That Man from Rio Screen 7 articles

That Man from Rio

1964

That Man from Rio Poster
  • The undeniable charm of many bad movies derives from their gallant but futile striving to be good. Phillippe [sic] de Broca's smirking treatment of "That Man From Rio" is too expensive and elaborate for the desired effect. When you can afford helicopter shots in color, you can afford honest plots in depth. Besides, De Broca's previous work . . . reveals a calculating charm with grave formal deficiencies.

  • If memory serves, this is swell light entertainment—there's a nice score by Georges Delerue, and the original screenplay was nominated for an Oscar—designed to autodestruct as soon as you see it.

  • Belmondo, equal parts welterweight and Slinky, does many of his own stunts—though perhaps not the hilariously improvised stunt piloting—and bounces splendidly off Françoise Dorléac’s buoyantly irritating love interest.

  • In its love for genre and desire to update clichés, “That Man From Rio” is an amiable example of soft-core new wave-ism and, as such, the harbinger of Mr. Spielberg’s more mechanical “Raiders of the Lost Ark” — as is de Broca’s follow-up Belmondo vehicle, “Up to His Ears” (1965), which has been packaged on disc along with “That Man.”

  • A delightfully preposterous thriller (the McGuffin is some stolen Amazonian treasure), wittier than any of the Bond spoofs that subsequently flooded the market and a good deal racier than Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  • If it all sounds unaccountably mad, it is. That Man From Rio is a crazy delight, a stylish, early-'60s pastiche that folds in every adventure-movie cliché you've ever seen, and possibly invents a few new ones. De Broca may be best known, at least among people of a certain age, for his worst film, the 1966 "crazy people are beautiful" novelty, King of Hearts, a staple of college film societies in the 1980s. Here, though, he orchestrates all this mishegas with verve and wicked wit...

  • The whole movie just seems to glide. Like all great action filmmakers, [de Broca] teaches you how to watch his work. Once you've seen a few suspenseful sequences, you know that everything in a frame is there for a reason. If puts a window in a shot, something important is about to happen within its borders. If the camera slowly twists from one axis to another, revealing a side of the room you haven't seen before, watch out.

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