US, 1970, 171 minutes, Colour.
Bekim Fehmiu, Alan Badel, Candice Bergen, Ernest Borgnine, Leigh Taylor- Young, Fernando Rey, Thommy Berggren, Charles Aznavour, Olivia de Havilland, John Ireland, Delia Boccardo, Rossano Brazzi.
Directed by Lewis Gilbert.
The Adventurers is one of those big bad booming spectacular blockbusters, running for three hours with spectacular stars, locations, wealth. It is from the Harold Robbins' novel and the locations boomerang from South America, Rome, the Riviera, New York. The characters are what one reviewer called the truly 'filthy rich'. There is action, colour, passion, romance plus sex, violence, speed, sensationalism that appealed to the fantasy world of irresponsible luxury, not to speak of southern American revolutions, and the drug world. These films don't do much harm because they are quite forgettable. However, many people line up to pay good money thinking that this is the real thing. It is really just a showcase for what film makers can do. And it appeals to the fantasy imagination of the popular audience. There were many stars who agreed to appear in The Adventurers. Perhaps it doesn't rate highly in their list of best films.
1. What was the total impact of this film? Good or bad, enjoyable or not? The film was very popular. Why? In what lies its appeal?
2. How important for this kind of blockbuster was the style: the Panavision, colour, the different countries for locations, the topical background, the fashion world of wealth etc.? How well portrayed were these elements?
3. Comment on the appeal of violence, revolution, sex, the rich, the fantasy world of cars, speed and glamour? Were these exploited in the film?
4. The director said the film was a criticism of the Jet set: the Jet set age had turned sour. was this evident in the film? Was it communicated to the audiences? Or would the audiences have liked to be part of the Jet set? The film as a soap opera, with cardboard characters? How misleading was it in its presentation of a real or unreal world? What value has this kind of film as a portrayal of life? Misleading? Authentic?
5. Many reviewers considered the film as trash. What is the nature of cinema trash? Did this film fulfil the definition? How important for the judgement of trash is the unreality of a film? The cardboard characters, the stilted and unreal dialogue, the artificiality of the situations and the contrived nature of the film? Was this evident here or not?
6. How important for the film was the background of Corteguay? The initial revolution and the violent portrayal, the comment on South America and the nature of its revolutions, the deals, the international deals, slaughter and rape, the arms importing, the whole evil atmosphere? What insight into contemporary Latin American revolution did the film offer?
7. The picture of Rome, wealth, the filthy rich, polo, orgies? The types who formed the Jet set? The international diplomats, Sue-Ann? Daley, the world of fashion, gigolos? The amorality of this kind of world and the way that it was presented?
8. The eventual disillusionment of those in the Jet set? What brought about the disillusionment? Their experience, growing older, sense of responsibility? The bitter disillusionment? The deaths?
9. How much sympathy could an audience generate for the victims of the Jet-set? Having their cake and eating it? The victims of luxury?
10. How good a central hero was Dax? How important were the early scenes of his being brutalised, his experiences in the revolution, the deaths of his family, Rojo teaching him to shoot? The fact that he was unfeeling? A compulsion to heroism? But a lack of interest in living, matched with an exploitation of people?
11. Was Dax the hero of this film? when did he become a hero? As a boy, saving Amparro, his relationship with Rojo? The impact of the deaths on him, the impact of Fat Cat? His relationship with Sergei and Robert? The love relationship with Caroline? The using of Marcel and his financial background? Did Dax love Sue-Ann? at any time? The portrayal of their romance? The twenty-first birthday party and the glamour? The pregnancy, the wedding and Dax's being late? The sullen honeymoon, the miscarriage, the divorce? What insight into the unfeeling Dax did this give? Dax's relationship with Mrs. Hadley? The sentimentality of his treatment of her? Respect and the semblance of love, the cigarette case? Was it credible that Fat Cat would give his loyalty and support to Dax? The gap of five years in Dax's history: marriages and divorce, wealth and the callous attitudes to life? The impact of Corteguay and his lack of responsibility? The funeral of his father? His negotiating with rebels for Rojo? His disillusionment with him? The death of Guttierez? The discovery of the truth about the arm? The callousness of the death of Marcel? Coupled with relationships as with the opera singer? Dax as a hero finally in Corteguay? His relationship with Amparro, the child? His disillusionment with Rojo and Rojo's death? His dying for a cause? Was Dax in any way the modern antihero?
12. How important for the film was Fat Cat? The humour in his character? The blind loyalty? From the peasantry of Corteguay, to Rome, to helping Dax at all times, to the killing of Marcel, to the revolution in Corteguay?
13. The film's comment on Rojo and the dictatorship? The evil using of Guttierez and others? His using of El Lobo? The betrayals and the clinging to power? Rojo's provoking his death at Dax’s hand? The insight into the South American dictator?
14. The contrast with Xenos? one of the few good men in the film? The callousness of his murder? The irony of the monument? In what way was Dax the son of his father?
15. The presentation of Dax’s friends: the insight into the types like Sergei, his relationship with his father, the Russian exiles, money, fashion world, gigolo, success in profession, marriage and divorce? Robert as the weak son of the Baron, easily led, Marcel's hold over him, the ruining of his life? Caroline and her loves and boredoms? The fact that she could never marry Dax? The quality of life of people like this?
16. The character of Marcel? The evil little man, the manipulator? The sequence of his relationship with the Baron, with Dania, the ugliness of his death? Did he deserve such a death because of his supplying of arms?
17. Was Sue Ann in any way the heroine of the film? The fate of being one of the world's richest women? Her love for Dax and its disillusionment? The birthday and her freedom? The conception of the child? The miscarriage? The life of unhappiness and bitterness? The relationship with Denisonde? The irony and cynicism at the divorce sequence? The unhappiness of the quality of this kind of life?
18. The contrast with Amparro: always in Corteguay, childhood memories, the love for Dax, the relationship with her father, with the child, her happiness in the Convent, her happy future?
19. The minor characters such as the Baron, Hadley etc.? Their background of the business world and the international set? True types? Of what value in this kind of film?
20. Was the film really enjoyable, not to be taken too seriously? Did it deserve the title of a "big bad movie"?