Sunday, July 31, 2011

Altin Çocuk Beyrut'ta (1967)

In 1967 baby-faced Göksel Arsoy was back in the saddle as Altin Çocuk in Altin Çocuk Beyrut'ta. The first movie proved to be a big success and this wouldn’t be the first sequel, two more would follow and forever put the name The Golden Boy on Göksel Arsoy’s career. This time Altin gets involved after a drug bust at a seedy night club. The drugs, and money leads to Beirut were Altin soon gets involved in sexy ladies and a lot of fist fights. Behind it all is a man dressed in a silvery Batman-esque outfit (complete with pointy ears and a cape). But this time is life extra tough because Altin gets brainwashed, or poisoned, and turns evil! Which leads him too brutally lash his woman, who’s strapped up in a torture dungeon!

Altin Çocuk Beyrut'ta is a more slick and well-made production than the first movie, even if the budget seem a bit lower – not counting the Beirut location of course. The sets are more cramped and the villain’s lair is just a few locations inside a factory. But the stylish approach to the story, the excellent work with shadows and editing makes this technically a better movie. What I miss is the bigger epic style of the first film, with more extras and more dangers around every corner.

The use of Göksel Arsoy as a Bond-style hero might seem weird, but most of the Bond rip-offs made never tried to copy the original Bond-actors, it seem so anyway (not counting the Italian ones, who hade more James Bondish actors than any other country). Göksel has the face of a little boy, a bit mean and mischievous like Jimmy Wang Yu. Like a combination between Kevin Spacey and Robert Vaughn. Not a bad thing, because he more looks like a bloke that never would be able to take down a dozen bad guys within seconds, which gives him more of a chance to surprise both the audience and the baddies.

Action yes, not the film with the highest budget, but the fist fights, oh the fist fights. There are only two countries that really focused on spectacular fights: Turkey and India. I guess it’s a question of budget, it’s cheaper to throw a fight than start a car chase, and in Altin Çocuk Beyrut'ta they prove that two fists and some crazy stuntmen can make the cheapest movie look great. The fights are intensive with big swings and a lot of painful falls into furniture, down in the floor or right into walls, stuff that Hong Kong made popular in the Eighties. Sometime I wonder who inspired who.

Göksel Arsoy produced (correct me if I’m wrong, please) the Altin Çocuk-films with his own company, Goksel Film, and created himself one of the most interesting franchises in Turkey, with his own personality and a big slice of Bondesque storylines and brutal action. It would have been interesting if he had followed the two next sequels with even more Golden Boy films, but maybe the energy and interest ran dry and he decided for a more serious career as an actor.

The only way to watch Altin Çocuk Beyrut'ta is through a version shown on Turkish TV. It’s OK viewing, but looks deteriorated and have, of course, no English subtitles. It’s possible that some scenes are lost, because sometime the story took very quick turns without much explanation. But if someone know a better version, let me know.


Mick said...

Sounds quite good, even if I'm not familiar with the series haha!

Michael :)

Anonymous said...

Talking of Italians that could have made an Italian version of Bond. Franco Nero and Terence Hill comes to mind. In fact they could have made a Bond rip-off with the agent brothers 007 and 008. Not that i am in to guys, but those two had the looks back then, and we all know they could fight.