Tintin and the Golden Fleece (Consortium Pathé, 1961)
- Image © Hergé/Moulinsart.
- Casting details:
- Tintin – Jean-Pierre Talbot, Captain Haddock – Georges Wilson
- Production details:
- Music – André Popp
- André Barret and Rémo Forlani
- Colour, 94 mins.
Captain Haddock receives a letter at Marlinspike informing him that Paparanic, one of his old shipmates, is dead and has left him a ship, the "Golden Fleece". Tintin and the Captain travel to Istanbul to collect the vessel from the port. The ship is in terrible condition and Haddock is not too keen on having it. A businessman named Anton Karabine then turns up offering to buy the ship for a very high price. Finding the offer suspicious, Tintin advices Haddock to turn it down. Karabine gives them his card, with a red crocodile pictured on the front, and "Karexport" written in large print.
During their stay in Istanbul a stranger offers to take Tintin and Haddock on a guided tour during which there are two attempts on their lives. Confronting their guide, they discover that he is in possession of an envelope with instructions on the route he was to take them on. The envelope includes the crocodile logo of the Karexport company.
This makes them all the more determined to find out what is going on. Eventually the "Golden Fleece" sails for Athens with a rather slack crew. During the journey, Tintin catches one of the sailors, Angorapoulos, searching Paparanic's cabin. After a fight Angorapoulos is subdued and locked in the hold but later escapes. As soon as the ship has docked, one of the crew enters an office marked "Karexport".
In Athens, Tintin and Haddock seek out Midas Papos, another former shipmate of the Captain's old friend to whom he was due to deliver some carpets. He is shocked when he learns of Paparanic's death and is about to make a comment about him when a shot is fired from a gun in the window and tossed into the room. Haddock picks it up and Midas Papos' staff rushes in and see him with the gun. Tintin and Haddock are arrested but set free when the Thompsons arrive and vouch for them, as does Papos who has recovered in hospital.
In Paparanic's cabin Tintin found a newspaper article describing how he and some other men were involved in a coup in the South American republic of Tetaragua. He even set up a provisional government which included himself, Papos, Karabine and two others.
Tintin later sees Angorapoulos, the escaped prisoner from the "Golden Fleece", and fetches the Captain and the Thompsons. Angorapoulos enters a Karexport building and later leaves in a car. The group follow in a taxi, careering out of Athens and onto hazardous country lanes. They lose several precious minutes due to the Thompsons' antics but eventually discover the car parked in a village. An inn proprietor welcomes them enthusiastically and invites them to a wedding! A long dancing sequence then takes place with Haddock soon forgetting the purpose of the journey. Tintin then realises that a musician is one of the men in the newspaper photograph. Angorapoulos subsequently kidnaps the man. Tintin and Haddock borrow a motorbike and a chase ensues.
After a lengthy pursuit, a bus appears. Angorapoulos wrenches the wheel to avoid a crash, the car bounces over a ravine and then bursts into flames. Angorapoulos and his thugs hurl themselves clear and run. Tintin and Haddock scramble down the hillside. The kidnapped musician, Scobidouvitch, is half dead as they pull him out of the car. Seconds later the petrol tank blows up. Scobidouvitch explains that some treasure was taken by Paparanic in Tetaragua. He also tells of the fifth man, Alexander Timochenko, who has now become a monk.
Tintin and Haddock leave Scobidouvitch and set off for the monastery. Tintin wonders whether 'Father Alexander' will be able to solve the mystery. They discover that the path to the monastery is very steep and must be climbed. Father Alexander is a dignified old man. The one-time adventurer now spends his days in prayer and meditation. He tells Tintin and Haddock what happened in Tetaragua: when a counter-coup forced him and his colleagues out of government, they stole a large amount of gold from the National Bank but he does not know what happened to it. They leave the monastery and, in the process of returning to the "Golden Fleece", discover a treasure map of the island of Thassika in a bottle of wine that Paparanic left to Father Alexander during a recent visit. They believe that the map shows where Paparanic hid the gold.
When they return to the Golden Fleece, Calculus has arrived. He announces that he has invented a new fuel: Cuthburtoleum. As they set to work on the charts, an alarm bell rings. Tintin runs downstairs and discovers Yefim (yet another mysterious sailor) emptying the fuel tanks. In the fight that follows, Tintin throws him overboard and they watch him swim away.
Calculus shows the disappointed Haddock a small box of red tablets. He explains that these tablets will improve the effectiveness of a low fuel supply. The Captain empties the entire box into the tanks and the "Golden Fleece" shoots out to sea like a torpedo. They reach Thassika in record time only to see a helicopter flying overhead. Tintin decides to dive for the treasure anyway. He finds a chest, and when opened, discovers that it is filled with bars. Haddock wipes away some of the slime and has no doubt that the bar is gold. They are so busy with getting the chest to the ship that they don't notice a rubber dinghy creeping under the stern of the "Golden Fleece". The Captain spots the intruders but it is too late: Angorapoulos has a gun pointed at him and the Captain is soon floundering helplessly in a net.
Karabine mocks Haddock, telling him that he'd warned him to be sensible and sell him the ship in the first place. Tintin emerges again from the water only to come face to face with Karabine. Angorapoulos shoots at him and he falls back into the water. With the gold aboard, Karabine holds all the cards. Angorapoulos lights a short fuse to a charge of dynamite. At this point, a launch appears, carrying the Thompsons and the local police. Karabine and his men fight back as they load the chest into the helicopter. On the "Golden Fleece", the fuse burns.
With a sudden roar, the helicopter rises from the ground. Karabine had told the pilot to start the engines but not to take off without the rest of the men. "Good afternoon Mr. Karabine," says Tintin, with a smile, having taken over from the pilot. With a backward flick of the arm, Tintin knocks the gun from his enemy's hand. Defeated, Karabine tells Tintin that neither of them will get the gold and opens a trapdoor out of which the chest plummets into the sea. The gold is lost, but at least the "Golden Fleece" is safe, thanks to Snowy: he had bitten through his bonds and rolled onto the burning fuse. Luckily, there was a barrel of water on deck, and Snowy ended up none the worse for his adventure.
The chest has fallen in a part of the sea where recovering it will be extremely difficult but then Calculus, on the basis of his faithful pendulum, announces that the gold is still on board ship: in the guard-rails!
Paparanic had hidden the treasure where no one would dream of looking. Some weeks later, at Marlinspike Hall, a celebration is held. With the gold safely back in the National Bank, the Tetaraguan government have conferred on Haddock their highest honour, the Order of the Scarlet Cheetah.
This was the first Tintin movie using actors to play the characters. The personalities of the characters are perfect and the adventure is just like a classic Tintin tale, although it was not written by Hergé, instead it was created by André Barret and Rémo Forlani. Jean-Pierre Talbot fits the role of Tintin very well indeed ; in fact, all the actors look very similar to their fictional counterparts. There are many good scenes in this movie, such as the motorbike chase and Calculus' superfuel. This film has aged well and is very enjoyable and exciting.
- Movie book:
- Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece, Editions Casterman, Tournai, 1962.