Robbie van Henegouwen de Boer finally gets the chance he's been hoping for: to lead a group of 20 tourists all over the Netherlands on a Bon Voyage Holiday Tour. He soon finds himself up to...
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Robbie van Henegouwen de Boer finally gets the chance he's been hoping for: to lead a group of 20 tourists all over the Netherlands on a Bon Voyage Holiday Tour. He soon finds himself up to his neck in trouble when his chauffeur turns out to be a drunken trickster, a teenage boy asks for help in getting closer to a girl and a Romanian woman intends to get her hands on Robbie. Written by
In 1995, Dutch gossip magazine Story said it looks like all existing copies of this film have been destroyed. Rumor has it Wim Sonneveld ordered them all to be destroyed because of bad reviews. The original negative however still exists. See more »
Wim Sonneveld, one of the greatest Dutch entertainers of the twentieth century, returned to the big screen for the first time since his American adventure in Silk Stockings (1957) (in which he played a Russian) and after a very successful run as Professor Higgins in the stage Dutch version of My Fair Lady to star in 'Op de Hollandse Toer'.
Robbie van Henegouwen de Boer (Sonneveld), a mere window dresser at the Bon Voyage Tours holiday agency, gets the opportunity to lead a group of tourists all over the Netherlands when the regular tour leader quits his job. The 20 passengers come from all over the globe: Germany, Belgium, British, American and Dutch, so Robbie has to explain the sights in three different languages (and the audience is meant to understand all of them as well, as there are no subtitles). Unfortunately, Robbie, despite having the kind of posh accent you just don't hear any more these days, does not know much about the locations they visit, and has to improvise his way out everywhere they go. The bus chauffeur with a drinking problem (Joop Doderer) advises Robbie to 'mention Rembrandt & Reubens a lot'. This leads the American couple to think they are distantly related to Rembrandt himself.
Robbie goes to great lengths to bring the two teenagers in the company together despite the objections of their parents, yet desperately tries to stay out of the way of Romanian Mrs Slaughter (Adele Bloemendaal) when it quickly becomes clear she has set her sights on him. This must be because although Wim Sonneveld never officially came out of the closet, he spend most of his adult life living with male partners. Anyway, back to the Romeo and Juliet subplot: it is the girls mother, Belgian Madame De Koekelaere who is strictly opposed to her daughter Marie-Louise fraternizing with Dutch boy Peter de Jongh. But, as the mother collects sport souvenirs, Robbie devises a plan to get his hands on a shirt worn by Ajax' Barry Hulshoff (who is billed as a 'special guest'). This turns into a slapstick sequence for Sonneveld that is a highlight in the picture, even though it has little to do with the narrative.
The company gets around quite a bit. Scenes were shot all over the country, with the characters skipping around locations as if they were traveling by teleporter instead of by bus. Special use is made of the miniature city Madurodam to tie several famous landmarks together. The tour ends in the old fashioned fishing village of Marken, where Robbie finds himself hiding from the enraged chauffeur and having to dress in drag. It's a shame they had to include that tired old cliché in the picture, especially so near the end.
Direction was in the capable hands of Englishman Harry Booth, who already was an expert on working with large vehicles, having directed both "Mutiny On The Buses" and "Here come the Double Deckers". Still, the material does all seem to be more suitable for a TV special than a motion picture (Sonneveld even has four musical numbers all to himself). Critics were quite harsh in their reviews on this picture. Indeed, the humor was already outdated by the time it came out (in the same year as Paul Verhoeven's Turkish Delight, still the most successful Dutch film ever). When the public stayed away as well, producer Wim Lindner proclaimed it the film to be a financial catastrophe and was even thought lost for a long period of time. Luckily the original negative still survives, and a beautiful new print has been released on DVD by the Dutch film museum for anyone wanting to take a look. For Wim Sonneveld, however, the film proved to be his downfall, he passed away just months after the premiere because of a heart attack.
7 out of 10
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