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  Bijoutiers du Clair de Lune, Les One Step Further And I Would Have Been There
Year: 1958
Director: Roger Vadim
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Alida Valli, Stephen Boyd, José Nieto, Fernando Rey, Maruchi Fresno, Adriano Domínguez, José Marco Davó, Antonio Vico, Mario Moreno, Tosi, José María Tasso, Nicolás de Perchicot, Rafael Torrobo, Antonio Prieto
Genre: Drama, Thriller, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ursula (Brigitte Bardot) has been away at a convent school in France, but today has arrived in Spain to live with her uncle (Fernando Rey) and aunt Florentine (Alida Valli) on their estate. She is slightly put out that neither of them have come to greet her at the railway station and have sent their chauffeur (Antonio Vico) to meet her instead, but along the journey to the villa she is dismayed to witness a young girl pulled out of a well in the village, where she has drowned herself. The girl's brother, Lambert (Stephen Boyd), jumps on to the back of the car as it passes, and in spite of the driver's attempts to shake him off he stays with them till the villa is reached: Lambert has a bone to pick with this family...

When director Roger Vadim unleashed ...And God Created Woman on the world, all anyone could ask afterwards was "Where can we see more of Bardot?" She was an international sensation, the ultimate European sex symbol of the fifties - and there was plenty of competition for that position, so it was natural she and the man who had brought her this fame would work together again. This was the result, a lovers on the run drama taking advantage of some beautiful Spanish scenery to play out a torrid tale of passion between Ursula, Lambert and Florentine, Alida Valli at that point in the middle of a comeback after the murder scandal which had temporarily derailed her career halfway through the decade.

So there was plenty of interest in the cast, though the actual process of making the movie was not a happy one, with Bardot and Boyd hating one another, and the famously clement Spanish weather letting the production down when it poured with rain day after day. Now, aside from starring one of the most famous women in the world, it's largely forgotten by all but the most curious about her appeal, or those fans who like to remember her as she was and not the psycholgically damaged star she became, the pressure of her fame growing too much for anyone to reasonably bear. You imagine she and Valli would have plenty to discuss as they sat around waiting to shoot their next scene.

As for the story, it was so steeped in hackneyed tropes that it was almost an insult to the intelligence, as if Vadim and his team of screenwriters threw together any old cliché they could think of as long as they could assure themselves that Brigitte would be appearing in a state of undress, or at least frequently in skimpy and revealing clothing. At the time, the sceptical thought the only reason to watch French films was to see such sauciness, and while that ooh-la-la factor was not always the case, a movie like this was not going to change anyone's mind about that conception since Bardot's beauty appeared to be the sole reason to watch. Whether she was sunning herself by a river or lounging around in her underwear, Vadim was definitely inviting the leering gaze.

Seemingly as a sop to his leading lady's love of animals, Ursula gets on with them better than the people, her free spirited ways clashing with the conservative demeanour of those around her, so along the way she makes friends with a piglet and a donkey, although there is one strange sequence where she takes part in a bullfight, only this is an informal one where a young cow is being chased around the ring for a laugh. You would have thought such a sequence would be anathema to the animal rights-advocating Bardot, but she threw herself into it with gusto, probably because the creature was not going to be killed as part of the show. It's these parts, verging on the silly thanks to how overwrought they pan out, which hold a certain entertainment value, but once Ursula and Lambert - understandably with no chemistry when you know the stars' animosity for each other - head off to avoid his murder charge (it was an accident, so naturally the authorities will never listen), it's difficult to be engaged on anything other than watching a Bardot delivery system. Music by Georges Auric.

Aka: Heaven Fell That Night
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Roger Vadim  (1928 - 2000)

French writer-director who had a habit of romancing his leading ladies. And God Created Woman, his debut, created a sensation and made a superstar of Brigitte Bardot. His other films include Blood and Roses, Barbarella (featuring then-wife Jane Fonda), the first part of Spirits of the Dead, the Hollywood excursion Pretty Maids All in a Row and Night Games.

 
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