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If I were to subscribe to the notion of 'guilty pleasures', then this film
would fall into the category. As a teenager, I enjoyed reading Harold
Robbins well written trash novels. After seeing "The Carpetbaggers" and
several other adaptations, I'd have to say "The Adventurers" is the closest
in spirit to Robbins original. This is in part because it was made in the
'Post-Code' era (after 1968) and is very explicit regarding the sex and
violence. The trailer was narrated by Rod Serling and the tag line was
'Nothing has been left out of The Adventurers' which was
Although they updated the story by a decade (so they could include sixties' pop imagery), it follows the novel closely. Many criticize BenKim's performance but his deadpan libertine is similar to Mastroianni's in "La Dolce Vita" and appropriate for the story. The rest of the cast is fun with Borgnine hamming it up and Candace Bergen sexy. Thommy Bergen was the star of "Elvira Madigan" a few years earlier and Rosanno Brazi the lead in "South Pacific". The production value is excellent and the action scenes well done with Lewis Gilbert's famous flying bodies that he utilized in "You Only Live Twice". Anne Coates was the editor and she repeated her sound overlaps she introduced in "Lawrence of Arabia". The cinematography and music were also top notch. The original prints were in Technicolor and Panavision. Some four track magnetic stereo copies were made along with a 70mm blow up print in Eastmancolor.
The original cut ran twenty minutes longer. The cut sequences can be assertained by reading "The Making of the Adventurers" paperback book. The film was released with an R rating and re-issued in a PG version with the nudity cut but violence intact. The video version is the standard 170 minute version but not the Preview cut. The premiere was quite unusual. They showed it on a new supersonic jet to the cast and press as it circles Los Angeles! A 16mm promo film was made of the event and is floating around collector circles. The astonished look on Ernest Borgnine's face and he enters the plane for the 'premiere' is amusing.
The film was not a bomb as is usually stated and grossed ten million which was quite good for 1970. Unfortunately, it cost the same amount although I'm sure Paramount is in the black with the network showings and videocasette release.
This type of film is an acquired taste but it's one of the best of this genre. I think it's a hoot full of unintentional laughs and great action and imaginative sex scenes.
Richard W. Haines
This notorious howler can be called many things: long, tasteless, idiotic, even dull to some folks, but it can never be called cheap. This is an expensive and often, visually, quite impressive saga with many glorious scenic views and jaw-dropping interior locations. The story concerns Fehmiu who, as a boy, witnessed the savage slaughter of his mother and sister at the hands of soldiers in his native country of Corteguay. His father (Rey), a revolutionary, assists new leader Badel in rising to power and taking over the nation, but pays the price when his family is slain. Cut to a dozen or so years later and Fehmiu is an idle, polo-playing ladies man in Rome who has practically forgotten about the events in Corteguay. However, when new events draw his attention, he sets out to earn enough money to exact revenge and begin yet a new regime in the endlessly war-torn country. What better way to earn dough than to rent himself out as a gigolo to rich American wives such as de Havilland?! That's actually only step one in his plan. He uses the money to help build a fashion house (!) with his dethroned, Russian-royal schoolmate Berggren. When even that takes too long, he sets his sites on pretty American heiress Bergen, but once again he falls off the track of his ultimate goal until he finds that he has more to fight for than just his homeland. His childhood sweetheart Taylor-Young displays to him what he needs in order to reignite his fighting spirit and rebuild Corteguay. This is a sprawling story from an even more sprawling book (a hunk of Fehmiu's life is skipped over and two of his marriages aren't even shown!), but it could have been whittled down just a little if the opening scenes had been streamlined and some of the battle sequences shortened a bit. As it stands, viewers tuning in for the actions scenes are bored by the soap opera histrionics while lovers of camp and over-the-top melodrama are bored by all the explosions and gunplay. However, for those willing to wait out the bad for the good (no matter which is which), there are a few things here worth seeing. The cinematography of the film is magnificent. The scenery, the production design, the lighting, the decor and the costumes are all eye-catching. The battle scenes are well-done and the amount of extras used is staggering to behold. Long before CGI came along, someone had to wrangle the thousands of people present in the various scenes shown here and it pays off magnificently. As for the acting... Fehmiu is legendarily bad. He has a few effective moments, but is nowhere near multidimensional enough to carry a role like this in a film like this! Considered by many to be an attractive and virile (if wooden) leading man, he is something of a hatchet face with a lean, well-defined body. The character is never completely likable, but is made even less so by having such an uncharismatic person in the lead. He has two love scenes that are riotous. One by a pool surrounded by statues and another in a steamy, exotic greenhouse. Bergen is very uneven. Her early scenes are a bit awkward, her middle scenes better, but her later ones are hysterically awful as she inexplicably