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And God Created Woman Review

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Saint-Tropez teenage Juliette Hardy marries Michel Tardieuhis brother Antoine and teases lecherous tycon Eric Carradine before she's tamed by her timid spouse.

★★★★★

This is a film with more sociological than artistic significance. It marked the feature debut of Roger Vadim, an assistant to director Marc Allégret and occasional reporter for Paris Match. Consequently, it's much more of an live-action photo opportunity than a movie, with Vadim exploiting Brigitte Bardot's lusty innocence to cash in on postwar French society's penchant for juvenile rebellion. Yet, her pouting nudity and his freewheeling approach to morality helped transform the presentation of women on screen.

Hollywood had to be content with a watching brief, as the Production Code ensured that it wouldn't be able to take similar liberties for another decade. But the pouting Bébé's cavortings earned the picture $4 million Stateside and a further $21 million around the globe. In promoting the picture, Bardot forever changed the nature of celebrity by posing as a teasingly available sex kitten rather than a star on a pedestal. Overnight, she became the most photographed woman in the world and what made her ecstatic reception all the more salacious was the fact that she was Vadim's wife.  


For all its vitality, individuality, passion and eroticism, this is little more than a saucy penny dreadful. Never the most skilful of performers, Bardot is more of an icon than a character and she's easily upstaged by the men who are supposed to be helpless in her thrall. But Vadim knew how to pose her and Armand Thirard's Eastmancolor imagery evocatively captures her beauty and vibrancy against the vivid location hues and dazzling whites that show her tanned flesh to best advantage.

 And God Created Woman dented the barricades of social and cinematic propriety that the nouvelle vague would later bring crashing down. But while France was happy for BB to indulge her healthy (if adulterous) sexual appetite, there was outrage two years later when wife and mother Jeanne Moreau did the same in Louis Malle's Les Amants.

Of interest only to Bardot fans.