In “The Man from Rio” Jean-Paul Belmondo goes to the rescue of Françoise Dorléac. An action comedy full of stunts performed by Belmondo himself. One of them could have ended very badly.
The man from Rio, a French Indiana Jones
In 1964 The man from Rio marks the second of six collaborations between Jean-Paul Belmondo and Philippe de Broca, Two years later Cartridge (1962). It is precisely during the promotion of Cartridge in South America that the director and actor came up with the idea for the film. The duo wanting to take advantage of the paradisiacal setting of Brazil to make an adventure film.
We follow Adrien Dufourquet (Jean-Paul Belmondo), 2nd class soldier on leave for a week to find his fiancée Agnès de Villermosa. (Françoise Dorléac). But shortly after her arrival, Agnes, daughter of a famous ethnologist, is kidnapped. Neither one nor two Adrien goes in pursuit of his kidnappers and embark in un flight to Brazil. It is the beginning of a mad adventure which will reveal a trafficking of statuettes of the Maltec civilization.
True action comedy between Indiana Jones and Tintin, The man from Rio allows Belmondo to have fun in waterfalls, each more impressive than the next. At her side, Françoise Dorléac is also very present and is not content to be a damsel in distress. Full of humor and references (Death on the hunt), the film was widely convinced at the time with almost 5 million admissions in France. Even today, the feature film has not aged a bit and is (re) seen with pleasure.
Belmondo paralyzed above the void
As explained in the book Belmondo by Guillaume Evin, the production had to send a telegram to the insurance companies before shooting dangerous sequences, and wait for validation. Except that Belmondo was more of the type to play with danger without being ordered to do so. And all the more so if it was forbidden to him. He nevertheless had to leave a stunt from the film to Gil Delamare – that of the parachute jump. For the rest, the actor himself shot all these stunts. What moreover impressed Delamare. However, one of these stunts was much more complicated than expected. And she would even was able to cost Bébel his life.
This sequence takes place when Adrien is pursued by two killers in Brasilia. After almost being crushed, he takes refuge in buildings under construction. A chase then takes place on a construction site and Adrien does everything he can to slow down his opponents. Even if it means climbing to the top of a tower and crossing wooden planks. But while he appears to be stuck, Adrien finds one last escape in hanging onto steel cables to move from one tower to another. To help him, he has ado little basket where to put your feet. When it is halfway, the basket falls and he has to reverse. An impressive sequence that you can (re) see below.
Looking at this passage (more particularly at 3min26), we are reassured by saying that it is only about cinema. Except that in reality it was indeed difficult for Jean-Paul Belmondo. Hanging on cables, 40 meters from the ground, the actor had paralyzed arm muscles. He could no longer come back in front of a film crew that we imagine in panic. Fortunately, Bébel managed to stand up and place his legs on the cable. An essential aid to avoid carrying all your weight only with your arms. It was only thanks to this that he was able to return to the first lap.
Everything looks normal on the screen. But behind the scenes, we came close to the drama. In the end, on the set of The man from Rio, Belmondo will only have hada sprained left ankle. Not much when you see all the dangerous situations he puts himself in during the film.