I was thinking hard trying to choose a particular man to post about today and unable to settle on one. Then it struck me, why settle for one when you can have a whole genre of them! I don't see this as being greedy, but as showing a true appreciation of the type!
As a kid I loved adventure movies. I remember nameless old films on wet weekends where rugged looking men with serious jaws hacked through the jungle or braved crocodile/piranha/leech infested rivers or faced the odds as they trekked across arid wilderness, mountain peaks or enemy territory. They were searching for a lost city or a treasure or to find the father/brother/uncle of the feisty but gorgeous heroine who'd initially resist but finally find herself in said hero's firm embrace. There were shots of broad shoulders and wide hats and a sculpted profile.
Adventure heroes have moved on a lot since then. There are many of the same elements but a lot more besides. On the right is Stewart Granger with Deborah Kerr in 'King Solomon's Mines'. I have vague memories of him being tough and her being feisty but dependent. On the left is one of my fave adventure heroes - Brendan Fraser in 'The Mummy', caught mid-action. It was tempting just to post lots of shots of Brendan F as the intrepid hero but I thought I'd better give some others a look in.
Why do I like adventure heroes? Well of course it's not just because they look good when they're facing down a nest of poisonous cobras or single-handedly rescuing their lover from hostile tribes. Of course it's not. But you have to admire a man who can escape from a burning building no one else could, find a way to deal with a whole horde of venomous/carnivorous beasts or whatever other devious danger the scriptwriters have devised and come out smiling. The adventure hero is, above all, a survivor, especially in stories where secondary characters fall by the wayside, falling prey to various dangers.
But not the hero. Oh, he may come out looking battered and buised. Usually a cut on the lip and a torn shirt. Definitely dirt on those once pristine khakis but despite the bruises, he's still able to tackle the next challenge head on. And of course, being in the jungle/desert/lost tomb, there's no chance for shaving and that rugged jaw really does start to look a bit rough. But when the tough get going these guys really show their mettle.
But it's not all macho muscles in these stories. I love the fact these heroes while strong and hands on, use their brains. They solve problems the rest of use would take years to nut out. They know all sorts of arcane things (and sometimes they're just lucky). Mainly they're quick-witted and intelligent and are able to turn those traits to success. Indiana Jones is a university lecturer as well as a roguish adventurer. In 'National Treasure' there's a mix of museum detective work and out in the wilds adventure.
Of course one of the results of this mix of characteristics is that there's a lot of room for variations on the theme. If you've seen 'The Librarian' you'll know the hero isn't the man to deal with the more physical dangers, at least not at first. He's a nerd. But what's wrong with a nerd who can solve fantastic puzzles and win the day for the right cause? He tries to dress the part but there's no denying he doesn't quite fit the swashbuckling mould of other adventure heroes, yet he's still appealing for all that.
One thing I particularly enjoy about the adventure hero these days is his humour. Whether sly, witty or long-suffering, he appreciates the ridiculous even if the joke is on him. I love humour in a man and, personally I find the mix of wit, strength, intelligence and capability very appealing. And of course there's that strong instinct to protect too. Here's Tom Selleck in 'High Road to China'. Strength and self deprecating humour combined.
How about you? Do you have a soft spot for the adventure hero, whether on film or in books? Or if they're not your cup of tea, why not? Who is your favourite? Should I just have filled this post with pics of Brendan Fraser?
Annie will give away a copy of a signed book from her backlist to one person drawn at random from those who leave a comment.
This month Annie's latest release is on the shelves in the UK. PRINCE OF SCANDAL features a hero who's tough, clever and determined. He wears tailored suits rather than khakis but she has no doubt he'd cope on any adventure. Like the heroes above, he learns through his story to appreciate the true worth of his bride by convenient marriage - at first the most unlikely sort of princess. To read an excerpt or find links to buy the book, visit Annie's website.