JAZZINEMATOLOGY: The Adventurers (1970)


The Adventurers Jazzinematology

It’s the music. It’s the movie. It’s how Jazz colored-up the whole visual experience. It’s our very own recommendation to you. It is JAZZINEMATOLOGY.

So the cinematic jazz experience doesn’t always count on both the movie and the soundtracks together. Historically, each parts can build its own style for jazz. This week’s recommendation is THE ADVENTURERS (1970), the critics acclaimed as ‘trashy action soap opera’ which simply doesn’t has anything to do with jazz by its plot but talks a lot about it on the soundtracks. Composed by the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim, it was the one cool cinema trash’ true fan hailed as the other best part of the movie. The soundtrack album also comes in another re-hash by Quincy Jones’ orchestration later on, and noted as a rare-classic jazzlovers were dying to find. One of the tracks, “Go Down Dying”, was even used as a sample by Bjork in one of her hits, Human Behaviour.

The Movie

Being a trashy-guilty pleasure western-action extravaganza,  produced by the famous Joseph E.Levine and adapted from Harold Robbins novel by “James Bond”-esque director Lewis Gilbert, The Adventurers was crashed by critics in the era. A big budget co production between Paramount Pictures and Avco Embassy had created a controversial reaction during a down time for the film industry, by its spirit of a new breed of realistic cinema flashes nudity and graphic violence, which would have been censored in five years earlier. Over it, the movie which critics stated as three-hours overlong and acted without passion casts lot of famous moviestars such as Yugoslavian heartthrob – Bekim Fehmiu, Charles Aznavour, Ernest Borgnine, Fernando Rey, Rosanno Brazzi and a bunch of screen divas ; from Olivia DeHavilland, Candice Bergen to Jaclyn Smith and Leigh Taylor-Young. Years after its market-flopped on this disappoint reaction, the movie been hailed as the cult classic by the trash-movie lovers.


The Plot

Set in a fictional South American Country called Corteguay, The Adventurers tells a story of Dax Xenos (Fehmiu), who flees the troubled country after his mother and sister is raped by government thugs, and his father (Rey), who became a revolutionary’s ambassador betrayed dead by the leader, Rojo (Alan Badel) continuing violence to the people. By his vows on returning for a vengeance, Dax then made his way to become a powerful man, first by becoming a gigolo in Italy dated a wealthy older woman (deHavilland), drift from one woman to another (Bergen and Smith). Dax then returned to Corteguay and found his young love, Amparo (Taylor-Young), Rojo’s daughter, was having his child. Stepped into the father’s honour, Dax then committed his revenge to Rojo, but the revolutionary fire in Corteguay also drifted on after another.

The Soundtracks

the_adventurersNot only creating the grand soap opera-ala music scores even a marching tune as a several different aspect of his music , in his collaboration with other jazz legend like Eumir Deodato as the arranger, Jobim also included his usual classic bossanova, samba and jazz funk on some tracks. These Original Soundtrack Recording landmarks the first recording of two important Jobim’s songs, “Children’s Game” (later titled “Chovendo na Roseira”) and Dax & Amparo’s “Love Theme” (later titled “Olha Maria”), also a rare highlight, “Bolero”, featured Jobim’s bossa-flavoured guitar tunes. The other versions later comes from Quincy Jones, who re-record his own version of the soundtrack, respectably following its initial release. In Quincy’s orchestration, the soundtrack even comes with sheer variety of different jazz genre, touches Go-Go, Southern Jazz Funk and also the original Jobim’s bossas. Quincy’s version of the soundtrack has noted some classic tracks like the opening, the funky “Polo Pony”, “Go Down Dying” which sounds like the  vintage TV themes in the 50’s era  with a deep groove, “Coming And Going” with a shriek of  female orgasm funky groove sounds, and “Fat Cat Strut” with a great New Orleans’ drum sound. As the movie might considered ‘a guilty pleasure’ by cult movie-lovers, the two versions of the soundtrack; original Jobim and Quincy ’s re-orchestration stands taller to the fanatic jazzlovers. It’s classically jazzin’ in so many ways, each for a highlight as well.

coming soon :

– Disney’s The Princess And The Frog
– The Cotton Club

Written by: Daniel Irawan