Monday, May 09, 2011

Male on Monday - Adventure Heroes

Columnist Annie West explores one of her all time favourite males - the adventure hero.

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.

33 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post. I have a soft spot for the adventure hero. I love the Indiana Jones movies. I think Harrison Ford does a good job in the Indiana Jones movies. I also like Brendan Fraser. You could of filled the post with just Brendan pictures, but the other pics fitted find, they went along with your post.
    I agree with you about the fact that these heroes while strong and hands on, use their brains.

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  2. Loved your post .... and pics ;) Like Becky I wouldn't have minded lots of pics of Brendan Fraser!

    I also really like adventure heroes, my fav being Harrison Ford in Indianna Jones #1 and #3 :) There's brawn, wit, danger and adventure - what's not to love about that?

    BTW - Aussie Post just delievered "Prince of Scandal" - can't wait to read it :)

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  3. Oh, Annie, I love me an adventure hero. And I have done ever since I was a little girl and watched Burt Lancaster pirate movies with my grandma on wet Sundays.

    It has to be said that Brendan Fraser pictures are always welcome, but I have a big soft spot for Harrison Ford too -- thought he was a fabulous adventure hero as Hans Solo in Star Wars. In fact, just sending you a big thank you for all those pictures :-) .

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  4. Hi Becky,

    I'm so glad to find another fan of adventure heroes! Whew! Excellent that it's not just me. But then, how could it be? Yep, I think Harrison F does a great job in the Indiana Jones movies. I still remember the first time I saw that initial one and I was literally on the edge of my seat, but seeing Brendan F was enormous fun too. I love the way he plays on the brawn vs brain cliches too.

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  5. Hi Joanne, next time I'll know. I'll leave out the text and just post pics of BF!

    Hope you enjoy 'Prince of Scandal'. I've only just seen my Australian copies and I'm pleased as punch about them.

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  6. Michelle, now wonder you're a romance writer! How could you not be with an upbringing like that - watching pirate movies with your gran on wet weekends? Brilliant! I find it sad that weekend TV these days seems to be filled to the brim with sport with no time for old movies on wet days. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  7. Brilliant post, Annie! I loved the phrase "serious jaw". There are a lot of those in The Bold and the Beautiful.

    Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones was my first adventure-man crush. Indy was assured but fallible, and pretty darn easy on the eye!

    Congrats on the release of Prince of Scandal! I have it on order and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

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  8. Well, Vanessa, I do think a serious jaw is one of the criteria for an action hero. No chinless wonders allowed! Not sure I could imagine B&B actors as Indiana Jones, but you never know.

    Thanks for the congratulations on 'Prince of Scandal'! I hope you enjoy it. I'm thrilled you've order it in rather than wait for it to hit the Aus shelves.

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  9. Lol! What can I say? I'm impatient. I know it'll be a fantastic read, Annie! :)

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  10. Brendan Fraser, Brendan Fraser and more Brendan Fraser--count me in! Gorgeous also in the cheesy George of the Jungle and more serious films like The Quiet American and Crash.
    But Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones definitely earned his place on your page and thank you for the picture of one of my favoruite ever hunks, Tom Selleck.
    Agree that the strength and intrepidness (if there is such a word) of these adventure heroes is made even more appealing with intelligence and humour. Quite my favourite kind of hero!
    I'm so looking forward to PRINCE OF SCANDAL going on sale--the wonderful cover would make me pick it up even I didn't know what a wonderful author Annie West is!

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  11. Wow, Annie, what a wonderful post! I love men of action who are also clever. Brendan was lovely in the Mummy (although his wife has the brains - loved the relationship between those two - almost as much as I loved Oded Fehr as the gorgeous Bedouin sidekick, sigh! Perhaps that makes him a sighed-kick!). And I LOVE the old movie of King Solomon's Mines. I've not long watched it again - that first kiss after they've done nothing but snarl at each other like a couple of hungry tigers for the whole movie. Sigh. Definitely made my childhood heart beat!

    LOVED Prince of Scandal. People have a huge treat on the way there. Raul - sigh! Except he's nobody's sighed-kick.

    Michelle, saw you finaled in the Romantic Book of the Year!!!! Yay, you! Congratulations!!!! And wasn't Burt L a wonderful pirate? I think he was originally a circus performer, wasn't he? So he did the stunts with great conviction!

    Annie, love 'serious jaw'. Ain't that the truth? LOL!

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  12. i loved this post and the pics. i have to say i have a soft spot for adventure heros and the pics you posted are some of my fav ones you cant go wrong with that lot and i swooned over each of them while watching each movie....Brendan Fraser, the librarian which i watched and fell for hard, harrison ford, nicholas cage im not sure if prince of persia counts but he is on my list. lol couldnt help it had to add him in.

    congrats on your release of Prince of Scandal i bet its a good read

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  13. Adventure heros are great, much better than couch potatoes who sit and do nothing. Harrison Ford as Indy and Michael Douglas as Jack Colton in the Romancing the Stone movies are my kind of men.

