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DVD Review: Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece (1961)

Tintin1

Some years back, I was in a movie memorabilia store in Paris and encountered a vintage poster for a live-action Tintin movie. I'd never heard of it and to be honest, I'd heard little of it since. Perhaps because it has never been available in the UK and was only ever shown once on TV - a bank holiday Monday in 1978 according to the booklet. So I was very pleased to see the release of Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece on DVD - not least because I was (and still am) a huge Tintin fan.

To be honest, I expected the worst. A kids' version of the comic strip classic, played out for laughs with little or no budget. How wrong I was. Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece is a big budget number, described by the BFI, quite rightly, as a James Bond film for kids and with creator Herge apparently on-set and watching over things, a very faithful screen adaptation, right down to Captain Haddock's dodgy facial hair.

The story revolves around that 'Golden Fleece', which happens to be an old ship, left to Captain Haddock by an old comrade, Paparanic. Off to Turkey he goes, along with Tintin and Snowy the dog. But there's a problem - the boat is nothing more than a wreck. Yet there's more to this than meets the eye. Others want the ship, as well as wanting our heroes dead. The reason? Gold. Will Tintin and Captain find it before the motley crew of dodgy lawyers, ex-pirates, gangsters and hipster businessmen get at them? You'll have to watch to find out.

As I said earlier, it's a big budget affair, taking in some great scenery across Turkey and Greece, as well as jaunts on the open seas - everywhere from mountainous monasteries to the backstreets of suburban Istanbul. It all looks incredibly bold too, thanks to a high-definition treatment by the BFI.

Talking of looks, the characters are something else too. It really does look like a comic book has come to life, with incredible characterisations of Tintin, Captain Haddock, Snowy, Professor Calculus and the Thompson Twins. All looking incredibly 'real' too (Haddock's beard aside). You can tell the eye of Herge was over this from start to finish.

It's got one other key factor too - entertainment value. A cracking little romp with barely a dull moment, plenty of punch-ups, bullets flying, the odd car chase, plenty of excitement and a tale with a twist or two. As the BFI says, James Bond for kids.

Except it's not just for kids. I'm well out of that bracket and I loved it. I expected little and it delivered lots, both in terms of the movie and the plethora of articles you'll find in the booklet. It's a BFI release, what do you expect? Bottom line - if you like the idea of a live-action Tintin movie, you'll certainly like Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece from start to finish.

Find out more about the DVD at the Amazon website

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