Roger Vadim


Director

About

Also Known As
Roger Vadim Plemiannikov
Birth Place
Paris, FR
Born
January 26, 1928
Died
February 11, 2000
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

One of the more controversial filmmakers to emerge from the vibrant French cinema of the 1960s, Roger Vadim directed such sensual features as ". And God Created Woman" (1958), "Blood and Roses" (1960) and "Barbarella, Queen of the Galaxy" (1968). His movies were earmarked by their lush photography and taboo-skirting plotlines, but even more so by the yardage of flesh displayed by his sta...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

Brigitte Bardot
Wife
Actor. Married in 1952; divorced.
Annette Stroyberg
Wife
Actor. Married in 1958, divorced; one daughter with Vadim.
Catherine Deneuve
Companion
Actor. Had a son, Christian, together in 1963.
Jane Fonda
Wife
Actor. Married in 1967; divorced; mother of Vadim's daughter, Vanessa.

Bibliography

"Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda: My Life with the Three Most Beautiful Women in the World"
Roger Vadim, Warner Books (1987)
"The Hungry Angel"
Roger Vadim (1983)
"Memoirs of the Devil"
Roger Vadim (1975)

Biography

One of the more controversial filmmakers to emerge from the vibrant French cinema of the 1960s, Roger Vadim directed such sensual features as ". And God Created Woman" (1958), "Blood and Roses" (1960) and "Barbarella, Queen of the Galaxy" (1968). His movies were earmarked by their lush photography and taboo-skirting plotlines, but even more so by the yardage of flesh displayed by his stars, including Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Denueve and Jane Fonda, all of whom were also his offscreen romantic partners. Vadim was eclipsed in the 1970s by the rise of more explicit fare, which hobbled his brand of glossy erotica. By the time of his death in 2000, he was regarded as a museum piece by cineastes with fond memories of his sunny, sexy dramas.

Born Vladimir Igorevich Plemiannikov on Jan. 26, 1928 in Paris, France, he was the son of Russian-Ukrainian diplomat Igor Plemiannikov and his wife, actress Marie-Antoinette Ardilouse. Under French law, his parents were required to give their son a French name, which resulted in his being dubbed Roger; he would drop the cumbersome surname in his teenage years and use an abbreviated version of his proper first name in its place. His father's job took the family to exotic locations like Turkey and Egypt, where they lived in the lap of luxury. That lifestyle came to a sudden and tragic end when Vadim's father died in front of his son, then only nine years old. Vadim and his mother relocated to France during World War II, where she operated a hostel in the French Alps. The location also served as a safe house for Jews and other fugitives from the Nazi regime.

Vadim moved to Paris while in his teens; while there, he studied writing and journalism at the University of Paris, but dropped out in 1947 to pursue a career in acting. He attended the Theatre Sandra Bernhardt, where he became acquainted with and apprentice to director Marc Allegret. Through the filmmaker, he met many of the literary and cinematic lights of the period, including Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet, as well as novelist Andre Gide, who encouraged Vadim to work in film after reading and dismissing his first full-length work of fiction. While babysitting at the home of actors Daniele Delorme and Daniel Gelin, he came across a photo of 15-year-old model Brigitte Bardot. Entranced, he gave the picture to Allegret, who was preparing to film "Maria Chapdelaine" (1950) from Vadim's script. Bardot did not get the job with Allegret, but she became deeply involved with the 20-year-old Vadim, much to the chagrin of her upper-class parents. The couple eventually married in 1952.

Vadim toiled for several years as Allegret's screenwriter on films like "Cette sacree gamine" (1956) and "Plucking the Daisy" (1956), both of which starred Bardot. In 1958, he raised the funds to make his debut as a director with ".And God Created Woman," a sexually charged drama with Bardot as a sexually free spirit who wreaks havoc with the siblings and relatives of her older husband (Curd Jurgens). The film flaunted controversy with scenes of Bardot in the nude and her seduction of Jurgens' brother (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and son (Christian Marquand) - all of which earned a condemnation from the Catholic League of Decency. It also made Bardot an international sex symbol and Vadim a very rich man.

Bardot and Vadim would make two more films together, including 1958's "The Night Heaven Fell," which followed the same formula of presenting Bardot as the epitome of sexual ripeness and freedom, but off-camera, their relationship was in turmoil. By 1957, they had divorced, and Vadim had already taken up with 21-year-old Danish actress Annette Stroyberg, who had appeared in "The Night Heaven Fell." She became his leading lady for "Les liaisons dangereuses" (1959), based on the scandalous 18th century novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Vadim's version starred Jeanne Moreau and Gerard Philippe (who died eight weeks after the film's release) as modern-day socialites who manipulate the affections of an innocent, played by Stroyberg, who was billed as Annette Vadim after their marriage in 1958. The film once again landed Vadim in trouble with censors, as well as the French Society of Authors, who sued him for liberties taken with the source material. Future French President Francois Mitterrand, who acted as Vadim's attorney in the case, saved his client by reading letters from de Laclos that warned future readers that any adaptation would fall prey to conservative minds. However, the attention generated by the suit had the exact opposite effect on the film as the uproar around ".And God Created Woman." "Liaisons" was a financial failure, and contributed to the end of Vadim's marriage to Stroyberg. The couple was divorced in 1960 after the birth of their daughter, Nathalie, who would herself become an actress in later years.

