Unaware of an event which on the surface seems irrelevant to his fate, the theft of an Amazonian statuette from Paris’ Anthropology Museum, Private Adrien Dufourquet arrives in Paris for eight days’ leave, which he plans to spend with his fiancée Agnès.
In actual fact, he witnesses Agnès’ kidnap. He gives chase to the kidnappers, following them as far as Rio. Here, he manages to free her, foiling the traps set by mysterious strangers. Agnès tells Adrien about a second statuette, similar to the stolen one, which is hidden in the house in Rio where she used to live with her father. This statuette is also stolen, by the same people who held Agnès hostage.
The couple set off for Brasilia to meet de Castro, who owns a third statuette, identical to the two others. On the way, they free Professor Catalan, Agnès’ tutor who used to accompany her father on exploratory expeditions until the latter passed away. Catalan had also been kidnapped in Paris.
In a dramatic turn of events, Catalan kills de Castro, grabs the statuette, and kidnaps Agnès, with whom he is in love. Adrien embarks upon another madcap chase, fraught with danger. He manages to follow the kidnappers who, after heading deep into the jungle, come to a halt in front of a cave. Here, Catalan places the statuettes on to plinths where a glint of sunlight, falling on each of them, is supposed to reveal the long-lost treasure of the (invented) Maltec civilization. However, a series of violent earth tremors cause the cave to collapse, burying the greedy professor along with the treasure he so desired.
Is this a case of the angered Maltec gods getting their revenge? No… it’s nothing more than the effects of the dynamite and bulldozers being used to build the Trans-Amazonian highway.
Adrien and Agnès return to France, safe and sound, just in time for his leave to come to an end. On the train back to the barracks, Adrien meets his bunkmate, who’s still suffering the consequences of the adventure he’s just been through: three hours stuck in Paris traffic…
Production: Les Films Ariane – Les Artistes Associés (Paris) – Dear Film (Rome).
Producers: Alexandre Mnouchkine, Georges Danciger.
Screenplay: Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Ariane Mnouchkine, Daniel Boulanger, Philippe de Broca.
Script: Daniel Boulanger.
Director of photography: Edmond Séchan.
Opérateurs : Jean-Paul Schwartz, Philippe Brun, assisted by Guy Delattre.
Editing: Françoise Javet assisted by Ghislaine Desjonquères and Nicole Gauduchon.
Music: Georges Delerue.
Songs: « o Rio e o Mar » and « Serenada do Mar » by Catulo de Paolo and « Chorando Sim » by Almeidinha.
Sound technician: Jacques Maumont.
Sets: Mauro Montero Filho.
Make-up: Marcel Bordénave.
Hairdresser: Yvonne Gasperina.
Production manager: Alexandre Mnouchkine.
Régisseurs généraux : Maurice Hartwig, Louis Manella.
Assistant director: Olivier Gérard.
Script supervisor: Lucile Costa, Helly Stérian.
Press agent: Maryse Martres.
Photographer: Darcy Trigo, Raymond Voinquel.
Special effects: Gil Delamare.
Aeronautics advisor: Colonel Piaheiro.
Trucages et générique : Jean Fouchet F.L.
Jean-Paul Belmondo (Adrien Dufourquet)
Françoise Dorléac (Agnès Villermosa)
Jean Servais (le professeur Catalan)
Simone Renant (Lola)
Adolfo Celi (Mario de Castro)
Roger Dumas (Lebel, le copain d’Adrien)
Daniel Ceccaldi (le commissaire)
Milton Ribeiro (Tupac)
Ubiraci de Oliveira (Sir Winston)
Sabu do Brazil (Maïtoc)
Durée : 120 minutes
Tournage : 16 May – 2 August 1963
Location: Paris, Brazil
Distribution : Les Artistes Associés.
Release in Paris: 28 February 1964
Box office: 655 885 tickets sold in 20 weeks in five Paris cinemas.