De Kris Pusaka is another exiting children's serial produced by Carl Tewes for the KRO in the seventies. You know, the kind of series they just don't seem to make any more. Coming of the success of Q & Q, young Erik van 't Wout co-stars with Willem Nijhold as two brothers who find themselves entranced by the mystical power of an ancient Indonesian dagger, or 'Kris' . It was producer Tewes' idea to base a series in and around Indonesia, a country which shares a strong bond with The Netherlands, being a former colony. Writer Anton Quintana was asked to do research and come up with a suitable 13 part story, half of which takes part in the Netherlands, the other in Indonesia.
Willem Nijhold is Ben van Rooyen, an employee of the tropical institute in Amsterdam and quite an expert in Indonesian antiques. When a valuable Kris comes up for auction, he quickly deduces it must be a 'Pusaka' or heirloom. At the auction he cannot help himself but keep bidding against an untrustworthy antique dealer named Santos until the Kris is in his. However, it soon becomes clear that Santos won't take 'goin once, going twice, sold' for an answer. First Ben's apartment is turned upside down by a silent Chinaman, then the Kris is stolen from under the nose of a kindly professor who offered to help Ben find it's rightful owner. Santos, for it is clearly him who is behind all this, is also planning to get the Pusaka back to Indonesia, only his plan is to make a healthy profit selling it back to the original family.
Ben's younger brother Mark (Van 't Wout) somehow manages to juggle his exams and judo classes with some amateur detective work. It is he who catches Santos speaking to the criminal Chinaman, a feat that none of the policemen on the case are able to manage. During the prolonged chase scene in and around the docks of Rotterdam the coppers even allow the teenage Mark to tag along and lead the way. This did seem rather unbelievable to me, but hey, the series is aimed at his age group after all. Still unable to pin a thing on Santos, the action moves to Indonesia as the criminal manages to slip the Kris past security at the airport and the two brothers travel to exactly the same hotel (!) for business (that is to say, Ben is on business, Mark is allowed to tag along because he passed his exams). Now according to what I've read on other sites, this is the part where a lot of young viewers originally gave up, as the setting changed mid way through the series and they had to invest in a whole new set of supporting characters. On the other hand, the series probably picked up a lot of Indonesian viewers living in the Netherlands at this point to split the difference.
While Mark meets a young girl named Wati who starts showing him the sites around town, Ben finds out that the Kris has been found and proceeds to learn the entire history of the Kris from the rightful owner, Hanindyo. It turns out that two nearly identical Krisses were made for two identical brothers, which soon led to a falling out between them. One of the Krisses became cursed and has caused history to repeat itself amongst brothers in the same family. Now it looks like Ben and Mark might have a falling out as each takes side with one of the current generation of brothers, Hanindyo and Sudjono.
Before the story heads towards a climax, there are many twists and turns to go through for all the characters involved. Erik van 't Wout gets to be involved in another couple of suspenseful chase scenes (this time accompanied by Wati) but Willem Nijhold remains a passive observer for most of the time. It all leads up to a fight scene between two masters of the 'Silah' martial arts. Unfortunately the final episode fails to deliver as the long awaited fight is over before you realize it. Afterwards the story just goes along for a little while longer to tie up lose ends. Rather a shame that was. At least writer Quintana improved on this when he concocted a far more memorable and haunting parting shot for his next 13 part mystery, "Duel in de Diepte".
8 out of 10
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