Before their split, Stroyberg completed one more film with Vadim, an adaptation of Irish author J. Sheridan LeFanu's vampire novel, "Carmilla," which he filmed as "Blood and Roses" (1960). Stroyberg played Carmilla, possessed by the spirit of a vampire, who preys on the female members of a wealthy family. The film's erotic overtones, which referenced lesbianism and blood-driven sex games, were too much for most audiences. Critics similarly rejected the film, and censors in Britain and America trimmed most of the offending scenes prior to release in 1961. The back-to-back failures forced Vadim to reunite with Bardot for a pair of sex comedies, "Please Not Now" (1961) and "Love on a Pillow" (1962), neither of which generated much attention outside of the arthouse circuit. However, his status among cineastes remained in high standing, as evidenced by his inclusion in the portmanteau film "Seven Capital Sins" (1962), where he tackled one of the Seven Deadly Sins - specifically, Pride - alongside such leading French directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy and playwright Eugene Ionesco.

Much like Joseph Von Sternberg before him and John Derek after him, Vadim would continue to turn his paramours into cinematic muses for the next decade. A torrid affair with Catherine Deneuve resulted in her first significant film role in "Vice and Virtue" (1963), which raised an uproar among World War II veterans for its depiction of a Parisian brothel during the Nazi Occupation. The couple produced a child, actor Christian Vadim, shortly before their split. In 1964, he met and fell in love with Jane Fonda, who was emerging from her brief tenure as a Hollywood ingénue. Vadim cast her in his adaptation of the play "La Ronde" (1964) shortly before attempting to remake her, a la Bardot, into a sexual icon with "The Game is Over" (1966), a broad adaptation of Zola's novel La Curee. The film, nominated for a Golden Lion at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, even followed a similar story arc to ".And God Created Woman," with Fonda attempting to escape her loveless marriage by joining a convent, only to find fulfillment with her husband's son. He then cast her as a depraved medieval countess who falls for her neighbor (real-life brother Peter Fonda), who then dies and is reincarnated as a black stallion, in "Spirits of the Dead" (1968), another portmanteau film that this time featured adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories by Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini.

Vadim's next project was "Barbarella, Queen of the Galaxy" (1968), a live-action feature version of the popular naughty French sci-fi comic. Fonda was once again his star in the campy, mildly sexy action-adventure, which saw her in various states of undress and pitted against such '60s icons as Anita Pallenberg and Marcel Marceau. Despite its Pop Art-inspired design and Fonda's zero gravity strip tease, the film was not a success during its release, and would not find its audience until decades later, when it was a frequent reference point for other fantasy and science fiction film, as well as numerous music videos. Vadim and Fonda relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1970s; there, he directed his sole effort for a Hollywood studio, the dark comedy thriller "Pretty Maids All in Row" (1971), which attempted to meld sniggering sex comedy tropes with a story about a serial killer preying on female high school students. Though its attractive cast, which included Rock Hudson, Angie Dickinson, and a host of budding starlets, attracted attention, the film was largely forgotten upon release thanks to the rise of more graphic adult fare. Vadim's marriage to Fonda also ended shortly afterwards. In interviews after the divorce, she dismissed her work with him as exploitative.

Vadim returned to work in Europe soon after. Among his feature efforts were "Helle" (1972), a sobering drama about a French veteran of Vietnam, though most were along the lines of "Don Juan (Or If Don Juan Were a Woman) (1973)," a plotless sex farce which teamed him with not only Bardot but provocative actress-singer Jane Birkin. He also turned up briefly in "Ciao! Manhattan" (1972) as a quack doctor overseeing the sanitarium visited by doomed Andy Warhol acolyte Edie Sedgwick. He returned briefly to America for "Night Games" (1980), a tedious psychosexual drama about a traumatized young woman (Cindy Pickett) who attempts to alleviate her frustrations through absurd fantasies. Audiences stayed away in droves, which sent Vadim back underground until 1984, when he directed an elegant version of "Beauty and the Beast," with Susan Sarandon and Klaus Kinski in the title roles, for the Showtime series "Faerie Tale Theatre" (1982-87). An episode of the thriller anthology "The Hitchhiker" (HBO, 1983-87; USA Network, 1989-1991) followed, indicating that Vadim was priming himself for a return to features.

