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In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy goes to eat a date but is stopped by Sallah who catches it and points to the dead monkey, saying:

"Bad dates"

My assumption has always been that they were poisoned but on re-watching, it's unclear. So were the dates poisoned and if so, by who?

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    I'm not sure what's so unclear? Two minutes before the monkey dies, eyepatch man pours some liquid on the dates, cf youtube.com/watch?v=537L4EZynho. Or did you think this clichéd evil-looking guy was Sallah's cook? :)
    – Jenayah
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 19:01
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    @Jenayah That should be in an answer, not in a comment.
    – Polygnome
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 19:11
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    @Polygnome I'm usually all for "answers not comments", but since I really don't get what's unclear about the bit of plot that happened just before the scene at stake, this once I'd like clarification from the OP first.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 19:13
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    Clearly the question deserves some negative attention for simple lack of research / paying attention but @Jenayah it still deserves your answer.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 20:10
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    I posted an answer addressing the only unclear aspect of this event I can think of: who is behind the eye patch man. There is sufficient evidence that the answer is the Germans.
    – ruffdove
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 23:01

2 Answers 2

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Monkey Man, a local man wearing an eye patch, poisoned the dates.

An apparent native of Cairo, who wears an eye patch and is in the credits as Monkey Man, clearly sneaks into Sallah's apartment and pours liquid over the dates. Watch this scene (on YouTube). Monkey Man is acting in a surreptitious manner, indicating he is doing something nefarious. From subsequent events, the most reasonable inference is that the liquid he poured on the dates was a poison that is fatal from ingestion, but harmless on skin contact. The only thing not immediately clear is the man’s motive.

The assassin was enlisted by the Germans.

Earlier in the movie, Monkey Man is seen to be the monkey's master. In one earlier scene -that I cannot find on YouTube- he meets with German agents with the monkey on his shoulder, indicating that he and his monkey are in the employ of the Germans.

You may remember that scene for its comic aspect: the Monkey gives a sieg heil salute, prompting the Germans to reflexively return the monkey's salute before they realize what they are doing.

From all this, we can infer that the Germans hired Monkey Man to get rid of Indiana Jones.

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'German agents' paid the 'Monkey Man' to trail and help kill Indy. This is a little clearer, perhaps, in the script

EXT. ANOTHER CAIRO STREET - DAY

The Monkey is seen running around another corner and jumps into the waiting arms of MONKEY MAN, who appears to be like a beggar with a dirty turban and an eye patch. MONKEY MAN immediately hurries down the street and passes into a building.

In the building are two GERMAN AGENTS. MONKEY MAN and the MONKEY both give the Heil Hitler salute and engage in quick talk. MONKEY MAN quickly leaves the two GERMAN AGENTS and gets back to the street. He is obviously shadowing Indy and Marion.

Indy and Marion are just now passing by and the MONKEY MAN ducks back behind some baskets.

He poisons the dates shortly afterwards.

INT. KITCHEN AREA - HOUSE OF IMAM – NIGHT

Abu, alone in the partitioned area, rinses off some dates in a colander in the sink. He shakes them out and dumps them in a bowl on the counter near the back door, then turns his attention to a tray containing a decanter of wine and some glasses. He picks it up and hurries out to the living area. The back door opens and the Monkey Man peeks in. Focusing on the nearest target, the bowl of dates, he produces a scary-looking bottle and pours a clear liquid over the wet dates. He hears Abu returning and hurries out the back door. Abu notices the cracked back door, bolts it closed and goes back to preparing dinner.

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