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  14. Oh my how could i forget bout Michael Douglas romancing the stone i watched over and over again. good one

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  15. Kandy, another BF fan? Yay! If intrepidness isn't a word it should be (G). There's something about that mix of derring do and humour that works so well, isn't there? As if they may be committed to the adventure but they don't take themselves too seriously. Thanks so much too for the kind words - I do hope you enjoy 'Prince of Scandal'!

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  16. Anna, trust you to find more than one sigh-worthy guy in the film! Excellent!

    I haven't seen 'King Solomon's Mines' for years and haven only the vaguest recollections. However, I did see 'The Naked Jungle' again which was quite interesting. Charlton Heston wasn't quite an adventure hero but he definitely delivered on the broad shouldered, tough jawed man against the wild.

    hey, Michelle, wonderful news about you finalling in the Book of the Year Award. Wonderful!

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  17. Hi Lindsey, you know I haven't seen 'prince of Persia' yet. Every time I try to my family has other ideas. You've convinced me I'd better see it soon.

    Wasn't 'The Librarian' a fun take on the theme? Brains without the brawn and the heroine providing most of the action expertise?

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  18. Hi Sheila. Thanks for mentioning 'Romancing the Stone'. Jack Colton is such an unwilling hero in that, isn't he? Actually one of my favourite parts of that film is when the heroine is greeted so warmly because the villain is a fan of her romance books!

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  19. While I do love the action heros, I seem to love the witty funny guy with a heart of gold even more. I love a man with a brain who can absentmindedly banter without a second thought on the words coming out of his mouth. Sexy banter is a wonderful thing in a story.

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  20. yeah i checked the librarian out cause it was a new movie on the channel next thing i know i was swooning rather hard i have a soft spot for nerdy geeky guys and he pulled me right in i keep hunting for the newest one since there has been 3 of them now. plus he makes me crack up on as well all through out the adventure

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  21. Ooh, Lolarific, yes! Witty banter can be so sexy and appealing. I think it's one of those cases where brains rather than brawn is attractive.

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  22. Lindsey, I hadn't realised there were 3 'Librarian' movies! I'll have to look for the newest one. Thanks for that.

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  23. O.o yep there is Quest of the Spear, Return to King Solomons Mines, and Curse of the Judas Chalice i loved them all. lol my top two things books and movies

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  24. Thanks, everyone, for dropping by and for commenting on my post. I hope you enjoy the pics and maybe get to watch an adventure hero or two soon.

    It's getting very late so I've just drawn a winner for one of my back list books. CONGRATULATIONS, BECKY! Becky, if you contact me at annie@annie-west.com with your postal address and your choice of my backlist story (they're all listed at http://wwww.annie-west.com) I'll post your prize to you.

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  25. congrats becky! and thanks for chatting with us Annie

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  26. Of course! What romance reader doesnt love the adventure hero?? :-) Of course, the scientific nerds are sometimes the hero as well. And who doesnt love them?? LOLOL

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  27. Ah, Annie! (happy sigh)

    Adventure Man! My favourite sort of hero - at least on the screen and on the page! You've named all the ones I love to watch! Indiana Jones movies one and three were especially fun, I thought. I enjoyed Michael Douglas in Romancing The Stone too!

    Congratulations to Becky for winning your book - I know she'll be in for a fabulous read!

    :)
    Sharon

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  28. I loved this post & these kinds of movies! I've seen all you mentioned & rewatch them when they come on cable. Just recently they replayed the Indiana Jones, Mummy, National Treasures. Maybe they'll make another Nat Treas - they left something hanging at the end of the 2nd one. You missed one of the original action/adventure stars that they've been playing the last couple weekends - Tarzan with Johnny Weismuller!

    OOPs! Just noticed I missed the drawing - guess cause you're a day ahead of us - it's just 10:21 pm 5/9 her in Eastern US.

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  29. Hi Krazymama, yes, I like the scientific nerds too. I read a terrific romance ages ago (wish I could remember the name) where the hero was such a nerd, but nevertheless a true, intriguing hero. It was fantastic.

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  30. Lindsey, it was my pleasure chatting with you all!

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  31. Hi Sharon,

    I wasn't sure if you'd be an adventure hero fan, but now I think about it I wonder why I ever wondered. Does that make sense? Your heroes always seem so capable no matter what the emergency - I can see the similiarities.

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  32. Hi Di,

    I haven't watched the 2nd National Treasure film. I'll keep my eyes open for it. Oh, Tarzan - how could we not have mentioned him!

    Hm, the times on the blogs always confuse me. I drew the winner because it was almost 11pm on the blog time and I had to go out for most of the day so I wouldn't have time to post a winner before the next blog went live. It's always hard when we're across so many time zones. But if you're interested in a chance to win another book (my current release in fact, along with current releases by some dear friends) pop over to http://www.annie-west.com as I'm giving away free books in my latest web contest.

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