|“||We have no time to lose. Indiana Jones and his father have escaped.||„|
|~ Elsa Schneider informing the Nazis about Dr. Indiana Jones' disappearance.|
Dr. Elsa Schneider is the secondary antagonist of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for a short time. She is an Austrian art professor who desires the Grail, and like Walter Donovan, she keeps her involvement with the Nazis a secret. Unlike Jones' other two love interests in his previous adventures, Marion Ravenwood and Willie Scott, Elsa is an evil and conflicted woman. She is revealed to have seduced both Joneses throughout the film, Henry first and then Indiana. Elsa was also an ally of Indiana Jones first and last.
She was portrayed by Alison Doody, who also played Jenny Flex in A View to a Kill.
Elsa first meets Indiana in Venice, Italy. She guides him to the library in search of the hidden tomb. She was also an ally first. Indiana discovers the secret entry to the tomb and with Elsa, discover the other half of King Richard's inscription. The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword follows them and sets the tomb's petroleum on fire. Elsa escapes with Indiana and two flee from the Brotherhood in a speedboat. Ultimately, Indiana and Elsa clear up the major misunderstanding with Kazim, the Brotherhood's leader, who informs them that Indiana's father is held up at Brunwald Castle in Austria. Indiana checks on Elsa in her hotel room and finds everything trashed. The two then argue over the grail diary and end up having passionate sex as a result.
At Brunwald, Elsa helps Indiana infiltrate a Nazi-controlled castle, but the two are separated when Indiana swings between buildings to reach his father. Once he rescues his father, he finds Elsa held up at gunpoint by Colonel Vogel, who threatens to kill her if Indiana doesn't surrender. Henry Sr. tells Indiana that Elsa is a Nazi, but Indiana gives up his gun anyways. Elsa runs up to Indiana and takes the grail diary. She finally reveals her true allegiance. Elsa is told she must return to Berlin for a Nazi rally and she departs, but not before giving Indiana an "Austrian style" kiss. However, the two Joneses managed to escape from Vogel's clutches. At the book burning rally, Elsa is seen crying and Indiana finds Elsa walking aimlessly. He grabs her and demands she give up the grail diary. After a heated argument, Indiana takes the diary and basically tells Elsa off. (See quotes for the argument dialogue). Threatened argument was over.
During the battle in Hatay, Elsa informed Donovan that Indy had escaped from their clutches. However, during Indiana's fight against Vogel, which resulted in the death of the latter, both Elsa and Donovan, along the Nazis, managed to find and get in the Temple of the Grail before the Joneses and their allies arrived. Indiana and company arrive, which allows Donovan to "persuade" Indiana to find it for them by shooting Henry Sr. Elsa is upset by Donovan's actions, but hangs back to follow Indiana through the three trials. Elsa was willfully insulted and threatened by Donovan. Once inside the chamber, Elsa tells Donovan to let her choose the true grail from the various fakes. She picks a fancy cup, betting that it is a fake. Donovan drinks from it and ages to death instantly. He shatters himself into shattered bones, turned into dust. Elsa then watches Indiana choose the true grail. She was no longer a villain again. After Indiana heals his dad, Elsa tries to take the grail from the temple. Indiana warns her not to, but she crosses the magical seal anyways. The temple falls apart and Elsa drops the grail. She chases after it, but trips and knocks it into a crack in the ground. She nearly falls in too, but Indiana grabs her. Knowing the grail survived the fall, she tries to reach for it rather than giving Indiana both her hands. While she comes up just short of getting it, her other hand starts slipping from Indiana's hold because she's wearing leather gloves. Elsa keeps trying, despite Indiana's urgent warnings, when the glove on her hand comes off and she falls to her death, paying for her actions.
- Alison Doody, before playing Elsa, portrayed Jenny Flex in the James Bond film series. Also, Sean Connery (Henry Walton Jones, Sr.), John Rhys Davies (Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir), Julian Glover (Walter Donovan) and Michael Byrne (Ernst Vogel) also appeared in different Bond films. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade director Steven Spielberg once said that he would have liked to direct a James Bond film, but he was restricted from obtaining the rights, for which he created |Indiana Jones film series.
- Amanda Redman was originally asked to play the role of Elsa Schneider, but she declined the offer due her real-life fear of rats, so Doody was cast instead.
- Elsa could have taken the Grail by running as fast as she can after passing the Great Seal since it will take some time for the temple to collapse completely. Unfortunately, Elsa didn't possess enough experience or skill to deal with dangerous situation like a seasoned treasure hunter like Indiana Jones.
- Elsa was far more ruthless and villainous in Jeffrey Boam's earlier drafts of the film's script. In this version of the film, Elsa didn't feel any remorse over betraying the Joneses and she was the one who would shot Henry Jones, Senior during the Temple of the Sun scene and later die upon drinking from the False Grail (as Donovan was initially intended to die in the tank chase instead of Vogel). However, when Tom Stoppard was brought to rewrite the script, he modified Elsa's character and changed the manner of her demise.
- In Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Elsa's death is very fast. She barely grabs the Holy Grail, but before she can run, the floor opens and she and the grail fall into the void.
- However, in Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, Elsa's death didn't occur because Elsa never enters into the Temple of the Holy Grail. After being snubbed by Donovan, Henry Jones, Sr. begins to fight against her, while Indy and Sallah enter the temple to face Donovan. After Donovan's defeat, Indy and Sallah escape of the destruction of the temple and find that Henry and Elsa have been friendly and they are playing cricket. After that, a reformed Elsa along with Indy, Henry and Sallah drives off in Donovan's car.