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  ...And God Created Woman Wa-Hey In St. Tropez
Year: 1956
Director: Roger Vadim
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Curt Jurgens, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Christian Marquand, Jane Marken, Jean Tissier, Isabelle Corey, Jacqueline Ventura, Jacques Ciron, Paul Faivre, Jany Mourey, Philippe Grenier, Jean Lefebvre, Leopoldo Francés, Georges Poujouly
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Juliette Hardy (Brigitte Bardot) is an orphan who lives with her guardians in St. Tropez, though she is outgrowing them fast, much to her adoptive mother's displeasure. Today she is sunbathing nude behind the sheets on the washing line when older local businessman Eric Carradine (Curt Jurgens) drives up with a present for her: a new car. A toy car, as she notes, but is amused anyway as she strikes up a conversation and he tries to look over the sheet at her body. What Juliette doesn't know is that Antoine (Christian Marquand) has returned to the area, aware that Carradine wants to do business...

When David Lynch and Barry Gifford teamed up to make Wild at Heart, they made it clear this was their version of a road movie with two fifties icons, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, taking the lead characters, but if anyone who should have been more than a match for the King of Rock 'n' Roll it was Brigitte Bardot for she was his equal in sexual controversy. While Elvis gyrated his way through his earthy moves in the United States, Bardot was doing something similar in ...And God Created Woman, causing a sensation for her uninhibited screen presence and presenting an allure of promiscuity which scandalised the world.

She was incredibly famous, both adored and despised for much the same reasons, and sadly this obsessive attention was to take its toll on her health, leaving her an animal-loving misanthrope who had witnessed the worst in people leaving her utterly resistant to them. Perhaps we could put the blame on her then-husband and director Roger Vadim, who had noticed Brigitte's great beauty and thought he could - what? Exploit it? He was certainly behind the image of the sexually adventurous, willing and generous with her favours young woman, or at least that's the way audiences preferred to see her, and that meant wickedness in the minds of millions, but when you watched this, where her renown began, it was a little more complex than that.

We were not supposed to deride Juliette for her behaviour, but appreciate that she could not help herself, she was responding to nature and as a creature of carnality she also contained a sweetness, even a silliness which was surprisingly charming. This was no vamp, but a more innocent, impulsive woman who nonetheless drove men to ruin despite herself, and this was how the public came to see Bardot all too eagerly - the fact that she had an affair with co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant while making this only confirmed their suspicions that she essentially played herself onscreen. In this plot, which hardly mattered when its leading lady was so vivid, she is the obsession of three men, and we might see that none of them are worthy of her.

Again, crafty on the part of Vadim in that watching Juliette the males in the audience would think, you don't need these deadbeats, Brigitte, I'm the man for you! As it was she might not have struck any poses in the nude for us all to see, Vadim was too concerned with teasing his viewers for that, but the images of her he did present showed a fetishising of the star that went beyond much that had been seen before, unless you counted the movie stars the camera loved, but they never seemed as available as Bardot did here, they were always out of reach. Whether sunbathing nude, emerging from the sea in a dress open to the navel to launch herself at Antoine when she's actually married to his brother Michel (Trintignant), or performing the famous dance that might not have been to rock music but for the era might as well have been, she was seared into the memories of all who saw her. Take a step back and you see how daft this was (Juliette almost drives her men to murder each other), and far from great storytelling, but those bright, glossy, sensual visuals were for the ages. Music by Paul Misraki.

Aka: Et Dieu... créa la femme
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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