sent Hatay soldiers to attempt to navigate the temple's defenses.
When Indy, Henry, Marcus and Sallah showed up, they were captured, resulting in one final confrontation between Donovan and the Joneses. Elsa was delighted to see Indy and that he was not dead, though she controled herself and said calmly that she never expected to see him again, a small smile on her face, not mentioning Berlin. Indy explained that he always turned up, like a bad penny, but Donovan told Elsa to step back and give Indy some room, much to her annoyance. Henry was shot by Donovan, much to Elsa's horror as she still had some lingering affection for the Joneses, forcing Indy to pass the three trials in order to reach the Grail Chamber in order to save his father. After he passed through the trials, Elsa and Donovan followed into the final chamber, where the Grail Knight presented the challenge of choosing the one true Grail among many false grails. Donovan was unable to make a choice, so Elsa offered to choose for him. Inspecting the many cups, Elsa, using her cunning deception, chose the most ornate golden chalice studded with jewels and presented it to Donovan, who drank from it, and began rapidly aging. Recognizing Elsa's treachery, he turned on her, but only terrified her as he decayed. Indy ran over and knocked Donovan away and he hit the wall, breaking to pieces. Elsa held Indy’s arm as she cried slightly from fear.
After composing herself, Elsa and Indy began inspecting the grails, the former noting that the real one would not be made out of gold and the latter noting an old, wooden cup. Elsa looked at him with worry, but he fearlessly tried it. This turned out to be the true Holy Grail, much to Elsa’s relief, and Indy used it to heal his father's bullet wound back at the entrance of the temple. Elsa watched Indy‘s action with admiration.
Afterwards, Elsa picked up the Grail and told Indy to come with her. She prepared to take it outside the temple but, in the process, she accidentally set off an earthquake trap.She dropped the Grail and almost fell into a crevice chasing after it, but Indy grabbed her hands at the last second. She spotted the Grail nearby and pulled a hand free to reach for it. Her gloved hand came up inches short of grasping it, while her other hand was slipping from its leather glove.
Elsa's obsession for the grail proved to be her undoing. Despite Indy telling her she's going to fall and lose her life, Elsa persisted because she was so close to succeeding. Before she could, however, the leather glove on her other hand finally slipped off and Elsa fell screaming into the abyss below, with Indy being the last thing she saw.
Personality and Traits Edit
Elsa was a very conflicted woman. She claimed that she didn't believe in the swastika and indeed was saddened at the destruction of knowledge. As an art historian, she was very devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and regarded books very highly; at the Nazi rally in Berlin, she sobbed at the sight of so many books being consigned to the flames. She was also quite ruthless, as demonstrated by her deliberately choosing a false Grail for Donovan, and seduced both Joneses to get closer to them and the Grail. She was capable of qualities like sympathy, sorrow, love and compassion – having reacted in horror when Donovan shot Henry Jones Sr. and having shown many signs of an attraction to Indy – but ultimately her lust for the material gain of the Grail corrupted her.
Elsa was a very tall feminine figure, standing at 5’9. She has blue eyes and blonde hair done in various styles. She's a stylish woman who wears multiple outfits throughout the movie. She meets Indiana in Venice while wearing in a navy blue suit with a pencil skirt, and high heels. At Berlin, she wears an Nazi officer uniform, complete with a black hat and grey gloves. By the end of the movie, she switches from wearing fancy suits to a military uniform, complete with tall riding boots and black leather gloves.
- Alison Doody also portrayed the character of Jenny Flex, a minor villainess from the 1985 James Bond film A View To A Kill.
- "I can reach it. I can reach it." (her final words, moments before she loses her life)
- "We have got it, come on! It's ours Indy, yours and mine."
- "Don't look at me like that. We both wanted the Grail. I would have done anything to get it. You would have done the same."