Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Tintin And The French Feature Film

On Monday night the NFT ran 'Great Snakes, Snowy - It's Tintin Night': some footage culled from old Channel 4 documentaries, a snooty Mastermind contestant answering fiendish questions about the world of Tintin and Hergé, and the star feature, Tintin et le mystère de la Toison d'Or / Tintin and the Golden Treasure, a live-action French film made in 1962, seldom seen with English dubbing and not shown on British television since May Bank Holiday 1978.

On arrival at the NFT I swiftly realised that: 1) the Lesbian & Gay Film Festival had commenced, and 2) I had chosen today of all days to wear a tie. It was lucky I had the very manly wardy to keep me company.

That's not the only reason I'm glad that Wardy was able to join me: seeing the film with a fellow Tintinologist made the experience that bit more wonderful. And wonderful it was.

The film opens splendidly: a comedy bicycling postman arrives at Marlinspike bearing an important letter which will send Captain Haddock, Tintin, Snowy and Professor Calculus on a new adventure. Haddock falls out of his hammock and abuses the postie, Nestor pours some whisky, Snowy puts his head on one side and looks quizzical.

In short, everyone is in character - so much so that I very soon stopped noticing the glaringly fake facial hair and Haddock's nose being the wrong shape (I suspect the man with the right-shaped nose has not been born). I was so drawn in that it was a rude shock when Tintin stripped to his shorts to dive for the treasure chest, because it seemed wrong for the boy hero to have nipples. Until this moment, I was unaware that I even had an opinion on Tintin's man-boobs or lack thereof.

The locations, the extra characters, the movements and gestures; all looked like one of the books had come to life. The scene in which Tintin rides a motorbike through the Greek mountains while Haddock sits on the pillion holding Snowy could have been an animated full-page spread. The plot may have been a little thin, but all the little sub-plots and mishaps which befall the characters were very true to the spirit of Hergé (who oversaw the production). There's brilliant physical comedy from Haddock, daft inventions from Professor Calculus, and Thomson and Thompson coming to grief while clad in what they fondly imagine to be inconspicuous disguises.

If it ever comes out on DVD in the English dub, I'll be grabbing it - if only so I can put it on the Tintin shelf with all my other miscellanea.

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