Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece (French: Tintin et le Mystère de La Toison d'or) is a film first released in France on December 6, 1961, featuring characters from the The Adventures of Tintin comic book series, written and drawn by the Belgian writer-artist Hergé. However, this was a live-action film with actors dressed to look like the comic characters. The film featured a completely original storyline which was not based on any of the books.
The film is set in Turkey and Greece with the main characters of Tintin and Captain Haddock searching for treasure after inheriting a ship called the Golden Fleece. The film was later followed by a less successful sequel, Tintin and the Blue Oranges.
Captain Haddock (Georges Wilson) learns that an old shipmate, Themistocles Paparanic, has died and left him a ship, the Golden Fleece. Tintin (Jean-Pierre Talbot), Snowy and the Captain travel to Istanbul only to find that it is an old cargo ship in a really dilapidated state. While on board the ship the trio meet, the ship's cook Clodion and Paparanic's pet parrot Romulus. While outside the ship, a businessman named Anton Karabine (Demetrios Myrat) claims to be an old friend of Paparanic and offers to buy the boat for "sentimental" reasons, but the huge amounts that he offers makes Tintin suspicious and on his advice Haddock turns the offer down.
During their stay in Istanbul, a stranger named Malik, offers to take Tintin and Haddock on a guided tour during which there are two attempts on their lives. This makes them all the more determined to find out what is going on. One of the clauses of Paparanic's will was that Haddock, on accepting the ship, should also fulfill his current obligations. The next day Haddock hires 3 crewman Angorapoulos, Attila Thai, and Yefima. They set off for Athens to deliver some carpets. During the journey Tintin catches Angorapoulos (Marcel Bozzuffi), searching through Paparanic's papers. He is subdued and locked in the hold but escapes.
In Athens, Tintin and Haddock go to the carpet seller Midas Papos (Darío Moreno) who turns out to be another of Paparanic's old shipmates. He is grief-stricken to learn of his friend's death and is about to make a comment about him when he is shot by a man from the window and the gun tossed into the room. Caught holding the gun, Tintin and Haddock are arrested but released thanks to the influence of their friends Thomson and Thompson and Papos, who has recovered in hospital.
An old newspaper article shows that in their youth Paparanic, Papos and Karabine were adventurers who were involved in a coup in the Latin American republic of Tetaragua. The article includes a photo of the three of them, plus two strangers, who formed a short-lived government.
Tintin later spots Angorapoulos in a barber's shop and follows him to the local offices of Karexport, which Tintin knows is run by Karabine. When Angorapoulos leaves by car Tintin and his friends follow him to a village out in the countryside where he and some accomplices kidnap a musician at a wedding. Tintin and the captain give chase on a motorbike. The crooks’ car is forced off the road when it almost collides with a coach and the villains flee on foot. The kidnap victim, Scoubidouvitch (Dimos Starenios), was the fourth man in the photo. He suffers from "memory loss" but reveals that a large amount of gold is involved and suggests that Tintin and Haddock consult Father Alexandre (Charles Vanel) who lives in a mountain-top monastery.
Father Alexandre, the fifth man in the photo, is himself a former adventurer who has repented and now spends his days in prayer and meditation. He reveals that when forced out of government in Tetaragua, he and his four comrades took a large quantity of gold from the central bank. Paparanic took the lion's share of the loot while the rest was spread among the others. It's now clear that Karabine wants Paparanic's gold. Before Tintin and Haddock leave, Father Alexandre gives them a bottle of red wine which Paparanic gave him while visiting him last Christmas and told him to drink after his death. Since the priest now abstains from alcohol he entrusts it to his visitors. On the way down from the mountain, Haddock accidentally breaks the bottle, the label of which turns out to be that of a map, obviously showing the location of Paparanic's gold.
Tintin and Haddock return to the Golden Fleece where they have been joined by their friend Professor Cuthbert Calculus. Yefima drains the oil out of the engines in order to prevent the ship from leaving port and is discovered and flees the ship but Calculus has invented a special tablet called Super-Cuthbertoleum which, mixed with the remaining fuel, is more than enough to get the boat started and enables them to reach their destination, the island of Thassika.
The map includes an X just off the island's coast and, using his pendulum, Calculus locates the gold's location. Swimming underwater, Tintin discovers a chest filled with strange dark bars but which he guesses is the gold which has been painted over. No sooner have the members of the Golden Fleece got the chest out of the water that they are held at gunpoint by Karabine, Angorapoulos, Yefima and their men who got discreetly aboard. Tintin is shot at and falls back into the water while his friends are locked into a cabin and a fuse is set to blow the ship up with dynamite with Haddock, Calculus, Snowy, Romulus and Clodion on board.
Karabine and his men take the chest back to their helicopter only to come under attack by the police, including Thomson and Thompson lead by Attila who is revealed to be and undercover police officer. Karabine gets aboard the helicopter which suddenly takes off. It turns out that Tintin has replaced the pilot! Karabine tries to force him to land, but Tintin disarms him. Beaten, the crook announces that no-one will get the gold, opens a hatch and lets the chest fall into the ocean.
Tintin's dog Snowy manages to put out the fuse that was about to blow up the ship. However the chest is in a deep part of the sea and beyond recovery. However, using his pendulum, Calculus insists that the gold is still right above them. Cutting away at the paint on the ship's railings Tintin realizes that they are in fact the camouflaged gold. The chest contained the real railings and was just a red herring.
Haddock returns the gold to Tetaragua. The main square in the capital is renamed Paparanic Square and Haddock receives Tetaragua's highest decoration, the Order of the Scarlet Cheetah. Back home at Marlinspike Hall, Haddock hires Clodion as his cook. And Calculus keeps Romulus as a pet and a test subject for his inventions of a flying birdcage. The film ends with Tintin, Snowy, Haddock, Calculus, Nestor, Clodion, Romulus and the postman from the beginning of the film, being treated to a visit by the local band to help them celebrate.
- Captain Archibald Haddock
- Cuthbert Calculus
- Thompson and Thomson*
- Themistocles Paparanic*
- Anton Karabine
- Attila Thai*
- Midas Papos
- Daphne Sirocoupoulis*
- Father Alexnadre
- The Postman
Note: The star (*) indicates that characters are played by uncredited actors and actresses.
- Jean-Pierre Talbot as Tintin
- Georges Wilson as Captain Haddock
- Georges Loriot as Professor Calculus
- Charles Vanel as Father Alexnadre
- Darío Moreno as Midas Papos
- Dimos Starenios as Scoubidouvitch
- Ulvi Uraz as Malik
- Marcel Bozzuffi as Angorapoulos
- Demetrios Myrat as Anton Karabine
- Henri Soya as Clodion
- Max Elloy as Nestor
- Serge Marquand as Postman
- Michel Thomass as Yéfime
- Dora Strata as Panegyrist
- When Tintin and the Captain enter the castle, a handkerchief which he did not previously have appears tucked under the Captain's hat.
- When Tintin and Karabine are fighting in the back of the helicopter, a pilot can clearly be seen flying the machine erratically.