Harold Robbins’ guess-who novel about the jet-set and South American politics was as commercial as it was trashy – and this film version may be fairly said to make the novel look even better.
The story, reputedly inspired by the exploits of real-life jet-setter Porfirio Rubirosa (Dominican diplomat, racing car driver, soldier and polo player), is an overheated mixture of bedroom antics and political machinations.
The dialogue is banal, the acting is lifeless and embarrassing, the violence is indulgent, gratuitous and well, just plain boring, and the sex is luridly non-erotic.
At the centre of the story is troubled playboy Dax (Bekim Fehmiu). Raised far from his (fictional) South American homeland of Corteguay by his guardian, Fat Cat (Ernest Borgnine) amid the high society and political intrigue of Italy, Dax uses romance as a stepping stone to success and his own personal fortune, all the while scheming to wreak vengeance on those who raped and murdered his relatives when he was a boy.
Meanwhile, Corteguay descends into chaos, so Dax returns home and leads a military coup against his onetime benefactor, Rojo (Alan Badel).
On the romantic front, there is Candice Bergen, the only principal to salvage anything from the film, playing a fabulously wealthy girl who marries the hero but loses their baby in a swing accident and eventually turns lesbian.
Unsurprisingly, The Adventurers was savaged upon its initial release. In his autobiography, Ernest Borgnine called the movie “my worst experience in nearly 20 years of filmmaking.”
Sue Ann Daley
Caroline de Coyne
Baron de Coyne
Olivia de Havilland