Double Feature :: That Man from Rio and Up to His Ears

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday April 14, 2015

Double Feature :: That Man from Rio and Up to His Ears

The 1964 comic adventure romp "That Man From Rio" gets a lovely restoration and 2K scan to Blu-ray thanks to Cohen Media Group, which pairs the film with its 1965 successor, "Up To His Ears."

In "That Man From Rio," hunk for the ages Jean-Paul Belmondo plays Adrien Dufourquet, a young man on leave from his military service and looking forward to spending his week's liberty with his girlfriend, the beautiful and demanding Agns (Franoise Dorlac). But no sooner has he arrived in Paris than he's swept up in international intrigue, with murder, kidnapping, and relics from a lost civilization all coming into play. The film has been cited as an inspiration for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and is widely considered a spoof on James Bond movies, but, as we learn from the interview-rich Special Features, "That Man From Rio" was inspired, in turn, by the Tintin graphic novels by Herg, of which director Philippe de Broca was a fan. The film certainly feels like just such an adventure, zipping right along with unfettered energy and featuring unique locales such as the then-still-under-construction city of Brasilia.

The less satisfying "Up To His Ears" is based, sort of, on a Jules Verne novel titled "Tribulations of a Chinaman in China." There was evidently some talk of calling the film "That Man from Hong Kong," to underscore that it pairs de Boca and Belmondo once again, this time dropping Bond girl Ursula Andress into the mix as an anthropologist and strip tease artist. Once again, we have an international thriller with Herg-inspired episodes (and a Herg-inspired look), but this is not a sequel; rather, in this case Belmondo plays a rich man named Arthur who, thanks to his great wealth, finds life lacks challenge. Descending into anomie and bungled suicide attempts, Arthur makes his wish to die known to his friend Mr. Goh (Valry Inkijinoff), who promptly arranges for a hit to take place in the next thirty days.

The now-stimulated Arthur becomes twitchy as a deer, observing two men trailing him whom he assumes to be hired assassins; when he meets Aledandrine Pinardel (Andress), after seeing her do a strip tease in reverse (one of the film's many visually inventive flourishes), Arthur decides he'd rather not die after all, and sets out on a globe-trotting quest to find Mr. Goh and have the hit called off. But meantime, unknown to Arthur, Suzy (Maria Pacme), the mother of his fiance Alice (Valrie Lagrange) has decided to take her own brand of pity on him and arrange for his killing.

Each film is given its own disc in this two-disc set, and each has its own selection of special features -- though, that said, the featurettes for both titles (which consist of interviews with the cast and crew of the films) are clearly drawn from the same set of interviews. Still, it makes for some fascinating documentation, and both films look terrific.

"That Man From Rio" and "Up To His Ears"



Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.