Follow TV Tropes


Film / That Man from Rio

Go To

That Man from Rio (L'homme de Rio) is a 1964 French action-adventure farce directed by Philippe de Broca and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Françoise Dorléac.

The film begins in Paris where a ancient statuette is stolen from a museum, and Professor Catalan, an expert on the statuette, is kidnapped. Meanwhile, Airman Adrien Dufourquet is beginning a week's leave to visit his girlfriend, Agnes (Dorléac), whose father was a colleague of Catalan, and who had a Maltec statuette of his own, its location known only to Agnes. Agnes is soon kidnapped as well, and Adrien gives chase to the captors, leading him to Rio, Brasilia, and the Amazon jungle, with adventure and fun at every turn.

Many consider the film to be one of the inspirations for the Indiana Jones franchise.

That Man From Rio contains examples of:

  • Answer Cut: "Where's Catalan?", says Adrien. Cut to Catalan in the cave, setting up the statues to reveal where the treasure is.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The lair collapses as soon as the treasure is found, as if an old trap or curse had been activated. It is however revealed soon after to be due to road construction vehicles plowing through the forest.
  • Bar Brawl: Adrien accidentally starts one at Lola's bar and then uses the ensuing chaos to escape.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Professor Catalan, a mousy, academic archaeologist who is kidnapped by folks who had just stolen a Mesoamerican statue which is the key to a vast treasure. The protagonists rescue him around mid-film, unaware that he'd staged his own kidnapping and is after the treasure himself, along the way, murdering a former colleague and abducting a young lady he had been a surrogate 'favorite uncle' to.
  • Break the Fake: Three Mesoamerican statuettes are keys to an ancient treasure, and two have been stolen. Archaeologist Catalan visits his old partner, industrialist De Castro to make sure the third in his possession is safe. He quickly pronounces it a fake, and De Castro congratulates his perception, hurling it to the floor, assuring him the real one is safely hidden.
  • Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': Adrian rescues his girlfriend Agnes when she's abducted in Paris and spirited away to Rio, where she drags him into an adventure with one hair's-breadth situation after another. As they're driving to Brasilia in their underwear (getting caught in a fierce storm shortly before) he has enough and pulls into a police station. He turns himself in, running off a list of offenses — entering their country without a passport, using a plane ticket he stole from an old pensioner, getting into fights with several people, including policemen, indecently dressed, and driving a stolen car — but as he speaks French the policeman doesn't understand a word. Adrian throws his hands up and exclaims "Nothing — just Rio and Brasilia!" and the policeman cheerfully points the way. Back on the road he mutters "I should take up crime!"
  • Collapsing Lair: What happens when Catalan finally discovers the treasure.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Being in the air force comes in handy when the only way for Adrien to pursue Agnes is via plane. Also, his military training, in general, has made Adrien pretty savvy, agile, and strong. Still, the amount of outrageous situations he escapes from could still qualify him as an Action Survivor.
  • Clothing Damage: By the time Adrien parachutes into the jungle, his clothes have been almost entirely ripped apart. Fortunately, he is rescued by a Frenchman who outfits him with some new clothes.
  • Durable Deathtrap: Subverted. Catalan lifts up the hidden panel and sees what appears to be an innumerable amount of glimmering diamonds and jewels below. The whole cave then starts to rumble, there are a series of explosions, and Catalan is eventually killed when the cave collapses. Is it a Durable Deathtrap that still works centuries after it was made by a pre-Columbian Mayincatec society? Nope, it's damage caused by a road construction project plowing through the rain forest.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: How do we know that the museum being robbed is in Paris? By a shot of the Eiffel Tower right before the cut to the museum, of course. Justified as the museum where it takes place, the Musée de l'Homme, was at the timenote  indeed close to the Eiffel Tower, standing on the other side of the Seine river.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto
    • Every Boat Is A Pinto in the scene where a mook in a speedboat who is trying to kill Adrien doesn't notice that he's heading for rocks. Just to make it sillier, the shot shows the mook yelling as he is blown clear of the explosion.