affects a bizarre accent and wanders around as if lobotomized. She is undeniably lovely, however, most of the time. Borgnine, who plays Fehmiu's personal bodyguard and friend, is ludicrous in sound and appearance at first, but, fortunately, improves greatly as the film wears on. De Havilland does what is probably the closest thing she ever had to a nude scene with only a sheet thrown over one shoulder as she romances Fehmiu. She manages to get through the movie relatively unscathed, as does Brazzi in a smallish role as one of Rey's Roman contacts (though in one scene Brazzi has the dubious honor of having to traipse through a house full of strategically naked young people!) Taylor-Young is handed a fairly colorless role, but is able to bring a little heart and appeal to it. One hilarious camp highlight is Fehmiu associate Aznavour's secret den of iniquity which truly must be seen to be believed. Another sequence not to be missed by any fan of 60's culture is the preposterous, ludicrous and thoroughly irresistible fashion show (complete with it's "plethora" of seven outfits!) As the planet's funkiest song radiates across a flashing dance floor, the models thrash around in a wide array of styles which seem unlikely to be of a particular collection. Cinema fashion shows are always a riot because the style is antiquated sometimes as early as the film's release date and this one is high in the pantheon of rancidness and wondrousness. Reporting on the clothes is "Teen Magazine reporter" Smith in one of her very earliest roles. It's long, it's tacky, it's wacky and it's empty-headed, but it's also stylish, attractive, intriguing and quite a treat for fans of all-star casts and hopeless kitsch.
I had read Harold Robbins' book "The Adventurers" on a cross-country
flight when it first came out, and found it to be a bit more enjoyable
than his usual trash--somewhat better written, a more interesting story
than usual, different types of characters. So when the movie was
released, I figured, "Ah, what the hell, I'll check it out." I must say
that I enjoyed this film in spite of itself. The dialog is laughably
inane, the acting by pretty much the entire cast is abysmal (star Bekim
Fehmiu, a Yugoslav heartthrob, only made a few more films before he
deservedly disappeared), if you expected Candace Bergen to do her usual
embarrassingly inept job you won't be disappointed, Ernest Borgnine
hams outrageously, and there are a host of cameos--none of them
particularly noteworthy--by everyone from Olivia De Havilland to John
Ireland, most of whom probably took the parts in order to get a free
trip to Europe. The film does, however, have a few things going for it.
One is the luminous Leigh Taylor-Young. She is absolutely exquisite;
her part, though essential, doesn't call for a lot of screen time, but
every time she does appear on-screen she lights it up. Also, the battle
sequences are exciting, well staged and very convincing; they pick up
the film's pace tremendously (the action scenes were shot in Colombia
and the extras were Colombian soldiers, who knew a thing or two about
what happens in battle). A lot of money was spent making this picture
and, unlike many big-budget European co-productions made at the time,
it shows on the screen. The photography is outstanding, the European
scenery is beautiful, the jungle scenes in "Corteguay" (which were also
shot in Colombia) are stunning and the costumes and production values
are sumptuous. Besides, it IS an interesting story (the son of a man
murdered by a corrupt and oppressive government returns to overthrow
that government, only to find that the new government he's helped to
install is just as corrupt and oppressive).
All things considered, it's not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. The picture got savaged by reviewers when it first came out, but it's really not all that bad. It's somewhat overblown and overheated, but enjoyable nonetheless. Check it out.
Ten-year old Dax (Loris Loddi) watches as soldiers massacre his family
in the war-torn South American country of Corteguay, in 1945. It's an
experience that has a profound effect on the boy, and influences his
actions and behavior as an adult. Dax grows up to become a European
playboy (Bekim Fehmiu), who periodically returns to the ongoing
national upheaval in his home country. The film's underlying premise is
fine. But the screen story is a mess.
For one thing, Dax, the central character, is not very likable as an adult. He's too smug, too self-important, too haughty, and emotionally cold. If he's so concerned about the never-ending violence in Corteguay, why does he spend so much time hobnobbing with the rich and snobbish in Europe? His motivations don't really make sense.
Second, the plot contains too many secondary characters that come and go, throughout. It's hard to keep track of them. For its large cast, the film is almost devoid of characters with whom the audience can identify and become attached. For all their "importance" and "savoir-faire", these secondary characters are hopelessly shallow and cold.
Third, the film's dialogue is awful. It reminds me of one of those dreadful 1950's sword and sandal movies, with lines of dialogue so ponderous and so burdened with momentous gravity, you would think they should be delivered only by Hamlet. The film veritably drools with this overwrought melodrama.
Further, the film's plot irritatingly oscillates between South America and Europe. One minute we're in Courteguay watching two poor, starving children begging for food. The next minute we're at a gaudy fashion show in Europe, or at some highbrow party listening to some lady belt out an operatic aria. It's as if the writer couldn't decide what story he wanted to tell.
