Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Movie review - "And God Created Woman" (1956) ***1/2 (warning: spoilers)

There are few better star entrances in cinematic history than Brigitte Bardot's here - sunbaking naked next to a sheet (we see her side) as she chats to Curt Jurgens. No wonder she made an impression. It's a brilliantly constructed star vehicle, with writer-director Roger Vadim beautifully exploiting Bardot's person. She pouts, wiggles, lolls about topless on a yacht, sunbakes, listens to romantic songs, dances evocatively to jazz, and generally runs riot.

The plot isn't sensational but has plenty of meat in it: Curt Jurgens wants to build a casino but it stopped by brothers Christian Marquand and Jean Louis Trintignant who own a boat yard; Brigitte loves Marquand who isn't keen on her until she marries his doting brother Jean Louis Trintignant. She winds up in a storm with Marquand and has sex on the beach with him, then when she gets back struggles to readjust.

It gets very French towards the end (i.e. melodramatic and sexist): Trintignant goes to shoot Bardot but is stopped by Jurgens who takes a bullet in the hand but shrugs it off as the price of love. Trintignant smacks Bardot a few times in the face but she seems to respect him for it, and they go off into the sunset (rather the beach) together. Marquand and Jurgens bail town, with Jurgens commenting that woman was born to cause trouble, and that maybe Trintignant will get over Bardot in time.

I loved the colour photography and St Tropez setting gives it plenty of atmosphere. If you watch this in the right spirit it's great fun - Bardot is a star, and Vadim adores her. There is strong support from the three guys - Trintignant, Marquand and Jurgens are all good, masculine rivals.

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