    • More traditionally with a car, in the scene where Adrian pulls Catalan out of a car right before the car slides off a cliff.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: South American version. As Adrian is shining a shoeshine kid's shoes (not having any money for the kid doing his) — a fat guy in white brushes the kid aside to get his own shoes done. Adrian polishes his white shoes black, and, of course, he can't see his own shoes.
  • Gilligan Cut: The heroes are in need of transport. Agnes says "We'll need a car!" Winston asks, "What color?" After doing an obvious mental eye roll over the pointlessness of this question, Adrien snarks, "Rose colored with green stars!" Next moment, they're in a roadster — rose colored with green stars.
  • Gold Fever: The ultimate motive. Catalan murdered both of his old partners in search of his ultimate goal, a lost treasure hoard.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Adrien kills a henchman by rolling a boulder over him, we only see Adrien's disconcerted face.
  • Groin Attack: Adrien's attempt at a judo chop to the neck of a mook fails completely, but a kick to the nuts does the job.
  • Hanging Our Clothes to Dry: Adrian and Agnes are driving from Rio to Brasilia in an open roadster - at night they're caught in a drenching storm unable to put the top up. Next morning they're on the road in their underwear, clothes drying on a makeshift line. By this point Adrian has had enough of this adventure he's been dragged into, and stops at a police station to turn himself in.
  • Hollywood Skydiving: Adrien bails out from an airplane and barely manages to get his parachute open.
  • Indy Ploy: Adrien chases Agnes and her captors around the globe and all over Brazil but never thinks more than one step ahead. Only once he is on the plane does he realize he is going to Rio!
  • Kid Sidekick: "Sir Winston", a young Brazilian boot black who meets Adrien soon after Adrien's arrival in Brazil, and becomes his sidekick. He's quite helpful, like when he fetches an army of his grownup friends to protect Adrien from the mooks.
  • MacGuffin: The Maltec statuettes
  • Made of Iron: Catalan's mooks. When Adrien tries to physically fight them, he is no match, but he is often able to escape by outsmarting them.
  • Mayincatec: Literally. The ancient civilization that made the statuette is a South American people called the "Maltecs".
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Adrian pursues Agnes's kidnappers by light plane deep into the Amazon. The bad guys set down on the river in their seaplane, but he has nowhere to land. He bails out, and ends up in a forest, dangling just above the water, a hungry crocodile waiting below.
  • Parachute in a Tree: Adrien has to ditch a plane over the Amazon jungle and parachutes down - getting stuck in a tree and dangling just above a hungry crocodile in the swamp.
  • Perfect Poison: Begins with a thief stealing an ancient Mesoamerican statuette in a museum, killing a guard instantly with a poison-dart pistol. The police initially suspect cardiac arrest before the dart is discovered.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Opens with a museum robbery, where the crook kills a guard with a poison dart gun. It initially looks like heart failure to the police, but the museum head notes the poison is a common weapon of the vanished Mesoamerican culture that made the stolen artifact. Later, after a poison dart from a bad guy thuds into a sign right above Adrien's head, he flops over and fakes death, and the bad guy leaves.
  • The Reveal: Catalan is the villain.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Adrien becomes frustrated when Agnes seems relatively unconcerned about having been kidnapped or about getting to the bottom of what is happening. Agnes still trusts Catalan and leaves a party with him while Adrien is trying to figure out who is behind the kidnappings and murders.
  • Scenery Porn: There is some nice photography of Paris at the beginning, but the scenery in several different settings in Brazil is what really qualifies.
  • Shoe Shine, Mister?: Adrian chases his girlfriend and her kidnappers from Paris to Rio de Janeiro. As he's lost them and is at loose ends, a street kid—"Sir Winston"—comes up and shines his shoes. Adrian has no money, so he shines the kid's shoes in return. They befriend each other, and Sir Winston turns out to be pretty resourceful, saving Adrian in a couple of dangerous situations.
  • Shovel Strike: Adrian faces off against a huge mook, trying to smack him with a shovel - but the mook easily dodges it before grabbing it and snapping it in two.
  • Tagalong Kid: Adrian, pursuing his kidnapped girlfriend to Rio, is befriended by Sir Winston, a young street kid who saves Adrian's hide a couple of times.