The Adventures of Tintin: “The Castafiore Emerald” (1992) – reviewed by George

This “The Adventures of Tintin” is an animated TV series that consisted of 22-minute episodes, and most stories (like this one) required two episodes to tell. It was a French-Canadian co-production shown on HBO in 1991 and ’92, and as far as I can tell contained 21 adventures, all based on books by Herge’, the Belgian cartoonist. There was great effort involved to make the drawings as close to those of Herge’ as possible, and as I said in the review of the super Spielberg/Jackson motion-capture movie (which made the same effort), I love the books AND these TV shows.
Captain Haddock (David Fox), Tintin (Colin O’Meara), and his white terrier Snowy (Susan Roman), and Professor Cuthbert Calculus (Wayne Robson) are back in residence at Marlinspike Hall, the Captain’s ancestral home, and are enjoying a peaceful springtime. The only problem is the difficulty the Captain is having in getting someone to fix a broken step in the huge staircase connecting floors one and two. Every time anyone steps on it, they fall to the base of the stairs. My advice? Stop replacing the broken piece after every fall. And stop blaming the only servant Nestor (Vernon Chapman). Cuthbert is the one least affected since his time is consumed breeding roses (outdoors). He is especially interested in getting a large white rose that he can name Bianca after the opera singer Bianca Castafiore (Maureen Forrest), who likes Haddock a lot and seems to come back into their lives often.
One day Tintin and Snowy are out walking and find a band of gypsies living just beyond Marlinspike’s grounds. Unfortunately they are living on a dumping ground for garbage, so Tintin gets the Captain to go for a walk and come upon the gypsies. Haddock is horrified (as Tintin knew he would be) by the dump’s condition and immediately invites the band to move over to his grounds.
Then Bianca arrives with her maid Irma, accompanist Wagner, and valuable jewelry collection, containing the Castafiore Emerald – HUGE! and moves in, assuring the Captain that she is only there for rest and to rehearse for her next opera role, and will not take any interviews at all – until Paris Match calls and she is so flattered that she says, of course, come ahead. Her happiness continues until the magazine comes out and has her engaged to Captain Haddock. So she engineers a TV interview to take place at Marlinspike to refute the Paris Match article. During the interview Tintin sees a photographer he doesn’t remember arriving with the TV people. Then the lights go out and when they come back on, the photographer is seen running away – and the box of jewelry is missing. But the photographer only wanted an unflattering picture for his magazine, and the jewel box turns up after Bianca remembers that she moved it.
In quick succession, Irma’s gold scissors are stolen, the Castafiore Emerald disappears, and detectives Thompson (John Stocker) and Thomson (Dan Hennessy) are called in. The bumbling detectives accuse the gypsies, but as always Snowy and Tintin are better detectives than the pros, and all ends well. Even that step gets repaired.
Based on the Book by Herge’, Written by Eric Rondeaux and Martin Brossolet, Directed by Stephane Bernasconi.

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