That Man from Rio (1964) B+
This charming French comedy, starring the incomparable Jean Paul Belmondo, was a huge international hit in the 1960s.
Its popularity led to a cycle of light and fast crime and chase comedies (often European co-productions with famous stars), sort of an alternative to the James Bond pictures.
A tight time frame (8-day pass), a kidnapping, and a greedy group of South American Indians provide the basic ingredients of this madcap adventure.
Belmondo plays an air force pilot who sets out on a wild chase from Paris to the Amazon, when his girlfriend is kidnapped. He has the pass and plans to use it to see his girlfriend, an archeologist (Francoise Dorleac) in Paris. He gets there just in time to see a gang of South American Indians kidnap her–they believe she knows the location of statues that can lead them to a jungle treasure.
Unfolding as a riotous raod picture, with colorful locales, Belmondo follows them to the Brazilian jungle and many adventures ensue.
The clock is ticking fast, but in the end, the lovers manage to escape and return to France just before the pilot’s pass expires.
Co-written by Philippe de Broca, the tale is energetically directed by him. Belmondo, at the height of his popularity, plays with confidence and charm a part that was tailor-made for him.
Oscar Nominations: 1
Story and Screenplay (Original): Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Ariane Mnouchkine, Daniel Boulange, Philippe de Broca
Oscar Awards: None
The Story and Screenplay Oscar went to S. H. Barnett, Peter Stone, and Frank Tarloff for “Father Goose.”
Running time: 114 Minutes.
Released: February 5, 1964.
DVD: February 1, 1994
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