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Santiago Bailey
Santiago Bailey

That Man From Rio Free

That Man from Rio (French: L'Homme de Rio) is a 1964 French-Italian international co-production adventure film directed by Philippe de Broca and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Françoise Dorléac. It was the first film to be made by the French subsidiary of United Artists, Les Productions Artistes Associés. The film was a huge success with a total of 4,800,626 admissions in France, becoming the 5th highest earning film of the year.[1]

That Man from Rio

The story was inspired by the series of comic albums The Adventures of Tintin, and That Man from Rio was one of the main inspirations for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Steven Spielberg reportedly told de Broca he'd seen it nine times.[2]

As airman Adrien Dufourquet embarks on an 8-day leave in Paris to see his fiancée Agnès, two South American Indians steal an Amazonian statuette from the Musée de l'Homme and force Professor Catalan, the curator, into their car. Catalan was the companion of Agnès' father on an expedition into the Amazonian rainforest during which her father died. Catalan believes that the statuette is one of three which hold the secret to an Amazonian treasure. Adrien arrives in time to see the Indians abducting Agnès, the only one who knows the location of her father's statuette, and he pursues them to the airport where he steals a ticket and boards the same plane.

Adrien tells the pilot that his fiancée has been abducted, but Agnès has been drugged and does not recognize him. The pilot plans to have Adrien arrested when they reach Rio de Janeiro, but Adrien eludes the police upon arrival. With the help of Sir Winston, a Brazilian bootblack, Adrien rescues Agnès. They retrieve the buried statuette, but the Indians steal it from them.

In a floating jungle cafe run by Lola, the woman who financed Catalan, Adrien learns that Catalan murdered Agnès' father and that Agnès is being held in a boat. Rushing to the boat, Adrien hangs onto the side as it heads upstream and finally docks. While Catalan goes to the underground location of the treasure, Adrien knocks out all of Catalan's accomplices and rescues Agnès. Catalan finds the treasure, but an explosion set off by a nearby Trans-Amazonian Highway construction crew causes him to be buried with it. Adrien and Agnès flee the jungle and arrive in Paris in time for Adrien to catch his train back to his garrison.

The film was a follow up to Cartouche, a popular swashbuckler with Belmondo. It was decided that he should star in a James Bond spoof. Italian financing of the film led to the Italian actor Adolfo Celi, then resident in Brazil, being cast as Mario de Castro.[3]

In contemporary reviews, the Monthly Film Bulletin reviewed and English-dubbed version noted that the "One may feel that [de Broca]'s inconsequential wit is better suited to the smaller, more parochial atmosphere of his earlier films, but here he is involved in a big budget production aimed at a huge audience, and perhaps we ought to be grateful that so much of his personal style has survived, even in the carefully dubbed and slightly shortened American version now presented."[7] The review noted that the film was "beautifully organised" and that "it always keeps the chuckles rising even if they seldom break into real guffaws." and praised the two leads, specifically Belmondo who "outdid Douglas Fairbanks in agility, Harold Lloyd in cliffhanging, and James Bond in indestructibility".[7]

"Sir, could you please arrest me?" the French airman hero of the 1964 adventure picture "That Man from Rio" asks a Brazilian cop, midway through his odyssey to rescue his kidnapped fiancée. "I'm a deserter, I lost my uniform. I flew without a ticket, conned an invalid, I fought with men of all nations and colors, and I drive around in a stolen pink car with little green stars. I'm also guilty of public indecency." Then he sticks his wrists out. "The handcuffs, please."

Said fiancée, Agnès Catalan (Françoise Dorléac, who died in a car wreck just three years after this film came out) is, at that moment, sitting directly behind the hero, in the aforementioned little pink car with green stars. The hero, Adrien Dufourquet (Jean-Paul Belmondo), rescued Agnès earlier; now they're chasing three statuettes that are believed to have magical powers, battling and evading henchpersons along the way. Don't worry, I'm not giving away anything important; this is the kind of film in which people get kidnapped and re-kidnapped and ancient statuettes are stolen and re-acquired and stolen again. Wha matters isn't what happens but how things happen: the way people look slyly or lustily or contemptuously at each other, or duck behind pillars and partitions, or shimmy along cables, or drive fast along winding Brazilian mountain roads, shouting romantic banter so that it can be heard over the roaring car engine and the whistling wind. The point is, at a juncture in the narrative where an arrest might do the hero and his fiancé some good, the cop won't oblige, because "That Man from Rio" is a one-damned-thing-after-another film in which nothing goes as planned and the heroes have to improvise. As Indiana Jones might say, they're just making it up as they go.

