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The Broken Ear: Explanation of plot

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cigars of the beeper
Member
#31 · Posted: 6 Jul 2007 16:31
Golf Tango Fox
That had not occured to me. Tintin very easily could have prevented the death of Rodrigo Tortilla.

Moderator:
I'm sorry I started a second thread about this subject. I did not realize one already existed.
Mark Falconer
Member
#32 · Posted: 8 Jul 2007 04:19
I don't think Tintin expected that they would bump him off - just that they would raid his cabin or something.
Golf Tango Fox
Member
#33 · Posted: 9 Jul 2007 08:38
I'm only going off memory as my copy is packed away at the moment, but I'm sure that somewhere Tintin hears that they plan to murder him.
Maybe someone with a copy handy can confirm whether I am going senile or not.
jcjlf
Member
#34 · Posted: 28 Dec 2011 13:23
Harrock n roll:
2) Who originally steals the fetish from the museum? Is it Balthazar or Tortilla?

Tortilla steals the Fetish from the museum. Balthazar had been employed by him to make a replica which Tortilla would send back to the museum to replace the stolen one.

It is a little doubtful, but on p.1, frame 5, there is the thief and he looks quite alike Balthazar's brother on p.58, frame 1+2+4. So I assume it was Balthazar himself who stole the fetish, took it home, hided the original one in a trunk and had the second copy stolen by his murderer Tortilla.
sondonista
Member
#35 · Posted: 10 Jan 2013 06:08 · Edited by: sondonista
jcjlf:
It is a little doubtful, but on p.1, frame 5, there is the thief and he looks quite alike Balthazar's brother on p.58, frame 1+2+4. So I assume it was Balthazar himself who stole the fetish, took it home, hided the original one in a trunk and had the second copy stolen by his murderer Tortilla.

He does look suspicious, I'll grant you that.
However I don't think he looks that much like Balthazar's brother; on top of that he appears to be wearing a bowler hat whereas the thief hiding in museum is not.

Golf Tango Fox:
You have just reminded me of something that always troubled me with that story. The fact that Tintin actually allowed Tortilla to be murdered.

This bothers me a fair bit too. Surely it would have been enough to catch them in the act of breaking into the cabin? At first I thought that it was down to Herge's episodic plotting from one page to the next still happening, where he didn't even know what was going to happen next - but the murder happens at the top of the page. Tintin doesn't overhear them plotting to kill Tortilla, just that they know where his cabin is.. so it's possible that he just wasn't expecting him to do that.

BTW - blackface disguise - I remember reading how for American audiences black people were re-coloured in some editions. Guess they wouldn't have been able to for this one, but maybe the fact that it is so sambo-like made that okay!
mct16
Member
#36 · Posted: 10 Jan 2013 13:37
sondonista:
[The Thief] appears to be wearing a bowler hat whereas the thief hiding in museum is not.

That scene is debated in this thread.

We also discuss the episodic nature of the story. Personally I think that Herge had his whole plot pretty much well planned before he even started the illustrations, from the museum theft, to Balthazar's murder, the trip to South America, Alcazar, the Arumbayas and the recovery of the fetish.

I'm not sure when "Broken Ear" was published in America, but the fact that this black boy waiter is actually a white man in disguise may have made a difference - compared to the scenes in "Tintin in America" and "Crab with the Golden Claws" in which actual black characters were removed at the request of the American publishers and replaced with whites or Arabs.

The fact that Alonso and Ramon murder Tortilla and go unchallenged until the ship docks has also always struck me as odd. They've already made two attempts on Tintin's life: the knife throwing in the flat and the attempt to run him over with their car, so he knows how ruthless they are. Either Tintin was being careless and decided to leave Tortilla to them and see what would happen or he deliberately turned a blind eye by thinking that "Tortilla is also a killer, so this is poetic justice and I'll be able to jail Alsonso and Ramon on more than just attempted murder."
sondonista
Member
#37 · Posted: 14 Jan 2013 07:58
Thanks mct16, I kept seeing that thread but hadn't read it yet.
Darius
Member
#38 · Posted: 29 Dec 2017 19:44 · Edited by: Moderator
Yeah. Even I think that Tintin might as well let Tortilla get murdered by Ramon and Alonzo for Tortilla killed Balthazar and therefore himself a murderer.

While that arguable, it's clearly a fact that the person who stole the fetish from the museum is Tortilla (the guys with the glasses in the beginning) and he did so after somehow acquiring a note written by Lopez (the guy who firstly stole the fetish from the Arumbyas).

The two main antagonists of the story mentioned that Tortilla was a fellow traveler who traveled with them on some occasion and they got wind of Tortilla's plan about the fetish when he dropped the note written by Lopez by mistake during their trip.

Anyway, Tortilla got fooled for the fake fetish was just too silly and the reason why the sculptor, Bathazar kept the original is also a big mystery.

Also, the reason why Tortilla didn't take the diamond from the fetish right when he stole it also confuses things further.

Nonetheless, the story is one of the important ones as it contains the introduction of General Alcazar, and overall I think despite these small plot holes, it's still done pretty well.

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