Unfortunately, that comeback was a remake of ".And God Created Woman" (1988), with Rebecca De Mornay in the Bardot role, now transformed into a convict that tears apart a wealthy family led by Frank Langella. The film was crucified by critics upon its release, and nixed any possible chance of a career revival for Vadim. He spent the next decade directing features for European television, several of which starred his fourth wife, Oscar-nominated actress Marie-Christine Barrault, while penning several books, including 1986's Bardot Deneuve Fonda: My Life with the Three Most Beautiful Women in the World. The latter was notable for its claim that Vadim coined the word "discotheque." In 2000, the 72-year-old Vadim succumbed to lymphoma and was buried in St. Tropez, France.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Amour Fou (1994)
Director
And God Created Woman (1988)
Director
Surprise Party (1982)
Director
Hot Touch (1982)
Director
Night Games (1980)
Director
Une Femme Fidele (1976)
Director
La Jeune Fille assassinee (1975)
Director
Don Juan (Or if Don Juan Were a Woman) (1973)
Director
Don Juan ou Si Don Juan etait une femme... (1973)
Director
Helle (1972)
Director
Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971)
Director
Spirits of the Dead (1969)
Director of "Metzengerstein"
Barbarella (1968)
Director
The Game Is Over (1967)
Director
Vice and Virtue (1965)
Director
Circle of Love (1965)
Director
Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1964)
Director
Please, Not Now! (1963)
Director
Love on a Pillow (1963)
Director
Seven Capital Sins (1963)
Director of "Pride"
Les liaisons dangereuses (1961)
Director
Blood and Roses (1961)
Director
The Night Heaven Fell (1958)
Director
Sait-on-Jamais (1957)
Director
And God Created Woman (1956)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

L' Amour Necessaire (1991)
(Cameo Appearance)
Into The Night (1985)
Rich and Famous (1981)
La Jeune Fille assassinee (1975)
Georges Viguier
Ciao! Manhattan (1972)
Sweet and Sour (1964)
He
Testament of Orpheus (1962)

Writer (Feature Film)

Amour Fou (1994)
Screenplay
And God Created Woman (1988)
From Original Screenplay
Surprise Party (1982)
Screenwriter
Une Femme Fidele (1976)
Screenwriter
La Jeune Fille assassinee (1975)
Screenwriter
Don Juan (Or if Don Juan Were a Woman) (1973)
Screenwriter
Helle (1972)
Screenwriter
Spirits of the Dead (1969)
Screenplay for "Metzengerstein"
Barbarella (1968)
Screenwriter
The Game Is Over (1967)
Screenwriter
Vice and Virtue (1965)
Screenwriter
Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1964)
Adaptation
Seven Capital Sins (1963)
Screenplay for "Pride"
Please, Not Now! (1963)
Screenwriter
Love on a Pillow (1963)
Screenwriter
Tales of Paris (1962)
Scr-dial for "The Tale of Sophie"
Les liaisons dangereuses (1961)
Screenwriter
Blood and Roses (1961)
Screenwriter
The Night Heaven Fell (1958)
Screenplay
Sois belle et tais-toi (1958)
Screenwriter
Sait-on-Jamais (1957)
Screenwriter
And God Created Woman (1956)
Screenplay
Futures Vedettes (1955)
Screenplay

Producer (Feature Film)

La Jeune Fille assassinee (1975)
Producer
The Game Is Over (1967)
Producer
Vice and Virtue (1965)
Producer
Of Flesh and Blood (1964)
Supervisor prod (see note)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Amour Fou (1994)
Source Material (From Novel)

Cast (Special)

Unauthorized Biography: Jane Fonda (1988)

Life Events

1947

Worked as a screenwriter and assistant director to Marc Allegret at Francoeur Studios

1956

Directed first film, "And God Created Woman"

1971

Made first US film, "Pretty Maids All in a Row"

Photo Collections

Barbarella - Movie Posters
Here is a variety of original-release American Movie posters for Barbarella (1968), directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda.
Spirits of the Dead - Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for AIP's anthology horror film Spirits of the Dead (1968), starring Jane and Peter Fonda. Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.