Belmondo did a number of his own stunts for "That Man from Rio," and de Broca frames the moments so that you know it's him. They obviously have a rapport; it's no surprise that they worked together twice more. We don't think of Belmondo as an action star per se, but that's what he is here, smirking like Steve McQueen and managing to keep a cigarette clamped between his lips even when he's navigating hairpin turns on a motorbike. There's an understatedly lovely sequence of shots about 90 minutes in where Adrien chases a car on foot and keeps chasing it. De Broca cuts to a series of wide shots of the hero running, running, running, through depopulated panoramas, past elegant futurist structures (overpasses, apartment towers, archways). It's visual poetry of of the most basic sort, and it may evoke a line by Agnes from earlier in the film: "How can you be blasé amid all these wonders?"

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That Man From Rio was originally released on February 5th, 1964. It can be purchased for home viewing from the Cohen Film Collection as well as streamed on Amazon. Does content like this matter to you?

French military man Adrien Dufourquet gets an eight-day furlough to visit his fiancée, Agnès. But when he arrives in Paris, he learns that her late father's partner, museum curator Professor Catalan, has just been kidnapped by a group of Amazon tribesmen who have also stolen a priceless statue from the museum. Adrien and Agnès pursue the kidnappers to Brazil, where they learn that the statue is the key to a hidden Amazon treasure.

Bugs Bunny, Jerry Lewis, and Harrison Ford step into the Brundle teleportation device and come out of the other side as... Jean Paul Belmondo?! Breathless pacing (har-dee-har-har), hair-raising stunts (Belmondo doing his own!), gut busting comedy, gorgeous location photography, and a penultimate gag that reminds us that we're caught up in the antics of white people in a land where the indigenous people are screwed. It's as if the anticipation I had of getting to see a fourth Indiana Jones movie in my lifetime was finally satisfied. Why isn't this movie more well known?!

James Bond parody? Check. Jean-Paul Belmondo as the easygoing French soldier roped into becoming an action hero when he needs to save girlfriend Françoise Dorléac, who has been kidnapped and brought to Rio de Janeiro? Double check. A plot concerning a trio of ancient statuettes, such an obvious influence on Raiders of the Lost Ark that Steven Spielberg actually wrote a letter to director Philippe de Broca to voice his admiration before Raiders came out? Triple check!

Jean-Paul Belmondo swings, jumps, hangs, glides, stumbles, and hops his way through Paris and Rio* to save his bourgeoise lover from treasure-seeking kidnappers. At one point, a swig of rough whiskey powers him like Popeye to punch his way out of a barroom brawl. Spielberg & Lucas cribbed a lot of this for Indiana Jones, namely Belmondo's physical persistence and wily problem-solving. More than anything, he comes off as a midpoint between M. Hulot & John McClane -- the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time... with the elasticity and comic grace of Tati's eternal tourist. Belmondo doing nearly all of his own stunts adds to that brazen authenticity. Going back to Indy, it's like every action scene is the truck chase.

A smash in France that crossed over to worldwide success, netting de Broca and his fellow screenwriters an Oscar nomination as they created a new template for Romantic Adventure Comedy. A criminal hunt for treasures of a lost Amazon civilization takes a Parisian detour when Françoise Dorléac is abducted; Army-private fiancé Jean-Paul Belmondo sprints, leaps, and clambers to her rescue in Rio and beyond. With Jean Servais, Simone Renant, and Adolfo Celi.

Among the films that should be included in any cinema and architecture event there is definitely L'Homme de Rio (That Man From Rio, 1964) directed by Philippe de Broca and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Françoise Dorléac.

Adrien is often framed contemplating the landscape, running or cycling around it, climbing buildings to escape the hitmen running after him. Partially completed modern structures create distinct shapes around him, giving a further sense of dynamism to his action and the impression that this new and strange partially built city in which the main characters move is a dream being moulded out of the red rugged earth. 041b061a72


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