Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

That Man From Rio

(L'Homme de Rio, France, 1964)

I saw this when it was new in the only theater in Port Arthur, Texas, that ever showed any films that didn’t come from Hollywood. I’m pretty sure it was dubbed in English, but I was young enough and inexperienced enough not to really care. (I care a lot these days.) It was me and my BFF Calvin, almost alone in the theater. And we began to notice that Jean-Paul Belmondo would depart almost every scene at a dead run, and arrive at the next scene at a dead run, even though the locations were miles, or even hundreds of miles apart. We already were liking it; now we really began to dig it. We laughed more and more at the incredible hijinks as J-PB stumbled from Paris to Rio to Brasilia to the Amazon river, trying to rescue his girlfriend. This is a truly great action comedy film. The final scenes were an inspiration for the opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The scenes in Rio and especially in the early, unfinished futuristic city of Brasilia are captivating. Belmondo shows all his star power. Sadly, his costar, Francoise Dorleac, died horribly a few years later, burned alive in a car crash.