And the film's violence is excessive. The civil war subplot in Corteguay requires some brute force and destruction, naturally. But the violence here is much too personal, too graphic, and too gratuitous.
To its credit, the film does have good cinematography, especially outdoors with that beautiful South American scenery. And the costumes and indoor production design are lavish, almost too much so, at times.
Ultimately, "The Adventurers" is a pretentious bore that takes itself way too seriously. The characters are unappealing, the plot is muddled, the violence is excessive, and the dialogue is laughably ponderous. All of these liabilities are then magnified by the film's three-hour runtime.
I have read Harrold Robbins' book 4 times. When I recently viewed the film I expected to see all kinds of changes from what was in the book. I was actually amazed to see that the film followed closely to what was written except for a few story alterations that were obviously unavoidable. The book was a lot more decadent than was depicted by the film. However, the film was very well cast with excellent acting by everyone. I was really pleased that the film conveyed the spirit of the book to the end. I just acquired the DVD which is the original R rated version for international release. It runs a full 177 minutes. Obviously, this picture could not have been shown in American theaters in 1970 when the film was made. Even though the film is 35 years old it is not dated. My copy is a Panavision widescreen copy with full Dolby 5.1 Surround stereo sound and it plays as if it was a newly produced film. If you are lucky enough to acquire this version of the film watch it again. I'm sure you will be really pleased especially if you have a "Home Theatre" with a large wide screen.
This film is under appreciated and rather than a mess, is a profundly complex comment on the cycle of revolution in a quest for legalism and constitutionalism.
The character Dax Xenos mirrors the life of the revolutionary son and sometime exile Octavio Paz of Mexico; though the late Snr Paz became a man of letters; rather than a temporary gigolo to gain money for a business and to restore the values of his father to his homeland!
Bekim Fehmiu (Black Sunday) is Dax The wealthy playboy son of an assassinated South American diplomat who discovers that his father(Fernando Rey,Frog Number 1) was murdered on orders of the corrupt president (Alan Badel) a man who was his father's confidant and who, in fact, his father had helped put into power. He returns from living the playboy jet-set life in Europe to lead a revolution against the government. This is an overly long film at two hours and fifty five minutes! it is entertaining but some of the scenes could easily have been edited out! it's based on a novel by Harold Robbins, Ernest Borgnine has little to do literary! all he does is stand about at the beck and call of his charge! It's Directed by former two time James Bond director Lewis Gilbert, the action scenes are amazing if this was produced today it would feature CGI for the battle/crowd scenes, It is a dated picture due to the fashions and unrealistic blood! which looks like red paint.
This movie was a tad too long and not trashy enough, but its worth a look if you're in the right mood. The lead actor has no acting ability at all and I was wondering what the movie would be like with Omar Sharif instead. If you're looking for gloss and glitter and all that, see "Where Love has Gone" or "The Betsy", also by Harold Robbins and made into movies. This movie includes a lot of civil war involvement, set in a fictional country. The large cast includes Ernest Borgnine, Candice Bergen and Olivia DeHavilland.
I bought it on video and it was so long it was on two tapes! So a lot of
fast forwarding was needed for the countless war scenes. But it was worth
the wait to get to the high sixties segments, the overall best being (for
the plot totally unnecessary) the fashion shows! But oh, it was the
highlight. Super camp fashion numbers out of the blue but totally
appropriate for a high gloss sixties movie. It was released 1970, I wonder
if it all seemed a little out of date even then?
Loads of stars, even lesser like an early Jaclyn Smith and the underrated underused Angela Scoular (of On Her Majesties Secret Service). But the best is Candice Bergen. SO stunningly beautiful the screen almost melted and she did some fine acting even if she thought she hadn´t. She played a lesbian again and she ends up bitter and chain-smoking. (Hollywood logic).
After many years in the exile, marrying and having affairs with wealthy
and beautiful women, the son of a former revolutionary and futile
play-boy Dax Xenos (Bekim Fehmiu) returns to his country invited by the
corrupt president to a homage to his father. He finds that he has a son
living in the country, and decides to raise funds to help the life of
the people of his country. However, the money is used to buy weapons,
and he decides to fight together with the revolutionary El Lobo against
the corrupt president.
I saw this movie many years ago, and at that time I liked it. However, I have just watched it on VHS, and now I found it a corny soap-opera. The story is a complete mess, and it is difficult to understand the motivations of the lead character. The contact of a few moments with an unknown son would be enough to change the behavior of a futile person to a revolutionary? Is the intention of the novel of the writer Harold Robbins to say that South American countries are supposed to live with successive revolutions and corrupt president and leaders? The beauty of Candice Bergman is one of the worthy parts of this forgettable movie. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "O Mundo dos Aventureiros" ("The World of the Adventurers")
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