Videos

Movie Clip

And God Created Woman (1956) -- I Brought The Apple First scene, provocative introduction of Brigitte Bardot (as "Juliette") in her star-making role, visited by her much-older lover Eric (Curt Jurgens), and directed by her husband Roger Vadim, from And God Created Woman, 1956.
And God Created Woman (1956) -- It's All She Wants Cocksure eldest brother Antoine (Christian Marquand) has found Juliette (Brigitte Bardot) at the town dance, his brothers Christian (Georges Poujouly) and Michel (Jean-Louis Trintignant) annoyed, early in And God Created Woman, 1956.
And God Created Woman (1956) -- Stupid Boat! Impetuous Juliette (Brigitte Bardot) has recklessly taken a motorboat out on her own, resulting in a rescue and one last tryst with Antoine (Christian Marquand), in And God Created Woman, 1956, directed by Bardot's husband Roger Vadim.
Pretty Maids All In A Row (1971) -- Mind Locking The Door? Rock Hudson is the scheming and lustful high school guidance counselor Tiger, Angie Dickinson the newest and by far hottest teacher, neither of them too upset about the murder-driven sub-plot, early in writer Gene Roddenberry and director Roger Vadim's R-rated light comedy Pretty Maids All In A Row, 1971.
Night Heaven Fell, The (1958) -- There's Been Enough Misfortune So far we know only that Ursula (Brigitte Bardot, with her ex-husband, Roger Vadim directing) is a French schoolgirl visiting Spain, when Stephen Boyd (as Lamberto) insists on riding along to see her aunt (Alida Valli) and uncle (Pepe Nieto), early in The Night Heaven Fell , 1958.
Night Heaven Fell, The (1958) -- The Hunt Is Over French teen Ursula (Brigitte Bardot), arrived in Spain to visit her aunt (Alida Valli), has decided she's in love with the local who got into a fight with her uncle (Pepe Nieto) that afternoon, leading to a romp directed by Bardot's ex-husband Roger Vadim, in The Night Heaven Fell, 1958.
Night Heaven Fell, The (1958) -- It Charges Like A Bull Roger Vadim has written and directed his ex-wife Brigitte Bardot (as French schoolgirl Ursula, visiting Spain) into a bullfight, which she attends in hopes of meeting handsome Lamberto (Stephen Boyd), whom we know also has a thing with her aunt (Alida Valli) in The Night Heaven Fell, 1958.
Plucking The Daisy (1956) -- The Master's Slippers Having fled to Paris after her parents tried sending her to boarding school, Agnes (Brigitte Bardot) thinks she's dropping in on her brother, who told the family he had become a successful painter, but his address is really the Balzac musuem, where he's a guide, in Plucking The Daisy, 1956.
Plucking The Daisy (1956) -- I Love Liars Broke teenage Agnes (Brigitte Bardot), who has run away to Paris, arrives at the newsroom where reporter Daniel (Daniel Gelin) and photographer Roger (Robert Hirsch), whom she met on the train, have promised they can get her racy story published, in Plucking The Daisy, 1956.
Plucking The Daisy (1956) -- Nonchalant Beauty Desperate for money so she can stay in Paris, teenage Agnes (Brigitte Bardot) has signed up for a strip-tease contest, deciding at the last minute on a disguise, her un-knowing journalist pals (Daniel Gelin, Robert Hirsch) in the audience, a money scene from Plucking The Daisy, 1956.
Spirits of the Dead -- Wilhelm Countess Frederique (Jane Fonda) frolics with her horse which reminds her of her dead cousin Baron Wilhelm (Peter Fonda) as a weaver makes a tapestry Roger Vadim's segment of Spirits of the Dead, 1969.
Spirits of the Dead -- Frederique The narcissistic life of Frederique (Jane Fonda) is interrupted by an encounter with her handsome impoverished cousin Wilhelm (Jane's brother Peter) in Roger Vadim's "Metzengerstein" segment of Spirits of the Dead, 1969.

Trailer

Family

Igor Plemiannikov
Father
Consul. Of Russian birth; member of French diplomatic corp; collapsed (in front of son) and died in December, 1937.
Marie-Antoinette Plemiannikov
Mother
Communist; after husband's death married an architect active in French Resistance.
Nathalie Vadim
Daughter
Assistant director. Mother, Annette Stroyberg.
Christian Vadim
Son
Actor. Mother, Catherine Deneuve; appeared in father's film, "Surprise Party".
Vanessa Vadim
Daughter
Mother, Jane Fonda.
Vania Vadim
Daughter
Mother, Catherine Schneider.

Companions

Brigitte Bardot
Wife
Actor. Married in 1952; divorced.
Annette Stroyberg
Wife
Actor. Married in 1958, divorced; one daughter with Vadim.
Catherine Deneuve
Companion
Actor. Had a son, Christian, together in 1963.
Jane Fonda
Wife
Actor. Married in 1967; divorced; mother of Vadim's daughter, Vanessa.
Catherine Schneider
Wife
Married in 1975; divorced; one daughter with Vadim.
Marie-Christine Barrault
Wife
Actor. Married on December 21, 1990; survived him.

Bibliography

"Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda: My Life with the Three Most Beautiful Women in the World"
Roger Vadim, Warner Books (1987)
"The Hungry Angel"
Roger Vadim (1983)
"Memoirs of the Devil"
Roger Vadim (1975)